Adobe ‘Max 2022’ saw the announcement of Camera Raw 15, Lightroom Classic 12, Lightroom Desktop 6 along with updates to Lightroom Mobile and Web. New features in desktop applications include:
- Additional masking options: Select People, Select Objects and Select Background
- Content-Aware Remove
- New adaptive presets pack for portrait selections
- Left Handed Panel Swap (LrC)
- Masking Curves (ACR Only)
- High Dynamic Range Output (Technology Preview in ACR)
- Compare View with Edit (LrD)
- Mask Amount Slider (LrD)
I’ll discuss each in more detail below using LrC as my application of choice. However, were a feature in specific to either Camera Raw or Lightroom Desktop I’ll use that application.
Masking Updates (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop)
With these latest updates, Adobe has introduced new masking options for ‘background’, ‘objects’ and ‘people’. The existing Masking UI has also been updated to incorporate these new masks.
New Mask UI
Previously, the only way to select a background mask was to either invert the subject mask or the sky mask (if present). Unfortunately, neither was ideal. With these latest updates to ACR and Lightroom Classic & Desktop there is a dedicated masking to option for selecting backgrounds.
Selecting an object or objects in an image wasn’t fully supported in earlier versions, although some users could work around the omission easier than others. With these latest updates the task of selecting objects is much easier.
There are two options for selecting objects: ‘Brush’ and ‘ Marquee’ as shown in below screenshot.
Object Selection Options
In below example, I’ve used the ‘marquee’ selection tool. Note that I’ve also included the wake of the kayak. This was achieved by dragging the marquee tool to include the wake.
Marquee Object Selection
When a photo contains people, the Masking panel will automatically find those people and display a mask for each. Clicking on each individual mask will allow you to refine the mask further based on their physical attributes.
In below example, I have chosen to select ‘Eye Sclera’ (whites of eye).
Selecting Physical Features of People
You can also add more than one person (if present in original image) by clicking on the Add People icon. A Mask will be created based on the number of People and attributes selected.
Content Aware Removal (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop)
A Content-Aware removal tool is now available under Healing tools. This new tool is based on the Patch Match technology recently introduced to Photoshop.
Content Aware Removal
To use, simply brush over the area to be removed and AI will be used to find a suitable source. However, in the event that the source does not produce a satisfactory result, then a User Guided Source Selection for Content Aware Heal tool is available. To use, hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key and drag over a new source area.
While the Content Aware removal tools appears to be the the ideal solution for removal of objects, people, etc from photos, it not perfect and occasionally the original spot heal tool does a better job.
Adaptive Presets (Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic & Desktop)
Adaptive presets with support for new AI masks have been added to allow users to quickly make people related selections without accessing the ‘Masking’ panel. These adaptive presets will help users Enhance attributes of a Person like Hair, Teeth etc. with a single click using the power of AI.
Portrait Adaptive Presets
Left Handed Panel Swap (Lightroom Classic)
A new interface preference has been added to Lightroom Classic. Using this preference, it’s now possible to globally Swap Left and Right Panel groups. There is also an option for only switching the Develop module panel. It is hoped that these options will make LrC UI a bit friendlier for Left Handed users.
Swap Left and Right panel groups
Note that an app-relaunch is required for this change to take effect.
Import (Lightroom Classic)
On Windows platform, when importing from portable devices, like iPhone, Android phone, Camera, LrC will now scan devices almost 3X faster to load and display images in the Import Grid view.
In addition to performance improvements, this workflow is expected to be much more from reliable at eliminating intermittent hangs and crashes.
Folders (Lightroom Classic)
With version 12, Parent folders can be displayed in the Folder panel for newly imported images instead of being hidden as in LrC 11.5 or earlier. The intent being to help the users to organise their images better. An additional option ‘Show parent folder during import’ is now present in the ‘Import’ options section in General tab of the Preferences dialog to provide control to turn this behaviour On/Off.
Folder Panel – Show parent folder during import
Masking Curves (Camera Raw)
A Point Curves panel has been added to the edit stack in Camera Raw. The inclusion of the point curves panel should help users achieve more refined adjustments than the sliders. Hopefully, curves will be added to Lightroom Classic and Desktop in a future update.
High Dynamic Range Output (Technology Preview in Camera Raw)
Camera Raw already has existing high dynamic range-related features such as Merge to HDR. Those existing features involve reading existing HDR files, or merging multiple source files to create a new HDR file. However, in previous Camera Raw releases, the rendering results (i.e., seeing the edited photos on a display or exporting them to JPEGs or PNGs) have always been limited to standard dynamic range (SDR). For instance, the final 8-bit pixel values are always limited to 0 to 255.
Camera Raw 15 HDR Output provides the ability to see HDR renderings on compatible HDR displays, the ability to save HDR renderings to files, and the ability to send HDR results to Photoshop. At the technical level, this means the ability to produce pixel values outside of the usual [0,255] range.
Note that High Dynamic Range Output is only available on macOS.
- macOS 10.15 or later
- Compatible HDR display, such as MacBook Pro 14″ or 16″ (November 2021) with XDR display, or Apple Pro Display XDR
- GPU Basic or Full acceleration enabled
To enable/disable the feature
Go to the Camera Raw Preferences dialog, Technology Previews section. Enable/disable the checkbox, click OK, and restart the host app (Photoshop or Bridge).
HDR Output Technology Preview
Mask Amount Slider (Lightroom Desktop)
This slider becomes live when the user selects a Mask. Adjusting this slider adjusts non-0 sliders in-sync (under the hood). Note that these slider changes are not reflected in the Local Edit Stack UI, which is expected behaviour.
Mask Amount Slider
Edit In Compare View (Lightroom Desktop)
Both windows in Compare View now support editing.
Edit in Compare View
The minimum OS version for Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic and Desktop is:
- The minimum macOS version supported is macOS Big Sur (11.0).
- You will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 12.0 or later builds on macOS Catalina (10.15.x).
- If you are using macOS Catalina (10.15.x), we recommend that you update your OS to at least macOS Big Sur (11.0).
- The minimum Windows 10 version supported would v20H2 (or later).
- You will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 12.0 or later builds on Windows 10 v1909 and v2004. Installation would be allowed on Windows Server 2016 or later.
- If you are using Windows 10 v1909 or v2004, we recommend that you update your OS to at least Windows v20H2.
New Camera Support
Details of new camera support added since the last release can be found here
New Lens Correction Support
Details of new lens support added since the last release can be found here
Disclosure: As an Adobe Community Expert I receive a free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.