View Full Version : Using Photoshop Actions within Lightroom...

15th September 2008, 06:07 PM
Hi All

Have you ever wanted to be able to employ your Photoshop actions within Lightroom? Well... hopefully I will be able to explain how one can achieve this. No longer do you need to export from Lightroom to Photoshop, then edit in PS, then re-import to LR... oh no!! Here's how...

There are still a few things that I prefer the seeing results of from the use of Photoshop rather than using Lightroom for the same thing i.e. Sharpening settings and Noise Reduction. I purchased Neat Image as a plug in to photoshop a while ago and, even though the built in noise reduction capability in LR is certainly getting better, I find the Neat Image plugin within Photoshop much better at reducing noise than LR. So, I have been researching on the net and playing around with some of the settings in Lightroom, and have discovered a fabulous piece of functionality within LR2 that allows me to invoke any Action I create in Photoshop - but within LR itself.

Firstly, within photoshop you need to create an action to carry out a function... so, say you have a method of sharpening in PS that you like to use, well create an Action that does this to an image, and save it. Then, from that Action, you need to create a Droplet...

In PS... File > Automate > Create Droplet

So, now you have a function created in PS that allows you to sharpen an image to your settings within the Action.

Now, in Lightroom, you need to go to

Preferences > External Editing

... and take a look at the Additional External Editor settings. All you need to do is click on the 'Choose' button, navigate to where you saved your 'Droplet', then once selected, from the Preset drop down menu, select 'Save Current Settings as New Preset', give it a meaningful name, and voila, you're almost done.

Now that you have your new Lightroom preset created, all you need to do to use it is to right click on the image within LR that you wish to apply the Photoshop 'Droplet' to, then select Edit In > [your preset name] - and the 'Droplet' will then get applied to the image you have chosen, without having to export it out of Lightroom. Lightroom should also then automatically re-import the new edited image and place it next to the image prior to editing.

Phew... seems complicated, but once you have worked through this once it is easy.

If you use photoshop actions on your images, you might like to try this. Shout if you need assistance or screenshots.

I appreciate this isn't a professionally produced tutorial, but it should provide the necessary information required to use and invoke a photoshop action/droplet from within lightroom.

Good luck... hope someone finds this useful.

16th September 2008, 08:34 AM
Very useful tip John - thanks for sharing

16th September 2008, 08:43 AM
That sounds useful and full of potential - thanks.

16th September 2008, 10:20 AM
No probs Hugh ans Stephen... can you advise if I ought to include screenshots, and if it reads well enough. I read through it a few hours after I posted it and it seems a little complex and perhaps needs to be worded/explained a little better...?

16th September 2008, 11:01 AM
No, I don't think screenshots are needed, and you've explained the basic process well. You've described the basic principal which seems logical enough. The Lightroom bit is easy - it's the creating droplets in PS where some experimentation is needed. But that's down to the user as each action is different.
As an aside, I believe you can place the Droplets on your desktop and simply, from Windows File Mangler/Explorer, simply "drop" the file name onto the droplet and hey-presto.
I've also started creating user presets in Lightroom where I have repetitive tasks to do, such as resizing to a specific size for contributing to libraries.
Of course, you could go the whole hog and do an illustrated one-page article for a photo mag?