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How to locate "Smart Previews" if links are missing (and no Original files)

Nicolas Mirguet

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Hi all.

So I work for clients (mostly photographers) by doing their post-production.

On Lightroom, we work with Smart Previews only so that it's easier to exchange files. So the client would build Smart Previews, Export Catalog with Smart Previews and send it to me.

Usually, when I open the Catalog, I can see the files, only with Smart Previews and that's fine.

But this time, for one client, I don't get any preview and it's showing me that file is missing. Problem is that when I'm asked to locate the missing file, it's the source file which is being looked for, while I only have the Smart Previews in a separate folder.

Do you have any idea how to relink a Lightroom Catalog to its Smart Previews?

Thanks
 
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If it's only one file missing and the rest are there, then your client probably didn't create a smart preview for that file. If none of the files have smart previews, then he/she didn't create any or didn't send them to you. Or you could have discarded one or more smart previews. In all of those cases, there's nothing you can do in Lightroom to build them. You'll have to get in touch with your client.
 
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You can't 'relink' smart previews. Smart previews are stored in a folder called '<catalog name> smart previews.lrdata', which should be present inside the Lightroom catalog folder. If they don't show while that folder is in the correct place, then there is probably a corruption in this cache.
 
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Welcome to the forum. Smart Previews reside in a folder that is placed in the same folder as the catalog file. The files are DNG and are limited in size. They are given UUID (or 'Universally Unique Identifier') names. The UUID f catalog ile names and path are stored in the LR catalog in a table and indexed with a key back to the originally cataloged file. So, if you have a Smart Previews folder, either the folder was improperly copied or the path listed in the catalog file does not exist or the Smart preview DNG was never created. Assuming that you could do a visual folder scan and locate the DNG, I know of no way to associate that "found" DNG without hacking the database that is the LR catalog file. Because of referential integrity constraints on the LR database, you run a high risk of corrupting the catalog.
You are in my opinion better off asking the client to regenerate the Smart Previews on their end and resend the catalog and the Smart Previews folder
 

Nicolas Mirguet

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Thanks all for your replies and specially Cletus for this very detailed one. I've asked the client to regenerate the Smart Previews. What he has done but I still have the same problem... weird no? Could it be that we don't have the same Lightroom version?
 
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Thanks all for your replies and specially Cletus for this very detailed one. I've asked the client to regenerate the Smart Previews. What he has done but I still have the same problem... weird no? Could it be that we don't have the same Lightroom version?

No, that can't be the explanation. In that case you will get a dialog asking you to upgrade the catalog (or you can't open it at all if he has the later version). Most likely the client makes a simple mistake. For example: He has only one image selected when he tells Lightroom to generate smart previews.
 

Nicolas Mirguet

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Ok thanks. But that can't be a problem of files selected as I have 500 plus blank previews when I open the Catalog:
Screen Shot 07-13-17 at 01.47 PM.PNG

And I have the 500 plus Smart Previews in the dedicated folder. But as Cletus said, those are having unique numbers and can't be linked back to the Catalog.

And the client has already done it twice, following the steps I've given to him... really weird.
 
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Taking the photo you have selected, the Histogram panel certainly implies that the smart preview is not present. I'd suggest that you confirm the client is really including smart previews in the File > Export as Catalog step. That's the key.
 
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Actually, not only the smart previews seem to be missing, the standard previews are also missing. Are you sure that the catalog file isn't renamed after the export? The names of the previews and smart previews caches must be exactly the same as the catalog file (with 'previews' or 'smart previews' added to it), so the smart previews folder must be called "<catalog file name> smart previews.lrdata". Anything else and Lightroom won't find it. And are you sure the cache folders aren't still zipped?
 
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Could it be that we don't have the same Lightroom version?
And what versions are those? Your LightroomForum user profile says you are running the trial but and out of date and buggy LRCC2015.1. You should have installed at least LRCC2015.10.1
 

Nicolas Mirguet

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Names are the same though:

Screen Shot 07-14-17 at 10.46 AM.PNG


Only thing weird is that the client had zipped them separately before sending. I had to do 3 unzip before getting. Could it be a reason?

Thanks for trying to solve this with me!
 
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I notice two things. First, the catalog itself does not seem to have an extension. I don't know if that could be the explanation, but add '.lrcat' to it just in case. The other thing is the '&' in the name. That might be a problem, although I haven't heard of it. I would try if removing the '&' in all three names makes a difference.
 

Nicolas Mirguet

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Hi all, I finally got it solved! So the problem was that my client had "over-zipped" in a way by doing zip of the folder with Smart Previews and then on above with Smart previews zip + catalog file. It seems that the extra zip was killing links between Smart Previews folder and the catalog file.

Thanks for your help! and hope it can help anyone with the same issue later....
 
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Interesting! The Lightroom catalog can indeed be something different. For example: apparently it's almost always impossible to recover a deleted catalog by using 'rescue' software. You would think that good software should be able to rescue anything, because a bit is a bit, no matter if it's a Lightroom catalog bit or an image bit, but apparently it isn't that simple. So maybe the same is true for too much zipping...
 
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