Virtual Copies and the Develop Module in Lightroom

By Gene McCullagh
May 9, 2009 | Comments: 4

There is an interesting, but sometimes confusing, issue when you create a virtual copy while you are working in the Develop module. Here's the scenario: You are working on an image and before you travel down an alternate creative path you decide to make a virtual copy before proceeding. So you use the menu command or the keyboard shortcut and... poof ...a different image is sitting there instead of your virtual copy! You go back to the Library module or look in the filmstrip and notice your virtual copy did get created. You've done this before and it worked. So what's going on?

When you create a virtual copy in the Develop module Lightroom (1) creates the virtual copy, (2) deselects the original, and (3) selects the virtual copy. So you are left with your virtual copy waiting to be processed. That works so long as your original image is the ONLY one selected when you start the process.

If you select multiple images either in the Library module before you enter the Develop module, or you select multiple images in the filmstrip then Lightroom gets caught by a conflict. When you create that virtual copy and Lightroom deselects the original image it immediately selects another image in your selection set. So it never gets to step 3 and your virtual copy doesn't get selected as usual.

So if you like to create virtual copies while in the Develop module remember to only select one image at a time. Remember that Lightroom keeps the filmstrip at the bottom of each module so you can access your images easily without going back to the Library module.

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Thank you for that info, I have been caught out with the multiple selection and did not know why.



I find that aspect of lightroom a bit annoying. if they could simplify some of the interface without reducing what is possible to do, it would be great!

I'm new to Adobe Lightroom. I work with two monitors, a 23" and a 30" Apple Cinema Display, using a Mac Pro. When I open LR I move the modules to the 23" and use the 30" for the large preview. I have to resize the modules to fit the 23". Is there a way to save this arrangement as a workspace in Lightroom like there is in Photoshop, so that each time I open a LR catalog, I don't have to move the module window and resize it?

Thank you.

Hi Paul!

LR will open to whichever monitor your system considers the primary monitor. It sounds like you have the 30" set as the primary display. So long as that is the case then LR will open to the 30" monitor.

Once you set up a configuration then LR will remember it. However, that arrangement is catalog specific. So you will have to set this up for each catalog but then LR will remember it.

For a little more on dealing with dual monitors in LR check out

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