Lightroom: consolidate/flatten/merge history steps

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Give us the option to consolidate/merge history steps.

All the little adjustments with the crop tool (it's often impossible to reach the final crop in a single operation) could be flattened to a single step, all the little stacked basic adjustment tweaks (+5, -7, +3, yada, yada), all the individual brush strokes, etc. could be flattened to a single adjustment.

This would make the history considerably cleaner and simpler - which makes much better use of the limited screen space (scrolling back down through presets and history is a pain).
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Barrie Spence

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  • frustrated

Posted 9 years ago

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Lee Jay

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There are a number of comments on this, including from an LR team member (Dan Tull) in this thread:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Barrie Spence

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Useful, but that could get lost in there (and I certainly wouldn't have found it there)
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Rob Cole

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Good idea. I'd really like to see edit-history list improved in other ways too.

Its a really great feature already, that could be made really really really great...
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john beardsworth

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No, history should be just that - an exact history of what's been done.

If you want to fake it, use snapshots or make the feature request for a summarised *display* - but leave the detail in the record.
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Barrie Spence

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I would suggest that it's selective - it's just about usability and visibility of the changes in the panel (and many are uninteresting noise).

There is complete history (with a lot of noise) and the major events we care about - it's more about summarising the changes (as you suggest, but having summarised them, I really don't care about the noise) - this could still work with snapshots as they are.
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Rob Cole

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I think the suggestion is for an option - those who want the gory details wouldn't have to consolidate. Also, I can imagine 2 things:
1. list is viewed in consolidated mode, but no changes are made.
2. Consolidation changes are made permanent - and in this case, I'd like to be able to select steps to consolidate via the context menu, (as well as a global do-all)
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Rob Cole

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John - It sounds like your objection is on philosophical grounds.

But practically, for many of us, there is no value to a sequence of intermediate crop adjustments whose net affect is one crop. Unless of course you may want to revisit those intermediate crops. But consolidation would only be done, on demand, once the settings are satisfactory.
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john beardsworth

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Philosophical but practical too. Summarised displays would certainly be beneficial, but purging the underlying detail will just result in lots of "I want to purge this, not that" or "Lightroom wrecked my history" nonsense.

Without the detail, how can the summaries be flexible? It's not simply the adjustment slider that provides value. For example, I'd often like to summarise by when work was done - by session, by day, between exports/prints. Alternatively, I also recently supervised some assistants, one of whom made 50 minor adjustments where the other used 2 or 3. I wouldn't want cover ups.

And again it comes down to a kind of triage. What would I want more - faking the history or making history searchable by smart collections, for example. Easy choice.
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Barrie Spence

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But John, the history isn't a record of every operation (since it doesn't record undos)

If I make 6 tweaks to a slider to get my desired result, wind back to the starting point and then type in the numeric final value the end result is exactly the same and there is no record of the incremental changes (which is my point in that sort of consolidation is what most people care about).

Unless you actually watch your assistants, you don't actually know how they create the images ... and most would ask, should you care? And if you have time to spend watching them, why do you need assistants?

It's the end result that most people will care about - the macro-adjustments, not the micro-adjustments/management.
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john beardsworth

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Sure history doesn't include undos (and I don't think it's worth adding them), but minor incompleteness doesn't invalidate the value of what's left.

Pedantic, I know, but I did say "supervise". That means being responsible for running the PP guys. Had the history been faked, how would a training need be identified?

If people only care about the end result, they can do without history entirely, can't they? That ability is there already. If you need a simpler display, ask for that - don't mess with the underlying data.
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Barrie Spence

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But by your terms, I fake my history.

If I make an adjustment and don't want to keep it I'll probably undo it (rather than making a subsequent adjustment to negate it).

If I make a sequence of micro adjustments, I might roll back to the starting point and apply my final settings as a single set (because I might want to treat another image the same way and I don't like the magic of sync settings).

The last thing I want to do is discard the visibility of the changes to the image, but I really want to see the changes necessary to deliver the end result (including presets), not the individual steps. Maybe that's not history and we're debating different things.

Do we need an alternative panel?
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Rob Cole

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"Do we need an alternative panel?" - Nope.

The edit-history list is basically a dump of the edit-history table in the database. Its totally doable to add the feature you've requested to the existing edit-history list. But here I go infringing on Adobe territory again - sorry.
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john beardsworth

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What Lightroom could do, for example, is *display* the current adjustment status in terms of differences from the default - that was partly why Lee Jay pointed you to the other thread. I think there's some value in that, and the data to do so is already in the catalogue. It's just a matter of calculating and displaying it.

How would you propose summarising local adjustment brush activity?
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Barrie Spence

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I'd merge the individual brush strokes to the mask displayed with the associated pin - again, it's the resultant mask I care about, not the stokes made to create it.

Slightly simpler with grads in the sense that each grad would remain discrete, but any adjustments to the effect applied would be consolidated to a single change (as if the adjustments had be set before applying the grad and it had been applied in its final location/width/etc)
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Mark Sirota

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Consolidating them for display only is a clever idea. It would meet my need.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I wouldn't want to see those extra steps removed completely, but on the other hand, I could imagine disclosure triangles collapsing them down into a combined adjustment when you've adjusted the same slider a number of times in a row.
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Mark Sirota

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That's not complete enough for my tastes -- if I make some other change between crop adjustments, then I have two crop adjustments in the list, which I'd prefer not to have.
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Rob Cole

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Barrie,

It may be possible to consolidate history steps directly in the database using SQL. I know everyone (who wants this) would prefer Adobe integrate it into Lightroom proper, but other workarounds may yet emerge...

Rob
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Barrie Spence

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I'd not go near hacking the database - it needs to be easy and simple.
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Rob Cole

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I too would prefer a well designed native interface.

But, I *may* also be willing to use an app/plugin that implements a database solution. I prefer the term "reverse engineered" to "hack", since the former sounds professional whereas the latter sounds "iffy".

Hopefully it won't come to this...
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Rob Cole

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The biggest part of the problem is detecting which instructions could be consolidated. Once that's whipped, and there is a UI to condense them on the display, then I think it would be easy enough to also allow the user to rip 'em out for good, if desired. Does anyone really care whether other users leave them in or take them out?
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TK

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I proposed a similar idea giving the user the option to look at a collapsed history. The idea is to allow both a chronological view (current) and an "essential/logical" view on the history.

I believe there is value in supporting multiple views on the edit history. The chronological (current) one is good for retrospective retracing of the history of edits. It is not good for providing access to (and allowing modification of) edit actions for future editing. The latter is better supported by a logical ordering which is usefully combined with a collapsing of edits to logical groups (e.g., combining brush strokes to the masks/edit-pins they belong to) and potentially even elimination (e.g., of back and forth fiddling with with certain sliders).
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luxBorealis

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Allow users to select a set of histories and right-click > "Collapse". That way, is I have a dozen or two "Add Brush Stroke" for a single mask, I can collapse them into 1. If the user should want, there should be an "Expand" option, too.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom Feature Request: Collapse/Expand selected histories..
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TK

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I had proposed a "collapsed" or "essential" edit history before. That feature request distinguished between "chronological" and "essential" views of history steps. If both views were available, I believe everyone in this thread would be pleased.

I think there is some good discussion about potential features (such as optional timestamps) in this thread.
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David Phelan

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I like the idea of some form of hierachy to group & optionally hide small sequential adjustments of the same tool.

It is also confusing to have develop history of a photo merged with navigation steps in the product. The history of each photo should be independent.
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Rob Cole

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This plugin allows users to consolidate and/or delete edit history steps:

DevHistoryEditor