Category Archives: Local Adjustments

Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop | October 2021

Adobe  ‘Max 2021’ saw the announcement of Camera Raw 14, Lightroom Classic 11 and Lightroom Desktop 5. We’ve come to expect that each new version includes new features and this time round is no exception. New features shared across all of the applications, including iOS and Android mobile apps are: a new masking engine, camera matching profiles for Canon CR3 files, plus additional camera and lens support. There are also number of new or enhanced features specific to Lightroom Classic and others specific to the Desktop and mobile apps. I’ve identified the new features that apply to each below.

Masking (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Cloud Ecosystem)

Adobe pre-announced the new masking feature in late September, thus giving customers an early insight into the improvements it would bring to their editing workflow. The new masking feature is a significant reworking of the Selective/Local Adjustments of previous versions. Adobe have also stated that the work involved also lays a foundation for additional capabilities to come some time in the future. Additionally, they have also implemented several customer feature requests submitted over the years. These include the ability to organise masks in a named list, toggle on/off individual masks, invert masks (including brushes), and mix and match mask types to form a single complex mask.

Range Masks, which were previously only available in Camera Raw and Lightroom Classic are now included in Lightroom Desktop and mobile apps, albeit with the benefit of a new more powerful interface, and it doesn’t stop there. Adobe have also incorporated Photoshop’s machine learning-driven ‘smart’ selection features such as ‘Select Subject’ and ‘Select Sky’. As with selective and local edits/adjustments in previous versions of Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic, etc, the Masking features are non-destructive.

In below screenshots, I show the basic Masking UI followed by an example that involves building up a relatively complex mask.

The first pair of screenshots shows the UI for the mask types along with the the supported adjustments. Note that the masking panels can be docked to the side of the existing panels, left floating or docked within the existing adjustments stack.

Moving on to the example. The first screenshot in below sequence is the original image. I wanted to darken the sky and foreground rocks plus brighten the tree.

For the second screenshot I chose the ‘Select Sky’ mask from the options list. The AI masking engine selected the sky with ease.

For the third screenshot I used the ‘Select Subject’ option. In this example, it also selected parts of the sky. Using the Luminance Range mask allowed me to sample the sky that I didn’t want this particular mask to affect when I made my adjustments. I also used the redesigned Luminance Range slider tool to fine-tune the selection.

For the fourth screenshot I first used ‘Color Range’ to sample the foreground. However, as expected, parts of the tree also shared the same colour and were therefore included in the mask. To remove the tree from the mask, I chose ‘Subtract’ and ‘Subject’.

Finally, I adjusted the adjustment slider settings on a mask by mask basis.

In this latest iteration, the range masks now work globally, although using the add and subtract controls they can still be applied within a gradient, just as before. As such, we no longer need to create a range mask as part of a graduate or radial filter. There is also greater control over the luminance range’s falloff, although this may cause some irritation/confusion on first use.

The data (bitmap files) associated with ‘sky’ and ‘subject’ masks is stored in a Lightroom Classic catalog data container (lrcat-data) or in the case of Camera Raw, a secondary sidecar file (.acr) or within DNG files if they are your preferred file format. To avoid losing ‘sky’ and ‘subject’ data It is essential that you do not delete the ‘lrcat-data’ container or ‘.acr’ sidecar.

For users who prefer to use keyboard shortcuts rather than a mouse or pen, Adobe have provided an extensive set of shortcuts specific to masking. These can be accessed by clicking on the ? button at top right corner of the mask panel.

Masks can be copied / pasted or synced to other images. There is no restriction on the type of masks that can be copied / pasted or synced, although in the case of file to file copy /paste / sync, the procedure for ‘sky’ and ‘subject’ masks requires that you ‘Update’ the mask. This step is not required if the source file is a Virtual Copy.

Camera Matching Profiles (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic and Cloud Ecosystem)

They’ve been a long time coming, but at last, Camera Matching profiles for the following Canon EOS cameras that use the CR3 file format are available.

  • Canon EOS 1DX III
  • Canon EOS R3
  • Canon EOS R5
  • Canon EOS R6

Hopefully, the availability of these long awaited camera profiles signal that future Canon camera using the CR3 file format will be ‘fully’ supported.

Multitasking (Lightroom Classic)

The Library module is now capable of multitasking. With this change, catalog read operations, which in earlier versions were sequential resulted in blocking other catalog operations, which caused users a lot of fustration. For example, if you apply a preset to a set of images and want to navigate to a different set of images in different folder (i.e. a catalog read operation), then you can now do it simultaneously without having to wait for previous operations to complete. Another example of where blocking occurred was when renaming large numbers of files. In below screenshot, I show what happens in earlier versions if we try to change folders while the renaming process is ongoing. Obviously, this isn’t particularly helpful. However, with multitasking, changing folders during the renaming process means that grid area will be immediately populated and you can start the renaming process, then start the next Library task.

Metadata Panel (Lightroom Classic)

The Library module Metadata panel has been redesigned to give more control to the user. This redesign includes the following:

Active Image / All Images

  • When multiple images are selected, you now have the choice between seeing the metadata for the active image or for all images (same as that in older versions). This means that when a large number of images are selected and choosing ‘Target Photo’, you can avoid the long enumeration process that blocked other operations.
  • Above works in tandem with the Metadata > Show Metadata for Target Photo Only menu option.

Customize Metadata Default Panel

Another popular feature request that has been addressed in this release is the ability to create a custom metadata field list. Simply click on the ‘Customize’ button at the bottom of the Metadata Panel when ‘Default’ is selected in the pop-up menu. By selecting this option, you will be able to customise the metadata displayed in the default Metadata Panel for the selected image(s). However, care should be taken with the number of fields selected as too many can have an adverse impact on Library module performance.

The metadata fields within the panel can also be reordered to your preference

Edit-Only Mode

A new mode called ‘Edit-Only’ is now available within the Metadata panel. When enabled (i.e. click on eye icon at top left corner of panel) Edit-Only mode, you can edit all visible metadata fields in the Metadata panel for the selected Active Image or All Images. Note that no current metadata values are displayed in Edit-Only mode of Metadata panel.

Auto Save into XMP (Lightroom Classic)

With this release, Adobe have introduced enhancements for when ‘Automatically write changes into XMP’ option is enabled in Catalog Settings.

  • With this change, Develop module edits will be saved to the XMP sidecar file only after active image selection changes unlike previous versions where every single edit operation was saved into XMP. For example, in earlier versions, if you adjusted the exposure slider 10 times, the XMP sidecar file would be updated 10 times. The same would be the case for all of the sliders. The new behaviour is that XMP will be updated only once, when active image selection changes, with all the edits being written in one go.
  • Save to XMP sidecar is triggered automatically when there is any change in image metadata and the progress of save into XMP would be displayed in activity centre. There is no need to select the images manually.

Auto Save into XMP Progress bar

  • When enabled , you should be able to see the actual images count for which XMP writing is in- progress.

Auto Save into XMP Pause button

  • A ‘Saving XMP’ pause button has been added in activity centre to pause and resume the Auto Save into XMP.
  • This  button is only displayed when ‘Automatically write changes into XMP’ option is enabled in Catalog Settings.

I suspect above changes to XMP save behaviour will be welcomed by customers who would prefer to automatically save Develop module edits to the XMP sidecar but were deterred from doing so because of the significant performance hit that the previous behaviour caused.

Catalog Upgrades and Backups (Lightroom Classic)

Catalog updates and backups are not new to Lightroom Classic. However, with the introduction of the new masking feature, the upgrade and backup processes have become more complex, albeit still automatic.

Lightroom Classic will upgrade your 10.x or older catalogs to 11 when first launched. However, as mentioned above, the Smart Selection generated masks along with the 3D LUT (from profiles) will be stored next to catalog in a folder named <CatalogName>.lrcat-data. This folder will also be added to catalog backup, as this data is needed for rendering user edits properly.

Catalog Workflows

With this release, updates to various catalog workflows have been made to accommodate masks. These are:

Catalog Import

Masks, corresponding to the images imported from the source catalog, will be copied to destination catalog’s ‘.lrcat-data’ folder.

Catalog Export

Masks, corresponding to the images exported from the source catalog, will be copied to exported catalog’s ‘.lrcat-data’ folder.

Catalog Backup

An ‘.lrcat-data’ folder will be included while backing up the catalog into a single zip archive.

Catalog Optimisation

The key changes to the optimisation process are:

  • Any mask which is not being referred to by any image will be removed during a catalog optimise operation. This reduces the possibility of orphaned masks and saves on storage space.
  • If a mask is being referred to by an image through current settings, before settings, snapshots, or history, it will not be removed during the cleanup.
  • Lightroom Classic now relaunches after completion of Optimise operation.

Library Filter (Lightroom Classic)

With this release, there’s an option to Filter by a Date in Metadata filter. Therefore, you can now filter images by a specific date in any year range. This is often referred to as ‘On this date…’ and has been a long requested feature.

Premium Presets II (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic and Cloud Ecosystem)

The original set of Premium Presets that first shipped in the June 2021 releases were found to be extremely popular with customers, and Adobe have followed up with additional sets of Premium presets.

Recommended Presets (Lightroom Cloud Ecosystem)

The ‘Recommended Presets’ feature is new to the Presets panel of Lightroom Desktop and mobile. When you select the ‘Recommended’ tab in the Presets panel, Lightroom looks through the tens of thousands of customer presets that are available in the Discover section and uses cloud based Artificial Intelligence to suggest some that may work well with your particular image.

GPS Field (Lightroom Desktop)

There is a new GPS field in the Info panel. This field will display the coordinates if the selected photo already has coordinate metadata.

Sync Time Remaining (Lightroom Desktop)

When Lightroom Desktop is syncing photos it will now give you an estimate of how long it will take for the sync to complete. The estimate is displayed in the pop-up menu that you get when you click on the cloud icon in the upper right corner of the application window.

Crop Overlays (Lightroom Desktop)

Lightroom Desktop now has a variety of crop overlays, in addition to the default rule of thirds overlay. The crop overlay can be switched using the pop-up in the crop panel, or by pressing ‘O’ while the crop tool is active. Pressing ‘shift-O’ will cycle the orientation of the selected crop overlay.

Operating System Requirements

macOS

  • Support for macOS Mojave (10.14.x) has been dropped. The minimum macOS version supported is macOS Catalina (10.15).
  • You will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 11.0 or later builds on macOS Mojave (10.14.x).
  • If you are using macOS Mojave (10.14.x), Adobe recommend that you update your OS to at least macOS Catalina (10.15).

Windows

  • Support for Windows 10 v1903 has been dropped. The minimum Windows 10 version supported would v1909 (or later).
  • You will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 10.0 or later builds on Windows 10 v1903. Installation would be allowed on Windows Server 2016 or later.
  • If you are using Windows 10 v1903, Adobe recommend that you update your OS to at least Windows v1909.

New Camera & Lens Support

  • Details on camera support can be found here
  • Details on lens support can be found here

Bug Fixes

  • Lightroom Classic bug fixes listed here
  • Lightroom Desktop bug fixes listed here
  • Camera Raw bug fixes listed here

Disclosure: As an Adobe Community Professional I receive a free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

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:

Disclosure: As an Adobe Community Professional I receive a free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

What’s New in Lightroom Mobile iOS 2.8

A few days late again with news of the latest update to Lightroom mobile for iOS. This is a big update, and one many will have been waiting for, especially if using an iPad or iPad Pro.

So, what’s does Adobe say is new or improved:

  • the ability to make precise adjustments with a single swipe using the new Brush Selection tool. You can selectively apply Exposure, Brightness, Clarity, and other adjustments to localised areas of the image. Support is also included for the Apple Pencil and pressure-sensitive application of adjustments.
  • Improved user interface designed specifically for the iPad**
  • Direct control to adjust Noise Reduction and Sharpening.
  • Support for the latest cameras and lenses found in ACR 9.12 release (see here)

So, what do I make of this update?

Readers who use the iPhone version will recall that the last big update included a major revamp of the editing controls. Unfortunately, the iPad missed out on this revamp, and many customers were a tad disappointed as a result. However, this time round, Adobe have focused on the iPad by reworking the editing controls. Sadly, the result, in my opinion, isn’t as good or well thought out as the last iPhone update. The following screenshot demonstrates the problem.

iPad – New Edit Stack

Notice that the edit stack takes up at least 1/3 of the screen. I have no why this should be so or even in what way Adobe believes it to be an improvement. Don’t get me wrong, the sliders, and their positioning are fine, but 1/3 of my iPad Pro screen allocated to them isn’t.

Sharpening and Noise Reduction have also made their way into this build, but as with the other controls on the edit stack they take up too much of the UI.

Lr mobile also support the black & white masking option found in Lightroom desktop and Camera Raw. To see it in operation, move the Masking slider with one finger while holding another finger down on the photo. It takes a bit of effort initially, but after a few tries you’ll figure it out 😉

iPad – Sharpening and Noise Adjustments

I mentioned the new Selective Brush tool above, and will now try to explain how it works. First, it’s found under Selective Adjustments (tap on shaded circle at of edit stack – inside red boundary on below screenshot).

iPad – Selective Edit Tools

  • Next tap on the + button (top left corner). This adds a new selective adjustment.

iPad – Selective Adjustment Tools

  • Choose the brush from the three options (brush, radial gradient, and gradient), and follow the instructions.

iPad – Brush Tool

Although not new to this version, I thought it worthwhile also mentioning the Gradient Tool.

iPad – Gradient Tool

The settings panel has also undergone some changes, I’ll let you decide what these are for yourself 😉

iPad – Settings Panel