LR newbie question: Easy way to compile images and revert to original without loosing edits?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by TRCPhoto, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. TRCPhoto

    TRCPhoto Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2014
    Princeton, NJ
    I recently transitioned to LR from Aperture and pretty much have organized it in a similar fashion... I'm old and adverse to change. :) Anyway, I have all my images in their various folders and to date have not used catalogs or collections.

    I have one particular folder of just over 600 images of which about 80 are converted to B&W with individual adjustments. My client is asking to see those 80 in color and I'd like to find a way to be able to compile them all separately and revert to the original settings, without undoing those adjusted B&Ws?
  2. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2015
    What I would do is select those photos in library mode, right click and select "Create virtual copies" (Also found in the "Photos" menu at the top). Then select those virtual copies, right click again, and select "Develop settings" -> "Reset" (Also found in the "Photos" menu at the top).

    From there you need to organize to your liking. I would use a collection but you can probably adapt your own method.
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  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm not quite certain what you're asking.

    Are the B&W images JPEGs/TIFFS which were processed from the original RAW files in Aperture or are the RAW files which were processed in LR? The answer makes a big difference.

    If they're JPEGs/TIFFs or some other image format and have just been imported into your LR catalogue with no processing, you can't go back to colour. Once you process a RAW file to B&W and export it in an image file format like JPEG or TIFF, you no longer have the colour data. All you've got is a B&W image. You would need to locate the original RAW files and create your colour versions from them.

    If the images are RAW files which have been processed in LR, you've got all the data you need to create a colour version. If you do what Nathanael suggests above, what you're going to end up with after you click reset for those images is going to be the original unprocessed RAW file default version which LR opens when you import a file. You will lose all of the other adjustments that have been made such as exposure, highlights and shadows, curves, local adjustments, sharpening, noise reduction, perspective corrections, etc as well as the B&W conversion. Depending on how the conversion was done, you may be able to simply remove the black and white conversion step while saving those settings, and retain all of the other processing which will mean the images may be more "attractive" to the client than the unprocessed RAW file will look with a default settings conversion.

    So, what you need to tell us is what kind of files those B&W images are, and where the various processing steps were undertaken. If the B&W files were B&W images in image file format before you originally imported them into LR then you can't get back to colour because the colour data isn't going to be present in the file.

    The good news is that if you imported the original RAW files into LR, processed them in LR, and did the B&W conversion in LR using the B&W conversion feature in the HSL/Color/B&W panel, there's an easier and better way than Nathanael's suggestion.

    In that situation you don't need to make virtual copies. Just go to the HSL/Color/B&W panel. It will be showing B&W as the current operative window open. Simply select the HSL or Color window and the image will convert to colour with all other processing intact and the B&W settings will be saved. Select B&W again and you will revert to your B&W settings. You can toggle between colour and B&W that way and it changes no editing apart from whether the image is in colour or B&W. Everything apart from the colour status of the image will stay the same unless you choose to edit it after making a swap, and if you do edit it you can always go back to the way it was before the edit simply by selecting the previous edit entry in the History panel on the left.

    That works great for images with all processing in LR which have been converted to B&W that way. I can think of 3 other ways of doing a B&W conversion in LR and doing what I described above won't work for all of them.

    And if the processing and B&W conversion were done some other way, the above process probably won't work either. To be able to answer your question we really need to know what kind of files the images are and where and how they were processed, especially the B&W part of the processing. There's actually dozens of ways to convert an image to B&W including at least 4 using nothing other than LR, and a multitude of others involving Photoshop or various LR plugins or in other processing software like Aperture. How to revert the image to colour is going to depend on what kind of file/files you have for each image and how the B&W conversion was done.
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  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I think virtual copies are the safer way if you want to keep your current B&W edits. I'm quite sure that after bringing back the colour you'll need to tweak or undo several more things. No need to reset the copy, you can use that as a starting point as David described keeping the same crop, sharpening, etc. even if probably you are going yo tweak these too.
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  5. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    There is an alternative to making a virtual copy and that is to make a Snapshot of the B&W image before you do anything. The Snapshot records all of the processing edits for the image at the time you make it. Give it a name like "Original B&W version" or something to remind you what it is and then start editing away. You can revert to the B&W version as it was before you started re-editing simply by clicking on the Snapshot name in the Snapshot panel. If you need to apply any edits to the colour versions before sending them to the client you can also create Snapshots for the new colour edits. Snapshots and virtual copies have a lot in common.

    All of this talk, however, is jumping the gun. The question was how to get colour back in the images without losing the B&W edits and at this stage the OP hasn't told us enough about the B&W versions and how and where they were created for us to be able to tell whether we can even get the colour back. If the original editing was done in Aperture and if the images were saved as B&W JPEGS at that stage and all the OP now has available is B&W JPEGs, there is going to be no way to revert the images to colour because the colour information will have been destroyed.

    We can talk about safeguard options for the B&W edits when we know what we're dealing with and the best way, if there is one, to go about that.
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  6. TRCPhoto

    TRCPhoto Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2014
    Princeton, NJ
    Thanks everyone for your input. Nathanael, that worked like a charm!

    David, I appreciate the thoughtful posts but you were over thinking it a bit. To answer your questions though these files were originally shot color (RAW format converted to DNG on input to LR) then selectively I converted images to B&W based on whether I had envisioned them as such when shooting or in several circumstances the color cast was an unflattering hue. This was a wedding and the bride's mother is curious to see the B&W images in color. Making copies, reverting to color, then applying my basic adjustments did the trick and everyone is happy... of course she likes the B&W better, but brownie points were made for putting out the effort. :)
  7. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    If you have a DNG file in LR, we should be able to get the colour back. The issue now is how you converted it to B&W in LR because I can think of 4 ways of making that conversion. Those 4 ways are:

    1- at the top of the Basic panel it says "Treatment:' and offers e choices, Color or Black and White. You could have simply chosen Black and White.

    2- You could have left the treatment as Color and simply adjusted the Saturation slider in the Basic panel to -100.

    3- You could have left the treatment as Color and gone down to the HSL/Color/B&W panel and in either the HSL or Color windows you could have adjusted the saturation sliders for each of the 8 colour channels to -100.

    4- You could have left the treatment as Color and gone down to the HSL/Color/B&W panel and selected B&W.

    That's 4 different ways of converting an image to B&W in LR and the way to get the colour back is different in each of them. The instructions below are how to do it for each of those versions. Instruction 1 below refers to method 1 above, instruction 2 to method 2, and so on:

    1- Select Color treatment. All other edit adjustments will remain unchanged. Swapping the treatment selection between Color and B&W just toggles between colour and black and white while changing no other settings you adjusted.

    2- Double click on the "Saturation" name at the side of the Saturation slider and that will automatically return it to 0 and you get colour back. No other edits are changed.

    3- In whichever of the HSL or Color windows of the HSL/Color/B&W panel you used to make the conversion, return all saturation sliders to 0, either by double clicking on the colour channel name or by moving the slider. No other edits are changed.

    4- Select the HSL or Color window of the HSL/Color/B&W panel. The image will revert to color. No other edits are changed but your B&W settings in the B&W panel will be preserved if you have made any adjustments to the luminance settings for the 8 channels there. If you had made any settings in the HSL or Color windows before selecting the B&W panel, those settings would have been preserved when you originally selected B&W and made the conversion so whatever settings were previously active in those windows before you did the B&W conversion will be restored. All settings in other panels remain unchanged.

    Now you can do all of those things to the original image and simply swap between the colour version and the black and white one by selecting different entries in the History panel.

    Alternatively you can follow Nathanael's suggestion above about first making a virtual copy and then following the appropriate process above on the virtual copy. That will mean you have 2 separate versions of the file edits stored in the LR catalog, one in B&W as the master and one in colour as a virtual copy.

    Alternatively in the single version of the file you now have you can first make a snapshot and give it a name (e.g. "original B&W version" or whatever makes sense to you) and then follow the appropriate process above without making a virtual copy. Any time you want to go back to the original B&W processing, just select the snapshot you saved and you will revert to those edit settings active at the time the snapshot was made. You don't lose any of the edits made after you took the snapshot, you can simply go back to them by selecting the appropriate entry in the History listing or, even simpler, you can make further snapshots at various stages during processing and simply select the snapshot for the image version you wish to return to.

    There's a lot of stuff above. If you had told me the specific technique you used for the B&W conversion it would have been a lot shorter because I wouldn't have had to describe the different ways of converting to B&W, and I would only have to have described the one way to get the colour back. I'm sorry if you get confused working through everything above but since you didn't provide the specific info I asked for about how the conversion was done, you get the whole lot and have to sort through it all yourself.