The June 2020 Adobe update was a big one for Photoshop, Camera Raw, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. Lots of interesting changes, but the update that most interests and excites me is the update to Lightroom Classic.
Here’s what you can expect to see in the Lightroom Classic update. Some updates are interface changes, others are functional.
I’ve kept the most requested update for the end as I’ve gone into detail on this one…it’s that exciting!
Logo changes for Lightroom and Lightroom Classic
Adobe have updated their logos for Photoshop, Camera Raw, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic.
So now the difference between Lightroom (the cloud based version) and Lightroom Classic is much more obvious, which is helpful when you’re trying to figure out which one you want. A bigger difference in the names of the two versions of Lightroom would also have been helpful, but this is a start.
Lightroom Classic improved performance
There are a number of small performance changes that add up to a better user experience in Lightroom Classic. The two changes I appreciate the most affect:
- Grid view
Better scrolling in grid view
When scrolling through images in grid view in the library module, it’s smoother. There’s no lag as you scroll down through several images. It’s not an earth moving change, but it’s nice.
Faster adjustments in the develop module
Adjustments are noticeably faster, because the image in the navigator panel and in the film strip doesn’t change until after you release the mouse. Only the main image in the viewer changes, so as you make the adjustment it’s faster.
In other words, when brightening an image with the exposure slider, the main image changes as you move the slider, but the navigator and film strip images don’t, until you finish with the slider and please the moue. Likewise with the local adjustments, for example using the local adjustment brush to dodge part of an image, you’ll notice a faster change. There’s no delay.
Of course, if your computer is slow the difference might not be as obvious, but you don’t need to have the fastest computer on the market to notice this performance improvement.
Anything that speeds up the workflow is a big win in my book!
Introduction of the cloud icon
If you’ve updated your Lightroom Classic and are wondering if that little cloud icon at the top right of the screen is new, or if you’ve just never noticed it before… Don’t worry, you’re not going mad. It’s new.
It’s not a new function, it’s just a more obvious way of accessing the cloud to:
- view your storage availability
- sync images
So it’s similar to how the cloud based version of Lightroom works and is handy if you take advantage of the Adobe Creative Cloud storage included with your subscription.
For square crops there are two overlays and one (one the left) for rectangular photos.
Centered crop overlay – new!
The crop tool has had another overlay added, the centered crop overlay. If you want to easily see the center of your image, or crop so that a particular area of the image is exactly in the center, this crop overlay is ideal.
Tone curve panel – changed look and added functions
The changes to the tone curve are mainly just how it looks. I think it’s much more user friendly. It’s easier to see and select the type of curve tool you want to use:
- Parametric curve
- Point curve
- RGB channels
Also, the changes you can make in the RGB channels are more obvious. You can see, for example that when you lift the curve in the blue channel you’ll make the image bluer and when you pull it down, you’ll make the image more yellow.
Faster, easier ways to use the tone curve
However, there are also a few handy features now for being able to reset tone curve changes, which I think will be a big time saver.
Previously, you’d have to access each part of the tone curve to see if you’d made an adjustment to it and then undo each point individually if you wanted to change an aspect of the adjustments you’d made in the tone curve.
Parametric tone curve changes
Now, in the parametric curve, you can right click to bring up a menu for:
- Resetting different aspects of the curve
- Show or hide information, such as the text that pops up letting you know what area of the curve you’re adjusting, i.e. shadows, darks, lights and highlights
Point curve changes
In the point curve, when you right click in the tone curve you get different options, including:
- “Reset channel”, or “reset all channels” – quickly undo changes you’ve made to the tone curve
- “Copy channel settings” and paste channel settings” – another way of syncing the tone curve to another image
- “Snap to grid” – shows a grid overlay and, when you move a point curve, it will snap to the nearest point on the grid when you release the mouse
- Select “show all curves” – easily see all the adjustments you’ve made in one view
It’s also easier to make small adjustments to the points on the tone curve by clicking on the point and then either adjusting the number in “input” or “output”. Alternatively you can adjust the amount by clicking over the number and dragging the mouse left or right to adjust the amount.
You can still also click and drag the point to make adjustments.
Further reading: Master the Lightroom tone curve for much better photos
Create an ISO Adaptive Preset in Lightroom Classic
You can create a preset for noise reduction, called an ISO adaptive preset.
To do this you need to use two photos with different ISO settings and click the check box in the preset dialog box. This is quite technical, but in the dialog box you can click on a link to instructions on how to do it.
I don’t see myself using this feature as, if needed, I’d rather be more precise and set noise reduction per photo or for a series of photos taken in exactly the same conditions with the same settings.
Changes to Lightroom Classic export presets
It’s not a huge change, but I know I’ll use this a lot when I export an image for different uses, such as on Instagram, for print and for my website.
This was possible before, but now you can export an image:
- to different locations set in your export preset
- or to a parent folder
- or to a folder that you specify on export
You can do this all at once and specify the image names at the same time.
Another big time saver!
Further reading: Lightroom export settings for web and print
Introduction of the hue adjustment slider
Now for the really exciting update, in Lightroom Classic you can now adjust hue locally!
Previously you could adjust hue globally only. So it was always a bit of a balancing act if you wanted to alter a particular color in an image. Yes, you could use the local adjustments and select a color to overlay, but it was a bit fiddly and difficult to get to the color you wanted. Sometimes it wasn’t even possible.
Now, it’s the simplest thing in the world!
All the local adjustment tools have this new feature, so you can find it among the sliders in the:
- Brush tool
- Radial filter
- Graduated filter
How to use the hue slider in the local adjustment tools
- Open the local adjustment tool you wish to use
- Select Hue
- Click on the area you want to adjust
- Check the Auto Mask box
- Under range mask select “color”
- Paint over the area that you want to adjust
- Move the hue slider left and right to find the exact color you want
Only the color you want to change will be adjusted!
Changes don’t have to be big and dramatic. Here, I changed the color of her lipstick from bright red to a muted orangey-red more in keeping with the location.
To make sure that you get the exact color you want, tick the Use Fine Adjustment box, and the slider will move much more slowly so that you don’t miss the exact color you’re looking for.
I used the hue slider to tone down the red in her skin in a matter of seconds. It’s subtle, but it makes a difference.
You can use this new local adjustment to make big and dramatic changes to large or small areas of an image. But the really exciting part as a portrait photographer is that you can use this to adjust skin tones really easily.
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By Jane Allan
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