by Art Suwansang Published 01/08/2011
The solution to this lies in a modern digital imaging program such as Adobe Lightroom, and a feature known as Virtual Copy. At the core of Lightroom is a database backend design to organise your images, and a large set of image adjustment tools that are used to enhance the look of your images. These tools are crafted from a non-destructive editing technology referred to as Parametric Adjustments, which are simply lines of coded instructions on how to process and render a preview for a given image. The original image file is only referenced in Lightroom, and will always remain untouched. Every image in Lightroom has its own set of instructions stored in the Catalog file. These sets of instructions take up little storage space, which makes it easy to duplicate for individual manipulation, and to create versions of the original image. This is Virtual Copy, an elegant solution to an otherwise inefficient and redundant editing and organisation system.
How to work with Virtual Copy
Now that we know the fundamentals of Virtual Copy, let's learn how to use it and apply it creatively in our workflow. A few items to note about Virtual Copy: it is internal to Lightroom and cannot be found elsewhere on the computer system. Each Virtual Copy can be adjusted individually, as a normal file, so you can enhance, crop and use the localised editing tools on each of the versions. There's no limit to the number of Virtual Copies that you may have, since they're just codes. Most importantly, a Virtual Copy can be identified by a folded white triangle symbol found on the bottom left-hand side of each cell in the library module grid view, and in the filmstrip (fig. 2).
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