Adobe Lightroom is great at accomplishing a lot of things. You can sharpen and blur a photo, add or remove contrast, clarity, vibrance, exposure and adjust many more aspects of the Basic panel. You can even add targeted gradients that will alter the photos’ temperature so it looks warmer in one area and cooler in another. Lens correction, split toning, vignetting – the list goes on. But, as much as Lightroom can do, there are some areas where it simply can’t compete with Photoshop. There comes a time in every photographer or designer’s life when they realize they’re going to have to incorporate the big guns.
There’s an inherent issue with what I just wrote above. Oftentimes, when working on editing a photograph, we don’t necessarily know what needs to be done. Sometimes, we make a change and have to build off that change. What if we begin editing in Lightroom and then realize that the image should have been edited in Photoshop first? This might happen when you reach a point where Lightroom doesn’t offer the tool you need. What do you do? Do you start over? That wouldn’t be good. What would be good is if there was a way to jump back and forth between Lightroom and Photoshop. Oh yes, that would be very good. Well, just as luck would have it, there is.
In today’s post, I’m going to work on a photo of a bull that has a tag in his ear (see the photo below). I’ll begin the project by opening the photo in Lightroom and making some simple edits in the Basic panel. Then, I’ll jump into Adobe Photoshop straight from Lightroom to remove the tag using the Content Aware fill command. After that, I’ll switch back to Lightroom to continue my edits on the updated photo. In this tutorial, I’ll show you all the necessary steps to seamlessly work in both applications.
NOTE: This post discusses how to complete this type of operation when dealing with JPEG files. If you’re interested in how do accomplish something similar with RAW files, please read this post:
I want you to take a close look at the right ear (your left) of this bull. If you do this, you should see a tag. This tag is my primary focus of the edits I’ll make in Photoshop.
Please also notice how dull this photo is in its original state. I’ll brighten it up in Lightroom.
Editing in Lightroom
I’ve already gone ahead and imported this photo into my working folder in Lightroom. If you aren’t familiar with how to import photos, please read my post on just that:
Now that I’ve got the photo where I want, I can select it from the filmstrip choices at the bottom of the program and work on it in Loupe View. If you don’t yet know how to access the various modes of viewing photos in Lightroom, take a look at this post:
I’ll then click on the Develop link towards the top of the application.
From there, I’ll push around some sliders in an effort to brighten the photo up some. Don’t worry so much about this part. This post doesn’t focus on working in the Basic panel as much as it does how to jump to Photoshop from Lightroom.
That looks a lot better. It’s really starting to come along nicely.
Oh man – wouldn’t you know it? I completely forgot to remove that tag in the bull’s ear before beginning this project. Now what am I going to do? In this case, I only spent a few seconds on my edits and starting over wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but what if I had spent an hour working on this photo before I realized I screwed up? What I’d like to do is switch into Adobe Photoshop right from Lightroom and then back again, if at all possible.
Jumping to Photoshop From Lightroom
If I head up to the Photo > Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 menu item and select it…
…I’ll be presented with a dialog box like this:
Now, the available choices are important. I’ll go over them below.
Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments – This choice will bring a copy of the current version of the photo into Adobe Photoshop. All the edits that were made to the photo in Lightroom will remain intact.
Edit a Copy – This choice will make a copy of the original photo and import that copy into Photoshop. No edits made in Lightroom will be visible in Photoshop.
Edit Original – This choice will import the original file, with no edits made in Lightroom, into Photoshop for editing.
As you can see by reading the explanation of the choices above, it’s usually a good idea to select the first one. Since I already made edits in Lightroom, I want to keep those edits and continue my work in Photoshop. There’s no sense in doing anything else. I’ll go ahead and make the first selection.
Editing in Photoshop
After I click Edit in Lightroom, my photo opens into a new tab in Photoshop. I can now remove that tag from the bull’s ear. To accomplish this, I’ll click on the Lasso Tool and draw a circle around the tag. This will turn into a selection.
From here, I’ll right-click on the image and choose Fill from the menu that appears. Please note that the Lasso Tool still needs to be active for the right-click menu to appear.
When I see the Fill dialog box, I’ll select Content-Aware from the top drop-down box and click OK. This will intelligently fill the area that contains the tag with a pattern from the surrounding area. If you’d like to learn more about how to remove object with content-aware fill, please read through this post:
Once finished in Photoshop, all I need to do is head up to the File > Save menu item and click on it.
The file will stay open in Photoshop, but when I return to Lightroom, I’ll see the updated version of the photo that I was working on.
It’s like magic. I didn’t have to do anything else – the photo was just sitting there waiting for me.
An Edit Copy Was Created
I do want to point out one more thing. If I click G on my keyboard as a shortcut to switch to Grid Mode in Lightroom, I’ll notice that a copy of the photo I was working on was made.
This copy is in TIF format and has been converted from a JPG format, which is what I was initially working with. In later posts, I’ll be discussing how to go about the same exact scenario, but when we’re working with RAW files. Either way, at this point, I can simply continue on with my edits in Lightroom as if I never had to jump to Photoshop for anything at all.
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