Lightroom Desktop: Local backup doesn't store XMP sidecar files together with originals

  • 2
  • Problem
  • Updated 6 months ago
  • (Edited)
To this date LR CC doesn't store XMP files together with originals in the locally synced backup folder. This means it's a backup of your originals, but not of your edits. The only way around this I see currently is going for a full DNG workflow (since edits are embedded inside DNG) – but this is extremely painful, because DNG conversion upon import doesn't work neither in Lightroom CC (which used to be a powerful import feature in LR Classic)
Photo of Philipp Unterreiner

Philipp Unterreiner

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • frustrated

Posted 6 months ago

  • 2
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
I see an issue as well. Have tested in LR CC 1TB on my iMac and exported raw files and jpg files using export originals with changes and I see only xmp for the Fuji Raw RAF pictures and not the jpg pictures which have changes as well.
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
XMP sidecar files are only created for proprietary raw files. Other file-types such as DNG and Jpeg would have the XMP data embedded in the file header when exporting "original + settings".
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Hi Jim, ok, here my test steps and there is a surprising end result.  Have moved the exposure slider to the right to create an overexposed picture, then I have exported it with Original plus Changes.
In my Mac Finder I see the original without any xmp and I see the unchanged normal exposed picture.
When I open the picture in Photoshop Elements 2020 I see the over exposed picture.
But when I import it in Apple Photo then I see the unchanged pictures like I see it in Finder.
Yes, your comment is correct and my first test result is correct as well. I have to blame Apple. ;-) 
Wait: Then I have used Photo Mechanics to view the picture and the changes are not visible as well. 
I guess we have to blame Adobe that they write the changes in such a way that only Adobe apps can read it.
:-)
Peter
Photo of Michel BRETECHER

Michel BRETECHER, Champion

  • 1312 Posts
  • 276 Reply Likes
About Elements and jpegs edited in LR or ACR:
When you open those files in the editor, the parametric edits are recognized and  those photos open automatically in the ACR module of Elements with the edits applied.
What I do consider as a bug is that the organizer completely ignores such edits. You import them in a catalog. The thumbnails are not updated ('Update thumbnail' does not work). You export them as new files : the edits are ignored. However, if you open in the editor from the organizer, those files you have imported in the catalog open in the ACR module automatically with all edits applied.
With true raw files, you can use a non-destructive parametric workflow in the organizer as well as in the editor if you save metadata to files. That's not true for jpegs, tiffs, psds...
On the other hand, you can't use the organizer to 'Open in the ACR' with jpegs; that's a pity because I take advantage of the huge advantages of that module for 90% of my jpegs.
But, as described above, if that jpeg has already been edited from the editor directly in ACR (or in LR) the organizer always opens ... in the ACR.
When I say 'always', that also means that there is no way to open that edited jpeg directly in the editor without going through the ACR module!

Workaround for the management of jpegs edited in ACR/LR:
- Open batches (50-100) of jpegs in the ACR from the editor.
- Do batch or individual edits (optional)
- Use the 'SAVE' button to export DNG copies
- Import those DNGs in your catalog.
You can use and manage those DNGs just like normal raw originals. The thumbnails are updated;  the editor (process multiple files) or the export feature in the organizer will take the edits into account. Keeping the original jpegs seems redundant.
Photo of Brian Pierce

Brian Pierce

  • 72 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
The backup within LR only backs up the catalogue - you still need to backup the images 
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
That's Lightroom Classic....this thread is about the "cloudy" version of Lightroom.
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Hi Brian, I am talking about LR CC mobile/Desktop not LR Classic. And there is the export option to export Originals AND Changes and that is not working 100%, in my case changes in JPG are not creating XMP files. 
Could you please test in in your copy of LR CC mobile/Desktop please?
:-)
Peter
Photo of avpman

avpman

  • 162 Posts
  • 113 Reply Likes
Again with the ridiculously ambiguous product names.
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Yes, Adobe was not lucky with the renaming. Perhaps we should call it „non classic LR“ when we mean the „cloudy“ versions. Unfortunately all „cloudy“ versions have different features.
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
Locally stored originals are not designed as a "backup", they are simply a local copy of the cloud images that can be used when the computer is offline. They'll also give a slight performance boost during online use, as it avoids waiting for the original to be downloaded when editing. In those use cases there is no need to have XMP data in a sidecar or embedded in the original, as all of that data is in the local catalog.
Photo of Antoine Hlmn

Antoine Hlmn

  • 908 Posts
  • 219 Reply Likes
This is one reason, next to the lack of functions compared to Classic, why I refuse to switch to cloudy and discourage anyone willing to switch: it’s a closed ecosystem with no catalog backup and no way out. Once you go Cloudy, there’s no way to leave LR :( and that's a big no no, imho.
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
That's nonsense, and needless scaremongering. Lightroom "cloud" has the same "way out" options as Lightroom Classic (or other non-destructive photo editors), the only additional step would be running the Adobe Downloader app to download all files with XMP to a local drive.
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Hi Jim, do you have a method to export the Albums and folder structure as well?
That would be great
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
Adobe's XMP (sidecar or embedded, "Cloudy" or Classic) does not support Album/Collection membership, which is a pity as that would greatly help if exiting from either application. So I would use (and do use) keywords to match my collections/albums, though of course another option would be to export "Original + Settings" (again, both Cloudy and Classic support this) on a per collection/album basis and thus creating appropriately named folders (though Classic would have the edge here as there are plug-ins which would make that process easier).

Cloudy doesn't use the typical desktop-based folders, so the Downloader would only create a date-based folder structure (which is the same structure that I use in Classic). Not a problem for me, I would have enough information in my files to enable me to safely exit to another editor and still be able to organise my images....the far bigger "exit" challenge (as with any non-destructive editor) would be getting the edited raw files to appear the same in the new program. Exporting as Tiff (which can again be done from either app) would be an option, and would be OK for most of my images, but it's still not 100% ideal.
Photo of Antoine Hlmn

Antoine Hlmn

  • 908 Posts
  • 219 Reply Likes
Wasn’t that the original complaint ? Adobe not loading the xmp files when “stored locally” ? Alongside with no library backup, that’s a big no go for me. I’ve read a post on this forum from someone’s library gotten corrupted with no possibility to recover...
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Yes, I am using same methods, but it is a very manual step and you have to do it regularly. And it needs a lot of experience to extract the folder album information from xmp file.
For 99% of users Antoine is correct, they are locked in in Cloudy LR. For LR Classic you can easily use the folder plugin from Jeffrey Friedl to create the album folder structure.
Summary: it would be great if Adobe would implement a full backup functionality
Photo of Antoine Hlmn

Antoine Hlmn

  • 908 Posts
  • 219 Reply Likes
But that would totally go against Adobe interest, doesn’t it?
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
For 99% of users Antoine is correct, they are locked in in Cloudy LR.
I disagree completely. "Locked in" to me means "can't get out", and that is demonstrably not the case, and I think it's misleading to even suggest it. NO user is "locked in", there are just different levels of inconvenience depending on the users preferred organisation style. 

And do you really think 99% of cloudy users are ex-Classic users with highly detailed folder naming schemes? I'd be astonished if that were the case.

Yes, I am using same methods, but it is a very manual step and you have to do it regularly.
Why do it regularly? I'd do it once, the day I decided to exit. If you're concerned about Adobe's ability to manage your files in the meantime, maybe you'd be better off sticking with Classic.
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Hi Jim,
I agree that "locked in" is too strong, your wording with "different levels of inconvenience" is much better.

And yes, not many users have a detailed naming scheme, but they surely have albums and these album structure cannot be exported.

I am coming from LR Classic, but I am a first day iPhone and iPad user and want to have all my pictures with me all the time. Have tried a lot of sync methods and LR Cloudy is really the best solution.

I am trusting Adobe, but was very surprised to read here in this support forum that Adobe could not help a user who has lost his LR Cloud pictures.

An export/backup functionality should be there and backup has to be done regularly.

Jim, are you a LR Cloud only user, like me?

:-)
Peter
Photo of Antoine Hlmn

Antoine Hlmn

  • 908 Posts
  • 219 Reply Likes
I’m rather convinced 99% of ex-classic users are still classic users, because of the fundamental differences between cloudy and Classic. Cloudy targets smartphone photographers or enthusiasts not needing many features.

Kind of related question: what happens when you hit the storage limit? Can you choose what to sync and what to store locally (in cloudy, of course)? Or are you forced to chose between upgrading and selecting images? Because that would be another kind of “level of inconvenience”.

And indeed, Classic and the basic sync options are what keeps me with LR right now. Having an unlimited storage with smart previews is a big plus. Too bad the implementation is son painstakingly bad, otherwise it’d be a killer combo! Imaging being able to sync albums, smart collections, keywords (lol), faces, having control over what’s in the cloud and not, ... Adobe would have THE killer DAM.
But -and this is totally off topic- I must say I’m worried about the future: I don’t feel Adobe will continue to invest in Classic as cloudy was designed to replace it. I feel the quantity and the quality of upgrades for Classic are not on par with the subscription promise. I feel they’re keeping Classic alive as long as they cannot push everyone towards cloudy without loosing too many people and I’m afraid they’ll throttle down classic’s updates more and more.
Photo of Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde, Champion

  • 449 Posts
  • 174 Reply Likes
An export/backup functionality should be there and backup has to be done regularly.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean about backup functionality that has to be done regularly? How do you see such a thing being implemented, especially given that Adobe could already claim that both the cloud catalog and cloud images ARE backed up (presumably regularly) on their servers?

Or are you really just talking about expanding the functionality of the "lifeboat" option which the Downloader is meant to satisfy? Having Adobe make a change to the Downloader to provide an alternative option of downloading, not into date-based folders, but rather into a folder structure based on the Folders and Album names in the cloud, might appear to be a good idea. Two problems with that, at least.....one is that I would imagine many users will have images that exist in multiple albums (I know I do), so do they get downloaded multiple times? The other is what to do with those images which are not in any album (I know I've got thousands of those), and having them downloaded into a single folder wouldn't be appealing....maybe for those revert to the date-based folders?

But realistically, how much effort do you expect Adobe to put in to make that "lifeboat" easier to use? Your "done regularly" comment makes me think you'd expect using the Downloader would be like using an incremental backup program, i.e. the user could run it however often they wanted and only changes since the last run would be downloaded and applied. Sure it could be done, but I don't know how likely that would be.

Jim, are you a LR Cloud only user, like me?
No, I'm a "hybrid" user, i.e. I use Classic as my main processing tool, and I have all my images in the cloud for mobile viewing and sharing purposes. I could so all that by syncing smart previews from Classic, but I prefer to have originals up there instead. I therefore go to some lengths to make that happen, which involves using the Lightroom Desktop app as well as Classic. 

However, there are just a few "missing pieces" from the cloud ecosystem which would prevent me from making a full switch in the fullness of time. 
Photo of Peter Obermeier

Peter Obermeier

  • 187 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Thank you for your detailed comments and answers.
1) Yes, it would be a good idea to have this folder structure option in downloader, even I see these duplication issue as well.


2) As a "Hybrid" user you do not have to worry about a backup, because you have it with LR Classic. I was a Hybrid user as well, using the Plugin created by Jeffrey Friedl, but finally found it more convenient to switch to LR Cloudy.