A Computer Darkroom Feature Preview
The Internet connection is required for Internet-based services such as Books and Maps.
Upgrading Existing Catalogs
Unlike the public beta the GM version of Lightroom 5 can update catalogs from previous versions, which includes Lr5 beta catalogs. The actual process of upgrading an existing catalog is fairly straight forward, albeit a bit time consuming. It's also worth mentioning that your existing catalog will not be replaced or even deleted during upgrade. Therefore, if a problem occurs during the upgrade you'll still be able to use the older catalog.
Library Module and Workflow Enhancements
As mentioned above, the Lightroom UI hasn't seen much in the way of change since Lightroom 1. Sure, we've had new modules, new panels, etc, but the ability for user configuration is still absent. Personally, I don't have a problem with this, but I know a lot of users do. Anyway, there is no point in dwelling on what hasn't happened, especially when there's plenty of new stuff to drool over.
Lightroom 5 - Library Module Loupe View
The Library continues to be at the heart of Lightroom in so far as it's the module that provides most of the tools for managing your photographic assets. Imported images can be viewed in the Library in various modes or views. These include the now familiar Grid view (G), Loupe view (E), Compare view (C) and Survey view (N). Each of these views is intended for a specific purpose, but users may find one view more useful than others. For example, Grid view allows the user to see large numbers of images as thumbnails whilst at the same time providing a workspace for applying metadata, labels, ratings, keywords, flags and even quick development adjustments to images in bulk. As with previous versions of Lightroom, the Loupe view restricts these actions to a single image. Compare and Survey views are designed to make the tasks of rating and flagging easier.
Grid Overlay in Loupe View
One very welcome addition to the Library module is the ability to overlay a grid in loupe view (see above screen grab). The grid is user configurable using a slider located on the toolbar just below the content area. To activate Grid Overlay just click on the toolbar drop down menu and pick the relevant menu item. Modify the size of the gridlines by holding the command/control key and click "Size" while dragging the mouse to the left (to decrease) or right (to increase). This also works for the adjusting the opacity (Cmd/Ctrl + Option/Alt + 0 keyboard shortcut)
Smart Collections are an important workflow tool, but have seen little love for a few versions now. However, with Lightroom 5, Adobe have enhanced smart collections with some new criteria:
* also available as filters
Smart previews is an
all new feature in Lightroom designed to help users with large
numbers of files that they may wish to edit whilst away from their
desktop computer. In the past this has meant that the user had to
maintain copies of their images on a portable disk drive, which was
then taken with them when on the road or away from their normal
workplace. When files were relatively small this wasn't a big problem
but photo libraries containing tens or even hundreds of thousands of
files the ability to transport all files was becoming
increasing difficult, if not impossible. Obviously, Adobe have
recognised the problem and for Lightroom 5 set about making it less
of a issue.
Smart Previews are lightweight files that can be used in place of the
original raw files throughout the application, including the Develop
Module. They reside in the same folder as the catalog and are contained
in a 'lrdata' file folder structure. This is similar to the existing
Preview file structure. If available, the original files are
prioritised above Smart Previews and will be used when available. When
the original files are not available the Smart Preview will be used.
Any edits applied to the Smart Preview will be saved to the Lightroom
catalog. When the original files are reconnected these edits will be
automatically applied to the original. Smart Previews are Lossy DNG
files and are currently limited to 2540 pixels on the long side. Smart Previews can be created
during or after import, and files having an original and smart preview
can be recognised by a note under the histogram (Library and Develop
Smart Previews are lightweight files that can be used in place of the original raw files throughout the application, including the Develop Module. They reside in the same folder as the catalog and are contained in a 'lrdata' file folder structure. This is similar to the existing Preview file structure. If available, the original files are prioritised above Smart Previews and will be used when available. When the original files are not available the Smart Preview will be used. Any edits applied to the Smart Preview will be saved to the Lightroom catalog. When the original files are reconnected these edits will be automatically applied to the original. Smart Previews are Lossy DNG files and are currently limited to 2540 pixels on the long side.
Smart Previews can be created during or after import, and files having an original and smart preview can be recognised by a note under the histogram (Library and Develop modules).
Original and Smart Preview Available
When only the smart preview is available (e.g. photos offline), files with smart previews can be recognised by the black rectangle on top left corner of thumbnail or the note under the histogram.
Smart Previews Only Available
To create the smart previews during import - check the "Build Smart Previews" field in the File Handling panel. This checkbox is off by default and is persistent between Import sessions. The checkbox should revert to off in between Lightroom sessions. Within Preferences, check the "Build Smart Previews during Import" option. When enabled, this will make the "Build Smart Previews" checkbox enabled by default within the Import dialog. You can still uncheck this on a per session basis, but it will revert back to the default on Lightroom restart. To create smart previews after import - in Library, go to the Library-> Previews -> Build Smart Previews menu command
When exporting to catalog, there is a "Build Smart Previews" checkbox available. This will create a new catalog and the Smart Preview lrdata file will be contained in the same folder as the new catalog.
Keyword List Filter
One of the most irritating aspects of the 'Filter Keyword' feature in Lightroom is the fact that it filters on letter sequences irrespective of whether they're the first letters in a word or just appear somewhere within it. An example, say I’m searching for the keyword 'el rancho'. One of the keywords returned by Lightroom is 'religious person'. Now you might well ask - why did Lightroom display 'religious person' as a match for 'el rancho'? Simple answer - the sequence of letters 'el' appear in 'religious'. I could equally have been searching for 'eel' (as in fish). In this instance, the filter would return words like - 'stainless steel', 'wagon wheel', 'wheeline irrigation', and 'prayer wheels'. The list of inappropriate suggestions goes on and on.
So, having drawn your attention to above quirk in Lightroom behaviour you might expect that I'm going to announce that it's been fixed. Sorry, to disappoint - it hasn't! No, instead of fixing the silliness, the engineers have focused their attention on another aspect of keyword filtering namely 'keywords inside matches'. Now this, for some, might well be a dream come true, but for me... The new feature or tweak is a drop-down option within the 'Filter Keywords' search field. When enabled, 'Show all keywords inside matches' will result in Lightroom displaying all matches for the word being searched for plus any that are contained within it (i.e. child keywords within the hierarchy). The screen grab shown below demonstrates how it works. The first tab shows my top level keyword list, the second shows what Lightroom will filter if I search for the word 'civic', and the last shows the list of child keywords within 'civic buildings'.
Enhanced Keyword List filter
Other Features and JDIs in Library
Upon hiding the Toolbar, an overlay bezel informs customers that the Toolbar is hidden can be restored using the T keyboard shortcut. This occurs in all Lightroom 5 modules.
A new menu item has been added to the View menu called Lock Zoom Position. If the menu item is checked, the zoom position of each image will be remembered, and when switching between images, the loupe view will be centered on the point you clicked last time.
New keyboard shortcut 'F12' to trigger tethered capture.
A Direction field has been added to the EXIF Metadata panel. Obviously, this only appears when the files contains GPS with directional data. This field will show the compass directions as one of 8 options (North, Northwest, West, etc.). The degree value will shown as a tooltip on mouse hover. The "Direction" EXIF metadata field is editable. The 8 compass directions (North, North-west, east, etc.) are the only values that can be entered in this field. This field can be synced across multiple images using the "Sync Metadata" button.
A new new Import option has been added to Preferences. When Show the 'Current/Previous Import' collection during Import" is checked, the customer is shown their newly imported photos. When unchecked, the photos are still imported, but the focus will remain on the last previously viewed images (prior to Import).
Photos can be dragged directly to Saved Locations and Saved Locations can be dragged to photos. In both cases, the photo will receive the same location as the already defined "Saved Location".
There is now a command to verify the integrity of DNG files (Library>Validate DNG Files). Any invalid DNG files will be placed in a special collection. Only DNG files created by Adobe software can be validated. Note that camera-created DNGs cannot be validated because they do not contain the necessary checksum).
I have already mentioned Smart Previews, which, when available will significantly reduce the initial rendering of files in the Develop module. However, smart previews are only a small part of the story for the Develop module. The three headline features in Develop are:
Adobe first introduced serious lens correction tools when they released Lightroom 3. These were further enhanced in Lightroom 4, but even then some of the most difficult corrections depended on user interaction via sliders. However, even the most skilful user often found dealing with the corrections necessary to fix perspective or even the poor choice of lens were extremely difficult, if not impossible. Wouldn't it be nice to have such corrections dealt with automatically? Well, with Lightroom 5 many of the most awkward corrections can be automatically fixed with the click of a button. A close-up view of the Upright tool panel along example of Upright in use is shown below.
Upright tools in Lens Corrections panel
When the user presses Auto button within the Basic tab the Upright tool will analyse the image to determine the optimum correction based on the best balance between level and perspective. In many cases the auto button will be sufficient. However, in some situations the Level or Vertical will produce the best results, and in others Full will be best. Each button has a short tooltip describing what it does.
Upright - Basic tab in Lens Corrections - Before view (click image for larger view)
Upright - Basic tab in Lens Corrections - After view (click image for larger view)
In above example, Auto mode produced the best results. However, with other similar images the best result was produced by Vertical mode. The purpose of me restating this is to enforce the point that the best results results may not always come from the most likely mode.
The new Radial Filter can be access from the Develop module toolbar. It's located between the Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush. The purpose of this new tool is to allow Lightroom users to apply local adjustments to a masked area rather than via a brush. While the tool will usually find use in allowing the user to apply off centre vignettes it will also enable more creative effects to be applied (e.g. highlight multiple areas within an image). The shape, size, rotation angle and edge feathering of the Radial Filter can all be configured by the user.
Radial Filter (click for larger view)
Bounding ellipse can then be manipulated in the same way as the Crop overlay
Advanced Healing Brush
The last of the new headline features that I want to discuss is the Advanced Healing brush. In previous versions of Lightroom it was only possible heal or clone circular defects such as dust spots. However, if more complex shaped defects were present in the image then it would need to be edited using Photoshop's much more powerful and flexible tools. With Lightroom 5 this shortcoming has been partially addressed in that we now have brush tool that can be used to heal non circular objects. The following screen grab shows an example before and after view of an image with contrails.
Advanced Healing Brush in use
Other Features and JDIs in Develop Module
If you've already been using the public beta you'll be aware that the output modules haven't received a lot attention with this release. OK, so there are enhancements to the Book and Slideshow module, but nothing on a par with what's been added to Library and Develop modules. The headline features are summarised at top of page. So, I'll not repeat them here. Nevertheless, it's worth mentioning that like smart previews, the work that has been done under the hood in the slideshow module should pave the way for some really cool enhancements in future versions. Sadly, a side effect of this work has resulted in Lightroom 5 loosing much of its capacity to create time-lapse sequences. This means folk who are into creating time-lapse sequences will need to keep Lightroom 4 around for a while.
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