RAW Settings


Today’s Question: You’ve said before that Lightroom’s Develop module and Adobe Camera Raw are the same in terms of image processing. So is there a way to use the same presets in both Camera Raw and Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: It is possible to use the same settings in Adobe Camera Raw and the Develop module in Lightroom. I recommend using a “test” image as the basis of creating a preset based on the same settings in both Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw.

More Detail: There are other ways to “synchronize” your presets between Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, but I find the use of a “test” image to be the easiest.

The first step is to create the adjustment settings you want to use as the basis of your preset. Obviously if you have already created a preset there is no need to create it again. But if you have not yet created a preset for the settings you want to share across both applications, that is the first step. You can save this preset in either Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom.

Once you have saved the preset so that it is available in one of the two applications, you can make use of a “test” image to create a preset based on the same settings in the other application. To create that “test” image from Lightroom, simply apply the applicable preset to the desired RAW capture, and then export that image to a folder on your computer using the “Original” option for File Format. This will export the RAW capture along with an XMP file that contains the Develop settings.

If you will use Adobe Camera Raw as the starting point, you can copy a RAW capture file to a test folder, and then use Adobe Camera Raw to process that image. Save a preset for the desired settings, and then click the Done button to close Adobe Camera Raw while saving the adjustment settings in an XMP file for the RAW file.

At this point you have saved the applicable settings for the image, so you are ready to use that image as the basis of creating a preset in the “other” application. If you started with Lightroom, you can just open the test image in Photoshop so it will be opened in Adobe Camera Raw. Then create a new preset within Adobe Camera Raw based on the current settings for the image.

If you started in Adobe Camera Raw, you can import your test image into your Lightroom catalog using the “Add” option during import. The settings you applied in Adobe Camera Raw will be applied automatically in the Develop module, so you can use those settings as the basis of a new preset in Lightroom. When you’re finished you can delete the “test” image, since it is presumably a copy of a photo that is already in your Lightroom catalog.

In both cases you are essentially creating a preset in one application, saving the settings for that preset to a test image, and then using the test image as the basis of a new preset in the other application. This may sound a little complicated, but it is actually rather straightforward and easy to accomplish.