Earlier this week Adobe Labs released the first Beta version of Lightroom 4. I am a huge user of Lightroom so I immediately downloaded this new version to have a look at what I can be expecting. I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised.
As soon as you open the software up you notice the workspace has changed. There are two new editing modules on the right–Map and Book. You can now tag all of your images on a map brought to you by Google Earth. This also includes the ability to locate your spots via GPS longitude and latitude functions. You can tag whole libraries or just a single image at a time. Very cool. Also included is the ability to create books for publication. Lightroom is offering press printed books through Blurb with all of Blurb’s Proline features, but if want to use someone else, you can layout your entire book and then export it as a PDF. Again, really no limitation.
I was hoping for more video capabilities and it looks like that is on the very near horizon. The best part about storing your video in the Lightroom 4 Library will be the fact that you won’t need to view the clips in an external editor such as Quicktime. Adobe also added the ability to edit your clips’ in and out points which will really speed up the organization process for film you are planning on editing. If you have multiple clips that you want to use on a single take, you can actually create a virtual copy of the film and change the in and out points correspondingly. Magic. You now have the ability to make adjustments to the clips via the Quick Develop settings and even attach Develop Module presets to them. Not all of the presets work, but most do.
The Develop Module has also gone through some tweeking. Under the Brush and Graduated Tools you now have the ability to locally adjust white balance, noise, and moire. The Auto Mask check box actually works amazingly well now too! Adobe also updated the global adjustments. Exposure and Contrast are together and Recovery and Fill Light are gone. Don’t worry though, Adobe is now giving us Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks adjusting sliders. The whole process makes much more sense to me. In addition, we now have a 2012 process under Camera Calibration and it seems to be a bit more forceful with its adjustments to the images. Some may not like it, but I do.
Other note worthy additions include the ability to export videos directly to social media pages and the ability to generate a soft proof image for printing on a specific paper and color profile. This is great addition because now you will be able to create a virtual copy of your image with the soft proofing turned on, match it to your original, and you are off to the races. Like I said I am on board with this update. Of course this is a Beta and if I could have my way with Adobe there are some things that I really want.
Give me Content Aware Fill! The best Photoshop add ever in my opinion. Give it to me in Lightroom. I don’t care if directly adjusts pixels and that is not the way Lightroom works. You are Adobe, just do it. I want the ability to adjust the masks that I make with the Brush tool and Graduated Tool. Especially when it comes to Shifting and Feathering my Mask Edges after the fact. Maybe a little Smart Radius too? How about the ability to merge multiple exposures? Curve presets for the Tone Curve Tool. And the ability to locally edit video–adding text, titles, vignettes, and turning the captured sound off or on. Now we are talking. I would also like the ability to export my movie clips directly into Premiere Pro just like I can export my stills to Photoshop. And have the adjusted clip stack directly back in my Library with the original? That’s all, it’s not a huge list. Let’s see what March Brings.