Today, Adobe announced their February update to Lightroom bringing several powerful new features, as well as some of the most requested ones, to Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).
Enhance Details for Adobe Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC Desktop, and ACR
Adobe is no stranger to leveraging the power of AI and cloud computing. In this update, Adobe Lightroom Classic, CC, and ACR users can take advantage of Enhance Details. Based on Sensei, Adobe’s advanced neural net, Enhance Details improves one of the most important aspects of raw conversion: the demosaicing process.
By applying machine learning to this process, Adobe can greatly improve the resolution of any camera, with up to a 30 percent increase in resolution, while also improving fine color detail reproduction. The new Enhance Details tool also prevents demosaicing artifacts, resulting in cleaner diagonal lines for cameras with Bayer sensors, like those by Canon, Nikon, and Sony. Fujifilm cameras with X-Trans sensors also stand to benefit from Enhance Details by avoiding those rare, but annoying, worm artifacts.
Because of the processor-intensive workflow of the new Enhance Details feature, it can only be applied on an image-by-image basis. During my tests, the estimated processing time for Enhance Details took approximately 32 seconds for raw photos taken with my Sony a7 III (24.2 megapixels) and approximately 52 seconds for raw photos taken with my Sony a7R III (42.4 megapixels) on my 2018 Apple MacBook Pro with a 6-core Intel i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM and the Radeon Pro Vega 20 GPU. After running Enhance Details, you’ll get a new DNG file with all of the edits carried over non-destructively.
Because of the enhanced details applied, the resulting DNG file will also take up more space. In my tests, an original raw file taken with the Sony a7 III was 46.96 MB and the Enhanced Details DNG file was 89.36 MB. An original raw file taken with the Sony a7R III was 82.25 MB and the Enhanced Details DNG file was 180.61 MB. As such, you should probably be selective with the images you apply Enhance Details to, reserving it for important photos or those that have artifacts you wish to clean up.
Want to learn more about Adobe's new Enhance Details utility? Check out their Whitepaper for more details. Also, be sure to check out Elia Locardi's deep dive into Enhance Details for a series of very compelling before/after examples.
HDR, Pano, and HDR Pano Merge for Adobe Lightroom CC Desktop
I fully migrated from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom CC last year and one of the features I missed most was Photo Merge. Fortunately, this update brings the same ability to merge HDR, Pano, and HDR Pano brackets to Lightroom CC.
After extensively using all three Photo Merge features, I am happy to report that it works as well, if not better, than in Lightroom Classic. I’ve always found Lightroom CC to be notably faster than Classic and Photo Merging is no exception. In fact, I recently executed an HDR Pano Merge consisting of 50 Sony a7R III raw photos and the resulting DNG retains the dynamic range and seamless stitching.
For those Classic users who have been holding out on this key feature, you may want to dip your toe in the water.
Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT) for Adobe Lightroom CC Desktop
The TAT was the other tool I missed most from my Classic days. I used it all the time to quickly adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance values across my images. Fortunately, this update brings parity between Classic, CC, and Mobile by including my beloved TAT. And, as is the case with most of Lightroom CC’s tools, this implementation is far more intuitive and visually appealing.
This is yet another feature that should help tip the scales for those of you who have been waiting for more complete feature parity with Lightroom Classic before giving Lightroom CC a try.
Highlights and Shadows Clipping Indicators for Adobe Lightroom CC Desktop
Clipping indicators are a godsend when you’re working on wrangling the tones within your image. Now, Lightroom CC Desktop users can benefit from having those little warning indicators, too. When you have your histogram visible (and, really, you should always have it visible), you’ll see two triangles in the upper opposing corners. The left triangle represents the Shadows and the right triangle represents the highlights. If either is illuminated, it indicates that you are clipping the respective region and are losing tonal information. To help visualize the offending areas, you can also click on either illuminated triangle to see a color mask overlaid wherever a loss of tonality occurs.
Additional Updates for Lightroom Classic, Lightroom Mobile for iOS, and Lightroom Web
In addition to the significant update of Enhance Details and the new additions to Lightroom CC, Adobe has improved on its other platforms. I've included some notable highlights below but be sure to check out Adobe's blog post to for a complete list of updates and changes.
Ad-hoc Sharing for Lightroom Mobile for iOS
Adobe has streamlined Lightroom Mobile's photo sharing workflow, bringing the same ad-hoc process that to iOS that Lightroom CC Desktop, Android, and Web got last year. Now, iOS users can select a random assortment of images to share directly via lightroom.adobe.com, instead of having to first create an album, add photos to it, and then share it.
Improved Tethering Performance and Controls for Nikon Cameras in Lightroom Classic
Nikon tethering performance has been improved and is now faster. You can also control settings such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and white balance within the tether bar.
Existing Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers can download the latest versions of Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC Desktop via the Adobe Creative Cloud app, as well as from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.