Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Lightroom | October 2020

Adobe used the 2020 Max event on 20-22 October to announce new versions of Camera Raw 13.0, Lightroom Classic 10.0 and Lightroom Desktop 4.0. New features include: three-way color grading and enhanced zooming control in Camera Raw, Classic and Desktop, and improved tethering in Classic.

Color Grading (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop)

Color Grading using three-way color wheels is the number one headline feature of Camera Raw 13.0, Lightroom Classic 10.0 and Lightroom Desktop 4.0. However, rather than adding to the existing tools for editing colours in images Color Grading replaces Split Toning, but don’t panic yet.

 Color Grading with Three-way Color Wheels

Color Grading allows you to apply a color tint to shadows, midtones, and highlights along with global Hue on the image. Like Split Toning, you can set a hue and saturation, plus you can now also specify a luminance for each range.

Color Grading is widely used in videography but much less so in stills photography. Nevertheless, it provides a much more flexible and powerful tool for creative color editing. Also, given that it’s now available in applications primarily intended for editing still photos I suspect we’ll see color graded images becoming much more common.

As I mentioned above, Color Grading replaces Split Toning. However, you can still get the old Split Toning behaviour with the new controls by moving the Blending slider to 100. It’s also helpful that using older Split Tone presets or opening older images with Split Tone settings will automatically set the Blending slider to 100 and zero out all midtone settings and all luminance settings. In addition to the three-way color wheels there is a global option as shown below. Using the Global control allows you to change the overall color of your photo while not affecting any existing shadow, midtone or highlight adjustments.

Global Color Grading

The Shift and Alt/Option keys can be used to make precise adjustments of Hue and Saturation on the color wheel. Additionally, while hovering the curser over the Color Wheels, you can adjust Hue and Saturation values using arrow keys with Option/Alt modifier.

More information and examples of Color Grading in action can be found here. The is also an excellent Adobe Blog in which Max Wendt, the lead engineer for the Color Grading feature, describes each of the controls

Zoom (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic and Desktop)

Zooming in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Desktop have always been an area that users felt could be improved. With these new versions, Adobe have provided two additional zoom options; i.e.  ‘Scrubby’ and ‘Box Zoom’. These should enable finer control over zoom levels in loupe, compare and reference views.

Note that the following screenshots and keyboard shortcuts apply to Lightroom Classic 10

  • Scrubby Zoom: Dragging the mouse right/left along with Shift key pressed to zoom in/out of the image
  • Box Zoom: Drawing a box on an image with Command/Control key pressed to zoom into the selected area.
  • There are now only three Zoom options in the Navigator: Fit/Fill, 100%, and the right option shows percentages, ranging between 6% and 1600% except 100%.

Lightroom Classic – Navigator Zoom Options

  • The Zoom slider in the toolbar above the filmstrip has been divided into two equal sections, with the first section ranging between 6% and 100%; and the second section ranging between 100% and 1600%.

Loupe view – Zoom Slider

  • Command/Control + Option/Alt + 0 (zero) is used to zoom into 100% (1:1 in 9.4 or earlier).
  • Command/Control + and – used to zoom in and out of the image respectively.

Catalog Upgrade (Lightroom Classic)

Catalog upgrades from one full version to another (e.g. V9 to V10) have always been a source of confusion and irritation for many Lightroom Classic users. Not least because the new catalog name wasn’t particularly meaningful (i.e. the suffix ‘-2’ was added to the old name). As a result, it’s not unusual for a user to have multiple old copies of their catalog, which are only differentiated by the number of times the ‘-2’ suffix has been been added to the original catalog name.

To help reduce the confusion caused by the catalog naming convention Adobe have used since version 1.0, they have added text-box to the catalog upgrade dialog. The new dialog includes a field into which you can insert your preferred catalog name. The default value for this is  <currentCatalogName>-v10.  In below screenshots, I’ve shown my catalog will appear with the new default catalog name, then with my customised catalog name.

Lightroom Classic 10 – New Default Catalog Name

Lightroom Classic 10 – Customised Catalog Name

Tether Live View (Lightroom Classic)

While the ability to tether some cameras with Lightroom Classic has been possible for a long time, the actual feature set available to the user has been limited to controlling the camera. With Lightroom Classic 10, Adobe has added ‘Live View’ albeit only for Canon cameras at present. This feature is particularly useful for studio portraiture and product photography.

Tethered Capture – Live View

When Live View is on, you will also see Focus control buttons, including Auto- Focus  button in the Tether bar. However, the focus controls are enabled only if the lens is in Auto Focus mode.

More details on Tethered Capture and Live View can be found here.

UI Updates (Lightroom Classic)

Adobe has for some time now been updating the UI font used in many of their applications, and Lightroom Classic now uses this font (i.e. ‘Adobe Clean’).

You may asking yourself why I’ve even mentioned this, especially as a new font shouldn’t have any impact on how the application functions. Normally, this would be true, but in some  situations, the new font can result in excessive vertical spacing. This means that whilst the text may be more readable, some panels will be longer than they were in previous versions. I’ve included an example of the difference between the Keywording panel in 9.4 (left) and 10 (right) below. Hopefully, issues such as this will be fixed in future updates.

Comparison between old and new UI font

UI Updates (Lightroom Desktop)

The Tone Curve, Color Mixers, Color Grading, and Defringe panels now all have small indicator dots which let you know if edits have been made to the various settings. In the screenshot below, for example, you can see the dot indicating that edits have been made to the Red and Blue curve.

Lightroom Desktop 4.0 – Edit Indicators

UI Updates (Camera Raw)

Customising your workspace

You can now choose to display only those Editing panels that you need. There is also a Compact Layout option in Camera Raw Preferences. Right-mouse click any of the header bars to access these new customisation options.

Camera Raw 13.0 – Edit Panel Visibility

Camera Raw 13.0 – Compact or Normal Slider Spacing

Following user feedback regarding some aspects of the new UI introduced in Camera Raw 12.3, the following changes have been made:

  • Updated the ACR preferences to include the three high-level filmstrip options, and moved the filmstrip options up to the second group after the renamed “Panels” group, which now includes the compact mode option.

Camera Raw 13 Preferences

  • Combined two “filmstrip” menus, a popup menu and a context menu, into a single menu. You can access this menu in both places. The tooltip for the filmstrip snap icon has been updated to include information about “click and hold for filmstrip menu.”
  • Cleaned up ratings/labels UI.
  • Added keyboard shortcut in menu for rating – also hints in the ratings and labels menus.
  • Adding Shift-B as KBSC to toggle between Heal and Clone type while using Sport Heal tool
  • Made the swap preview and set before buttons always apply to add the selected images.
  • When opening the main dialog the first time, always scroll top of the edit stack but not after a compact mode change
  • This build now has a drag resizable edit stack.

Custom Sort Order (Lightroom Classic)

Adobe have made some enhancements to Custom sort order for a collection/folder. They have fixed the issue whereby a user was not able to make changes to Custom sort order after changing it multiple times.

Folder and Collection Scrolling Optimization (Lightroom Classic)

Optimisation of the scrolling behaviour in folder and collection panel. The scrolling improvements will be more evident while scrolling through large number of folders/collections with different color labels.

Performance (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop)

Adobe have expanded the tools supported by GPU acceleration is enabled. The additional tools include the: Adjustment Brush, Linear Gradient and Circular Gradient. GPU support for these tools should go along way to improve their use on 4K and 5K monitors. Unfortunately, the Spot Heal/Clone tool still doesn’t make use of GPU acceleration.

Lightroom Classic – Enable Full GPU Acceleration

Graphical Watermark (Lightroom Desktop)

You are no longer limited to text watermarks, you can now use a graphic (PNG or JPEG) for a watermark. The graphical watermark settings will now sync between all Lightroom clients.

Lightroom Desktop – Graphical Watermark

Export with Previous Settings (Lightroom Desktop)

In the Share menu there is now a “Previous Settings” export shortcut, which will use whatever settings you used on your previous export.

Lightroom Desktop – Export with Previous Settings

More Information

  • To learn more about Camera Raw 13.0, see here
  • To learn more about Lightroom Classic 10, see here
  • To learn more about Lightroom Desktop 4.0, see here

System Requirements

The System Requirements for Lightroom Classic 10 and Lightroom Desktop 4.0 are shown below.

System Requirements

Camera & Lens Support (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop)

For a full list of supported cameras and lens profiles for Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic,  and Lightroom Cloud Ecosystem see these resources: