i love lightroom, and for the most part, i never leave it for the majority of my post processing. however, this week i took a few images that i wanted to do some heavier editing on with photoshop cs4. i imported the images from the camera in to lightroom, as i usually do, i hit command-e to open them in photoshop. photoshop opened, and then….nothing.
it turns out that support for the nikon d7000 was added to adobe camera raw 6.3. that’s what lightroom uses, which is why i can import and edit those images in lightroom, but photoshop cs 4 uses an older version of camera raw that doesn’t support the raw files coming out of the d7000. in order to have photoshop open the raw files from my new camera, i would have to upgrade to photoshop cs5, but i don’t have the $600 laying around for the upgrade.
once i made the discovery, i posted a tweet about it, and after exchanging a few messages with one of the adobe product managers (ah, the magic of twitter), i came up with a workable solution.
lightroom allows you to define additional external editors to which it will send photographs for editing. open up your lightroom preferences, and select the external editing tab. the top section should be your primary hooks in to photoshop. we’re going to define a secondary path in the additional external editor section. click the choose button and select the photoshop cs4 binary. for the file format, i selected PSD instead of TIFF. select the other options, as appropriate (i just duplicated the options from the top section).
i recommend saving these options as a preset by clicking on the preset dropdown and saving the options as a preset, especially if you have additional editors or want to have sets of different options to send photos to an external editor. the benefit of this is that the presets show up in the photo > edit in menu inside of lightroom, so you don’t have to come back to this screen to select a different preset to send a photo, for example, to capture nx instead of photoshop; you could simply select the preset from the lightroom menu. whichever options are selected, however, are used as the default external editor. in my setup now, i can hit command-e to follow the default (top part of the window above) path from lightroom to photoshop. and i can hit option-command-e to send the photo to whichever editor is defined in the additional external editor block.
why does this work, if the target is the same for both paths? if i had to venture a guess, i suspect that the primary integration between lightroom and photoshop involves lightroom handing off the raw file to the camera raw used by the target photoshop application. in my case, lightroom was handing off the raw file to camera raw 5.x that is used by photoshop cs4. since that version of camera raw doesn’t support the d7000 raw files, nothing happens. if i could change one thing, i’d ask adobe to somehow notify the user that there is a problem.
one note: when i send the raw file to photoshop using the additional external editor path, i am prompted to select what to edit, even though there is only one option available.
that’s it. this will serve as a workable solution to open my d7000 raw files in photoshop cs 4 from lightroom. i’ll continue to use the default (command-e) hook for all of my older cameras, and the external editor path (option-command-e) for the d7000 until i save up the necessary funds for the cs5 upgrade (adobe, if you want to send me the cs5 upgrade for production premium, i’ll he happy to send you my address).