I have a panorama that has some white space I can't really crop out. I tried merging in Photoshop and it had an option to content aware fill empty spots. This worked out almost perfectly. The issue is that I want to do this in Lightroom.

I can merge in Lightroom with no issues but there is no content aware tool that can even come close to that of Photoshop. If I use the edit in Photoshop function it converts it to tiff and the same happens if I use Smart object. I don't really understand what the purpose of smart-objects are if results get saved as tiff anyways..?

Is there any workflow that would allow me to continue working on the dng files in Lightroom after content aware tool in Photoshop is used? I can't really work on an image with large areas missing from it so doing content-aware fill is a poor option. Tiffs from Photoshop also end up massive, with the last one being 2.5gb compared to 250mb dng.

Currently using Photoshop CC 2018 and Lightroom Classic 8.


DNG files are "RAW" files and are not made to be directly edited. Trying to export DNG after Photoshop editing is like trying to get a painting in two packages: one for the blank canvas and another one for the paint.

Saving DNG files is possible with Lightroom because all the changes you can make with it are saved in a "sidecar file" (XMP) or in the metadata part of the image: the original image stays untouched.

Now, regarding the edited file size, some lossless compression should be able to mitigate that (you DNG file is probably losslessly compressed).

  • This doesn't really answer the question, I was already aware Photoshop cannot directly edit raw files hence the question. I though smart-objects would work as is implied from what I've read but it still got saved as tiff.
    – DominicM
    Apr 7 '19 at 19:45
  • 1
    @DominicM it does answer your question, in the first sentence. What you are asking for is not possible, it's against the very philosophy behind RAWs. They'd have to be converted to another format in order for you to be able to paint (which is what CAF essentially does) on the photographs. Apr 8 '19 at 11:11
  • I don't consider it an answer as it doesn't add anything not contained in the question. I know RAW files cannot be edited directly, but I was't asking if I could do that. I am asking for any solution that would not involve format change. Maybe it' not possible but it's not because "raw files cannot be edited" since LR has a solution/workaround for this as you mentioned.
    – DominicM
    Apr 9 '19 at 12:45
  • Smart-objects seemed like one possibility but even with no changes made it's getting saved as tif so I don't really understand what the purpose of it is at all. If it worked like I expected I was hoping I could have a layer with just the fill part saved as a sidecar file of some sort. LR ends up converting to raster image in the end anyways whether it's an export or smart previews.
    – DominicM
    Apr 9 '19 at 12:46
  • @DominicM Let's try this way : DNG stands for "Digital Negative" and has been made to prevent compatibility issues in the futur with proprietary file formats. Basically, it contains data from a camera sensor. How do you expect to recreate sensor data after using PS ? How to take into account sensor noise, its Bayer filter (if present), the lens distortion/chromatic aberration/... ? Again, saving your editing with additional layer is impossible (as in "not in the DNG standard"). That is why PS is automatically using some other format when importing any RAW file.
    – Olivier
    Apr 9 '19 at 20:02

Smart objects cannot make raster based changes to the file. You have to rasterize the image before you do that, which means no more smart object. Adding data via content aware is a raster based operation.

You can't accomplish what you want. There are certain types of edits that can be 'overlayed' on the raster image before exporting, these won't affect the original image. Others, like content aware actually manipulate the image data (raster based operation) and thus cannot be performed on the RAW files directly.

  • I understand you cannot rasterize smart-objects and have them remain smart-objects. The thing I don't understand is why a smart object is saved as tiff even If I just open it as a smart-object from LR in PS and save without any changes. I fail to see any advantage if its still saved as tiff no matter what.
    – DominicM
    Apr 9 '19 at 12:35
  • I don't understand the TIFF comment, I save my PS work in standard PSD files. Although that apparently only works up to 2GB files. For larger or 32 bit files, you have to use a different format.
    – Robin
    Apr 9 '19 at 17:51
  • smart-objects are supposed to be non-destructive, the whole idea seems that you should be able to make edits without exporting to a different file format kind of like lightroom's metadata sidecar files. If I open image as smart-object from LR in PS it saves it as tiff even with no changes. I see no difference then if I open it as a normal file...
    – DominicM
    Apr 10 '19 at 18:25

I don't really understand what the purpose of smart-objects are if results get saved as tiff anyways

Smart objects retain the raw advantages , with out it you loose the ability to work with extreme darks and whites.

Your concept of raw files seems to be flawed. You CANT “edit” a raw file. You are only giving the soft ware instructions as to how to present the raw file. Dng is a kind of raw file.

But to answer your question , No there is no work flow that allows you to “edit” (content aware fill) raw files because raw files can’t be “edited”. Content aware fill and other photoshop “ edits” manipulates pixels. Raw files don’t contain pixels (for the sake of understanding) until it is ran through Adobe Camera Raw and a pixel image is created/interpreted.

  • Where are you getting that I think I can edit RAW files directly? I made it clear multiple times now that I did not. You can edit/work on them in LR, I am well aware that raw files cannot be edited. I changed edit to work on in OP now to there is no more misunderstanding.
    – DominicM
    Apr 11 '19 at 12:57
  • It's also false or at least misleading to say you cannot use content-aware tool on raw files since like I mentioned in the question, LR already has a content-aware tool, it's just poor compared to that of PS. Yes you are not editing raw files but that's always the case in LR.
    – DominicM
    Apr 11 '19 at 13:02
  • @DominicM LR only offers "spot removal" tools, that is not quite the same. You may use it "your way" to fill area, but semi-manually copying part of your image to past/blend it in another part isn't "content aware filling"
    – Olivier
    Apr 11 '19 at 16:05
  • @Olivier Yes, you are correct, it's not the same though concept is. Both tools use parts of the existing image to fill/replace other parts.
    – DominicM
    Apr 11 '19 at 18:12

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