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Virtual Copy Flexibility

Consider the following scenario: While working on an image, you press the V key to convert the image quickly to black-and-white. Then you decide to apply contrast and clarity adjustments. Finally, you add some split toning. At this point, you’re not sure whether you like the contrast, clarity, and split-toning effects, but there’s no quick way to see a before-and-after view. If you press the Before/After shortcut key (\), Lightroom takes the image all the way back to the original color version. I recommend that when you make significant adjustments to an image, you create a virtual copy by pressing Command-′ (PC: Ctrl-′).

In our sample scenario, it would be beneficial to create a virtual copy after converting the image to black-and-white, and then continue making adjustments on the virtual copy. So when you press the backslash (\) key to toggle between before and after views, or the Y key to see a split Before/After view, you’ll see the first state of the virtual copy, which was the initial black-and-white conversion (see Figure 2). Give this technique a try, and you’ll discover that this extra bit of flexibility will speed up your creative process.

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