In quite a few previous posts, I have mentioned the troubles I have had with Lightroom recently. This was all triggered by an update a while back and subsequent updates have not solved any issues. The problems just continued and I was unable to get anything to address the sluggish behavior. The program would respond better when I was working in the Develop module but it was very difficult in Library and when importing.
I recently had a bit more success. I contacted someone who, while not working for Adobe, does have a business based around Lightroom and has good connections with the company. I was able to send this individual a copy of my catalog. They had a play with it and had similar issues with memory overuse so it wasn’t a hardware issue. They were able to pass on the catalog to an Adobe engineer to investigate further. I feared there was some corruption in the catalog and hoped they would find a solution.
It transpires that there is not any corruption. Instead, it is in the nature of the catalogs that I have created that the problem lies. A long time ago I posted about my approach to processing a shoot. I would use a Collection Set for each shoot in which I would use smart collections to take shots with the right combination of keywords and dates. They would split out rejects from non-rejects and put HDR, panorama shots and videos in separate smart collections. This made processing the shoot more efficient.
As a result of this approach, I have, over the years, accumulated a large number of these collection sets with smart collections in them. This is what is causing the trouble. The program is getting bogged down with all of them. This leaves two ways forward. In the short term, I am going to go through these smart collections and turn them into simple collections. Hopefully this will reduce the processing burden. I don’t need the smart functionality any longer so I can just take the selected images and make simple collections out of them.
The longer term action is that Adobe is now aware of this issue. Hopefully they can investigate a way to address this in a future update so that it isn’t constrained in the same way. It happened suddenly so there was something in the coding that changed to cause the issue so maybe it can be similarly quickly fixed. In the early days of Lightroom, it was limited in the number of images it could have before things got sluggish and that was resolved so hopefully this can be too. We shall see. If it is, you’re welcome!
I have been a user of Lightroom since Adobe release version 1 quite a few years ago. It has been a very useful tool for me and something that dominates my workflow. In the early days, there were issues with the number of images that a catalog could have before it started to respond sluggishly. Consequently, I created a series of different catalogs for different subject areas. Military aircraft were in one, civil in another, wildlife in a third, sports in a fourth and so on. This system was fine to use although it had a few minor drawbacks in that some images would be in more the one catalog. I would import them to one and then export them to the other. However, as I edited one version, the other one did not always keep up despite saving the sidecar files to disc.
At some point, Adobe updated the functionality of the application and it was no longer so constrained by the number of files in a catalog. However, I had a series of catalogs that I was familiar with so I didn’t pay much attention to this change. However, over time, it occurred to me that I was making my life more complex than it needed to be. I could probably cut down the number of catalogs dramatically and make the workflow a bit simpler.
I decided to have one catalog for all of my aviation related imagery and the other for everything else. To do so, I created a new catalog for each of these and started importing from the other catalogs. This was not as smooth a process as you might have imagined. There were duplicate images as I knew and you could set the system up to make these virtual copies so nothing got lost along the way. However, sometimes the import did not go well. They were large catalogs coming into an even larger catalog and this caused some struggles. I had to delete and start again at some points but ultimately I got it to work. I did have to recreate some of the collections which did not transfer so easily in some cases but it is now done.
Did it make life easier? Yes, it did. Having just two catalogs is now a lot more straightforward. Do they run just as well? No. The aviation catalog does seem to be a bit sluggish sometimes. Usually it works fine but it is definitely not as responsive as the individual ones were. I shall see how this develops over time. A new machine is in the works so whether that will make a difference or not, we shall see.