In my previous post, about factually-incorrect hype of a photo-editing application that claimed it provided “Layers in Lightroom”, I noted that an idea had come to me to almost actually provide “Layers in Lightroom”.
I had a proof-of-concept version out to friends that evening, but it's taken a couple of days to spiff it up enough for a beta release.
It's slow and a bit kludgy — definitely not “Layers in Lightroom” — but unlike other external-editor solutions like the hyped app, this plugin allows for a non destructive workflow.
With it, you build a persistent link between images in Lightroom and layers in a new Photoshop PSD that's added to your Lightroom catalog. You can edit that new PSD pretty much as you like... add new layers, resize, crop, transform, mask, add text layers, run actions and filters, edit pixels, etc.
But the key here is that if you make subsequent edits to the originals in Lightroom, those edits are reflected through the Photoshop edits and back into the composite in Lightroom..
Some might call this a “game changer” :-). I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it'll sure be handy at times.
The plugin page explains it more, but all in all, this plugin might be described as:
|“||A slow but mostly-effective way to get a somewhat layer-like experience in a Lightroom non-destructive workflow by using Photoshop as an external rendering engine.||”|
It's still very beta, so I'm looking for feedback of all kinds, including how you find it useful, where it's not quite enough to be useful, etc.
How much I work on this in the future depends on the kind of feedback I get. If you think it'll be useful for you, let me know, and if you think it's a waste of time, let me know that too. (The first reply I got from the first group of friends that I released it to was “not worth the effort”, but I disagreed, so here we are.)
Frankly, the method I've come up with for this plugin could be used with Perfect Layers (and other editing applications) if some relatively-small hooks were added to them and their companion Lightroom plugins, and so if OnOne is watching, here's your chance to have your product actually come close to living up to its hype. That would be a good thing for the Lightroom community, so I hope you do. It took me one afternoon.