Many Lightroom Classic users also use Adobe Photoshop. The two programs can work hand in hand and are also part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. Lightroom is great for organizing images and making basic corrections, while Photoshop has advanced tools for repairing problems and compositing.  

The Radiant Photo plugin experience is essentially the same in both Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. However, how the plugin is applied to the image and what file is saved are different. For example, when you run plugins in Lightroom Classic, the filters are applied, and their results are saved permanently in a new image.  With Photoshop, however, the results can be applied more flexibly using Smart Filters and Smart Objects.

  1. Select an image in your Lightroom Classic Library that you want to send to Photoshop.
  2. Choose Photo> Edit In > Open in Photoshop as Smart Object. This operation will take the selected file or raw image and send it to Photoshop.  Any adjustments you’ve already applied in Lightroom will travel with the image, and a raw file remains editable at any time.
  3. A new Photoshop document opens, and the selected raw file or image is set to a Photoshop layer.  The layer is already a Smart Object which means you can make nondestructive adjustments using the original full-quality file, but any changes will be saved to the new Photoshop document.
    • For example, you can double-click on the layers icon to open a raw file into the Adobe Camera Raw dialog box.  This operation lets you add any adjustments, such as an Upright adjustment that you might have forgotten in Lightroom Classic. Then, click OK to save the changes.
    • To apply Radiant Photo, make sure you have the image’s tab selected.  Then check that its layer is highlighted in the Layers panel and choose Filter > Radiant Imaging Labs > Radiant Photo.
    • The Radiant Photo window opens, and the software goes to work immediately, automatically correcting your Photo.  By default, the corresponding Smart Preset is applied to your image.
  4. You can now use the Radiant Photo presets or controls to create your exact image.  These controls are identical to what’s in Lightroom. Your presets are even synced between the two programs. What’s different is what happens when you click Apply.
    • You’ll notice that the Radiant Photo plug-in is applied as a Smart Filter. In the Layers panel, you’ll see that the filter has been added to the layer. So let’s open it back up.
  5. Double-click the filter name in the Layers panel. Doing so reopens the Radiant Photo interface.  You’ll see that the same presets and slider positions are loaded from the last time the filter was run on this layer.  Feel free to make changes to the filter.  The original image is updated as if you were starting from scratch, but your saved settings mean you picked up where you left off before.  When satisfied, click the Apply button.
  6. Now, let’s return the file to your Lightroom Library.  Simply close the file and save your changes.  The PSD file (Photoshop’s native file type) or TIFF file is automatically added to Lightroom.  You can use the Develop module or any of Lightroom’s other tools to modify the image. To control what type of file is created, open your Lightroom preferences and click the External Editing tab.  Either TIFF or PSD files are compatible with a Smart Object workflow.

If you want to modify the Smart Object, that’s easy.  Just select the TIFF or PSD file in your library.  It will be stacked with the original image.  Now choose File > Edit.  This time chooses to Edit the Original image.  The layered file opens in Photoshop, and you’ll see the Radiant Photo smart filter.

You can now double-click the layer to edit the Camera Raw settings for a raw file.  You can also double-click the Smart Filter to open Radiant Photo and refine your image when finished, click OK, and then close and Save your file.  It will now update in your Lightroom Classic Library.

With Smart Filters, the ability to adjust whenever you need to is an essential feature in the Photoshop version of the filter. When combined with the teamwork between Lightroom and Photoshop, you get a great workflow that keeps your images organized but gives you even more flexibility when editing photos.


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