Dec 17, 2008

What's Under Your Lightroom Hood?

Lightroom 2.2

Another download round is ahead - Adobe released Lightroom 2.2 Monday. The next day, many blogs reported availability. I scanned through those blogs, looking for major differences. Not a lot was apparent at first glance...
In Tom Hogarty's list of bug fixes, about 40% of Adobe's effort went into separating and strengthening graduated filter and adjustment brush. I also find it interesting to read the comments written to Hogarty from the Lightroom community. In his chatty way, Matt Kloskowski made a preliminary comment about his delight with the revised adjustment brush. Matt also made a suggestion about cleaning up your camera calibration presets. Other than that, few other bloggers had much new to say.
After installing 2.2, I asked Lightroom an under-the-hood question, "Okay, what about Camera Raw?" Rather quickly, I learned Lightroom is now based on Camera Raw 5.2. And our new 5.2 contains…
Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT) for on-image adjustments (i.e. click and drag on a certain color or tonal range to adjust the corresponding values) [#3 behind Grad filter and Adj brush]
"Snapshots" for saving multiple sets of settings per file
Camera Profiles for enhanced raw file interpretation now available in the Calibration panel
In early CS3 time (was it only 18 months ago?), Adobe began releasing Camera Raw as version 4.0. What a neat release - now, I could begin quickly modifying a range of variables in my raw images before I finally dealt with CS3. With this October's release of CS4, Adobe upgraded Camera Raw to version 5.1. Suddenly, it was twice as large. And just before that release, Lightroom 2 was released. A month later, 5.2 was available - oops; it's now five times larger. And, Lightroom 2.2 is now twice as large as Lightroom 2.
So I went back and reviewed Adobe's release policy. Turned out to be a useful step - during Lightroom 1 time, a couple of things got released ~ then had to be re-released. To me, that means always keep a working backup.
I suspect much of Adobe’s effort to fix and separate brushes we love to use in Lightroom 2.2 actually takes place in Camera Raw. I know Hogarty said in the recently noted podcast - it takes time between release of Camera Raw and inclusion of appropriate hooks in Lightroom. Perhaps they're using Adobe Camera Raw to simplify differences between Bridge and Lightroom. I could be wrong; but, software enhancements do take time...
Beyond speed enhancements, I suspect you're going to find Lightroom 2.2 a smoother way to make your nondestructive raw image preprocessing a much more productive and subtly enjoyable series of steps.
Merry Christmas...

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