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Image Processing and Workflow RAW, DNG , TIFF and JPG. From Capture to Ready for Publish/Display. All software and techniques used within an image workflow, (except extensive retouching and repair or DAM).

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  #1  
Old July 10th, 2013, 12:03 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default So, if you have Photoshop, why do you need lightroom?

I kept my albeit rusty and otherwise beat up Oldsmobile Cutlass for a decade after my friends drove BMW's, Audi's and Lexus. I saw no need. Just my kids asked me to drop them off 2 blocks from high school! I feel the same way about PS. Why change my workflow?

I'm quite amazed by the penetration of Lightroom into the normal workflow of so many photographers competent with Photoshop. So why is that the case? Is it the cataloguing or the approach to fast picture adjustments that's so much more efficient than Photoshop.

The fact that so many plugins work also in Lightroom is great. But without layers, I'd feel lost!

So why do you use Lightroom when you have Photoshop?

Asher
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  #2  
Old July 10th, 2013, 03:41 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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LR 5 has much more settings than ACR for creating 16 bit tifs…
Then I use PS if I need masking and final sharpening.
2 different uses, complementary…
I don't use LR plugins because it exports tifs to work on and get back to LR, in this case I prefer to deal with plugins within PS (CS6)
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  #3  
Old July 10th, 2013, 10:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Claris View Post
LR 5 has much more settings than ACR for creating 16 bit tifs…
Then I use PS if I need masking and final sharpening.
2 different uses, complementary…
I don't use LR plugins because it exports tifs to work on and get back to LR, in this case I prefer to deal with plugins within PS (CS6)

Thanks, Nicolas,

Great info!

What's wrong with TIFFS. I thought that Bart had once said that they are somehow better than PSD files!

Asher
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  #4  
Old July 11th, 2013, 02:53 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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There's nothing wrong with tifs but every single manipulation is destructive.
This is why, it is much better to :
- do the maximum (color, light, contrast, lens corrections etc…) before the raw conversion
- then export to prophoto (strongly suggested by Adobe) 16 bit files
- finish in PS what you can't do in LR5 or C1 (masking etc.), final sharpening
- save as master 16 bit file (keep the raw!)
- convert to the desired color space (depending of future uses)
- convert to 8 bit
- export to the desired file (tif, jpg etc.)

PS working on 16 bit means PS have a lot more to work on, hence less destructive.
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  #5  
Old July 11th, 2013, 03:29 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Thanks, Nicolas,
What's wrong with TIFFS. I thought that Bart had once said that they are somehow better than PSD files!
Hi Asher,

As Nicolas just said, nothing wrong with TIFFs, but they are not Raw data anymore, they are rendered data.

TIFFs pretty much hold the exact same data, layers and all, as PSD files. The latter is however a proprietary file format that cannot be read by all applications. TIFFs (with openly published specifications and software libraries) can be read by most imaging applications and are therefore a much safer.

In the case of layered TIFFs, for reasons of maximum compatibility, it is safer to use a non-compressed file version, although some layers may be impossible to use in other applications anyway.

The interesting thing about Lightroom is that it is a parametric editing application, i.e. the user only changes the processing parameters, but they are always applied on the same source data, usually a Raw file (although pre-rendered TIFFs and JPEGs can also be used as new source files).

The upside of Parametric editing is that it can therefore use the latest and greatest built-in technology and user insights on the original Raw data. The downside is that it must render the files each time they are output, and once output, there is no way to get back to the initial settings (other than start all over). There is a possibility for Photoshop users to use the "Edit in" Photoshop capability, with the possibility to use the file as a Smart Object. That will allow to use Adobe Camera Raw to change the Raw conversion settings from within Photoshop, as long as one uses the latest (Creative Cloud) version of Photoshop that matches the version of Lightroom's Raw conversion.

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  #6  
Old July 11th, 2013, 05:53 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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I don't use Lightroom, but I use Aperture, which I believe to be similar. For me, the main benefit in Aperture is selection and classification. If I cover an event, for example a show or a concert, I may produce a few hundred images, typically 200 to 400. Aperture is invaluable in allowing me to grade the pictures and quickly select about 30 for further use. The editing capability of the application also help in the selection, since I will routinely:
-correct the white balance of one reference picture and quickly apply that edit to the rest
-quickly correct small differences in exposure and contrast and see wether there is enough data in the file for e.g. highlights not to be blocked
-quickly crop and tilt to correct small errors.

When the first selection is done, I may use some of the Aperture tools to further enhance the picture (e.g. burn and dodge), use a third party filter (e.g. for B&W conversion) or export the image to photoshop for further work, depending on which application has the tools which are easiest to use. For the few pictures I will print big, I will spend more time further refining them in PS.

Aperture is also useful in allowing me to print "contact sheets", I sometimes need that. And of course I use its cataloguing capabilities, which have no equivalent in PS.
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  #7  
Old July 11th, 2013, 06:59 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post

The downside is that it must render the files each time they are output, and once output, there is no way to get back to the initial settings (other than start all over).
Hi Bart
to avoid "scratching" settings with new ones, or to experiment, you can use virtual copies (both being attributes of LR and C1, I don't know for Aperture)
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Old July 11th, 2013, 10:47 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I feel so primitive working in Photoshop 5 and having just Lightroom virgin form! I have gotten used to just using Capture One for my Canon RAW files. This also has worked well with Ricoh GXR images, but with the new GR, sometimes even using a grey card, my processing does not do the images justice. iphoto is pretty convenient for jpgs and I haven't found any cataloging software better for me than iView Media Pro (in it's current form, as a Phase One product Media Pro).

So now I'm wondering about magic that others find in Lightroom! Thankfully I have a good friend with a GR who has already made a great correction profile to use with Lightroom 5. I just have to buy a copy to get up and running.

I'm wondering about stored files, say 2 years old with earlier versions of Lightroom. If one re-opens the file in Lightroom 5 with the same settings, to make more prints, then there's a new parametric engine and so will the colors, microcontrast and more be the same as previously chosen?

Asher
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  #9  
Old July 11th, 2013, 12:31 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi Asher
I'm on location so this short message written with an iPhone…
To your last question: you can choose which rendering engine to work from…
Any how, trying on virtual copy the new engine, you won't go back!
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  #10  
Old July 12th, 2013, 04:33 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Asher,

Many good answers have been provided by Nicolas, Bart and Jerome. I would like to attempt at making the information a bit more structured, if I may.

A comparison between PS and LR in general is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Although both programs have large overlapping functionalities, they also have certain ones which the other does not have. Therefore a comparison is only meaningful within each functional area. So let's make a high level list of those:

1) Digital Asset Management (DAM)
2) Raw conversion
3) Image editing
4) Printing
5) Exporting
6) Color management
7) Add-ons

We now can compare LR and PS for each of these areas.

1) LR is a fully featured DAM application. It provides all the necessary features to ingest images and tag, keyword and categorize them during ingestion. After ingestion, one can review images and rate and select them easily using flags, color labels, keywords, smart collections, etc. One can create regular and smart collections (based on dynamic selection criteria), stack images, etc. One can also export collections to web pages, books, etc. Also, starting with LR5, one can create portable catalogs of images without having to carry the original source images, using the smart cache function. All this is done within LR using a uniform user interface and customizable keyboard shortcuts, which makes it very efficient and easy to use. LR is a database driven application, all image information is kept in this database, such as keywords, exit data, parametric edits, etc.

PS has some of the DAM features of LR via Bridge, such as ingesting, tagging, keywording, labelling, etc. But it does not have collections or off-line catalogs. Export facilities are rather limited. Bridge is not database driven like LR, it has to operate on a folder structure.

So in the area of DAM, there is no discussion that LR wins from Bridge. One can decide to use LR for DAM purposes and not for image editing, which can be done in PS or any other image editing program. So LR does have an added value when used as a DAM application, regardless whether one has PS or not.

2) Raw conversion. Both LR and PS use the same ACR engine for converting raw files into rastered images. The functionality of both is the same although the gui of LR is a bit nicer. As long as they are at the same version level, there is no difference in the resulting images. So this is a draw between LR and PS.

3) Image editing is the area where the bulk of the comparison is to be made.

Firstly, the modus operandi of LR is parametric editing, meaning that all edit actions are defined by the values of the editing parameters. The editing parameters are predefined in LR, such as exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, clarity, vibrance, HSL, noise reduction, sharpening, etc. One edits the image by changing the values of these parameters (e.g. by shifting the exposure slider to +1 or by clicking the lens correction checkbox). The resulting changes are not physically applied to the original image, which remains unchanged at all times. The changed image which is shown to the user is a rendered intermediate file (which is called a preview file). Whenever the parameters change, LR creates a new preview file according to the newest parameter settings. LR saves all these changes (i.e. the parameter values) in its database. It can also save them externally a sidecar file (xmp) or embed them in the original tiff, jpg and dng files without changing the original image.

One important aspect of real parametric editing is that the sequence of changing the parameters is not important. For example, changing the sharpening first and then exposure will result in the very same image if one changes the exposure first and then the sharpening. As a side note, this no longer applies to LR5 where one can use both the upright function and the clone brush. In that case, it is important to do the upright function first and only afterwards to the cloning.

So LR is a parametric, non-destructive editing program, whereas PS is not, at least not at the level of LR. And therin lies the rub. Although many LR fans will use this as the main argument to prove its superiority, the fact is that one can achieve similar levels of parametrization within PS by using adjustment layers and smart filters. If one uses layers for all the changes made to the image, one can achieve non destructive editing. But it has its downsides. Firstly, the history of changes cannot be saved with the image nor applied to other images automatically (such as copying and pasting or synchronizing of the development settings in LR). Additional layers (unless they are adjustment layers) add to the size of the image. Also, the work done in PS has to be saved as a file using one of the many available formats such as psd, tif or jpg (can be hundreds of megabytes), whereas the work done in LR is saved in the LR database as parameters, taking only a few kilobytes of space. For example: a raw file of 25 MB, when processed with LR, will result in a 25MB raw file (unchanged), a few KB size increase in the LR database, a 2-3 MB preview file and a few MB ACR cache file. The same raw file, when processed in PS using 16-bit RGB, will result in a 25 MB raw file (unchanged), a 100-300 MB tif/psd file and a few MB ACR cache file (the same as above). If one has a photo collection of let's say 10,000 raw files out of which 2,500 are to be eventually edited , then the extra disk space required for the PS users would be around 400 GB. For someone like myself who has 200K+ images, the difference becomes a staggering 8 TB. This adds a lot of complications and cost for keeping the master files and backing them up properly. Therefore, if the majority of one's images are meant for displaying on the web galleries or forums, one would be better off using the LR as a parametric editor from which web versions can be exported rather than using PS as the only editing program. I know that I can get superior results for my images by using the full blown functionality of PS and its associated add-ons. But the fact is, most pictures I share here in OPF do not deserve that kind of editing nor the resulting huge master files. A quick parametric editing in LR is usually enough to have a representative version of the picture good enough for web. LR offers the convenience of doing this with just a few clicks and exporting jpg files using presets. As such, it is essential to my workflow even though I also have PS.

One of the most important advantages of PS is of course the possibilty to work with layers and layer masks as well as the blending modes. That opens up endless options to edit one's image in any way one wants. LR has a primitive version of layers too, which can be achieved using adjustment brushes and gradients. They are similar to straightforward adjustment layers of PS using a normal blending mode (with opacity adjustments). The difference with PS is that the adjustment brushes are also parametric. Their layer sequence does not have an influence on the end result, whereas in PS the sequence of layers is rather important and can change the end results. For example, let's say that in LR, one paints with an adjustment brush on the image and sets the exposure to +1.0. After that, one paints another adjustment brush on the same image area using an exposure of -0.4. Then the image area will end up having a total exposure value of +0.6, which is an accumulation of the all individual parameter settings in LR. As you can imagine, PS works differently. It would increase the exposure +1.0 in the first layer and then decrease it -0.4 in the second one. But the end result would be more like -0.2 exposure, because the change is based on a previous change and the sequence is important. Also, where PScan have a totally different image in each of the layers, LR adjustment brushes (as considered to be quasi layers) all act upon the single base image.

Anyway, we can safely conclude that the layering functionality of PS wins hands down from LR. Especially if one utilizes the added value of blend modes and blend if functions, which make a huge difference.

PS has also a lot of additional functions which are non-existent in LR, such as typesetting, paths, selections, etc. Many of these are not applicable to straight forward photo editing, but one cannot live without the selection and cloning facilities of PS when one needs to "photoshop" the image such as removing unwanted elements or cloning certain areas in a smart way. Yes, LR has also a limited version of cloning but the total functionality is way limited compared to PS. So even if it is one in hundred pictures which may need such sophisticated cloning/extraction/etc, the photographer still needs to use PS (or other editing programs)occasionally. What do the photographers do who only have LR then? Well, they just shoot other images which do not require the extensive photoshopping.

What about some other functions such as stitching panoramas or creating HDR images? Well, these are the areas where PS offers built in functionality, albeit not top of the line compared to 3rd party specialized solutions. If one uses programs such as autopano, ptgui of pt assembler for stitching, PS does not offer any added value compared to LR. The same applies to HDR programs such as SNS-HDR or photomatix. PS is valuable if one does not use any of these task specific applications.

So when it comes down to the question, if one could have either LR or PS for image editing purposes, which one should one have, the answer would have to be PS considering the 100% functional coverage of all image editing situations. Of course this is not taking into account the total package of functionalities in other areas such as DAM nor the cost implications. To be honest, can a photographer survive with LR only without PS? Yes, definitely, although every once in a while one will have to trash a picture which could have been salvaged in PS.

4) Printing. The printing module of LR is easier to use and more functional (layout possibilites) compared to PS. LR also uses the option to print at the native print resolution of the printer used and it applies some smart output sharpening. LR is thus a better option compared to PS for printing images.

5) Exporting. Within PS, one can save an image in various formats. On top of that, bridge can be scripted to export multiple images in various formats as well as upload an publish them to web sites such as facebook or flickr. LR can do the same and even a bit more. I like the possiblity of using plug-ins in LR which can replace certain export functions with better algorithms. Such as using the mogrify plug-in to use Lanczos or Sync methods in downsampling the exported images and not the inferior bicubic used by adobe, My vote goes to LR in this area.

6) Color management. Although both applications are fully color managed, the flexibility of PS is of course industry standard. LR has only one working color space (melinda rgb) whereas the user can choose any working color space in PS. Also, PS can be configured for a variety of output color spaces, especially CMYK ones for publishing. LR has recently gained the soft proofing possibility. Before that, one had to do a round trip to PS to soft proof any output files. Anyway, for regular photographers, the color management of LR is fully adequate. For anybody who does publishing, such as Nicolas, PS would be an essential application in the process of creating their output files.

7) Add-ons. Both PS and LR have endless plug-ins and filters which enhance the functionality of both applications. Most major commercial add-on producers (such as Nik or Topaz) make their solutions available for both platforms. LR used to be a bit lagging compared to PS but in the recent years any new add-on which comes out has to be created for both apps to be commercially viable. One has to realize that using a plug-in such as Nik's ColorEfex in LR creates a tiff/jpg version of the raw file (with or without the parametric editing already done on the raw image). So it breaks the parametric editing workflow paradigm. This is an area which would be a draw between LR and PS.


So finally, the answer you have been waiting for Asher. Why would one need LR if one has PS? For the reasons of having a real DAM system, a better streamlined and easier workflow, more efficient publishing to web and the like, easier and better printing and saving considerable hard disk space by having parametric editing.

I hope that this helps.
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  #11  
Old July 12th, 2013, 05:44 AM
Wolfgang Plattner Wolfgang Plattner is offline
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Hi Asher

As a PM (PhotoMechanic), C1, MediaPro and PS user (just like you do) who knows by experience LR and Aperture I may tell you:
If you like to have the all-in-one solution talking about DAM, then LR or Aperture are made for you.
PS is the manipulation-champion, whose place is best after the DAM-products.
So the question is not PS or LR but LR or C1+MP or Aperture and PS ...
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  #12  
Old July 28th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Lightroom is more practical than the duo Bridge/ACR for browsing through hundreds or thousands of photos after a shoot.
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  #13  
Old July 30th, 2013, 12:25 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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I use Bridge rather than LR for my own workflow though I still do use and indeed teach Lightroom (I haven't used LR5 yet though). I do not like a Catalog based worflow, preferring a Browser style workflow. The RAW conversion engine in ACR (which is included with bridge) is exactly the same as that in LR and is 100% parametric as are the vast majority of raw converters. I both prefer the interface of ACR, the speed in comparison and the ability to work in different colorspaces not just output to them. What you don't get is the ability to use canned presets but hey, for people like us that isn't such a bad thing :-). You also get the ability in Bridge to output as a slideshow or pdf, import from card or external media with profiles automatically added, run actions in PS, run scripts in PS, send pano's for stitching or focus stacking, etc.

You lose offline editing, catalog structure (good thing in my view I don't like catalogs) and printing. You get a powerful image and file browser which works seamlessly with PS.

I also use Capture One in the studio every day. I prefer Bridge/ACR to it. Yes the colour might be better in C1 and the sharpness in the new version is unbelievable but for workflow everything in C1 has been designed to stop you making mistakes rather than doing things fast. I can see why they did it but it's slower than it needs to be as a workflow tool when you're working with hundreds of different images. The workflow makes sense for a studio shoot, not for a wedding or landscape shoot IMO.
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  #14  
Old October 22nd, 2013, 11:22 PM
Beau Lippman Beau Lippman is offline
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Default Two different animals

I think Adobe's market for Lightroom is more directly targeted to the most recent tsunami of digital photographers. Lightroom has a much shorter learning curve than Photoshop, and unlike Lightroom, Photoshop has a breadth and depth of features that many photographers would not be interested in using. Lightroom is a good alternative for the digital photographer who wants to use a powerful archival and manipulation application, but also wants to get up and running fairly quickly. Its interface is much more intuitive than Photoshop, and it is designed specifically for photo manipulation, whereas Photoshop is designed to manipulate any bit-mapped graphic, regardless of its point of origin. Lastly, Lightroom is a lot less expensive than Photoshop, perhaps an indication that it is something of a "subset" of Photoshop, at least as far as its feature set and target market are concerned.
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 12:17 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Thanks for the insight on the user interface. Yes, the learning curve for PS could be intimidating for someone who s jumping in in th past few years. Those of us who have been using PS since the earliest days had a more gradual experience!

Asher
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  #16  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 05:53 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Cem,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Many good answers have been provided by Nicolas, Bart and Jerome. I would like to attempt at making the information a bit more structured, if I may.
I had not been really following this thread, and I just now noticed your essay to which I here reply.

Thank you for this marvelous discussion of Lightroom and Photoshop. It is thoughtful, rich in content, and very well organized and written. A tour de force.

This is not at all to denigrate the great contributions of the other contributors to this area of interest.

OPF is a remarkable resource, and this thread is a great illustration of one aspect of that.

Thanks again, everyone, and Cem, special congratulations on your essay.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 06:19 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Awww, schucks Doug! You say the nicest things. Even to get me out from under my rock. ;)
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  #18  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 03:11 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Nicolas, Wolfgang, Jerome, Bart, Ben, Beau, Alain and Cem,

I'm so appreciative for insights into the differential use of LR v. PS in photographic workflow. Many decades of man-years in processing files, for sure!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Hi, Cem,

..........Thank you for this marvelous discussion of Lightroom and Photoshop. It is thoughtful, rich in content, and very well organized and written. A tour de force.............

OPF is a remarkable resource, and this thread is a great illustration of one aspect of that.

@ Doug,

You got to me to reread the entire thread. I'm so pleased with all the replies and agree that OPF serves us well when we can reach this standard of sharing.



@Cem,

Your essay is a Tour de Force and will be my main reference for my own use and teaching others. You thoughtfully pause to first categorize the functions at play and then provide a succinct guide through what otherwise is a maize of choices.


@Wolfgang,

Good to see Aperture as viable in the DAM process and initial workup of files. I like to see adobe have competition!

Asher
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