Lightroom edits not appearing when using "Edit in Photoshop"

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Feb 1, 2010
West Sussex, UK
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This is an often-heard problem relating to the "Edit in Photoshop" command on Raw files from within Lightroom, which will potentially increase following the recent Adobe CC release. So if it's happening to you, first check the ACR level in both Lightroom and Photoshop. For Lightroom you can go to Help>About Adobe Photoshop Lightroom x.x, and in the resulting information panel the ACR version is shown in the top right-hand corner:


In Photoshop, go to Help>About Plug-In>Camera Raw and you'll see the following information panel:


If the ACR levels are the same, OR the Lightroom ACR level is lower than the Photoshop level, then there should be a seamless transfer of edit information from Lightroom to Photoshop. However, in the situation where Lightroom's ACR level is higher than Photoshop's, when you "Edit in Photoshop" you should receive this warning in Lightroom, known as the "ACR Mis-Match Dialog":

If you don't see this dialog, it's probable that some time in the past you clicked the "Don't Show Again" box, and then clicked on "Open Anyway". You need to restore this dialog, to do that go to Edit>Preferences (Win) or Lightroom>Preferences (Mac), select the General tab and click on "Reset all warning dialogs". Then try "Edit in Photoshop" again, and now you should get the mis-match dialog.

As stated above, this dialog occurs when you attempt to use "Edit in Photoshop" on a raw file (or a jpeg/tiff/PSD file and the option to "Edit a copy with Lightroom Adjustments" is selected) and the ACR versions between Lightroom and Photoshop are no longer at the same level (Lightroom being higher than Photoshop). As an example, the most current version of Lightroom (5.0) is at ACR 8.1 level, PSCS5 can only go up to ACR 6.7 level, so those users such as myself in this situation should receive the warning dialog. To get ALL Lightroom edits appearing in Photoshop you would need to update PS to either CS6 or CC, or you can stay as you are and use the "Render using Lightroom" option.

The difference between "Render using Lightroom" and "Open Anyway"? In an environment where there IS compatibility of ACR, Lightroom would seamlessly pass all relevant information to PS which would use it's own ACR plug-in to render the file into a temporary working space. So you would see a fully rendered file in PS with all LR adjustments but no new file is created on the hard drive until you eventually do "Save" in PS, at which point the saved Tiff or PSD would be imported back into Lightroom. But when the ACR versions are incompatible (as is now my situation), Photoshop's ACR plug-in is not capable of understanding all of the new develop tools in Lightroom, so Lightroom gives you the warning with those two choices. "Open Anyway" would continue the previous workflow, i.e. the data is passed to PS which then uses it's ACR plug-in to render the file, but with inconsistent results depending upon what edits you may have done in Lightroom. For example, in my specific mis-match, any use of the new Spot Removal and Radial Filters (introduced in LR5), or the Defringe control which was introduced in LR4.1, would not appear in Photoshop if I used "Open Anyway". However, "Render using Lightroom" would use Lightroom to render the file first, before passing the Tiff/PSD to now you will get all the LR edits in Photoshop, the only downside being that the Tiff/PSD is created (and will appear immediately in Lightroom) before being passed to PS. So if you then decide not to do any work in PS, you've got a superfluous file in Lightroom which you may need to delete.

I hope this helps give an overview of an often-confusing situation. This subject is covered in much further detail in Victoria's "Lightroom - The Missing FAQ".


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