Lightroom 2: what’s missing?

Someone always comes up with what they wanted to see – we want it all! But one thing I think I would have liked to see this time would be more advanced cropping, including some lens correction options. Specifically, being able to correct barrel/pincushion and trapezoid distortion would be most welcome. I was collecting together some photos earlier for a book, going back to older shots, with more basic lenses and the amount of times I had to get into Photoshop for simple lens fixing wasn’t funny. Maybe in 2.0 final?

Lightroom 2 beta

lr2.png

A very nice update to Lightroom just landed. I’m already a fan of LR for various reasons – speed, non-destructiveness being the main standouts.

The beta adds a few things I was just thinking the other day would be nice to be able to do without having to open Bridge (not exactly my favourite Adobe product!) You can create panoramas from multiple selected images or merge them to HDR. Multiple images can be opened as layers in one Photoshop document and perhaps most interestingly, images can be opened as Smart Objects in Photoshop to preserve the non-destructive nature of Lightroom’s editing.

Possibly the killer feature this time though, is the Retouch brush. Local editing without going to Photoshop! For me, this changes the game quite a bit with Lightroom. Dodging and burning become nice and easy and other brush effects are available, like being able to paint in Clarity, Saturation and Tint. And once you’ve brushed around, it’s possible to edit the effect of your strokes after the event, combining all the effects together. All this brushwork comes with an Auto Mask and a couple of Brush presets. All very nice.

Other interesting features I noticed:

  • Smart Collections, based on criteria including keywords, ratings, etc
  • post-crop vignette (in addition to full frame, so they can be combined)
  • 1:1 detail preview in the Detail palette
  • use of second monitor (for Grid view, or Compare, for example)
  • Split Toning gets a nice big colour picker
  • Suggested Keywords (not sure how this works as yet…)
  • Output to JPEG from print module
  • Enhance Print Sharpening
  • 64-bit support

Get it at Adobe Labs. Lightroom 2.0 Beta expires at the end of August.

Adobe Photoshop CS2

Adobe have just released info on Photoshop CS2 with some interesting new features.

Adobe Bridge is the new file browser (which was needing an overhaul) which looks nice. Just from an interface point of view, it was worth an upgrade, but it adds the ability for process multiple raw images, as well as other batch processing and scripting. It can also run as a stand-alone app, which I can see being useful. It’s got some powerful searching possibilities and can even read RSS feeds.

The raw support gets some useful additions with the ability to process multiple files (shown as a filmstrip) and access to curves. The sliders for exposure, shadows, brightness and contrast get “auto” checkboxes which seem to work nicely. As far as I can tell from screenshots, there’s access to Adobe’s shadows & highlights as well as cloning, cropping and rotation inside ACR.

A slightly crazy feature is the Vanishing Point which clones along a kind of 3D framework, as well as letting you paste or paint to perspective too. I won’t bother explaining it any more, check this movie of it.

Noise reduction gets added too – as so often the case, bad news for 3rd party NR software producers.

Other features that come into the same category are the 32-bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, which lets you combine different exposures automatically to make a 32-bit image to reach into the detail in the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights, and the one-click redeye correction. Yet another is the optical lens correction for barrel and pincushion distortion.

Of course, there are loads of others, but these seem the most interesting for digital photography. Once the demo comes out, it’s a must-try I think.