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Author Topic: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations  (Read 1772 times)

avotius01

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Ok here is the situation, in my office there are 3 of us that use Lightroom.

We have a all of our photos on Google Drive which we sync certain parts of between the 3 of us.

What we really need to know is how can we all use the same Lightroom catalog?

Because we are rarely in the same location we cannot stick the catalog on a network location in the office.

We tried putting the catalog on Google Drive and just syncing it but found issues when more than one of us had it open at the same time. Also the catalog has tens of thousands of little files in it, and just opening the catalog would start the sync process where thousands of files would start to sync as preview files and what not were generated. We also had issues where for instance one of us would do a series of selects by color coding images and those color codes did not show up later.

Ideally we dont want to have to make a separate catalog for every shoot we do because of the number of products we work with it is much easier to have one large database rather than several small ones.

Any ideas?
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MattBurt

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2017, 04:33:26 PM »

I don't think it can be done and this is one of the big shortcomings of LR for use somewhere like an ad agency.
ACDSee has been the traditional player in multi user photo editing and cataloging software but I haven't paid them any attention in years.
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schertz

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 05:47:17 PM »

Typically this was the domain of Bridge + ACR rather than Lightroom. Lightroom doesn't really support multiple users on the same catalog like you want to do.

Mike
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Tony Jay

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 05:56:11 PM »

Lightroom is explicitly designed as a single-user application.

The database underpinning the application is SQLite and this database version cannot support a multi-user environment.
A network solution is also off the table.

Multiple users can use this application - but only in a serial fashion, ie the first user needs to close the catalog before anyone else can access it.

Frankly stated Lightroom was not designed for your paradigm of use and so the bottom line is that you need to seek another solution.

Tony Jay
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avotius01

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 06:38:14 PM »

Well that doesn't sound encouraging. After some digging around it seems people have been complaining to Adobe about this for the last 7 years.

Is there any other RAW processing software that might better do what we want?
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schertz

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 06:50:41 PM »

Well that doesn't sound encouraging. After some digging around it seems people have been complaining to Adobe about this for the last 7 years.

Is there any other RAW processing software that might better do what we want?

As I mentioned in reply #2, you could just use Bridge + ACR to get much of the same functionality and a familiar workflow (Bridge can call up ACR itself without launching Photoshop). If you are saving your Lightroom edits in XMP sidecar files, Bridge will recognize the keywords, star ratings, and develop module edits previously done in Lightroom of old files. You might give it a try IF you already have access to the program.

Mike
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 08:30:02 AM »

You could use Capture One in this way.

Catalog DB on Dropbox / google drive. 

When one user opens it, it's locked to that user. Or you can set the catalog to read only.
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David Grover
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john beardsworth

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 10:03:52 AM »

C1 doesn't offer anything over Lightroom here. They both need to run the catalogue locally, so sharing a catalogue means the users need to co-ordinate between themselves, talk to each other, and make sure they check that the catalogue finishes uploading to Drop/G/CC after one user finishes work, and wait until it has downloaded to the local machine before it is reopened. If you don't take care, you can easily repeat or overwrite work.

So put one person in charge of the main Lightroom catalogue, and use mechanisms like Export as Catalog and the corresponding Import from Another Catalog to roundtrip work with the other users. This retains all your work including stacks, flags, history, VCs. In a similar situation, the main user can save his/her work to xmp, the others can read that work into their own catalogues, and you can repeat the process to get work back to the main user. That doesn't contain all your work like stacks, flags, history, VCs. Again, you need to talk to each other.

For some situations Lightroom CC can help. Sync the photos to lightroom.adobe.com and the other users could use a web browser to log in and change titles, captions, flags and ratings. They could do some adjustments too, though I'd suggest reviewing them later. In this case, any work is automatically synced back to the main catalogue.

The human element is the most important one here.

ButchM

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 10:37:25 AM »

So put one person in charge of the main Lightroom catalogue, and use mechanisms like Export as Catalog and the corresponding Import from Another Catalog to roundtrip work with the other users. This retains all your work including stacks, flags, history, VCs. In a similar situation, the main user can save his/her work to xmp, the others can read that work into their own catalogues, and you can repeat the process to get work back to the main user. That doesn't contain all your work like stacks, flags, history, VCs. Again, you need to talk to each other.


Yes, that is the way it can be done, but I have to wonder, after more than a decade of users requesting Adobe develop a solution for network/workgroup situations, they have failed to even take the first step at any possible solution.

While I understand that 'Lightroom was not designed for this paradigm of use' ... the desire to have such a solution has been around for a very, very long time. Since the very beginning of Lr development actually. I would hope that a multi-national corporation that measures their annual revenue in increments of billions of dollars would be capable of the task.

I, for one, would not expect such a solution to come as a standard update/upgrade included with normal pricing. I would be more than willing to invest a commensurate monetary value to the cause for such a solution. I'm sure many others would as well.

As many who frequent here, back in the earliest public betas, several users pointed out then, that the team was painting themselves into a corner with the SQLite DB foundation where it concerns multiple use of the same catalog. I do understand why, at the time, it was more expedient to go that route ... but this is 2017 ... not 2006. I would have expected to see at least some effort to solve this request by now.
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john beardsworth

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 10:53:16 AM »

Yes, that is the way it can be done, but I have to wonder, after more than a decade of users requesting Adobe develop a solution for network/workgroup situations, they have failed to even take the first step at any possible solution.

While I understand that 'Lightroom was not designed for this paradigm of use' ... the desire to have such a solution has been around for a very, very long time. Since the very beginning of Lr development actually. I would hope that a multi-national corporation that measures their annual revenue in increments of billions of dollars would be capable of the task.

I, for one, would not expect such a solution to come as a standard update/upgrade included with normal pricing. I would be more than willing to invest a commensurate monetary value to the cause for such a solution. I'm sure many others would as well.

As many who frequent here, back in the earliest public betas, several users pointed out then, that the team was painting themselves into a corner with the SQLite DB foundation where it concerns multiple use of the same catalog. I do understand why, at the time, it was more expedient to go that route ... but this is 2017 ... not 2006. I would have expected to see at least some effort to solve this request by now.

Yeah, back in 2007 I confidently expected a SQL Server or Oracle -based Lightroom with multi-user capability, record locking, permissions etc, and I expected both Lr and Aperture would go that way. Probably with a 4 figure price tag. That's never come close to happening in this market. You always saw it in dedicated DAM packages like Extensis Portfolio, but in the meantime they've gone off towards 5 figure prices. By that level, you've got in-house IT departments.

Now, if I still expected a solution I would expect it to be cloud-based, and Adobe does have much of the architecture in place. I am not holding my breath though.


....the team was painting themselves into a corner with the SQLite DB foundation where it concerns multiple use of the same catalog.

No, they did not paint themselves into any corner. Lots of apps begin with a single user embedded database, and are then ported to versions with bigger database back ends.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 11:32:59 AM by john beardsworth »
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hjulenissen

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 12:15:54 PM »

The database underpinning the application is SQLite and this database version cannot support a multi-user environment.
A network solution is also off the table.
I have my raw files and lrcat database stored on a NAS. Two different computers in my house access that database.

I use a script that uploads/downloads the 500MB lrcat before/after use, and I only ever do edits on one of the computers.


If 10 people are to work on one common image database, sharing their results, this sounds like something that git is suited for?

-h
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 12:23:58 PM »

C1 doesn't offer anything over Lightroom here. They both need to run the catalogue locally, so sharing a catalogue means the users need to co-ordinate between themselves, talk to each other, and make sure they check that the catalogue finishes uploading to Drop/G/CC after one user finishes work, and wait until it has downloaded to the local machine before it is reopened. If you don't take care, you can easily repeat or overwrite work.

So put one person in charge of the main Lightroom catalogue, and use mechanisms like Export as Catalog and the corresponding Import from Another Catalog to roundtrip work with the other users. This retains all your work including stacks, flags, history, VCs. In a similar situation, the main user can save his/her work to xmp, the others can read that work into their own catalogues, and you can repeat the process to get work back to the main user. That doesn't contain all your work like stacks, flags, history, VCs. Again, you need to talk to each other.

For some situations Lightroom CC can help. Sync the photos to lightroom.adobe.com and the other users could use a web browser to log in and change titles, captions, flags and ratings. They could do some adjustments too, though I'd suggest reviewing them later. In this case, any work is automatically synced back to the main catalogue.

The human element is the most important one here.

Interesting. Seeing as we designed the Capture One catalog to be shared and I have indeed shared a catalog with a colleague over Dropbox in two different countries. 

No coordination is necessary, because the catalog is locked to a user once opened. If another user tries to open the catalog they are informed that it is currently in use by a Named person.

John, it's ok sometimes for Capture One to offer something that Lightroom doesn't.  And vice Versa.

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David Grover
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john beardsworth

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 12:40:48 PM »

And you still have to be very careful with Dropbox's sync processes and confirm sync up and sync down completed properly. If you are impatient, or happen to be offline (I had this once when I didn't notice the interent connection had dropped), Dropbox's sync status will indicate that the catalogue is up to date and you're free to open it at that point. You then run into "conflicted copies" of the catalogue files and possibly competing sets of edits. All these Dropbox-reliant solutions are only as good as the human element.

FranciscoDisilvestro

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 02:11:44 PM »

And you still have to be very careful with Dropbox's sync processes and confirm sync up and sync down completed properly. If you are impatient, or happen to be offline (I had this once when I didn't notice the interent connection had dropped), Dropbox's sync status will indicate that the catalogue is up to date and you're free to open it at that point. You then run into "conflicted copies" of the catalogue files and possibly competing sets of edits. All these Dropbox-reliant solutions are only as good as the human element.

100% agree! Even if C1 offers modest advantages like the use of read only catalogs, relying on the Dropbox sync process is a recipe for disaster, and it grows quickly as the number of shared users increase. Good luck trying to adjust the changes from multiple 'conflicted copies'

Damon Lynch

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 04:57:35 PM »

As many who frequent here, back in the earliest public betas, several users pointed out then, that the team was painting themselves into a corner with the SQLite DB foundation where it concerns multiple use of the same catalog. I do understand why, at the time, it was more expedient to go that route ... but this is 2017 ... not 2006. I would have expected to see at least some effort to solve this request by now.

Dropbox uses SQLite 8)

https://www.sqlite.org/mostdeployed.html
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David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2017, 12:20:24 PM »

And you still have to be very careful with Dropbox's sync processes and confirm sync up and sync down completed properly. If you are impatient, or happen to be offline (I had this once when I didn't notice the interent connection had dropped), Dropbox's sync status will indicate that the catalogue is up to date and you're free to open it at that point. You then run into "conflicted copies" of the catalogue files and possibly competing sets of edits. All these Dropbox-reliant solutions are only as good as the human element.

Sure you have to be diligent.

But saying "Capture One doesn't offer anything more " is a false statement.
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David Grover
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john beardsworth

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2017, 01:03:12 PM »

Sure you have to be diligent.

But saying "Capture One doesn't offer anything more " is a false statement.

If the catalogue is in use by another user, Lightroom tells you so too. But no, it doesn't tell you in a black dialog box though. Its one is only grey.

Both apps have the same problems with Dropbox or other methods that rely on syncing entire catalogues. If you want multi-user, you've got to get a person in control.

David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2017, 02:24:56 PM »

If the catalogue is in use by another user, Lightroom tells you so too. But no, it doesn't tell you in a black dialog box though. Its one is only grey.

Both apps have the same problems with Dropbox or other methods that rely on syncing entire catalogues. If you want multi-user, you've got to get a person in control.


Guess we can agree to disagree on this one and anyone who wishes to test can do so.

I am just going on what the OP said...

"...found issues when more than one of us had it open at the same time...[lightroom]

Which is not an issue with Capture One and contradicts what you said in your previous post.
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David Grover
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john beardsworth

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2017, 04:37:33 AM »

The OP's issues look like simply the result of not taking proper care - with Dropbox. Using it to share catalogues means you can easily produce problems of conflicting edits, and the 30 seconds it took me with C1 is no slower or faster than I could do with Lr. Probably no easier to resolve either.

Single user catalogues and text files just aren't much protection against users' ingenuity.

John

David Grover / Phase One

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Re: Lightroom Catalog sync with multiple users/computer/locations
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 09:24:26 AM »

The OP's issues look like simply the result of not taking proper care - with Dropbox. Using it to share catalogues means you can easily produce problems of conflicting edits, and the 30 seconds it took me with C1 is no slower or faster than I could do with Lr. Probably no easier to resolve either.

Single user catalogues and text files just aren't much protection against users' ingenuity.

John

Perhaps we should give the end users a little more credit. 
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David Grover
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