How to track back from a tiff to a copy of the dng?

Tex Andrews

Tex Andrews
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Hello, all. Hope you and yours are well and safe.

I need to track back from an exported tiff to the copy of the dng that I exported from. I have 5 total copies, each with slightly different edits. It isn't obvious which copy generated the tiff. Somehow the colors have shifted and none of the copies match the tiff (used eyedropper to compare, although it's obvious to the eye. Basic WB is the same, but certain colors are reading differently, don't know why). The metadata I think just shows the original dng, but not the copy that has the edits. Does this make sense?

In future I will be doing a better job naming my files! But now I want to try to find the copy I used in order that I can use it as a master for WB adjustments to 2 other shots. This is a fine arts repro problem.
 
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This is a common problem with no good after the fact remedy. For others listening, everything starts with the original file. From this original file one may edit it in LrC, create a VC (Virtual Copy) either before or after the LR edits, or may make a physical derivative which gets added back to LR as a new image. This will happen if you send the image to some other product such as Photoshop or other 3rd party tools for editing outside of Lr. Then any of those 2nd generation real or virtual images can be further edited in LR and can have further Virtual or physical copies made. Rinse and repeat. The problem is trying to determine which images descended from which other images and what was done to them along the way.

Here's one (of many) solutions and is the one I use. Albeit, it requires some manual work along the way but on many occasions I was grateful to have put in that effort.

  1. First of all I use the concept of version numbers and each time I create a VC or a physical derivative image I increase the version number by 1. If an image has no version number it is assumed to be the original or V1.
  2. When physical derivative files are created (e.g. when I send it to Photoshop and it comes back with some changes) I put the version number at the end of the file name in place of "-Edit". For example if I send IMG_1234.CR2 to photoshop it comes back as IMG_1234-Edit.tif. I remove the "-edit" part of the returned file name and replace it with the V number so it would become IMG_1234 V2.tif.
  3. In addition, for both physical and VC derivatives, I use the Copy Name field in LR to show the lineage of the image. I start the copy name with the V number of that derivative, followed by it's lineage. For example "V4=V2+tone curve in PS" would mean that this is the 4th version and it was created directly from V2 after having tone curve work done in PS. I could then look at the V2 image (which could be a VC or a physical file) and see the copy name of "V2=V1+strong Crop" which would mean the V2 was created directly from the original and was cropped - most likely this would be an LR VC. In this example there might also be a "V3=V1+B&W Conversion" meaning that I created a VC from V1 and converted it to B&W.
Anyway, harder to describe than to do - but it works for me.
 
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I do the same as Dan, All virtual copies are given a unique name All external Edits are given an External Edit name appended to the original file name. On Export, I create a Name the consists of “The Original File Name (or the original file name with the Edit In name appended) + the Copy name + the tag LR to indicate the process was a LR processed image. With this, I can always get all the way back to the original imported image file that came from the camera.


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What do you mean here by "copy". Do you mean "virtual copy" which is something specific in LR, or do you mean a copy of the DNG file (ie more than one DNG file exists in Explorer for the same frame)?

Apart from filenaming disciplines, remember that one usually has many unused fields. So before you send a file to PS or 3rd party tool, just put a note or code in the DNG's Instructions or Source field, for example, and the TIF will share the same note or code. These fields are roughly searchable, so you could find all images derived from a certain code.
 

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You can change the default text when doing round trips to Photoshop, so "Edit" could be replaced with "Ver" or similar. Then you only have to add a number for different versions.

I make a point of placing all my exported images in relevant subfolders to the original. Some are preconfigured in my export presets (such as web/email, full jpg, print, etc. If it is for a client/project I use the client/project name in the sub folder name. Very easy to do in the export dialogue. Some people say that there is no need to save exported images, but the convenience to me to be able to find images I have created for specific purposes far outweigh the relatively small amount of storage used and is a fraction of the storage occupied by the original raws from a session or a trip.

On import, I make sure each image has a unique number. By searching for this number in Lr I can find all the related images, what projects they were used in, what clients they were sent to, etc....
 
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I need to track back from an exported tiff to the copy of the dng that I exported from
I found this topic interesting because I've thought of this for myself.

I decided to check and there are XMP tags but from the test I did, the names I found all point back to the original file. I wasn't able to find any links to the the actual file exported from except possibly using DocumentId's but I'm not sure how/who maintains these.

Tracing the paternity of versions would be a useful feature to have. I'm not if that means a change to the XMP tag or the way LR writes to it.
 

Tex Andrews

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Thanks to all---and I was afraid of that. Could find no help in the metadata as it is. Bit of a headache now, but I can manage. Lesson learned! So:
  • rename each VC so it has a unique name
  • incorporate some part of that name into the exported file.
Those 2 simple steps would have solved my current problem I think. Another possible would be to amend the metadata as well (which would be good probably in case client changes the file name...)
 
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Remember that copy name is available in the filenaming template, so you can set up a naming preset which will be available in export or Edit With.
 

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  • rename each VC so it has a unique name
  • incorporate some part of that name into the exported file.
You don't need to rename the file. You just need to use a unique copy name ( The Default is "Copy1", "Copy2" etc. ). The the only place that you need to use a file naming template is on Export. You need to include in your naming template: the file name, the copy name, and any thing else that will help you track an uncatalogued file back to the source file.
 
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It is important to remember that the "File Name" of a VC is the actual file name of the parent physical image and if you change the file name on a VC you are actually changing the file name of the original image in LR, the file name of the image file on disk and the file name on all VC's descended from that same original file. That is why we use the "Copy Name" field in the LR metadata for the lineage information as it is unique to each catalog entry be they physical images or VC's.
 
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