Lightroom: Editing originals and exporting

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I hope someone here can offer a definitive answer on this as I have read hundreds of articles but still do not know.Lightroom mobile editors smart previews, but how exactly does this work and is there a point where the original file is downloaded for 'detailed' editing.Scenarios:1- image uploaded via desktop, smart preview synced, is there any way that mobile edits using the original file, what about when exporting the edit as max res?2- image uploaded via mobile device, originals are uploaded for the desktop version to store, but does the mobile device edit the original as it obviously has it stored locally (for now).Thanks
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Luke Riggall

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Posted 1 year ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Hi Luke

The short answer is... it depends.

Photos uploaded directly to mobile devices or on the web upload originals to the cloud, and they remain there unless deleted. In LR mobile's Preferences, there's an option to use full resolution if it's available in the cloud or on the device (which it would be in this scenario).

Photos uploaded to the cloud from Lightroom desktop only upload as smart previews, so full resolution would never be available on mobile for those photos.
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Stanley-Carl du-Pont

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Lr CC and Lr Mobile handle files in different ways, depending on whether the image is uploaded via a mobile device - phone or tablet - or from the desktop.

In summary, uploading an image via a mobile device gives you the best options. That way you can access the original file [rather than a Smart Preview] for edits and sharing.

With reference to your scenarios:
  1. Nope, you only have access to Smart Previews if you upload via the desktop. Similarly, you cannot share files through Lr Mobile of a resolution that is greater than, nor can you download a file via Lr Web that is larger than the Smart Preview [2540px on the long edge].
  2. If you upload the file via Lr Mobile and you have the option to edit original files turned on, you can edit and share based on the original file. This is the key benefit of uploading via Lr Mobile.
I hope that helps and that others will correct/confirm my understanding.
(Edited)
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Stanley-Carl du-Pont

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Correction: Smart Previews are 2560px on the long edge.
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Luke Riggall

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Thanks both of you that really helps. I think there needs to be a table somewhere with all scenarios so people actually know for sure how each variation of a workflow affects the files they are editing. I have started a table but unsure whether this is correct or what the web app is capable of.

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Yeah, that's about right. Files uploaded through the web behave the same as files uploaded through mobile, so lines 2/3 could be combined.

There are some slight differences depending on preferences. Working from left to right:

Edited with Desktop catalog is Edits Original... with the exception of when the "use smart previews for editing" performance checkbox is checked.

Edited with Mobile is correct for Desktop. For both mobile and web, it edits original if "use full resolution" is enabled in Preferences, or smart previews if not. 

Exported with Desktop/Mobile is correct. Exported with Mobile bottom question mark is the same as the row above.


I'd need to double check the behaviour when editing a mobile/web uploaded photos in a web browser, as I think it's limited to smart previews. Exporting gives you a choice of size.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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There is one thing you need to remember. Lightroom is a non-destructive editor. The edits are stored as instructions, only to be used when needed (when you print an image, or export an image). What you are looking at on screen is only a jpeg preview, not the edited original (not even when the original is jpeg!).

So consequently, it doesn't really matter whether the edits are made from the original or from a smart preview, or at least for most edits it doesn't. Only for edits that require you to see the image at 100% (sharpening, noise reduction) it does matter. But hey, that is exactly what Lightroom Mobile can't (yet) do anyway...
(Edited)
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Luke Riggall

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That's a good point, I mean I was zooming in at 100% to the dng raws shot on my iPhone and using the sharpening gradient as a workaround. But I may do the sharpening on a desktop instead or try to setup a number of images a presets to copy the sharpening adjustments over on mobile. In reality the editing engine needs to be upgraded to allow proper 100% zoom adjustments.

Could you tell me how well the adjustments sync back to the desktop? I mean if I edit an image and then want to tweak those adjustments on desktop, will all the adjustments sync accross individually?
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Stanley-Carl du-Pont

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Yes, adjustments made in Lr Mobile sync fully to the desktop version and may be adjusted equally on either platform.