Transition from Lightroom 5

Hi all!

My name is Dan and I’m new here. As a current Mac user (OS Mojave-10.14.6), I’m trying to figure out how to safely manage the transition from 32 bit to 64 bit applications, since I’m planning on buying a new Mac, which comes with OS Catalina. I’m using an legacy version of Lightroom (5.7.1), which doesn’t have a 64 bit version, so I’ve been looking around for an alternative to LR and found my way to RawTherapee.

So, my question is whether it’s possible to ‘import’ all my LR images (including edits) to RawTherapee, which I understand is a 64 bit application. That way I should be able to move to the new MacOS and continue to work with my existing photos.

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestion/guidance anyone can offer.

Dan

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No, this isn’t possible. For one, the tools work different.

I think Capture One has an import function for LR, but I can’t vouch for how well it works. I’d guess not very well.

In general, edits are not portable.

My advice is to export all your edits from LR, that way you have a reference, then just start editing new stuff in RT, and edit the old stuff in RT as needed.

2 Likes

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

Though I said I currently use LR, I’m not sure I understand the difference between images and edits. Are you saying that when I export all my current images to RT the edits I have previously made won’t show up?

Dan

Correct, because other editing applications do not have the same tools with the same effects as Lightroom.

CarVac-

Thanks for the explanation. So it sounds like I can export my current LR photos, but I’ll need to re-edit them.

Dan

Some operations are a straightforward translation, others less so. White balance, for instance should translate closely, demosaic will probably be different but not so discernable. “Clarity” is a LR thing with no corollary in other softwares, so that’ll vex you.

You might consider retrieving the Adobe DCP profiles for your cameras; RT can apply them and maybe get you close to equivalent processing. To get them, download the free Adobe DCP converter and install it; the profiles can then be found in whatever directory Mac tells apps to use for program data.

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/adobe-dng-converter.html

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Why would you want to re-edit RAWs you have already edited? Export the images you have already finished as TIF to save them with the look you achieved at max qualy. And the rest begin to edit in RT.

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That sounds like the approach I should take.

Thanks
Dan

2 Likes

@danbob6 I forgot to say: Welcome to the forum!

Whatever you do, the first order of business is to profile your camera and screen and make sure you are colour managing your workflow. I am lazy, so I don’t do it; plus I have Windows, which makes the process sketchy. But if you are serious about producing consistent colour, colour management is a must.

PS Whatever you do, you mustn’t compare app A with app B. I wrote many a post about the flaws of doing that. Start fresh and go from there. It is easier that way. Going back to old photos is fine but expecting software to do the exact same thing is not. Also, you probably won’t process an image the same twice even if you used the same app. Evolving opinions and experience changes the way you do your edits each time.

1 Like

Thanks for the welcome!

Thanks also for your thoughts and comments about workflow.

I use displaycal. It seems straightforward to me on Windows. The generated profile is installed as the system profile. Perhaps I miss something.

Hello @danbob6 and welcome to the RawTherapee forum and from what it seems, also welcome to the world of Open Source. We are all glad you are interested in checking our RawTherapee and do hope that it will bring you much joy as well as efficiency in your workflow.

What I’ll do is I’ll cover the basics of what raw processing entails, which will likely help you understand what can and can not be done in a migration to RawTherapee. Sorry about if I end up going over things you may already know, I am starting from the basics for the sake of proper context.

RawTherapee and Lightroom are both software that are primarily designed to process camera generated RAW files (although they can also do more, this is their primary purpose).

  • camera generated RAW files: are not regular images like you’d see on the web, so they are not jpg, or png or tif files. Regular images such as jpg, are made up of a number of pixels, and each pixel has a value for Red, Green and Blue, which together make up the colour, brightness and saturation of that pixel.

Raw files contain unaltered data from the camera’s sensor (if you’d like more details on that, ask me and I can reply with a more detailed explanation on how they work), which on their own are not laid out in the way jpg or tif files are, the data in them has to be processed by a dedicated program and then saved or exported as a regular image in jpg/png/tif format.

This is where programs like RawTherapee and Lightroom come in. They have the knowledge to look through the raw file data and make sense of it and allow you to set the desired brightness, contrast, sharpening and colour intensity of the image you’re working on, and then save it/render it/export it as a resulting jpg you can use on the web or for print.

So for example in RawTherapee, you would open up a raw file such as a Nikon NEF_123.nef and edit it by boosting the brightness a bit, and contrast a bit, and adding some sharpening. In order to post the picture online you have to export it.

That process creates a resulting NEF_123.jpg file (the actual resulting picture that looks the way you want it to), and a secondary file NEF_123.pp3 which contains text, in xml format, that describes which of the RawTherapee settings have been applied to the raw file and at which intensity value. The original raw file, NEF_123.nef remains unchanged. If you go back into RawTherapee and do some more processing only the pp3 text file gets changed. That is the difference between the original file (the raw NEF file) and the processed image (the resulting JPG).

Now comes the more relevant part, the fact that although all of these programs are used to process these files, one program may have a function (like sharpening for example), which may not be found in another program, or if it is found in both, one may do it with different algorithms than the other, resulting in a different look. Now RawTherapee has most of the features that Lightroom has, but due to the fact that Lightroom is closed source (you don’t get access to how the program is written - because they want to keep their secrets to themselves), the people developing RawTherapee have to come up with their own mathematical formulae on how to make each of the features work …and that may actually produce more pleasing visual results, but certainly somewhat different looking.

What that implies is that:
1 there is no program currently that will look at the editing of a raw file in Lightroom and turn that into a RawTherapee edit pp3 file.
2 even if there was such a program, the resulting look in RawTherapee would be different due to the different programming behind each feature in it.

What you cannot do (curently):
You can not simply import the Lightroom Catalog into RawTherapee so that RawTherapee automatically knows what settings you applied in Lightroom.

Note:
I am a big fan of RawTherapee but there is also Darktable, a very capable, also open source, raw processor that I can recommend for you to try. If you are comfortable going the commercial route, CaptureOne is an amazing piece of software, which quite honestly gives way better results than Lightroom.

Hope things work out for you and looking forward to hearing more from you on here!

2 Likes

Welcome to RawTherapee! I was using the same exact version of LR when I switched. There is a learning curve, and I actually used both while I got up to speed on the new application. The time spent learning RT is well worth it, though. Feel free to shoot me any questions as you move through it. I’ve been there!

@gaaned92 Honestly, I am only going by the anecdotes of others. (I am using cheap hardware, which in theory would still benefit from profiling, but I can’t afford a colorimeter.) I suppose the only way of being sure is to go through the process and objectively checking the colours with an actual spectrometer.

Thanks very much for your very thorough explanation re: RAW processing and RawTherapee. I’m not quite certain which approach I’ll be taking, but you’ve given me lots to think about.

stefan.chirila Stefan Chirila
January 16

Hello @danbob6 and welcome to the RawTherapee forum and from what it seems, also welcome to the world of Open Source. We are all glad you are interested in checking our RawTherapee and do hope that it will bring you much joy as well as efficiency in your workflow.

What I’ll do is I’ll cover the basics of what raw processing entails, which will likely help you understand what can and can not be done in a migration to RawTherapee. Sorry about if I end up going over things you may already know, I am starting from the basics for the sake of proper context.

RawTherapee and Lightroom are both software that are primarily designed to process camera generated RAW files (although they can also do more, this is their primary purpose).

  • camera generated RAW files: are not regular images like you’d see on the web, so they are not jpg, or png or tif files. Regular images such as jpg, are made up of a number of pixels, and each pixel has a value for Red, Green and Blue, which together make up the colour, brightness and saturation of that pixel.

Raw files contain unaltered data from the camera’s sensor (if you’d like more details on that, ask me and I can reply with a more detailed explanation on how they work), which on their own are not laid out in the way jpg or tif files are, the data in them has to be processed by a dedicated program and then saved or exported as a regular image in jpg/png/tif format.

This is where programs like RawTherapee and Lightroom come in. They have the knowledge to look through the raw file data and make sense of it and allow you to set the desired brightness, contrast, sharpening and colour intensity of the image you’re working on, and then save it/render it/export it as a resulting jpg you can use on the web or for print.

So for example in RawTherapee, you would open up a raw file such as a Nikon NEF_123.nef and edit it by boosting the brightness a bit, and contrast a bit, and adding some sharpening. In order to post the picture online you have to export it.

That process creates a resulting NEF_123.jpg file (the actual resulting picture that looks the way you want it to), and a secondary file NEF_123.pp3 which contains text, in xml format, that describes which of the RawTherapee settings have been applied to the raw file and at which intensity value. The original raw file, NEF_123.nef remains unchanged. If you go back into RawTherapee and do some more processing only the pp3 text file gets changed. That is the difference between the original file (the raw NEF file) and the processed image (the resulting JPG).

Now comes the more relevant part, the fact that although all of these programs are used to process these files, one program may have a function (like sharpening for example), which may not be found in another program, or if it is found in both, one may do it with different algorithms than the other, resulting in a different look. Now RawTherapee has most of the features that Lightroom has, but due to the fact that Lightroom is closed source (you don’t get access to how the program is written - because they want to keep their secrets to themselves), the people developing RawTherapee have to come up with their own mathematical formulae on how to make each of the features work …and that may actually produce more pleasing visual results, but certainly somewhat different looking.

What that implies is that:
1 there is no program currently that will look at the editing of a raw file in Lightroom and turn that into a RawTherapee edit pp3 file.
2 even if there was such a program, the resulting look in RawTherapee would be different due to the different programming behind each feature in it.

What you cannot do (curently):
You can not simply import the Lightroom Catalog into RawTherapee so that RawTherapee automatically knows what settings you applied in Lightroom.

Note:
I am a big fan of RawTherapee but there is also Darktable, a very capable, also open source, raw processor that I can recommend for you to try. If you are comfortable going the commercial route, CaptureOne is an amazing piece of software, which quite honestly gives way better results than Lightroom.

Hope things work out for you and looking forward to hearing more from you on here!

danbob6

I just did the same thing. I was on LR 5 for years, and now have moved from that to digikam (for the DAM part) and RawTherapee (for editing). I think the same think will work if you go for rawtherapee completely, but I needed something a little stronger in the DAM department so I went with digikam for that, then I open in rawtherapee when I want to edit a raw

This guide was very helpful to get all the metadata out of lightroom. Two things were missing though. Follow instructions in this order:

  1. Follow instructions under ’ Lightroom settings’ here https://mathiashueber.com/migrate-from-lightroom-to-open-source-alternative.

  2. You need to force all metadata to be saved (after you have enabled XMP): just select all photos, then menu -> Metadata -> Save metadata to file https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/18045/how-can-i-force-lightroom-to-export-metadata-for-all-photos

  3. All of the processing work you put into the images can’t transfer over into an XMP. However, you can easily select all of the images you really want to save the processing for by doing a bulk export to JPEG (or file format of choice), then reimporting back into Lightroom. I decided to call mine _LREdit. Then when you get your files into rawtherapee or digikam they will be alongside and you can group (stack) easily. At least digikam allows that. When in digikam there’s an obscure way of grouping the files to stack them but it is possible. Digikam is a bit of a fiddle to get set up right, but once you do (be patient), it is a good solid piece of SW.

I think you will find digikam + RawTherapee to be a good choice. I am still learning the ropes, but the support on this forum for both apps is good.

if on Linux, I suggest you try the appimage versions downloadable directly from the digikam and rawtherapee sites for the best compatibility. Also download https://github.com/TheAssassin/AppImageLauncher to help install them. If you aren’t on Linux and still on that aged Mac operating system (just like I was 3 weeks ago) I would encourage you to try Linux Mint. Also, check out https://github.com/rbreaves/kinto to get your keyboard shortcuts like Mac.

Good luck