Sharing your Edit History

Please Note:

I’m going to refer to your post processing software as Lightroom here for brevity.

This tool currently supports Lightroom Classic CC on Mac and Windows (WOMM certified). However the tool not limited to Lightroom and could be used, for example, in Capture One or Darktable and obviously Lightroom CC with some tweaks. You can contribute to this effort in GitHub, either by submitting a pull request or raising an issue where we can discuss and share the required data (such as screenshots) that I can use to add support.

Sharing your edit history is split into two parts:

  • Recording a session, where your edits are extracted from Lightroom and saved to disk.
  • Rendering a session, where those saved edits are converted into a video or GIF.

Video Overview

This (silent) video shows the full process of recording an edit history from lightroom and rendering it to an MP4.

Recording a Session, Quick Overview

To record a session, you start with a photo which you have already edited in Lightroom. With ODR (this software) running, you will click through each edit in the history panel while ODR monitors your screen and records the details of each edit.

It does this by taking a screenshot every few seconds and analyzing the contents to extract the rendered photo and the selected history item. This set of data for a history item is called a “snapshot”, and ODR will record each snapshot it finds to disk in a simple folder structure.

You should have both Lightroom and ODR on screen at the same time so you can click through the edit history while monitoring the progress of ODR. To finish recording, simply stop changing the history item and after a short while ODR will stop.

Rendering a Session, Quick Overview

Once you have recorded a set of snapshots to disk, you can ask ODR to render your snapshots either to either a video (MP4) or a GIF.

Note that because the snapshots are stored on disk as a set of PNG images and JSON documents, it is intentionally straightforward to write your own custom renderers if ODR doesn’t render in the format or style you would like.

ODR will try to output a video optimized for uploading to Instagram. It will output a GIF which is hopefully a good compromise between image quality, transition quality, and size.

Recording a Session, In Detail

Open a terminal in OSX, or a command prompt in Windows. Arrange your windows so that Lightroom takes up most of the screen, but the terminal is visible. ODR will analyze screenshots starting from the centre, so it is important that Lightroom is covering that area at least, and the less desktop clutter which is visible the better.

A good layout is to have Lightroom covering the left 80% of your screen and the terminal/command prompt covering the right 20%.

Example Window Layout

In the terminal, change to a directory where you want your files to be saved. In Lightroom, select the earliest history item you want to be in the recording.

To start recording, run the following command in Windows:

odr record-session lightroom-windows

Or on a Mac:

odr record-session lightroom-mac

You will see in the terminal ODR’s status. It should create a snapshot based on the history item you selected, and then sit there waiting for you to select a new history item.

If you want too long ODR will exit, so select the next most recent history item you want to record, and wait until the terminal indicates that ODR has created the new snapshot.

Repeat the process, working your way forwards in time through your history.

You don’t have to select every history item, for example if you have a sequence of history items where you fiddle with the same setting you might want to skip to the last one in the sequence.

If you scroll the history panel ODR may think you have selected a new history item, so if you scroll you should time it between checks and immediately select the next history item.

When you are done, simply wait for ODR to exit.

You should find a set of folders in the directory you chose, each containing the data for a recorded snapshot.

Rendering a Session, In Detail

You can now close Lightroom if you like.

Rendering a GIF

With the terminal still in the directory containing the sessions, run the following command:

odr render-session gif

This will produce a file called session.gif in the directory.

Rendering a Video (MP4)

First you must install (FFmpeg)[] and make sure it is on your path. You may need to restart your terminal if you change your path settings.

Once FFmpeg is on path, then with the terminal in the directory containing the sessions, run the following command:

odr render-session mp4

This will produce a file called session.mp4 in the directory.


Please open an issue on GitHub.

Please keep in mind the toolkit is in early stages and hasn’t been tested on a wide variety of environments. Your patience is appreciated :)