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What is the difference between a pixel based editor and LR?

hassiman

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Hi,

I was just wondering what the difference was between a pixel based editor like CS4 and LR? Which does a better job... or do they both do the same thing... or is this an inane question?:shock:
 

Gene McCullagh

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Hi Bennett!

Pixel based editors such as PS allow you to work on and alter the pixels in an image. In many case, where you need to, your edits can be destructive.

LR, on the other hand, is a non-destructive editor. Changes you make to your images are stored as instructions in the LR database. The underlying pixels are never harmed or altered.

This approach is very powerful and protects your original file. However, there are advanced editing capabilities provided by PS because it can alter the underlying pixels. Whether you choose to bring your image into PS is an artistic choice you must make.
 

Brad Snyder

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Bennett, extending Gene's thoughts. This is why Lr seems sluggish to people. Since the adjusments to your images are saved as parametric data, as a recipe if you will, with every single change to the image, the entire recipe has to be 're-cooked'.

In a pixel based editor, once the changes are made, they're made for good. In the Post Processing world, this is called 'baked-in'. (Oversimplifying perhaps, PS, etc. do make various provisions for reversing changes at several levels of comprehensiveness.)

I think the argument for one or the other boils down to: Lr is intended as an end-to-end workflow tool for the solo/small photography practice. It can't do everything, but it does most things that a photog needs pretty well, all in one package. The pixel editors, like PS, provide extremely sophisticated manipulation tools, allowing you to tweak everything, down to the level of pixel by pixel editing, at the cost of productivity and commitment to a 'destructive' environment.

This is grossly oversimplified, and subject to endless net debate, but ....
 
P

parintele

Guest
Just an observation:
PS CAN be destructive but it can also be totally non destructive when used correctly for that purpose...
LR is totally non destructive and you can not mix the 2 ways, distructive and non-destructive...

Technically, LR uses the RAW or Pixel information, in case of pixel based file formats, just like a base on top of what it applies various filters you can tweak in processing...
This way, the base file is allways preserved in it's original state.
PS have multiple ways of processing a file..
A distructive way, meaning you alter the base pixels/file with every filter you apply..
Also, PS provides a non destructive way of doing things...Using layers for every filter or modification you apply will allow you to keep the "background" in it;s original state and it will behave similar to lightroom IF you save the new processed file as different file from original...

There are advantages and disadvantages for both worlds...
LR is very intuitive and does the work in background, keeps your original intact and create a sidecar file or database record with all the processing you applied...Also, Lr is much more than a processing app, is a file organizer which provides also a processing module...
PS can do anything, destructive or nondestructive or both in the same time, offers way more alternatives and control, much more and stronger tools...in return, you need to know what you are doing and particulary pay attention when you save your processed files...PS does not do much in order to protect you from your own mistakes or lack of knowledge..
 

patrickt

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Dec 1, 2007
Messages
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My focus is on taking photos. I edit them out of necessity. So, my editing is minimal. I have no desire to take three photos and combine elements to come up with a wonderful work of graphic art.

Lightroom is, for me, fast, easy to use, and produces good results.

A friend of mine, a professional photographer and Photoshop guru, was watching me edit and giving me suggestions. Everything I did he said, "You can do that in PS, too," which I accepted as a given. He commented on a couple of things he could do in PS that I couldn't do in LR. When I was done he said, "Wow, that was quick."

Lightroom also has significant tools for organizing files. I don't use them but I hear they're great.
 
Joined
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Hi,

I was just wondering what the difference was between a pixel based editor like CS4 and LR? Which does a better job... or do they both do the same thing... or is this an inane question?:shock:
All image editors are pixel based. This includes LR. Image based editors use raster graphics and apply filter algorithms to achieve changes in tone, contrast, brightness, sharpness etc. Adobe would be remiss if they used different code to achieve the same results in PS and Lightroom.

What makes Lightroom important for the photo world is that Adobe has collected all of their imaging filters unique to photo images and presented them in Lightroom.

One of the features in Lightroom is non-destructive editing. This is just a fancy term for "the programmer left out the Save button". All image editors are non destructive until you press the Save button. What makes LR so nice is that you don't realize how easy it is to inadvertently hit that save button. PS and other image editors have a Save As button. This serves the same function as Lightroom's Export function. With Lightroom, you don't need to remember.
 

dj_paige

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All image editors are non destructive until you press the Save button. What makes LR so nice is that you don't realize how easy it is to inadvertently hit that save button. PS and other image editors have a Save As button. This serves the same function as Lightroom's Export function. With Lightroom, you don't need to remember.

Thank you for pointing this out so I don't have to say it. Properly used, even the so-called (and very poorly named, IMHO) "destructive editors" can be used without ever altering your original pixels. You can always get back to them, properly used.

As far as Brad's statement: "In a pixel based editor, once the changes are made, they're made for good" — this needs to be clarified: "In a pixel based editor, once the changes are made and saved over the original file, they're made for good".

I wish people would stop using the term "destructive editor" because it seems very misleading to me, plus the word destructive has an unnecessarily negative connotation.
 

Brad Snyder

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Thanks, Paige, I was struggling with that as I wrote it. With the various correction layers methods, and history, and undo, and a thoughtful workflow, clearly pixel pushers 'can' be non-destructive. I much prefer to use the term 'parametric editing' for Lr, but that's just jargon to a learning user.
 
P

parintele

Guest
I wish people would stop using the term "destructive editor" because it seems very misleading to me, plus the word destructive has an unnecessarily negative connotation.

Infact, the term "destructive" have a root in the manner these processors work...
"Destrcutive" does not reffer necessary to the fact that you can loose your original file for good, allthough that might happen if you do not use a different filename or file format as saving target file (Save As for instance...)

"Destructive" rather mean not that processing will make you loose/destroy the original BUT rather the manner you alter the file thru processing is not "flexible" enough...

For instance, I need to alter levels, hue/saturation, clone something, burn something and then sharpen...

I can use the filters directly from
Image/Adjustments...
Levels
hue/Saturation...
Clone tool from tools palet
Burn tool from tools palet..
Filters/Sharpen/USM....

This is a "destructive" manner to edit an image, each STEP will alter my original image and i can not tweak later up and down those settings...Also, the History does not help much because if i go back let's say to Levels, which i used wrong at step 1 of my process, i loose all the later tools of filters which might have been properly used.

The manner is destructive, I alter the pixels themselves, I can not tweak again and again anything I want...
I do not have to save and ruin the original file in order to work destructivelly.

NON Destructive method :

New adjustment layer- Levels
New adjustment layer - H/S
New Layer- Clone using everything beneath as a source...
New Layer for burning..various ways to burn, using clone, burn tool, brushes and blending modes..etc...
New layer for Sharpening, depending on the method this layer might be a stack of everything beneath or a new, empty layer...

This way you can alter anything (most of the parameters anyway...) anytime you like...you can use blending modes, transparency, all the layer settings and blendng options you need....




The thing is, before modern PS versions, Adjustment layers were not available for example... in CS2 you could have used separate layers but things were not as handy as they are in CS3 or CS4....
Going back to original CS or even older versions, PS8 pr PS6 for example, this "non destructive" manner was much more difficult and tricky to use AND in some cases, it was really impossible to work non destructivelly...some things could not be done totally flexible.

So, IMHO, "destructive" term does not necessary reffer to the fact that PS or any other traditional "pixel based" editor destroy your original file...It has nothing to do with that, allthough there is a risk to loose the original...But the main issue is the manner you work, the ability to go back and forward while processing, flexibility....

Today, PS is flexible, extremelly flexible and easy to work with , also a very strong tool which allow you to do things in various ways in order to acieve the best result for a specific task...BUT it wasn;t allways like that AT ALL... some things were nasty in the past, you could have worked dozens of minutes on a picture and you could have loose everything when using "history" ...
Yes, you would still have the Original file but you would have loose something equally pretious, TIME, effort, etc...

This is the origin of "destructive editor" term and it was well deserved, not the case anymore...
 
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...Properly used, even the so-called (and very poorly named, IMHO) "destructive editors" can be used without ever altering your original pixels. You can always get back to them, properly used...
Their weakness IMO is the human element. While experienced users may have every intention to use them properly, mistakes do happen. Inexperienced users may not even recognize the damage potential until it is too late. Lightroom's nondestructive approach is the 'foolproof' method and I expect to see the same non destructive features added into Photoshop and other image painting programs. After all some one has to protect the 'fools' from themselves.

I say that not to ridicule the 'fools', for I was once one myself. I have too many early digital images are are derivatives of original that no longer exist.
 
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