Can someone explain this stupid filing system? Luminar and Lightroom users?

Brownie

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I like simple. Simple is better. When I work in Darktable, it creates a single sidecar file that includes the entire history stack, and it saves it in the source folder.

Simple. Better.

I am messing with Luminar and am having a difficult time understanding this idiocy. There's a folder in pics called Luminar Catalog, and in that folder are the modified files. It cannot save them to the source folder. I can't seem to figure out how to catalog them, they're just in there in some random order, probably the date they were modified. What's more, it appears to save a new version every time I touch a slider. In other words, just going in the program to mess with a photo and learn the system can result in hundreds of versions. I can't see how to tell which is the most recent. On top of that, it's using up system resources because as soon as you open Luminar those are going to run in the background so they're available. I think... Not to mention the wasted hard drive space.

Evidently Luminar 2018 had a save feature but they did away with it in 3. Repeated requests by users to reinstate it have fallen on deaf ears. My own request on their forum got the response that they're not going to add it back in. I read one post that said they made the change so it was more like Lightroom. I don't use Lightroom, never have, so no idea whether that's accurate.

I have searched their manual and tried to find videos to understand this. It has to be just something I'm missing, it can't possibly be this unorganized or complicated.

I do know that I dislike it, probably because I don't get it. Can someone enlighten me? If I can't sort it out I'll get a refund and try something else or just stick with Darktable.
 

WT21

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For Lightroom (I've never used Luminar)

You import your RAW file into a specific folder, and then you see it in LR. You add edits, and you see the edited version. BUT what you are seeing is the RAW file with a database record of your edits added to the RAW. LR is maintaining a jpg which it shows you, but it's not actually "SAVED AS JPG." If you want a legit JPG to share, you explore the pic as a JPG.

If you want more than one version of your picture, then it's a little different.

You import the RAW file and you can "Create Virtual Copy" and now you have two different "views" of the same photo that you can treat differently. As you leave at each one, LR shows you the underlying RAW with the edits you have chosen to apply. If you want a JPG copy of both pics, then you export both of them into separate JPGs.

Don't know if that explains it, but hope it helps.
 

Brownie

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No, that's all the same. The original RAW remains untouched, if you want a jpeg or TIF or something else, you do a 'save as.' The problem I'm having is the saved RAW file.

When you finish with an edit in Lightroom and then decide to go back to it later, how many versions of it are there, and where is it located?

The thing about Luminar is you don't have to import the file, it's simply an 'open' from the browser. You'd think then (common sense) would dictate that you could save it the same way.
 

WT21

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You set the import destination folder when you import the file. It stays there. The adjustments can either be kept in the LR database or you can opt to have LR build side car files. If you look at the RAW file from the file system you only see the unedited RAW. To see the edits you have to open it in LR or if you saved sidecar files I think you can see the edits in other PS applications, but I only use LR so I’m not truly sure.

In terms of “versions” you only see the last edit unless you want to go back through the history, which are the edits chronologically
 

Hypilein

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When you finish with an edit in Lightroom and then decide to go back to it later, how many versions of it are there, and where is it located?

No matter the number of edits there will always only be one actual version of it saved on your computer - the original RAW and it will be where you told lightroom to store your photos.

The actual edits are saved by just saving the positions of the sliders as numerical values. Those are comparably tiny. My catalogue (where edits are stored) is less than 500mb even though it contains more than 10000 images. If Luminar actually creates new instances of the original file that's just another reason for me to stay well clear of that software.... That sounds horrendous.

Depending on your settings Lightroom also creates preview files (jpegs) that are used so you can go through your files faster (if no previews are created every raw file has to be rendered fresh when you open it). I'm not sure, but I think there might even be an option to not have any previews. There are various settings for quality (and size) of those preview files.
 

Brownie

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Ok, here are a couple of screen shots. This is the Luminar Catalog folder. Look at the folders. These numbers are generated (?) by themselves, no idea how they're named. 0A? F1? 56? BE? They're all over the place. This is only part of the screen. Most of the photos in this catalog have never been opened in Luminar.

50556447041_57e75edb09_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Screenshot 2020-11-01 170408 by telecast, on Flickr

The screenshot below was in folder '50'. I have no idea how they got there. I had to go find them by opening each folder and looking for them. Once I opened folder '50', there was another folder called 'B'. These images were in B. There was nothing else in folder '50'.

This was the result of playing with 2 images to learn how to replace the sky. Luminar saved all of these images in different sized jpegs. Again, no idea why. Again, this is just from messing around with these two images. I opened each one 1 time.

50556447236_8f92ef9573_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Screenshot 2020-11-01 170250 by telecast, on Flickr

So, if I wanted to go and open an image that I had worked on years before...how would I find it?
 

John King

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Use Bridge and Photoshop instead ...

While I (sometimes) appreciate the file management facilities in Bridge, what I like even more is that everything is stored with the file, in its original location. Edits to RAW files are stored in the .XMP sidecar file in the same location.

There is no all-encompassing database whose loss or 'disconnection' will be catastrophic.

While there is a massive database in Bridge, it can be deleted and rebuilt without effecting a single image. It can take a long time to rebuild the database ...

However, all keywords and edits are also stored in the file (JPEG, DNG, etc) or in the XMP file (all RAWs) as well as in the database.
 

Brownie

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I will never, ever use Photoshop or anything that requires an annual subscription. Ever. I can just keep using Darktable and get the exact same feature for free, as described in my first post.
 

John King

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I will never, ever use Photoshop or anything that requires an annual subscription. Ever. I can just keep using Darktable and get the exact same feature for free, as described in my first post.
Tim, if you are happy with Darktable, why change?

I'm used to Adobe, for all their 'wrinkles'. CS5 and CS6 Premium don't owe me anything (academic versions, from when my wife was doing her Diploma and her Fine Arts Degree).

AUD$ 14.29 p.m. is less than a couple of cups of coffee p.m.

Not in the same league as coughing up AUD$ 3,500 each for non-academic versions of the full Adobe suites ...
 

Toddster

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I'm right with you on the confusion and frustration in Luminar. I believe that the hundreds of unwanted JPEGs it creates in the users photos folder are intended only as preview files for Luminar's internal use. Most software would place things like this in the users "apps/roaming" folder so that the user did not see them. Why Luminar places files that they don't want the user to touch in such a prominent folder I have no idea.

On export (create a usable JPEG of your edit) there is no option to export to the original folder. You can save it there but only after you navigate to it as the save location. Why not just add the option to export to the original folder?

I do have Luminar 4 but I don't use it much and I won't be upgrading. Especially now that they are headed down the AI path. I use DxO PL for most of my editing and I find that its behavior is more in line with how I think. I also use the free program digiKam as my DAM. I find that the combination of the two keeps my life simple and post processing stress free.
 

Brownie

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Tim, if you are happy with Darktable, why change?

I'm used to Adobe, for all their 'wrinkles'. CS5 and CS6 Premium don't owe me anything (academic versions, from when my wife was doing her Diploma and her Fine Arts Degree).

AUD$ 14.29 p.m. is less than a couple of cups of coffee p.m.

Not in the same league as coughing up AUD$ 3,500 each for non-academic versions of the full Adobe suites ...
Something new and different. Plus, I feel like I'm not good enough to eek out everything Darktable can do. Much of Luminar is automated.

Same with Coffee. No way I'd pay that kind of money for coffee! "The same as a couple cups of coffee" is marketing language to make you think you aren't paying much for something.

I used to use Photoshop back when it was a stand alone product that you could buy.
 

Brownie

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I'm right with you on the confusion and frustration in Luminar. I believe that the hundreds of unwanted JPEGs it creates in the users photos folder are intended only as preview files for Luminar's internal use. Most software would place things like this in the users "apps/roaming" folder so that the user did not see them. Why Luminar places files that they don't want the user to touch in such a prominent folder I have no idea.

On export (create a usable JPEG of your edit) there is no option to export to the original folder. You can save it there but only after you navigate to it as the save location. Why not just add the option to export to the original folder?

I do have Luminar 4 but I don't use it much and I won't be upgrading. Especially now that they are headed down the AI path. I use DxO PL for most of my editing and I find that its behavior is more in line with how I think. I also use the free program digiKam as my DAM. I find that the combination of the two keeps my life simple and post processing stress free.
I may look at another program, but it was the automated and fun stuff in Luminar that attracted me. Without those I can just stay with DT.

The problem isn't so much that I have to tell it where to save the finished jpeg, it's that I cannot designate where the modified RAW file will go.
 
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John King

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Something new and different. Plus, I feel like I'm not good enough to eek out everything Darktable can do. Much of Luminar is automated.

Fair enough. But I would stick with what you know and like, and learn more about it.
I do almost no PP on any of the photos I post here, Just an automated PS action that adds a bit of an USM and a frame, mat and copyright.

Same with Coffee. No way I'd pay that kind of money for coffee! "The same as a couple cups of coffee" is marketing language to make you think you aren't paying much for something.

I don't either. Certainly not often. Coffee here costs around AUD$3.50~4.50 a cup. It's just using common parlance on my part. That's 3-4 cups per month ...
I used to use Photoshop back when it was a stand alone product that you could buy.

I 'fought' against the subscription model for many years too. However, I can see its value to both consumers and Adobe (and they don't go broke through piracy ... ). I have just entered my second year of subscription, and they have dropped support for Win7 Pro 64 ... :( .

PS standalone here used to cost around AUD$800. That's ~56 months at AUD$14.29 p.m. (including GST). For that, I get software that is now constantly updated and supports all new cameras. You don't have to be a CPA (I am ... ) in order to work out that that's pretty good value.

However, what suits you, suits you. I am more than happy with that too.
 

Dinobe

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Not using luminar, but I guess these files are just there for the internal working of luminar. Silimar to how lighrroom uses the catalog files (lrcat) which is basically a database file.
As an end user, you are not supposed to worry about these files, but as an IT expert I would be very worried about this.

The main questions I always pose myself: what in 5 years down the line?

- will I have still have access to my files?
- will I be able to run the software?
- will I be able to reinstall the software?
- what if the company goes bust?
- what if my computer crashes?

Working for a local municipality with lots of legacy software, this is a constant battle. We sometimes have to install virtual machines with win7 or older to get or keep some programs running.

To me it feels like Luminar is a one-shot tool: open your selected image, do some impressive filter-style post-processing and output immediately. The way it goes these days: quick and impress. Get it out as quickly as possible and don't bother with the rest. Honestly: I've learned that getting your files out quickly is key to make progress. Keeping dozens and dozens of raw files on your system which you will process one day mostly feels like a burden.

But I would be very annoyed not knowing where my stuff is or how it is structured...

Something new and different. Plus, I feel like I'm not good enough to eek out everything Darktable can do. Much of Luminar is automated.
Yes, I understand your feeling. It takes far, far more effort in DT to get an 'impressive' result and sometimes things completerly don't work out the way you imagined.
That's why I'm playing around in DXO PL4 recently :rolleyes:
 
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RichardC

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With reference to the thread title, I have Luminar 4 but use it so rarely that their filing system isn't an issue (I don't even know where it is lol).

I keep my Lightroom folders on a separate drive and back it up regularly.

All I can say is that if you move a folder, move it within Lightroom rather than Explorer or Finder. If you don't, you will very quickly get in a pickle.
 

Mike Wingate

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I subscribe to Adobe for £9.99 a month. Yes, I know it adds up. I do have CS5 on my old computer, that cost a bit in its day. The new versions update. I only use LR and PS. Bridge and the other bits don't get used. My method of working is importing 5 shots at a time into LR. Processing individually, dipping into Nik Efex and PS, saving to external HD. No collection, no classification, no numbers, i.d. Nothing. I am obviously missing out on hours of fun and not getting my moneys worth. does this make my photos worse? Many photos are saved just as they are. Warning. One day your photos will be stored on a cloud, you will not own them, you will have to pay for the storage and one day they will be lost because of cyberattack, mismanagement, glitch, failure of the host company, takeovers, etc. Nothing is safe! Nothing lasts forever! Nothing is free! Oops, gotta go, the men in the white van are outside and coming for me.
 

Brownie

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So, as I read more there is a much bigger problem with their filing system than my wants or needs. As we suspected, all of those photos are thumbnails for the system. Larger ones for looking through the recently edited folder, smaller ones for previews. The modified RAW files are...well, I don't know where they are.

But wait! There's more!

All of those modified folders are accessible through Luminar only. All of your modified files are in one huge database. If that database becomes corrupted or something happens, everything you've ever done in Luminar is lost. Poof...fini...nada. If that sounds like I'm being paranoid, it's happened. Their forum has more than one post from people who've lost all their work. So, unlike having your sidecars in many source folders, they're stored in one location just waiting for a catastrophe.

I've already sent an email to get a refund. Unless they can show me another way to file my RAW data I'll be done with it. I doubt I'll buy any other programs, too much $. I was getting two licenses for Luminar for $45 each. Not going to pay $130 or more for a single license for DxO or another.
 

Dinobe

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That's why I migrated to Darktable. Because it is free, not in terms of not costing any money, but because my files and work are not stuck in some closed file system or database...
 
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