Explore the latest new Lightroom features in this guest post by journalist and adventure photographer Jay Goodrich. Be sure to check out Goodrich’s other great tutorials below:
• 5 Features for Adobe Lightroom 5
• Exposure Blending Using Adobe Photoshop CS6
• Diffraction and Focus Stacking Tutorial for Photoshop CS6
Lightroom CC/6 Latest Features: Panoramas, Masking, and More
by Jay Goodrich
Adobe released its newest version of Lightroom; it is now known as Lightroom CC or Lightroom 6 depending on how you purchase the software. Lightroom CC is available in Adobe’s Creative Cloud and will continuously be updated from now and into the foreseeable future. If you decide the Creative Cloud isn’t for you, you can still purchase Lightroom 6 in software box form from a reseller like B and H Photo Video. The downside to this purchase method, however, is that Adobe doesn’t have plans at this point to update the non-cloud version down the road. This is pretty much the key decision you’ll need to make as to the direction you think your needs will take you regarding your photo editing software. We have had our entire office on the Creative Cloud for close to two years at this point, and have zero complaints with the ease of keeping everything up to date.
At the release of Lightroom CC, Creative Cloud clients had the software available for download immediately upon Adobe’s announcement of it. In the last week I have truly put this software through its paces. An image file submission to Powder Magazine had us not only processing images, but also adding all of their required metadata to those files as well. This allowed us to utilize some of the amazing new features within Lightroom CC and here are some of our favorites.
Finally! Finally! Finally! Did we say finally yet? This single feature add to Lightroom CC has made my life of editing images far better than a week ago. With a simple check box activation, Lightroom CC will now access BOTH processors that are in your computer. Previous versions of Lightroom only accessed the main processor and completely disregarded your graphics processor. Now, Lightroom CC uses both, and it significantly increases the speed at which you can work on your images in the Develop Module. There is only one catch here in that your computer must have a graphics processor that is Open GL compatible. If it is not then you are out of luck on this speed increase.
The key functions where I have noticed the largest gains in speed are scrolling around my images when they are in a 1:1 zoom and when cloning out dust with the Spot Removal tool. There is zero hesitation and hangup with Lightroom CC when performing these standard Develop Module tasks. This single new feature makes the software worth the price of admission.
Photo Merge – Panorama
Remember how anytime we wanted to build a large image from a series of single captures we had to export those images to Photoshop? Well no more. Adobe has built that functionality right into Lightroom CC with the Photo>Photo Merge>Panorama feature. This process works extremely fast now, due to Lightroom CC accessing your graphics processor and here is the best part…It builds the panoramic as a .DNG or RAW file and adds it right next to the original RAW images that you used to create it in the first place.
Brush Option within Gradient and Radial Filter Tools
Now we can add or subtract areas of masking to the Gradient and Radial Filter tools. This is a huge functionality add to these two local adjustment tools within Lightroom CC. In addition to being able to brush within these adjustments you can now turn the visibility of the masks (the red overlay when hitting the ‘O’ shortcut key) so you can see exactly where you are applying the adjustments to your image.
Shift Double Click to Set White and Black Points
In previous versions of Lightroom you would have to hold down the Option key or click those arrows up in the histogram to be able to see your highlights and shadows while setting an image’s white and black points. Well you do not have to do this anymore. Adobe added a simple function to allow you to automatically set the white and black points in Lightroom CC. If you hold down the Shift key and double click on Whites, then repeat the process on Blacks, Lightroom CC now sets those points without having to touch anything else.
At first I thought this was a little too iPhotoish for me, but once I tried it, I think this feature will work wonders when it comes to keeping track of the people that I photograph on a regular basis for adventure sports projects. This feature is available from the Library Module by typing the shortcut letter ‘O’ or by clicking the new Face Detection Icon in the Tool Bar. Once you are in this feature of the Library Module, Lightroom CC automatically begins selecting faces that it finds throughout the current folder or Collection. From there you can begin to add names to corresponding people snapshots and then Lightroom CC begins to take over offering suggestions of the faces that appear similar. You can even use it to name wildlife species, although Lightroom CC doesn’t always bring the animal up automatically, you can still add it manually.
Photo Merge – HDR
Those of you who know me best know that I am fairly against HDR. I think Adobe has decided that they want to court me back over to the dark side with this newly added functionality directly within Lightroom CC. Just like the Photo Merge – Panorama feature, the Photo Merge – HDR is just as simple to use. Select your photos and head to Photo>Photo Merge>HDR and Lightroom CC will now open up your images directly within the HDR feature window and again, SAVE THE FILE as a .DNG or RAW file. And within this RAW file you now have 20 stops of adjustment available to you inside of the Develop Module.
A Better Mobile Setup
Adobe has rebuilt the Lightroom Mobile app for this release of Lightroom CC as well. It is now appropriately name Lightroom, and they have not only added support for Android devices, they have streamlined the connection process and the overall functionality of the app. All you have to do is create a Collection of images and then click the sync it to Lightroom mobile option and bam you can work on any of the images within that Collection on your mobile device. In addition, you can automatically sync the photos you create with your mobile device back into your desktop version of Lightroom CC. I really love this feature because on New Year’s Eve I accidentally put my brand new iPhone 6 into a cocktail (long story) and lost all of the images that I had taken with the phone since purchasing it in October. Now, every time I shoot something with my phone it automatically appears in the iPhone Collection that I have created within Lightroom.
It’s pretty clear that Adobe is truly looking at what photographers need to function as efficiently as possible in today’s market. They are building functionality into Lightroom that not only allows us to save time, but further refine our workflow process. To put how well Lightroom CC functions into perspective, I was able to edit, keyword, master, organize, and export 958 selects for Powder in only a single day. And for me that is a time savings that allows me to move on to other projects or head back out into the field to create more images.
In addition to all of this, we have two Lightroom CC specific learning opportunities that we put on sale due to this new release.
This is a comprehensive class on all of the built-in functionality of Lightroom CC. You will learn how to set-up and use the software from the ground up in this two-day seminar.
What better way to spend a weekend in the Tetons. Head out at sunrise and sunset for two days to capture photos of the stunning scenery and wildlife while heading into the classroom to learn how to catalog and master those images side by side with Jay during the midday hours.
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