Layer masks

Expro

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I am a complete novice with lightroom. There does not appear to be a faciility to use layers or layer masks. Is this correct.?
If so, does one have to go to the normal editing programmes of Photoshop/or Elements to edit.
If this is the case, where does Lightroom gain any advantage.?
I was given to understand that ALL editing/improvements were capable in Lightroom, and that this programme was aimed specificaly at photographers.
 
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There are no layer masks as such, as in Photoshop. But everything you do in Lightroom is non-destructive. So you have "sort-of" layer masks, but they are not visible as layers. But you can always go back and change an adjustment, or go back in history. If you for example add contrast by +15, you can go back 3 weeks later and dial it down to just +5. Or if you add an adjustment brush to make the eyes in a portrait whiter, and later realize they are too white, you can just decrease it.

Everyting you do in LR is stored in its database, the "catalog", which is a file with the extension .lrcat
 
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"I was given to understand that ALL editing/improvements were capable in Lightroom, and that this programme was aimed specificaly at photographers."

It's aimed at photographers, but not as you understand. In Photoshop you can change every detail in the individual picture you're adjusting. But Lightroom is about managing photographs (note the plural) as well as adjusting them, and its adjustments cover photographers' typical needs. The result is that with Lightroom you organise your pictures more efficiently, and you adjust many more than if you used Photoshop for everything. Your use of Photoshop greatly diminishes and you use it for the things it does best.
 
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I am a complete novice with lightroom. There does not appear to be a faciility to use layers or layer masks. Is this correct.?
There are layer masks in Lightroom. They simply appear in a different form than in Photoshop.

For example, if in Photoshop you would have applied a Saturation adjustment layer and restricted where it applies by painting in its layer mask, in Lightroom you would use the Local Adjustment brush set to Saturation and paint in the adjustment in a similar way. But if there's no Layers panel, where's the mask you painted in Lightroom? Press the O key and you'll see the mask overlay (Tools > Adjustment Brush Overlay > Show Overlay), similar to when you press the backslash key in Photoshop to do the same thing. You can add to or erase part of that mask, just as in Photoshop. Instead of a stack of layers you see multiple adjustment pins on the image, and each pin has a mask associated with it.

One thing novices run into is the assumption that the Photoshop interface represents the best and only way to do things. But Photoshop was designed in the 1980s, an era of film scans, print output, CMYK, and slow computers. Some parts of Lightroom attempt to rethink editing in terms of today's digital photography and raw files to see if there's a better way.

I was given to understand that ALL editing/improvements were capable in Lightroom, and that this programme was aimed specificaly at photographers.
No, Lightroom doesn't completely replace Photoshop, it complements it. Technically, Photoshop has several times more features than Lightroom does, but it isn't just about how many features it has. The reason you hear about a lot of photographers with deep Photoshop experience now doing most of their work in Lightroom is that they work mostly with raw files, and they have found (as I have) that importing, editing, organizing, and printing large shoots of raw files at high quality is much more efficiently integrated in one program (Lightroom) than in three (Camera Raw, Bridge, and Photoshop). Many photographers now try to do as much editing as they can in Lightroom for its bulk editing efficiency and non-destructive editing, only going to Photoshop for jobs that Lightroom can't handle like compositing or pixel-level editing.

Also, because of the way Lightroom edits using metadata, if you apply a lot of adjustment masks for contrast, sharpness, etc. those changes will take up a very small amount of disk space compared to a Photoshop document containing the layers and masks required to achieve the same results.
 

Expro

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"I was given to understand that ALL editing/improvements were capable in Lightroom, and that this programme was aimed specificaly at photographers."

It's aimed at photographers, but not as you understand. In Photoshop you can change every detail in the individual picture you're adjusting. But Lightroom is about managing photographs (note the plural) as well as adjusting them, and its adjustments cover photographers' typical needs. The result is that with Lightroom you organise your pictures more efficiently, and you adjust many more than if you used Photoshop for everything. Your use of Photoshop greatly diminishes and you use it for the things it does best.
Thanks for reply. When one has finished editing a phtorgraph, how do you save the changes>. Is it the same as File/save/save as etc.? I read somewhere that when you have done all that is required you had to send file to Elements/Photoshop if you then wanted to print a hard copy. Is this correct.:thinking:
 
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Thanks for reply. When one has finished editing a phtorgraph, how do you save the changes>. Is it the same as File/save/save as etc.? I read somewhere that when you have done all that is required you had to send file to Elements/Photoshop if you then wanted to print a hard copy. Is this correct.:thinking:
Modification instructions are applied to a derivative image file (like "Save As" only the process is called "Export").
LR has several modules. The Library module is for image management (DAM), the Develop Module is where the adjustments get applied. Book, Slideshow, Print & Web Modules are specific destination targets. The print module will allow you to print directly to your printer with no intermediate (derivative) images file created.
The Book Module will help you create a photo book at "Blurb". The Slideshow module create Slideshows (with soundtrack) in the form of PDFs or MPEG4 video files. The Web module uses FTP and web page templates to create and update websites that you control.

Photoshop is not needed or required. Although you can interface with PS/PSE or your favorite conventional editor to make uses of features not available in a Parameterized image Editor (PIE) like LR.

In addition to the above modules, the Library module includes a Publish Service which can interface directly with Social websites like Flickr, Facebook, SmugMig etc to post images to those sites without creating a permanent local derivative image file.
 
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Thanks for reply. When one has finished editing a phtorgraph, how do you save the changes>. Is it the same as File/save/save as etc.? I read somewhere that when you have done all that is required you had to send file to Elements/Photoshop if you then wanted to print a hard copy. Is this correct.:thinking:
No File/save/save as. Each edit is saved as you do it - so the catalogue (database) records Exposure = +25, Contrast = 0 etc. Just small bits of data saved to a database.

Lightroom aims to be an end to end solution. So you only go to Photoshop if you want to do something Lightroom can't - eg swapping heads. Printing from Lightroom is much easier.

The end result is that you should get more photos to their final state (such as prints or ready to go online) than you would ever do in Photoshop in the same time, you don't need anywhere near as many big TIF/PSD files, and you're managing all your photos and adjusting them in a single environment.
 
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