Lightroom Classic: Spot Removal tool slowing down with hundreds of spots

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  • Updated 6 months ago
  • (Edited)
I'm using the latest version of LR Classic CC to remove many hundreds of spots from old photographs. Sometimes when I open a photo the tool works very quickly, but as I continue in the same photo it gets slower and slower. I have tried working so far and then leaving the photo and returning but it stays as slow as when I left it. Is this a bug or is there a way round it?
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Geoff Culbertson

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Posted 2 years ago

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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Geoff - Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 was released today. Install the update and see if you are still experiencing the problem. Let us know if you are.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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See the section for "Spot Removal tool, local corrections, and History panel" here:
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Jim-GTCCC Camelford-GTCCC

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For 'many hundreds of spots' I'd go out on a limb and suggest you're using the wrong tool here and PS should be a better option.  For a few spot corrections and certainly to replicate corrections to multiple photos for real sensor dust spots, LR is 'spot on' - but the healing tools and brushes and  layers in PS are better for the heavy lifting. Using empty layers, you can isolate fixes to certain areas and this makes them more revisable. 

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David Converse

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Lightroom is not a retouching program. Use Photoshop, you'll feel better.
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Geoff Culbertson

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Thanks for the responses. I will try using PS, but I cannot then clear all edits using the Reset button. I will also then have the original DNG file plus a PSD file.
The photos I am dealing with are all scans of old colour slides from the 60's & 70's, so they are not sensor spots.
I will install v 7.3 to see if there is any difference.
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john beardsworth

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You can certainly clear those edits - if you keep the scan on one layer and do your correction work on one or more separate layers.

I agree with the other comments. Lr is designed for an entirely digital workflow rather than for retouching scanned images. PS is a better tool for the job of cleaning up hundreds of imperfections.
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I landed here after having similar Problems lately.

I've used Lightroom, now CC for several years, and never had issues when using the spot removal tool fo a couple to a few dozen spots. But lately, in the last couple of upgrades this feature became almost unusable. After just a few spots there is such a big lag/delay when even first drawing the correction, that it becomes really a torture to work with it.
My computer (Macbook Pro 15, 2,5Ghz I7, 16GB, dedicated Radeon Graphic), and even the image size (24MP from a Sony A7x) stayed the same through the years.

Worst of all, i upgraded to a much better System now, hoping it would help but it did not.
I have 3x the CPU power, 3x the SSD speed (not that it matters for this), and +10x the GPU speed in my new system and the speed improvement is laughable. It's slightly improved and the bad lagging starts after some more corrections, but i'm still nowhere, close to where it was before which is just sad - and a big waste of money :/

I'm going to install windows now, to see if there might be any improvement over OSX.

Doing this work in Photoshop is not really an alternative, as it's
- creating huge amounts of extra data (must convert all files from raw to dng)
- slows down the process immensely (switching all the time)
- breaks the easy applicable development changes (sync/copy to multiple images)
- breaks the undo-flow, not being able to undo the correction later without doing a whole-reprocess of the image

I love Lightroom, and still did not switch even after trying multiple alternatives over the last years - usually they are superior in few aspects, but missing the whole point of the doing almost all in one package, that Lightroom delivers.
If i need to use multiple apps in my workflow (like photoshop for removing spots), i can as well start adopting a flow with more than just Lightroom or switch it out all-together....
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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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Thomas Sheckleston

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I have the same problem, using a newer iMac and the latest versions of the program.  I get the wheel of death for simple small corrections and this is costing/waisting considerable time.  Using activity monitor it would appear that this part of the program is multi threaded using several cores - but why, this should be very simple and has always been straight forward. (whilst I have an up-graded partition with Catalina, I had to revert back to Mojave because of issues with the up-grade).

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Here's one tip that might help a bit: Remove spots before you apply any Dehaze, locally or globally. Dehaze uses a rather time consuming algorithm, that analyzes the whole image. That means that it recalculates every time you add a spot removal.