A Whole New View For The Lightroom Develop Module

Lightroom CC's new Reference View
Figure 1. A view of Lightroom CC 2015.8’s new Reference View

The last blog post I wrote about Lightroom was titled “One More Reason To Use Adobe’s Creative Cloud.” And one of the reasons I touched on why one should, was that Lightroom CC (Creative Cloud) has a bit more functionality than its Lightroom 6 perpetual license counterpart—and will likely have more over time. Well ladies and gents… Lightroom CC 2015.8 was just released and in the Develop is a new viewing mode that’s not available in Lightroom 6.8’s release.

TIP: If you aren’t sure how to update Lightroom CC to it’s most recent version, click HERE to see more from Adobe Support

It’s called the Reference View, and although the invention of sliced bread is still a much better invention in my opinion, it is the first addition to the Lightroom Develop Module’s viewing modes since it was initially released in February of 2007. Reference View allows the developer to look at two images side-by-side, so you can develop an image while visually referencing a second image. Image referencing can help us match colors, tones, or overall look and feel of one image as compared to another. Needless to say, image referencing can be terribly helpful for the photographer who wants to present images together in a presentation, showing consistency and cohesion of style.

Figure 2: Click on the new R|A button to launch Reference View
Figure 2: Click on the new R|A button to launch Reference View

To access the new viewing mode, you first need to be in the Develop Module. Look to the lower left corner of your viewing window to find a new small R|A button as shown in Figure 2, or you can go to Menu Bar > View > Open (see Figure 3). Or at any time you can use the quick keys Shift, R. Once your in Reference View, you’ll see your main viewing window has been split into two panes (see Figure 1). The view on the right is referred to as Active, and the one on the left is referred to as the Reference. Active is the image that is selected for developing.

Figure 3: You can also launch Reference View by going to Menu Bar > View > Open Reference View, while in the Develop Module.
Figure 3: You can also launch Reference View by going to Menu Bar > View > Open Reference View, while in the Develop Module.

To add an image to the Reference View, simply drag and drop the desired image from your filmstrip onto the Reference View pane. Note that you do not, and should not, select the image you want to reference. If you click on the border of the image you intend to reference, you will change what’s in the Active View window. To say this another way, click and drag from the center of the thumbnail, not the border.

There are two layout options for the Reference View. To see these options, click on the small triangle to the right of the R|A button, as shown in Figure 4. You can then choose Reference View – Left/Right, or Reference View – Top/Bottom. To the right of the R|A button is a small lock. The lock is handy if you want to keep the reference photo in place when you leave the Develop Module. Lock it to keep it; unlock it to clear it out.

Figure 4: There are two layouts available for Reference View
Figure 4: There are two layouts available for Reference View

Another handy little feature can be found in the Histogram Panel, and as shown in Figure 5. (Note: this feature works best if your Active image and your Reference are the same aspect ratio or orientation). As you place your cursor over either the Active or Reference image, your histogram will show you RGB values of both images. The numeric value on the left refers to the Reference image, and the

Figure 5: While in Reference View, the Histogram Panel can show you a side-by-side comparison of RGB values
Figure 5: While in Reference View, the Histogram Panel can show you a side-by-side comparison of RGB values

value on the right refers to the Active image. If aspect ratio or orientation does not match, then you’ll

be shown RGB values from one image at a time.

Once you are finished with Reference View, you can close it by clicking on the Loupe View icon (quick command D) to the left of the R|A button.  Happy referencing!!

Jason Bradley has a unique set of skills. He specializes in nature and wildlife photography both underwater and above; he’s the owner and operator of Bradley Photographic Print Services, a fine art print lab; he leads photographic expeditions around the world, and is the author of the book Creative Workflow in Lightroom, published by Focal Press. Visit BradleyPhotographic.com to see more of his work and find info on his upcoming workshops and expeditions, and BradleyPrintServices.com to learn about his fine art printing services.

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