Lightroom Classic: how many edits (spot removal)

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  • Updated 10 months ago
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How many edits can you perform in Lightroom before performance latency is seriously affected?

I recently returned from the middle east with about two months work to catalogue and edit and about 150 of my images had been affected by a serious sensor contamination. This meant that the images in this range that I wanted to use, needed a great deal of spotting to be done. By the time the spotting was completed, the latency lag was so bad that I had to make a tiff copy in order to complete the editing.

I have to say that I was extremely disappointed with Lightroom's inability to cope with this kind of workflow.
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Arkady Bron

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  • Disappointed

Posted 10 months ago

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Jim Robertson

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which version of LR Classic CC are you using?
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Arkady Bron

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Lightroom Classic version: 7.4 [ 1176617 ]
License: Creative Cloud
Language setting: en
Operating system: Windows 10 - Business Edition
Version: 10.0.17134
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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It's one of those "how long is a piece of string" kind of questions, I'm afraid. For most edits, you can do as many as you like, but spotting does have limits. Those limits depends on your system spec and patience levels though. For that volume of spotting, Photoshop would be a better tool for the job.
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Gary Rowe

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Useful advice - but adobe, do you have any comment?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Adobe US is on annual leave this week, including most of the staff who usually frequent this forum.
(Edited)
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Steve Swayne

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I have experienced the exact same issue fixing old dust spot and mould affected slides.  This is a serious issue for me also.  Please change the software.  Unlimited undo is NOT required for the spot edit tool.  Just the last dozen or so. Surely all the previous spot edits can be baked into one layer. This would substantially improve performance.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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No it would not, because that is not how Lightroom works. Lightroom does not work with layers and cannot 'bake' edits into anything. Photoshop changes pixels, Lightroom does not. And the changed image that you look at is a preview, not the original.

Lightroom is a so-called parametric editor. That means that the edits aren't directly applied to the image, but are stored in a kind of 'to do list'. When needed, for example when you print an image or export an image, the the edits are applied only on that output. The original image remains untouched all the time. So each and every spot removal is an entry in that 'to fo list'. There is no way to avoid that.
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Steve Swayne

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Sorry, my comment was badly worded, what I really meant was the way the brush tool works where you can wipe over an area of the image, make a bunch or slider changes then click new to start another one for different results.  Why not allow several databases of spot healing edits in a similar way?
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Because there is only one database where all the edits are stored. That database is your catalog. Each spot removal is an entry in that database. If you want to get an idea how that looks, then select a proprietary raw image (other types won't do) and hit Cmd-S (Mac) or Ctrl-S (PC). That saves all the edits and other metadata to an XMP file. Go to the image on the disk and open that XMP file with a text editor. 
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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And to comment on your analogy with the adjustment brush: the adjustment brush is a global edit, with a mask to restrict the effect to the brushed area. Spot healing is something completely different. You need to know the exact position of the spot, the healing method and the size and shape of the healing brush used. You cannot possibly 'consolidate' old spot healings. That would be the same as 'consolidating' your to do list to one entry for 2017, that is called 'Do all the stuff I didn't do in 2017'. How on earth are you going to know what that was if you no longer specify it?
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Steve Swayne

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Well I guess that's why they have skilled software engineers, to figure out ways to make these things work better.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Exactly and I'm sure they tried, but it's the nature of the beast. Parametric editing has many advantages, but also some disadvantages. This is one of them. In Photoshop you change the pixels and that's it. It doesn't matter if you removed one spot before you apply this new one, or one thousand. In a parametric editor one thousand spot removals are one thousand 'to do' items and adding another one only makes that list a little longer.
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Steve Swayne

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Yep, fortunately for me it is limited to some slides I need to fix up, once they are done the problem for me goes away...