Using a RAW Image from Lightroom to Photoshop including Adjustment Layers

One of my students questioned how to open an image in Photoshop from Lightroom which was previously edited in Photoshop with all of the adjustment layers, etc…

First there is a difference in how Lightroom and Photoshop work with images. Lightroom can work with the standard pixel based images (jpg, tif, psd,) as well as raw images (cr2, nef, png). Photoshop on the other hand only works on pixel based images. Adobe will automatically convert a raw file to a pixel image when transferring from Lightroom to Photoshop.
There is also a difference in the way that Lightroom transfers images to Photoshop based on the type of image. This blog only addressed the transfer of ‘Raw’ file types.

Lightroom honors images that were edited in Photoshop, including any adjustment layers which have been added to the image. The question was raised because when the user re-edits an image in Photoshop and sometimes it appeared that the adjustment layers were gone. This situation is caused by selecting the wrong option when call for Lightroom to ‘Edit in Photoshop’.

There are three options which are presented to the user when they select ‘edit in Photoshop’. Either using the menu option on the ‘Photo’ menu or by right clicking on the image and selecting ‘edit in Photoshop’. The options are shown in the image below.

Copy options

Option 1. ‘Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments’:

  • This option basically flattens the image into a single layer with any adjustments made in Lightroom and or Photoshop.
  • To control the type of file, color space and naming convention you can set the defaults in the Lightroom Preferences | External Editing tab.

Preferences Settings

Option 2. ‘ Edit a Copy’:

  • Opens the file in Photoshop without any of the Lightroom adjustments.
  • Photoshop adjustments are included.
  • The file will be renamed when sent to Photoshop, based on the ‘Edit External File Naming’ in the preferences.

Option 3. ‘Edit Original’:

  • Opens the image without renaming it and all of the adjustments previously made in photoshop are preserved.

When you are finished editing in Photoshop, always select the ‘save’ option then ‘close’. This will return the image to Lightroom and it will appear in the correct folder where it was originally. If you need to change the file type, typically editing a jpg and adding layers will require that the image be saved a tif or psd file type, you may need to resync the folder to have the image appear in Lightroom.
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Alan Agdern

Providing Digital Darkroom Personalized Training 

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