Creating multiple versions of a photo

While processing your photos in Lightroom, you can generate multiple versions of a photo in the catalog from a single, original file on disk. This is done using virtual copies ("vcs"). A virtual copy is indicated by a turned-corner icon on the thumbnail (see Figure 4-114).

In terms of adjustments, vcs are treated exactly like originals.

When you make a virtual copy, the current settings on the photo being copied (whether an original or another vc) are used as the base settings for the copy. But this is where the direct connection between settings ends; further modifying the original will not affect the copy/copies, or vice versa. However, you can sync the settings from a copy back to the original using the Sync Copies... command, discussed later in this chapter.

vcs can be useful in a number of ways. For example, you could try different crops and compare them side-by-side. Or Develop an image in both color and black and white. Thr e are also some interesting and practical uses for vcs when working in the output modules. The possibilities are virtually endless!

You can also make a copy of a copy, which—unlike in the real world—does not degrade quality due to generation loss. With this method, virtual copies can be used to progressively process an image in a variety of ways, resulting in multiple versions that can then be compared to determine the best one, or used for different kinds of output.

1/13 sec atf/5.6, IS01000 DNG

1/13 sec atf/5.6, IS01000 DNG

Figure 4-114

If you're not sure where you want to go in processing a photo, you might want to work on a v c first, then later sync the settings from the vc to back to the original. (Syncing is covered in the next few pages.)

By default, a virtual copy is stacked with its original. For more information about stacks, see Chapter 3.

To make a vc, right-click or Ctrl+click on a photo, and from the popup menu select Create Virtual Copy, or use the shortcut.

Deleting originals also deletes vcs

Virtual copies exist only in the Lightroom database. If the original file on disk is removed from Lightroom its vcs will also be removed.

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