So what's new and improved?
In comparison the public
beta, and as forewarned, the release
version of Lightroom 2.0 doesn't contain many new features.
are a good number of enhancements to those first seen in the public
beta. Most of the new features were probably already in
weren't ready for the public beta. As for the enhancements, well, some
were planned, but in some cases Adobe
obviously took on board user feedback. This
latter point may come as surprise to some readers, but it shouldn't,
especially when some of the Lightroom and Camera Raw engineers were
active participants in the beta forum.
During the public beta
period Adobe were particularly keen to receive feedback on: the
Local brush adjustments,
the Library filter tools,
and the refinements to output
sharpening. So, it should come as
no surprise to find that the
new and improved features since the public beta are:
Improved local adjustment brushes (including a
Gradient tool with custom toning
Enhanced Folder and Collection view
Enhanced keyword filtering
Lightroom Web, Export and Metadata SDK
Significant Camera Profile enhancements including a
dedicated profile editing application
Since much of the material in my earlier public beta
preview is still current
it would be worthwhile reading it along with this feature review. You can
access it by pressing the link button below. The preview will
open in a separate window, so it shouldn't interfere with reading this
Note: A Swedish translation of this feature
review is available at:
translation was undertaken by Lars Ekdahl who has undertaken a similar
exercise for other material on this site.
The following table lists the new and enhanced
features found in Lightroom 2.0:
Simplified organisational tools in Library
Volume Management View
Enhanced Keyword List
Enhanced Search and Filter Panel
64-bit native on Mac and Windows.
Metadata SDK for custom metadata
Local Adjustment Brush and Gradient Filter for: Exposure, Brightness,
Contrast, Saturation, Clarity, Sharpening and custom toning
Support for new camera profiling technology via DNG Profile Editor
Additional detail view window for Noise Reduction and Sharpening
Slideshow Export to JPEG
Enhanced colour selection dialog box for backgrounds and borders
Output sharpening for print and output to screen
Print Package with automatic cell layout
16-bit printing on Mac
SDK for third party gallery support
Lightroom Exchange for community plug-in interaction
So, of the features most requested both before and
during the public beta, which didn't make the cut?
At first glance little appears to have changed within
the Library module. The Library still remains the heart of Lightroom in
so far as it's the module that provides most of the tools for managing
your photographic assets. Imported photos can be viewed in the Library
in various modes or views, which include: Grid view (G), Loupe view
(E), Compare view (C) and Survey view (N). Each of these
views is intended for a
specific purpose in your workflow, but you may find one view more
useful than others. Grid view allows you see large
numbers of photos as thumbnails whilst at the same time providing a
workspace for applying labels, ratings, keywords, flags and even quick
development adjustments to photos in bulk. On the other hand, Loupe
view restricts these actions to a single photo. Compare and Survey
views are designed to make the tasks of rating and flagging easier,
although some users will find the absence of a 1:1 view in Survey view
still limits its usefulness when a trying to decide between more than
two near enough identical photos.
Figure 1 - Library module Grid view (Click image for larger view)
If you have been using
Lightroom 1.x for any length of time you'll no doubt be aware that the
handling offline photos was particularly painful. In fact, pretty much
any task associated with moving your photos into, within or out of
Lightroom could be painfully slow when large numbers of photos were
involved. The process of moving photos around was also made more
complex by the fact that there was no obvious visual link to how they
were stored on your computer hard disks. Enter the new Volume
Browser (figure 2 below).
Figure 2 - Click image for larger view
The new Volume Browser displays your folders by volume
(disk drive) in alphabetical order. Sadly, there is no user sort order
for volumes or folders, maybe next time. From the screen shots shown in
Figures 2 and 3 it should obvious that this new approach to displaying
and managing folders is a significant improvement on Lightroom 1.x. Not
only is the Volume Browser more intuitive to use, but it's also much
faster in operation.
Figure 3 - Volume Browser with context menus for
Volume information and management
In capturing the screen shots for figures 2 and 3 I
have attempted to show as many of the mini features as possible. For
example, Figure 2 shows the various volume statistics (photo count,
disk capacity, connection status) along with the status LED. When a
disk is connected (online) and has plenty of spare capacity the LED
will show green. But, when a disk is disconnected (offline) the status
LED and menu bar will be dimmed. The volume status bar can be
configured via a context menu
Other changes and improvements from the old Folder
It's no longer possible to rename a folder by double
clicking its name, however, a Rename option is provided in the folder
Subfolders can be promoted by clicking on the
Promote Subfolders command. For example, in figure 3 above the
subfolders located within DNG Photo Library can be arranged so that
they are directly below the volume name MacPro RAID. They still reside
with the DNG Photo Library folder, so no actual folders have been
deleted or photos relocated. This command is only available in the
context menu when the selected folder is displayed as the top level or
parent. The Add Parent Folder command can be used to reverse
Promote Subfolders command.
Save Metadata allows you to save metadata to all files
within a selected folder without having to first preselect the actual
photos. This can help reduce the lag we many users experienced in Lightroom 1.x
because it avoids having to first accumulate the metadata for the
The Update Folder Location command is used to
point to a new or alternative location for the selected folder. It uses
the a dialog broadly similar to the Finder (Mac) or Explorer
(Windows) to locate the new/alternative location. I show an example
of how this command can be used in a tutorial mentioned later.
closed off "What's
new and improved" above on a negative
note. So, let's look at a few positives.
First up. Adobe have managed to further
increase the size of files that can be imported directly into the
Lightroom catalog. Remember, with version 1.x the limit was 10,000
pixels on the longest side, this was increased to 30,000 pixels in
the public beta. However, with the final release the maximum dimension
for the longest side has been increased to a staggering 65,000 pixels (i.e.
a 512 Megapixel image). No doubt the Gigapixel brigade will be
disappointed, maybe next time.
The item next may come as something of a surprise. As noted above Lightroom 2.0 does not
support CMYK files, which is no doubt a disappointment to
many photographers. However, to coincide with the release of Lightroom
2.0 I have published a
that explains how CMYK files can indeed be imported into your Lightroom
catalog, albeit indirectly. I should warn that the method discussed
in the tutorial is unofficial. So, please remember that you use it at
your own risk. The following screen shot shows a selection
of CMYK files within my master catalog.
Figure 4 - Grid view displaying CMYK files (Click image for larger
As was the case with the public beta Lightroom 2.0
includes the ability to automatically export your photos back
to their original folder. You can also export photos back into your
catalog and stack them along with the original. You can even apply
adaptive Output Sharpening for print or screen. For example, in
the Print module you can define the paper type (Glossy or Matte)
and Lightroom will automatically adapt the amount of sharpening that is
applied to the photo being spooled to the printer or saved to the
Figure 5 - Export dialog with new ICC profile options
The main changes from the public beta relate to
the controls for sharpening and a much improved SDK for
creating export plug-ins. In the case of output sharpening we still
have three settings but Medium has now been replaced with Standard (i.e. the default). Also by popular request, Lightroom 2.0 via Export
dialog now has the ability to select from any RGB ICC profile installed
in your ColorSync or ICC Color folder. Simply select "Other" in the
File Settings pop-up and check all those ICC profiles you want
access to from within Lightroom. I have shown ColorMatch RGB as an
example in figure 5 above.
As with the public beta, Lightroom 2.0 can open
into Photoshop without first creating the fully rendered
If this was the only improvement to Photoshop integration I think many
users would be disappointed. Fortunately, it isn't.
context menu command for Edit in
Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 you can open
individual photos as Smart Objects,
thus utilising non-destructive filters such as
and Lens Correction.
Multiple photos can also be opened into Photoshop and subsequently
merged as a single Panorama
or HDR image.
Figure 5 - Enhanced Photoshop
Tip: When either the Photoshop Lens Correction or Extract
filters are used it will convert the Background layer to Layer 0. This
is as designed, and reflects the fact the document is now deemed to be
mutli-layered. To save the file back to Lightroom as a PSD you will
need either flatten it or use Maximise Compatibility.
Whilst Lightroom 2.0 still limits you to
two external editors it's now possible to add
External Editor Presets. The
presets need a file specification (e.g. TIFF, ProPhoto RGB,
16-bit, etc), but can point to any compatible external editor. Figure 6
below shows an example where I have created presets for
Noise Ninja and
The actual presets are defined in the Lightroom
Figure 6 - External Editing
(Click image for larger view)
For Photoshop integration to work correctly you must be using
Photoshop 10.01 (i.e. CS3 with latest updates, and Adobe Camera Raw
Library Filter Bar
There are four sections to the new Filter Bar: Text,
Attributes, Metadata and None. The first three are used for a filtered search of
the contents of your catalog and the last (i.e. None) is used to switch the
Filter Bar off.
The Filter Bar is activated from the
Library>View menu or by pressing on the '\' key. By
default, it contains four columns, but is easily configured to display
between 1 and 8 columns (i.e. via menu on the top right corner of each column).
The columns can be used to filter all of the categories that Lr1.x
supported plus a some new categories (e.g. Keywords, GPS,
Ratio, Treatment, and Develop Preset). The actual column
layout can be saved as a custom preset by clicking on the Custom
Filter pop-up located on the top right corner of the Filter Bar.
Figure 7 below shows an example of the Filter Bar in use. This
particular example also highlights another welcome addition to the
final release version, namely, the option for the hierarchical
arrangement of Location and Keywords.
Figure 7 - Library Filter
Bar (Click image for larger view)
As expected, there was a lot of
feedback regarding the positioning of the Filter Bar within the photo content
area. Some users have asked for the old Metadata Browser to be reinstated in
the left panel track. However, as explained in my Lr2beta preview the
engineers have reserved the left panel track to define the source
location of photos, specifically Folders and Collections. The net
effect of this change is that everything shown in the left panel
track now defines a context. Therefore, the Filter Bar
will only list those categories that match with the selected folder
and/or collection. In theory, this should make it much easier to filter
photos without having to resort to cross-panel selections and multiple
selections with the aid of keyboard modifiers. Unfortunately, many find
the context based behaviour of the filters to be extremely frustrating. The
best way to minimise this
behaviour is to create filter presets then pick them
from the filter popup when required.
One of the most useful aspects of the Filter Bar is filtering by
Again, there has been a lot of feedback on keyword filtering with some users disliking the way
the panel needs to be configured for Boolean filtering. Some yearn
for the tick-box simplicity of Photoshop Elements and others
complex Boolean text searches. However, the engineers have stuck to
their guns and left things pretty much as they were in the public beta.
In short, the Filter Bar uses 'AND' between the columns and filtering within a column is an 'OR'
function (i.e. hold down Ctrl/Cmd key then make appropriate selections
within column). Using multiple keyword columns it is therefore possible
for both 'AND' and 'OR' keyword filtering.
As mentioned above, the Filter Bar is also the location in which text based
searches and attribute based filtering is carried out. The rule set for
text based searches has changed little since Lightroom 1.x and they
remain relatively self explanatory. However, it's worth mentioning a
few of the less obvious filtering rules that come in handy for fine-tuned
searches within the text entry field. For example, placing a '+' at the
beginning of a word is the same as Starts With, placing a '+' at the
the end of a word is the same as Ends With, and placing a '!'
at the beginning of a word is the same as Doesn't Contain. Also, worth
noting that the Attribute bar now contains White and Gray label chips
for Custom Label and No Label respectively. Finally, multiple filters are activated by shift clicking the respective filter
name (e.g. click Text then Shift+click Attribute
followed by Shift+click
If you have been using the public beta you'll already
be familiar with most of the changes that have taken place for Keywording.
For example, the Keyword List panel being relocated to the right
panel track along with other enhancements such a new Keyword Set called Suggested Keywords. The suggested keyword
is particularly useful and is based on existing keywords already
applied to the photo and any photo that is considered to be close
a neighbour in terms of capture time.
Nevertheless, even suggested keywords have their
limitations. For example, you have a photo to which you want to apply a
keyword that is probably already within the keyword set, but the
capture time isn't sufficiently close to other similar photos for
Suggested Keywords to be of any help. Even worse, the keyword is buried
so deep within the keyword hierarchy that finding it will be more time
consuming than retyping it and hoping that you don't end up with an out
of place duplicate. This is where the new Keyword Filter comes
The following series of screen shots demonstrates the Keyword Filter in
use. The actual photo (not shown) is of a winter scene taken taken at
Kelly Warm Springs in the Grand Teton National Park. I've
visited the area twice, once in January 2006 and then again in January
2008. So, Suggested Keywords is going to be of little help.
Figures 8 and 8a - Keyword Filter in use
Figure 8 (above left)
shows that I have already applied a number of keywords that describe
the photo, but not its location. In figure 8a (above right) I began by
typing the location (i.e. Kelly Warm Springs), but after only three letters the filter
has removed eight of the top level keywords, and is already homing in
on the location. By Alt/Option clicking on the word Places
all locations beginning "kel" will be exposed in the
keyword hierarchy (figure 9).
Figure 9 - Applying the filtered keyword
Applying a keyword - In above example I
clicked on the checkbox, but I could also have used the drag-and-drop
method to drop the keyword onto the photo, or vice versa. Also, notice
the arrow on the right side of the panel. When the arrow is clicked
Lightroom will filter the content window to show only those photos
taken at Kelly Warm Springs.
Removing a keyword - There are a couple
of options within the Keyword List panel for removing keywords from selected
photos. The first method involves a context menu in the Keyword List panel from which you choose "Remove this keyword
from selected photo". Alternatively, you can select the photo and
simply uncheck the keyword in the Keyword List panel. I'm not a heavy
user of keywords, so it's possible that my description makes the
process more complicated than it actually is. Nevertheless, I think the
changes outlined above make the workflow for keywording much more
logical and frustration free than it was in Lightroom 1.x.
Multiple Display Support
Support for multiple displays was included in the
public beta, albeit quite buggy. Even so, many users expressed the view
that by not providing tare off panels it didn't go far enough. If these
users expected this to change then they are going to be sorely
disappointed because tare off panels are not included.
As with the version first shown in the public beta, the new second display window is based on the same
module picker concept that's used in the main display window, except
that the options include: Grid (Shift+G), Loupe (Shift+E),
Compare (Shift+C) and
Survey (Shift+N) views. I have listed the keyboard shortcut
for each in brackets, but clicking on the name will also switch views.
Each of these views has enhanced functionality over the same view in
the main window. To activate the second window display press on
Figure 10 -
Second Display Live View
Loupe view on the second display window includes
options for: Normal mode, Live mode and Locked mode.
With Normal mode the photo previewed on the second
window is the same photo as is previewed on the main display. However,
the second display window can be set to a different zoom ratio, if
required. This come is very be useful when adjusting the sharpness or
With Live mode the second display preview is
continually updated to reflect the area of the photo that the mouse is
being hovered over on the main display.
With Locked mode the photo previewed on the second
display window is fixed. To preview another photo you press the
Given the extent of the feature set associated the
second display support you will be pleased to note that a comprehensive
set of menu options is available under the Window menu in each module.
Keyboard shortcuts are also available for most of the second display
Local Adjustments now called Adjustment
Brushes were a big hit with users during the public beta period and Adobe received quite a lot of very useful feedback. For the
final release version the new Adjustment Brushes have been slightly reworked and
a new Sharpen brush added.
However, the most important new feature for the release version is the Gradient Tool.
This particular tool has been on most Lightroom users wish list for a
very long time, although surprisingly little was made of its absence
from the public beta. Before discussing the tool in detail I will
provide a brief overview of the adjustment tools now available in
Figure 11 - New Toolbar
Location in Develop Module (Click image for larger view)
In order, the
tools are: Crop
Clone/Heal (N), Red Eye, the new Gradient Tool (M)
and Adjustment Brush (K)
brushes. Again, I have listed the keyboard shortcut for each in
brackets, clicking on a tool icon opens a panel comprising the options for
that tool, clicking it again closes the panel and returns you to the
standard Develop module panels.
As the name
implies, Adjustment Brushes in Lightroom are based on the brush
paradigm rather than region (selection based). This means they fit
better with the method used for the Photoshop Dodge &
Figure 12a - Crop and Straighten Tool
Figure 12b - Clone/Heal Tool
Figure 12c - Gradient Tool - Preset mode
Figure 12d - Gradient Tool - Slider mode
Figure 12e - Adjustment Brush - Preset mode
Figure 12f - Adjustment Brush - Slider mode
Lightroom 2.0 provides adjustment brushes and gradients for:
Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity,
Sharpness and Color. In Preset mode, the Effect (Amount) slider defines the initial
value for the brush or gradient (e.g. 2 units exposure, 50 units brightness). You
can have two preset brushes (currently labelled A and B),
each brush can be adjusted for Size, Feather, Flow and
Density, although it's also possible to save brush presets.
The Auto Mask when active will help confine the brush strokes
within an area with similar colour. It's worth
noting that the Auto Mask has been significantly improved since the
public beta, as have the other brushes.
I discussed Adjustment Brushes at some length in my
public beta preview, so this time round I will concentrate on the
Gradient Tool. To define the gradient color value you need to
double-click the larger of the six tint tiles (Figure 13) then click
the colour picker on the colour palette. Click the larger tint tile to
close the color panel.
Figure 13 -
Gradient Tool - Color Adjustment
Figure 14 shows a screenshot of the Lightroom Develop
module with Gradient Tool panel opened and a photo of "Castle
Geyser" in Yellowstone National Park. Prior to adopting
Photoshop for editing my photographs I would have taken the original
shot with a Graduated
filter attached to the lens to tone down the sky area a little. But
that was then an this is now.
So, now that Lightroom also has a gradient tool I can
apply the gradient directly to the photo without going near Photoshop.
The applied gradient is combination of - 1.0 exposure units
with a blue coloured tint. To apply the gradient I selected the tool
clicked close to the top of the photo and dragged down. By holding down
the Shift key I was able to ensure that gradient remained vertically
Figure 14 -
Gradient Tool (Click image for larger view)
The photo is now starting to look more the way I want, but still
needs some separation in the steam and maybe a little more exposure
reduction. In figure 15 below you can see the results after I reduced
exposure by a further 0.25 units, in combination with increases to
contrast, saturation, clarity, and even a little sharpening. To move
all of the sliders in combination first locate the cursor over the
"pin", hold down the Alt/Option then drag right or left to
increase/decrease the combined adjustment. Note that this keyboard
modifier trick also works with Adjustment Brushes.
Figure 15 -
Fine-tuning the Gradient Tool (Click image for larger view)
The Gradient Tool and Adjustment Brushes
have their own set of keyboard shortcuts, with the following being the most important:
Open Adjustment Brush - K
Open Gradient Tool - M
Show/hide Pin - H
Increase/decrease brush size - ] / [
Increase/decrease feather - Shift+] / Shift+[
Commit a brush stroke or gradient and/or start new - Enter
Delete selected pin - Delete
Holding down - Alt/Option key activates erase
Toggle Auto Mask On/Off - A
Pressing 'O' toggles on/off the overlay
Shift+O cylces through alternative
colours for overlay
Constrain gradient to vertical - hold down Shift
Invert gradient - '
Scale from center - Alt/Option plus drag
Although I covered most of the other changes to the
Develop module in my public beta preview I think it's worth summarising
Detail panel now includes the Chromatic
Aberration and Defringe controls previously found in the
Lens Corrections panel. The Detail panel also includes a new 1:1
Preview window which can be used to preview sharpening and noise
adjustments without zooming the actual window to 1:1. A new cursor icon
can be used to pinpoint the area of the image you want to preview when
sharpening or applying lens corrections to.
The new Vignettes panel contains two types of vignette, the first is for Lens
Correction and the second for Post-Crop edge effects. The
standard vignette tool is used to correct dark corners arises from
light fall-off and/or over shading from lens hoods, etc.
Post-Crop is intended for more artistic uses such as edge burning and
has the advantage of also respecting cropping, whether central or
Additional keyboard modifiers have been added to the Basic adjustment panel.
So, that it's now possible to cycle
through the controls using either the comma '< 'or period
keys. The keyboard '+/-' keys now increase/decrease the
active control, and larger adjustments can be obtained by holding down
the 'Shift' key when holding down the '+/-' keys. Tapping the
semi-colon ';' key resets the active control to its default value.
The Clarity control can now be adjusted for negative
values, which has the effect of softening images. This particular
feature is likely to be more useful when applied via the Adjustment Brush
rather than globally.
To coincide with the release of Lightroom 2.0, Adobe
have also made available beta versions of new Camera Profiles
for use with Camera Raw 4.5 and Lightroom 2.0. The profiles labelled
Adobe Standard are intended as alternatives to the default ACR
camera profile, and each camera model will have an additional set of
profiles that are intended to emulate the camera vendor styles or
looks. For example, Canon users will be able to choose profiles that
emulate Pictures Styles such as: Standard, Landscape,
Neutral, Portrait and Faithful. When installed,
the new profiles are will appear in Lightroom's Camera Calibration
panel (figure 16). It's also possible to make one of the new profiles
your camera default, instructions for which can be read in a tutorial located
Figure 16 - Selecting new Camera Profile in Camera
The background to the new style or look profiles is interesting in so
far as Adobe has clearly accepted that many users prefer a rendering
that matches with the camera generated JPEG over the Adobe Standard
rendering. In some cases this may be due to personal taste. However, in
others it's more likely to be because the Adobe Standard rendering is
in some way flawed, although I'm not sure that Adobe would be in full
agreement with this term, especially since it ignores trade-offs based on the
When developing the new profiles Adobe recognised that
they needed to reconcile the differing requirements of three distinct
user groups. These can be summarised as follows
Photographers who prefer a default
rendering that is closer to the in-camera JPEG rendering, but
also require the flexibility offered by raw processing.
Approximate the in-camera JPEG rendering as well as the various
styles and looks provided either in-camera or via the camera
vendors own software solution
Photographers who are generally satisfied with Adobe's default
rendering but have found flaws in that rendering that cannot be
corrected by the camera calibration controls provided in ACR and
Improve the default Adobe rendering to correct for the rendering
flaws identified by photographers.
Photographers who shoot under controlled lighting and need to
calibrate the default rendering to match their specific needs.
Provide a Profile Editor that photographers can use to create
default profiles that meet their specific requirements.
Having given it some thought, I'm probably a member of
the second group, which might explain why I'm so pleased with the
colour rendering improvements I find with the new Adobe default
profiles. That's not to say that I haven't tried the profiles intended
to approximate the camera manufacturers rendering. I have, and they do
a pretty good job of matching, but then again I was never a fan of
Canon's Picture Styles.
From the list of customer types and their requirements it's
clear that one-size-fits all approach was never going to fly, which
probably explains why the Profile Editor (figure 17) was developed.
Anyone who has tried to calibrate their camera using a Gretag
MacBeth ColorChecker will know that it can be time consuming, and
the results may not always be what they'd hoped for. This is were the
Profile Editor really comes into its own. Basically, you a capture a
ColorChecker chart under good even lighting conditions, convert to DNG
(the editor will only open DNG), then from the Chart tab choose
"Create Color Table" and you done - no more coffee breaks whilst a
calibration script runs.
Another use for the Profile Editor is to modify the
White Balance characteristics of an existing profile. This type of
edit will be of particular interest to photographers who specialise in
photographing under lighting conditions that fall outside Camera Raw's
default range (e.g. stage lighting and infrared). Other options for
creating new or modifying existing profiles or recipes are described in
the tutorial supplied along with the Profile Editor and profile
So that's it, Lightroom 2.0 is now available and ready
for use. In preparing this review I decided to focus on the Library and
Develop modules, mainly because my beta preview covered virtually all
the new features in the other modules. Nevertheless, I hope the information that I
have provided is of help
when you begin working with it in earnest. I have also provided links
to other material, which I hope you find the time to check out. In
particular, Martin Evening's new book on Lightroom 2.0. Weighing
in at some 580 pages it contains lots of detailed information on just
about every feature, which is obviously something that I could never
hope to do in a few web pages.
Before wrapping up I would also take the opportunity to
remind you that backing up your Lightroom 1.x or Public Beta
catalog would be a good idea. I don't expect that you'll have any
problems, but it's always wise to take precautions in case the worst
happens. And last, but not least...