Lightroom 5.0 has just been released as a public beta on Adobe Labs. This has been on a shorter development cycle, which fits with the way Adobe is now releasing its Creative Cloud software. Videos of the new features are available on the Lightroom YouTube Channel.
So you will be eager to find out what this new version contains. Here is an overview with a ‘why do I need this?’ focus.
- Smart Previews
- PNG Support
- Advanced Healing and Brush Spot tool
- Full Screen Mode
- User Configurable Grid Overlays
- Windows HiDPI Support
- New Smart Collection Criteria
- Radial Filter
We have at least 4 kinds of preview image that can be used in Lightroom. Embedded JPEGs within DNG, Standard Previews, 1:1 Previews, Fast Load Data, and now we have a 5th; Smart Previews.
The main idea behind Smart Previews is that you can now take your image collection away with you on a trip, without taking your many thousands of images. These Previews can be used as a proxy for your Raw/DNG/JPEG/PNG files. In essence they are Lossy DNGs which have a maximum long edge dimension of 2048px. When you make Develop edits to your files when you are in this offline mode, then they will be reflected to the main Catalog when you link back to your computer.
How to generate them?
1. When you import files in the File Handling panel, you can check a box to ‘Build Smart Previews’.
2. In the Library module, select the Library > Previews > Build Smart Previews menu
3. When you select File > Export as Catalog… you will see a checkbox in the dialog box offering the choice to build Smart Previews
For those of you who don’t travel and never leave your main computer, this feature may not have that many benefits, if you are a frequent traveller, and would love the idea of taking all your images on the road with you, this is probably a killer feature.
You can also view the status of your previews either for an image, or for a set of images in the Histogram panel.
Well it has taken a while to expand the set of file formats that Adobe supports, and here is one that is much requested; PNG. Hugely useful for those who like to manage more than just files created by camera, such as sets screenshots, in a familiar and comforting interface.
Personally, I won’t be using it, just because Lightroom is for photography, rather than a general application for managing all sorts of media. But for those of you who wanted it, you got it!
Advanced Healing and Brush Spot tool
Now I think most Lightroom 4 users will think this one a biggie; the new healing brush is an addition to the familiar Spot Healing brush, and for those of you familiar with Photoshop, it will be pretty obvious what it does. But remember, this is still only editing metadata and not pixels.
It is invoked by the familiar Q shortcut. Clicking on the image will allow you to spot heal as before; clicking and dragging with the brush will create a healing shape.
Here is an example workflow:
Here is a file with a sensor blob. It could be corrected with the standard spot healing tool, but here we will show the new Healing brush.
Lightroom 5 allows you to visualise ‘spots’ on an image. When you are in the Healing Brush ‘mode’ (press Q to get there quickly), press A, and you will see the the Spot Visualisation view.
Here you can see the spot, as well as the outlines of the cloud.
Either work in this mode or press the A key again and click and drag with the spotting brush.
Using the H key to show and hide the spot and source will show the familiar pins view.
Full Screen Mode
A genuine full screen mode is available with the press of the F key. You can still invoke the old way by pressing Shift+F, which cycles through the various Full Screen modes.
User Configurable Grid Overlays
These are invoked in Loupe mode (E) in the Library. Select View > Loupe Overlay menu. You can choose a Grid, Guides or even an Image Overlay. Hold down the Cmd/Ctrl key to edit the placement of the Guide, and the size of the grid.
Scrolling over the numbers in the HUD, seen in the screenshot will allow you to edit the sizes.
Windows HiDPI Support
For Windows 8 users Lightroom works nicely with the 150% and 200% resolution devices.
New Smart Collection Criteria
- File size
- Image size
- Image Bit Depth
- Number of color channels
- Color Mode
- Color Profile
This is a feature that will be liked by many. As well as the existing Graduated Filter, Lightroom 5 introduces a Radial Filter. Great for sharpening eyes, and not dissimilar to the U-Point concept in the Google Nik plug-ins, only all done as a metadata edit!
Selecting the Radial Filter (Shift+M) you can drag as an ellipse or hold Shift to constrain as a circle. After releasing on the mouse you can adjust the size and shape as well as rotate the shape (if it is an ellipse). As you apply your edits you will notice that the image changes outside of the shape. To make edits to the inside of the shape, tap the ‘ key. I would have thought that the intuitive thing was that the edits happen to the inside of the shape, but what do I know!
Here is a very quick example. Image 1 is the original. Image 2 has a Radial filter applied, this is an exaggerated Exposure increase. Note it is outside the elliptical shape. Image 3 reverses the effect and the exaggerated Exposure increase is applied to the inside of the ellipse.
Upright is for straightening pictures automatically; fixing horizons and straightening buildings (correcting keystoning). In the Develop module, go to the Lens Correction panel. Enable Lens Corrections and check one of the 4 modes. Adjustments can be made by in the Manual tab, and Reanalyze is available if you have disabled and reenabled Lens Corrections.
Of course this article just scratches the surface of the many changes, major and minor in the new release. Some additional features include:
LAB Colour Readouts: Right Click on the Histogram and select “Show LAB Color Values”
Books: There is Improved Text Creation, Page Numbering and User Pages ie: Custom Pages.
Videos in Slideshow: add video clips to a Slideshow
Validation of DNG files: Library > Validate DNG Files