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Using Lightroom Compare View

Lightroom Compare View-starter.jpg

In an earlier post, I showed you how to use Lightroom’s Survey View to choose one image from a selection of images. In this post I’ll show you how to use another of Lightroom’s specialty views – Compare View which has a similar purpose but which operates very differently.

Lightroom Compare View-step1.jpg

Start in the Library module, select an image and then click Compare View or press C. When you do, Lightroom shows two images, the one you had selected and the one you most recently selected before this one in this same folder.

If you didn’t previously select an image, for example if you selected Compare View immediately after you selected a folder, the first image in that folder will be the only one selected so Compare View will show the first image and the one immediately to its right in the Filmstrip.

Lightroom Compare View-step2.jpg

The two images you see are labeled Select and Candidate. The Select image is fixed and the Candidate image can be changed. To do this, click the left or right arrows underneath the Candidate image to move in the direction of the arrow through the folder. This replaces the Candidate image each time you click an arrow with the next image in the Filmstrip.

Lightroom Compare View-step3.jpg

When you find an image that you want to use as your new select image, click the X

Lightroom Compare View-step4.jpg

To simply swap the two images, click the Swap button to swap the two images. The current Select image becomes the new Candidate and vice versa.

Continue to work through the images on the filmstrip comparing them until you have the Select image that you want to use.

Lightroom Compare View-step5.jpg

In Compare View, unlike Survey View, you can zoom the images. The lock icon on the toolbar, when locked, lets you scale both images at the one time using the Zoom slider.

Lightroom Compare View-step6.jpg

If you unlock the padlock icon by clicking it, just the currently selected image (which can be either the Select or Candidate image) will zoom when you click the Zoom button.

You can also use Compare View with just one image by deselecting one of the images in the Compare View. Each image has a small X under its bottom right hand corner, which you can click to remove it. If you remove the Select image this way, you can work through images as Candidate images until you find a Candidate worthy of being a Select image and, when you do, click the Make Select button and the Candidate will become the Select image and the next image in the sequence will become the Candidate.

Click Done to exit Compare View with the Select image selected.

How Compare View and Survey View compare

While Survey View allows you to compare multiple images with each other and to remove images you do not want until you get the one that you do what, Compare View works a little differently in allowing you to view only two images. The Select image always remains in place, but you can scroll through multiple images very quickly to determine if any of them are a better candidate for your needs than the select image. If it is, you can replace them and continue your comparison.

While Compare View allows comparison between only two images, it is more complex to use and understand than Survey View. However it’s a useful way to make a choice from two images as to which is the better and then continue to compare your current ‘best’ pick with others in a sequence.

Read more from our Post Production category.

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • http://fluttphotographic.com/ Flutt Photographic

    I use compare view all the time on my second monitor where, without toolbars, I have bags of free space.

    Locked zoom and move is very useful if you have two frames shot together which you wish to compare for quality at a 100% zoom. It makes it really easy to identify the same area on both images for an accurate comparison.

  • Michael Padnos

    Excuse me for asking a question not relevant to the above discussion, but you have often helped me –and many other people as well — with your great expertise on Photoshop, so I am taking the liberty of asking you –or your readers — a question on a different subject.

    My Photoshop cursor has suddenly decided that it wants to appear on the screen as a triple-header rather that as a single point or arrow. That is, the cursor has three little doo-hickies that move together. The one on the left seems to be the normal cursor, but I can’t figure out WHAT the other two do. In any case, I don’t like this new thing-y, and I want to get back the usual one-headed cursor.

    Can anyone help?

    Many thanks

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips.html Helen Bradley

    Try pressing the Caps Lock button – it actually changes Photoshop’s cursor to a different look. If not you can try the Preferences option – Edit > Preferences > Cursors and see if changes here make a difference.

    Helen

  • Saqib

    How do I Change my View from an (X Y) to (X X) i want to compare the same image before and after I add a filter

    Thanks

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips Helen Bradley

    @saqib – unfortunately you cannot do this with Compare view as that’s not its purpose. You can, however, create a virtual copy of an image (right click and choose Create Virtual Copy), before applying a filter and then apply the filter to one of the images – either the original or virtual copy and then compare them using the Compare tool.

    Alternately in Develop view you have (Y Y) view which lets you compare Before/After which will work as you want it to if you are only applying the filter to the image and not other changes. If you are applying other changes. In the History panel, identify the change just before the filter. Right click and choose Copy History Step Settings to Before and then you can compare the change that the filter has made using the (Y Y) tool.

    Helen

Some older comments

  • Helen Bradley

    October 13, 2010 04:28 am

    @saqib - unfortunately you cannot do this with Compare view as that's not its purpose. You can, however, create a virtual copy of an image (right click and choose Create Virtual Copy), before applying a filter and then apply the filter to one of the images - either the original or virtual copy and then compare them using the Compare tool.

    Alternately in Develop view you have (Y Y) view which lets you compare Before/After which will work as you want it to if you are only applying the filter to the image and not other changes. If you are applying other changes. In the History panel, identify the change just before the filter. Right click and choose Copy History Step Settings to Before and then you can compare the change that the filter has made using the (Y Y) tool.

    Helen

  • Saqib

    October 5, 2010 09:48 am

    How do I Change my View from an (X Y) to (X X) i want to compare the same image before and after I add a filter

    Thanks

  • Helen Bradley

    May 23, 2010 05:25 am

    Try pressing the Caps Lock button - it actually changes Photoshop's cursor to a different look. If not you can try the Preferences option - Edit > Preferences > Cursors and see if changes here make a difference.

    Helen

  • Michael Padnos

    May 22, 2010 04:41 pm

    Excuse me for asking a question not relevant to the above discussion, but you have often helped me --and many other people as well -- with your great expertise on Photoshop, so I am taking the liberty of asking you --or your readers -- a question on a different subject.

    My Photoshop cursor has suddenly decided that it wants to appear on the screen as a triple-header rather that as a single point or arrow. That is, the cursor has three little doo-hickies that move together. The one on the left seems to be the normal cursor, but I can't figure out WHAT the other two do. In any case, I don't like this new thing-y, and I want to get back the usual one-headed cursor.

    Can anyone help?

    Many thanks

  • Flutt Photographic

    May 14, 2010 12:51 am

    I use compare view all the time on my second monitor where, without toolbars, I have bags of free space.

    Locked zoom and move is very useful if you have two frames shot together which you wish to compare for quality at a 100% zoom. It makes it really easy to identify the same area on both images for an accurate comparison.

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