The latest updates Adobe Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw were released to customers on 13 August. These updates focus on performance, workflow, support for new camera and lenses, and bug fixes.
The headline feature in this update to Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw is Graphics Processor Accelerated Editing. In particular, the ability to take greater advantage of features built into today’s more advanced graphics cards (GPUs) while editing your photos. Other new features to be found in Lightroom Classic 8.4 are: support for PNG export, colour labels in collections, batch merge of stacks for HDR, Panoramas and HDR Panoramas
GPU Accelerated Editing
Adobe are advising customers that GPU support now includes the ability to improve interactive performance while processing photos. Hmm, I seem to recall reading something similar with Lightroom 6 then again with Lightroom 7. So, what’s new?
In previous versions, the GPU was used to accelerate the drawing or ‘display’ of pixels processed by the CPU, although many users felt that it fell short of doing so. With Lightroom Classic 8.4/ Camera Raw 11.4 the ‘image’ processing has been to the GPU Compute shaders. This means that the raw photo ‘processing pipe‘ has been ported to the GPU. As such, most of the image adjustments (e.g. Exposure, Contrast, White Balance, Clarity, Dehaze, etc ) can now be computed by the GPU rather than the CPU.
Typically, when ‘full’ acceleration is enabled you will notice that the adjustment sliders in Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw are smoother and more responsive. Additionally, the affects of ‘full’ acceleration will be more pronounced when using higher resolution displays (i.e. 4k and above).
Update – 14 August 2019
A number of recent messages to Adobes Lightroom Classic User forum have confirmed that eGPUs are supported on the Mac platform, To enable ‘Full GPU Acceleration’ the monitor needs to be connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port on the eGPU and the OS update to macOS Mojave 10.14.6, although earlier versions of Mojave might also work.
On Windows platform it’s important that the computer is running Windows 10 and that DirectX 12 is operational. Users should also ensure that they’re using the latest GPU driver, especially if its an nVidia card.
The feature is enabled from within the Preferences dialog under the Performance tab in both Lightroom Classic and with Camera Raw.
When you access the Performance tab, you’ll immediately notice that the Graphic Processor segment now includes 3 dropdown options:
Both Lightroom Classic 8.4 and Camera Raw 11.4 check the capabilities of the GPU upon first launch. If the GPU fails the test for any reason then GPU support will be set to Off.
Assuming your graphics card passes the test, is supported (i.e. not on the Adobe GPU Black List) and the operating system meets the minimum requirements, then ‘Auto’ will be enabled. However, the dialog may indicate that only ‘Basic’ acceleration is enabled. This is demonstrated in below screenshot from Camera Raw 11.4.
This may be due to a number of reasons, but the most common are: the GPU has not been internally tested by Adobe engineers or the photos are ‘Process Version 4’ or earlier, but don’t despair just yet ‘Custom’ might yet come to the rescue.
With the ‘Custom’ option, you can select between the following options:
- Use GPU for display visualisation, which is same as GPU acceleration ‘ON as in earlier versions of Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw.
- Use GPU for image processing.
If you have ‘Use Graphics Processor set to ‘Auto’ and the text under the GPU name indicates ‘Your system automatically supports basic acceleration’ then, follow the following steps to enable Full Acceleration:
- Preferences > Performance Tab
- Select ‘Custom’ from ‘Use Graphics Processor’
- Check ‘Use GPU for image processing’ checkbox.
If your GPU supports full image processing, then the text under the GPU name will indicate ‘Full graphics acceleration is enabled’. This is demonstrated in below screenshot from Lightroom Classic 8.4
If the text indicates that your GPU doesn’t support ‘full’ graphics acceleration, then at least you can still take advantage of basic acceleration.
More information on GPU support in Lightroom Classic can be found at GPU Troubleshooting and FAQ
Colour Labels for Collections
Support for colour labels in folders was first introduced June 2018. With version 8.4 colour labels have been added to Collections, Smart Collections and Collection Sets.
- To apply a Colour Label to a Collection, a Smart Collection, or a Collection Set, a new option has been added in the context menu as ‘Add Colour Label’.
- To remove a colour label, select ‘None’ from the ‘Add Colour Label’ option.
- Colour Labels now can also be added to Published Collections and collections inside Publish Services.
- You can can also filter the Labeled Collections in the same way as Labeled Folders.
Photo Merge – Support for merging multiple stacks
Photo merge now supports merging multiple selected stacks.
When you select multiple stacks for a merge operation (HDR/Pano/HDR-Pano), each stack will be merged individually with the selected merge operation. For example, if one selects 10 stacks for HDR merge operation, Lightroom Classic will initiate 10 HDR merge operations – one for each stack.
- The same merge operation will be performed on all the stacks.
- No preview will be shown if more than one stack is detected. Previous settings will be used as in case of a headless merge.
- Non-stacked images will be ignored if stacks are detected in input images
Folder Enumeration Performance Improvements
With this build, Adobe have worked on the improving time taken for folder enumeration when Lightroom Classic is launched. This particular performance improvement depends on complexity of folder structure, but in most cases users should see a very obvious reduction in time taken to display the number of photos in a folder compared to that taken in previous versions.
Cloud Sync – Diagnostic Report
You are now able to generate a detailed Diagnostic Report for Sync in Lightroom Classic. This report is saved to a zip file with the catalog info, sync data and diagnostic logs required for Adobe QE to establish the cause of the sync issue.
To generate Diagnostic Report, in Preferences go to Lightroom Sync tab and press ALT/OPTIONkey to see “Generate Diagnostic Report” button
Filmstrip Index Number
It’s now possible to display the Index Number of a photo in the Filmstrip. This works like Index Numbers in Library Grid. On a scale of usefulness, I rate this about 100 (negative), but some users obviously thought it worthy of a feature request.
In the flesh, the Index Number appears as shown in below screenshot. However, as the strip size is reduce there is a point at which the index number and the badges disappear. Contrary to what some have claimed in the past, this is not a bug. It’s giving priority to the thumbnail (i.e. the photo) rather that some superfluous information that’s of little real value. Is it obvious that I think this feature was a waste of time?
Export as PNG
With this build, Adobe have added ability to Export as PNG. Save Transparency is always on.
Support for New Cameras & Lenses
For a full list of supported cameras and lens profiles for Lightroom desktop and Lightroom for mobile (iOS and Android), see these resources: