April 02, 2008

Lightroom 2: The deuce is loose!

I’m delighted to announce that the beta of the 64-bit-native Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 has been posted to Adobe Labs.  Everyone is free to download the beta build and try it for 30 days, while customers of Lightroom 1.x are free to use it for the duration of the beta program.  (This build expires Aug. 31.)

My favorite feature(s)?

Unbeatable Photoshop CS3 Integration:

  • Open files in Photoshop as Smart Objects.  (This way you can tweak your Lightroom adjustments within Photoshop just by double-clicking the Smart Object layer that contains your raw file.)
  • Select multiple images to merge as a panorama
  • Merge multiple exposures into a single Photoshop HDR image
  • Load multiple files (or virtual copies of a single file) into Photoshop as separate layers in a single document

Selective image editing that rocks:

  • Lightroom 2 adds a Retouch tool right within the Develop module (see screenshot).  That means you can paint regions of the image to dodge, burn, saturate/desaturate, adjust contrast, and more.  Edits are stored as metadata, just as all other LR adjustments are stored, and are applied directly to your raw images. (Because people will quickly ask, I’ll point out that unlike Apple’s newly released Aperture 2.1, Lightroom integrates its selective editing tools right in with the other adjustment tools.  In Lightroom you don’t have to generate a TIFF file for editing, and unlike in Aperture, you can always tweak the results later.  In addition, Lightroom features Auto Mask technology for tweaking the clicked region without bleeding into neighboring areas.)

Other goodness:

  • Library Module:
    • Streamlined Library layout
    • Smart Collections (based on search criteria)
    • Powerful Filter Bar to search and refine images
    • Suggested Keywords for simplified keywording
    • 10,000 pixel size limit raised to 30,000 pixels
    • Output-based collections
  • Multiple monitor support:
    • Four flexible modes for an alternate window: Grid, Loupe, Compare, Survey
    • Live Loupe mode
  • Export functionality:
    • Auto-add exported images to the Lightroom catalog
    • Auto Output Sharpening for images on export
  • Develop Module:
    • Non-Destructive Localized Correction for dodging and burning specific areas of an image
    • Post-Crop Vignette
    • Basic Panel Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Improved Auto Adjustment
    • Improved memory handling through 64-bit support on OS X 10.5 and Vista 64-bit.(Not limited to develop module)
  • Print Module:
    • Picture Package for multi-page layouts
    • Print Module output directly to JPEG
    • Enhanced Print Sharpening based on PhotoKit Sharpener algorithms
    • 16-bit Printing for Mac OS X 10.5

A ton of blogs and publications are starting to push great info live as I type this, so I’ll
update the following list of resources as I see things pop up:

As you probably know, betas have their pros and cons.  On the upside, revealing Lightroom 2 as a beta now allows Adobe to continue the very successful dialog we’ve been having with photographers, incorporating their feedback before releasing the finished product.  The trade-off is that the beta is unfinished, so you may want to check out the list of known issues before diving in.

With that, I’ll shut up and let you get cranking.  Enjoy!

PS–Lightroom running 64-bit-native allows it to address large amounts of memory, something that can pay off when using large images in the Develop module.  Tomorrow I’ll post more details about what 64-bit means & how it factors into our Photoshop roadmap.

Posted by John Nack at 2:14 AM on April 02, 2008
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