Adobe announced today a major update to their photography app, Lightroom. Lightroom has been updated to Lightroom and is now an official member of the Creative Cloud. Okay, Lightroom was a member of the Creative Cloud with Lightroom 5, but now Adobe has made some clear distinctions. Adobe has designated a difference with the Creative Cloud and boxed versions of Lightroom. Lightroom CC is a member of the Creative Cloud and the new Lightroom 6 is not. The major difference is that you can’t sync your photos using the Creative Cloud via Lightroom on the Web and Lightroom Mobile. Other than that the software packages are identical. Here are some of the major new features found in Lightroom CC/ Lightroom 6.
New in Lightroom CC are HDR Merge, Panorama Merge, Facial Recognition, Filter Brush, Advanced slideshows settings, and performance improvements. Starting with the least sexy but the one that you’ll appreciate the most are those Performance improvements. Now Lightroom uses the GPU to process images in the background while you’re working. This makes the program feel a lot faster and less frustrating. This will make your work in the Develop Module a much smoother experience. Lightroom will also performs better on demanding 4K and 5K displays, by taking advantage of compatible graphics processors. Just be sure to go into Preference Menu to tell Lightroom when you want it to use your computer’s GPU.
A quick overview of Lightroom’s imaging features, first there’s HDR Merge. What is so cool with this feature is that you really only need two exposures to make “realistic” HDR photos. Of course you can use more, but with just two RAW exposures, one at +1 EV and at -1 EV, Lightroom will get all that dynamic range info and create an extended exposure range photo and save it as a DNG. It will even create that DNG if you’re working with JPEG originals. Keep in mind that a JPEG has less tonal info than a RAW file so you will need to photograph more exposures.
Next new feature is, Panorama Merge, which works pretty much like the Photoshop version by making several images of a scene and stitching them together to make an image with a wider angle of view. The Filter Brush allows you to put the Radial and Gradient Filters on a “brush”. This probably is just practice lap in the shallow end of the pool for something more robust to come in future updates. Face Recognition looks to be a great feature for event and wedding photographers. Once you set this up, Lightroom will remembers the faces you select and make them part of the image’s metadata similar to keywords. Advanced Slideshow adds new capabilities to Slideshows by adding Pan-Zoom transitions and the ability to finally add music to your Slideshow’s videos.
Along with Lightroom CC there are updates to Lightroom Mobile. With the iOS version you now have Segmented view, Copy and Paste adjustment, a new Presentation mode, improved crop, sign up right within the app like with the Android version, and there’s integration with the other Adobe Mobile apps, Slate and Voice for telling stories with your images. On the Android side Lightroom Mobile has been updated to be compatible with Android tablets. On the latest version of Android 5.0 users can take advantage with DNG raw file support for Lollipop enabled devices, and access microSD storage for editing and saving photos.
Now, for those photographers still sitting on the fence about the Adobe Creative Cloud, you can still get all of these features with Lightroom 6 as standalone boxed software. You still get all of the automatic updates Adobe will push to Lightroom CC. You will not get any of the Creative Cloud Sync Services and integration with other Adobe mobile iOS app & devices. There is also no syncing with Lightroom on the Web using Android and desktop computers. If that’s not important to you fine, but if it is, consider the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan at $9.99 a month. With it you get Photoshop, Lightroom, 25 GB of Creative Cloud storage, and a Behancé ProSite website. Lightroom on the Web gives you the ability to add, organize, and share photos from any computer with a browser. Lightroom is now better than ever, on every platform.