Lightroom: Export previews from Lightroom

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  • Updated 7 years ago
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This conversation has been merged. Please reference the main conversation: Lightroom: Publish or Export from Preview - to save time for low res

One feature form Aperture that Lightroom seems to be missing is the ability to export the preview of the original raw file. In Aperture, whether your Aperture Library (equivalent to Lightroom Catalogue) is visible to the computer or not, you can simply drag and drop a photo to the desktop or wherever and it uses the jpeg preview instead of the original (on the other hand file>export>version exports the original resolution from the raw file). Lightroom gives you no option to export preview whether your connected or not. This would help me immensely because I have a small SSD in my macbook so I'd like to keep the previews on the internal SSD and the raw files in an external HDD but still be able to use the previews for web and email.
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Joshua Wetenkamp

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Posted 7 years ago

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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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I don't have a Mac, only Windows, so I may be asking obvious questions, but:

LR's preview files each contain an "image pyramid" structure with multiple resolutions from small thumbnails up to 1:1 previews, so LR would need to know what size of these to extract, somehow. Does Aperture automatically give different sized previews for different types of DnD targets, or does it ask, or do you specify how big DnD previews are supposed to be, somewhere?

Another question, how can Aperture be giving you previews if the library isn't visible? Are these previews disconnected from the library, perhaps in the cloud? With LR, the previews are stored in a subfolder with the catalog so you would need to have that visible.

Where is your LR catalog in the small-SSD/large-USB-drive scenario--is it with your raw files or on the internal SSD? In other words is the important capability you are asking for that the previews be disconnected from the LR catalog and cached on the local drive or are you asking for DnD export capability to be added to LR?
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Joshua Wetenkamp

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Steve, thanks for your interest in this. To answer your questions:

You specify in Aperture's preferences exactly how big the previews are. There is probably a pyramid structure like you were describing (thumbnails, small previews etc) behind the scenes but when you drag and drop it simply uses the largest preview (if you don't change the preference this is defaulted to 1/2 the original resolution).

A better question is why can't Lightroom see previews that are saved on my internal SSD while my external HDD that contains only the original raw files is disconnected? They are right there taking up space on my SSD. Lightroom just doesn't give me access to them unless it senses the master files are connected. If you choose to leave the original raw files in place while importing to Aperture (like "add" in Lightroom), yes the previews and the originals are stored in separate places (though not in the cloud). But this is similar to Lightroom; my originals were "added" (left on my external HDD) and Lightroom made previews on my internal SSD. The "Lightroom 4 Catalogue Previews.lrdata" file is visible to my human eyes but not to Lightroom's while my external is disconnected.

In conclusion, I am only asking for drag and drop export capability of Previews as the other request you mentioned (previews disconnected from the Lightroom catalogue) already exists. I just want to be able to use previews that are stored on my internal drive while my external that stores the masters is disconnected.

Btw, my Catalogue is on my internal, Previews are on my internal, Raw files are on my external.