Borkware Photoblog

February 27, 2010

Reducing the size of your Lightroom 2 Catalog

Filed under: hacks, Lightroom, Random, tips — Mark Dalrymple @ 10:33 pm

My Lightroom library has 12000 images. My catalog (Lightroom 2 Catalog.lrcat) was half a gig (556 megs). That meant that every time I played with Lightroom I’d eventually have to ship 500 megs to the Time Capsule during the next backup. 48K of overhead per photo seems excessive.

By deleting history for all photos, I got it down to 161 megs (or about 13K per image). I rarely revisit the history of the edits I do in Lightroom, so I don’t see a compelling reason to keep them around.

How to do it

  • Make sure you have a backup of your catalog, just in case.
  • In the Library, go to “All Photos” in the Catalog
  • Command-A to select all
  • “D” to go into the develop module
  • Develop -> Clear History , choose “Selected Photos”
    Picture 6.png
  • Catalog Settings -> Relaunch and Optimize
  • Bask in the glory of having less catalog to back up

What happened

Danger. Nerdity approaching

To help optimize my backups I started using this über-nifty utility called Backup Loupe which shows you what was actually backed up by time machine. I use a Time Capsule, and get annoyed when backups take a long time. I worked to trim down my backed-up directories and got (usually) pretty small backups.

Except when I used LightRoom. If I opened up LR and did anything, I’d have to ship the 550 meg catalog over to the Time Capsule. Half a gig isn’t that much in today’s scheme of things, but it’s still annoying. It still has to move across the network. It still has to get archived to an external disk for off-site storage (which is a glacial process to start out with). And it’s a fair amount of space. Worst-case is that you change the catalog once an hour, you’d end up with 390 gigs consumed on the Time Capsule (24 hourly backups, 31 daily backups). That’s a third of the space I paid for.

The catalog is stored as Lightroom 2 Catalog.lrcat in your Lightroom user directory. Luckily this file is a sqlite3 database:

% file '/Users/markd/Pictures/Lightroom/Lightroom 2 Catalog.lrcat'
/Users/markd/Pictures/Lightroom/Lightroom 2 Catalog.lrcat: SQLite database (Version 3)

That’s something I can deal with.

There’s a spiffy utility called sqlite3_analyzer, available from the SQLite download page.

Run it and it’ll spew a load of stuff at you.

In particular are the page counts for the tables:

ADOBE_ADDITIONALMETADATA.............. 17135       12.0%
ADOBE_IMAGEDEVELOPSETTINGS............ 6118         4.3%

“Library Image Develop History Step” takes the most space, distantly followed by “Additional Metadata”.

Paging down the analyzer output, you find the detailed information about the table and its indices:


Percentage of total database..........  70.9%
Number of entries..................... 131181
Bytes of storage consumed............. 414224384
Bytes of payload...................... 404684584   97.7%
Average payload per entry............. 3084.93

So 131,181 individual history steps, taking up 395 megs of space. An average of 3K per entry. Or about eleven steps per photo.

Just for fun, I wanted to see what the most-used steps were.

sqlite> select count(name), name from ADOBE_LIBRARYIMAGEDEVELOPHISTORYSTEP group by name order by 1 desc limit 20;
6423 | Crop Rectangle
4353 | Add Brush Stroke
2623 | Paste Settings
2485 | Exposure
1851 | Update Exposure Adjustment
1700 | Clarity
1555 | Vibrance
1534 | Fill Light
892 | Brightness
850 | Black Clipping
766 | Highlight Recovery
454 | Add Graduated Filter
402 | Update Brightness Adjustment

Looks like I do a lot of cropping, a lot of adjustment brushing, a lot of settings pasting, and a lot of exposure adjusting. I know I need to compose in-camera better and hold the damn thing straight. Looks like I have concrete evidence for that now.

In a copy of the Lightroom catalog, I picked the top 30 of history step types and created tables of their contents, just to see who the biggest physical consumers were. I figure all editing history steps are not created equal.

Using the power of emacs, I quickly created and executed a lot of commands like:

create table blah_crop as select * from ADOBE_LIBRARYIMAGEDEVELOPHISTORYSTEP where name = 'Crop Rectangle';
create table blah_addbrush as select * from ADOBE_LIBRARYIMAGEDEVELOPHISTORYSTEP where name = 'Add Brush Stroke';
create table blah_pastesettings as select * from ADOBE_LIBRARYIMAGEDEVELOPHISTORYSTEP where name = 'Paste Settings';

And then re-ran the sqlite3_analyzer.

BLAH_ADDBRUSH......................... 60780       25.3%
ADOBE_ADDITIONALMETADATA.............. 17135        7.1%
BLAH_UPDATEEXPOSUREADJ................ 10898        4.5%
BLAH_ENABLEBRUSH...................... 6417         2.7%
ADOBE_IMAGEDEVELOPSETTINGS............ 6118         2.5%
BLAH_UPDATEBRIGHTNESS................. 4147         1.7%

The percentage of space that “Develop History Step” consumes has dropped because of the duplicate data I inserted. But you can see that the steps take up 101129 database blocks, and the “Add Brush Stroke” history step takes up well over half of them. 60,780 blocks consumes 237 megs. With 4353 “Add Brush Strokes”, that averages out to 56K per brush stroke.

Looking at one brush step, you can see why:

sqlite3> select * from ADOBE_LIBRARYIMAGEDEVELOPHISTORYSTEP where name = 'Add Brush Stroke' limit 1;
Dabs = { "M 0.319562 0.913815",
"M 0.349541 0.931545",
"M 0.361839 0.944725",
"M 0.329643 0.946453",
"M 0.297456 0.948412",
"M 0.265375 0.952863",
"M 0.233249 0.955063",
"M 0.201048 0.953529",
"M 0.168847 0.951995",

That’s a lot of dabbing.

After some milling around, I discovered “Clear History”, verified that it wouldn’t reset my image’s edits, just wipe out the history. After clearing out all the history, and vacuuming the database, it got a lot smaller.

Now, the big spenders in the file are

ADOBE_ADDITIONALMETADATA.............. 17135       41.3%
ADOBE_IMAGEDEVELOPSETTINGS............ 6120        14.8%
AGLIBRARYFILE......................... 2180         5.3%
AGPHOTOPROPERTY....................... 1741         4.2%
ADOBE_IMAGES.......................... 1665         4.0%

Which works out to about 5K of additional metadata per image, which I can live with.


January 28, 2009

Lightroom Shortcut Reference

Filed under: Lightroom, tips — Mark Dalrymple @ 11:26 pm

Here are some shortcut keys I’ve come across in Lightroom 2. This will get updated as I come across more.


cmd-/ – show all of the command shortcuts for the current module.

cmd-opt-[1-5] – move between different modules

F5-F8 – Toggle the around-screen panels (T/B/L/R)

tab – Toggle left/right panels

shift-tab – Toggle all panels

L – Cycle through “Lights-out” modes (dim, dark, normal)

F – Cycle through three full-screen modes

cmd-shift-F – Full Screen

cmd-shift-F, T – Full view with minimal distractions

cmd-option-shift-E – Export using the last settings

T – Toggle grid view toolbar

0-5 – apply zero to 5 star rating

6-9 – red, yellow, green, blue label. No shortcut for purple or none.

Library Module

G – Return to (library) grid mode

J – Toggle library grid cells between the three display states

P – Mark as pick (white flag)

X – Mark as reject (black flag)

U – Clear flag state

shift-{P, X, U} – Set flag state and move to next image

N – Go into survey mode.

/ – Deselect active photo (also removes from survey mode)

cmd-D – Deselect everything

C – Compare mode. “Select” image is on the left. Use right arrow to move on. Use X<-Y button to make new shot the Select.

B – Add to Quick Collection

cmd-return – Slide show of the quick collection

\ – Toggle library filter bar

cmd-G – Group as a stack (only in folder panel)

cmd-shift-G – Ungroup stack

S – Toggle stack contents

cmd-option-K – Turn paint tool on or off

option-click-+ in smart collection editor – Add a collection option (with any/all subcriteria)

I – Cycle through different info windows

cmd-J – Configure the info windows (loupe view)

Z – Zoom to 100%

ctrl-,- – Change thumbnail size in grid view

D – Go to Develop module

Develop Module

J – Toggle clipping highlights

option-click – exposure/recovery slider and blacks slider to get clipped region

\ – Toggle master/version

Y – Side-by-side master/version

shift-Y – Split-screen master/version

option-Y – Side-by-side, vertical

cmd-' – Make virtual copy

cmd-click Sync – Auto sync on multiple selected images

cmd-{1,2,3,etc} – Go to successive panels on the right

, . – Jump to next/previous slider in “Basic” editing panel

V – Quick grayscale

cmd-N – Make a snapshot

K – Adjustment brush

M – Gradient filter

' – Invert gradient

H – Toggle adjustment brush pin visibility

A – Toggle adjustment brush automask

1-0 – Control adjustment brush flow (10% -> 100%)

O – Toggle adjustment brush mask

Return – Adds new adjustment brush pin

/ – Toggle between A and B adjustment brushes

[ ] – Change size of adjustment brush. Add shift to change feather.

cmd-shift-H – Toggle rule-of-thirds grid in crop tool

R – Toggle crop tool

R, shift-tab, cmd-shift-H, L, L – Crop in lights-out mode. (go into crop mode, hide panels, hide thirds grid if shown, lights off)

page-down – When zoomed in, will scroll by screenfulls, down and then across.

N – Toggle spot remover tool

May 1, 2008

DIY : $10 macro studio

Filed under: Macro, tips — Mark Dalrymple @ 9:34 pm

Strobist how-to for a cheapass macro studio using a cardboard box and some tissue

April 10, 2008

DIY Bokeh

Filed under: Random, tips — Mark Dalrymple @ 7:19 pm
“Bokeh” is a term that describes the out-of-focus highlights in an image. Different lenses have different kinds of bokeh, from smooth and creamy to seriously ugly. DIY Photography and Studio Lighting show a way to make your own bokeh shapes. Now to see if I can make a happy-face bokeh.

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