Adobe's updates to apps across the Lightroom lineup today include a new Texture slider under the Presence pane for a finer alternative to clarity, tutorials created by photographers you know so you can follow along with their edits, additional tools that help others collaborate to add images to albums with you online, and more.
Perhaps the biggest change to the way you'll edit toward the end of your tweaking process is the new Texture slider. Adobe hasn't added a an adjustment slider since Dehaze was added back in 2015. While that has become useful in a wider variety of situations than I would have imagined, the new Texture adjustment could be an even bigger deal. Until this point, Clarity has been the main go-to for that extra punch. But the Clarity adjustment has always been a bit of a brute. It's too easy to do too much, and often the effect changes parts of an image you'd rather be left alone. Enter: Texture.
Texture is like a fine-tuned, fine-detail version of Clarity. Where Clarity chisels out large details as it's increased and smudges the finer ones as it's pulled back, Texture is much more subtle and works on retaining the finer details, preserving things like hair, skin pores, peach fuzz, and all of the aspects of fine detail that make an image real. Today, I think it's fair to consider Texture as the tool that slides itself right in between your sharpening and Clarity steps, although Texture won't affect the entire image the way sharpening will, which means noise won't be overcooked (or cooked at all) with Texture the way it is with global sharpening when done without masking. Some other editors have had similar fine-detail enhancers for quite some time — and you can't change things such as the radius or other parameters of the effect aside from feathering or brushing it in with an adjustment brush — but it's great to finally see something like this across all platforms on which Lightroom is available. Learn more about how to use Texture here.
Never before did such a boring word as "tutorial" mean so much as here and now with what the Lightroom team has done with its new interactive tutorials feature. For the first time, tutorials available in-app allow partnered photographers to work with Adobe and share their own techniques so you can try them on your own. While there are 60 tutorials to start, Adobe has plans to open up the entire platform and release more lessons over time, so it likely won't be long before you find your favorite photographers sharing how they recreates all of their images in Lightroom. Users even have access to the referenced files and can see (and adjust) the edits to those photos any time along the educational path to continue to learn how various sliders effect an image even after the tutorial is over. Soon, there could be the possibility for you to create your own tutorials and share your own edits as well. All of this has quite a bit of potential to help people learn compared to watching videos on YouTube — and that's saying a lot considering Adobe's YouTube channels are already superb learning resources.
The most unfortunate part about these new interactive tutorials is that they're only available in the Lightroom mobile apps, although in reality, this is probably the best place for them. In the meantime, at least Lightroom CC is gaining beefed up contextual help menus.
Batch Processing on Mobile
Adobe is finally bringing batch processing to mobile. While not exactly "batch" processing so much as applying settings to multiple photos once selected (there's no Lightroom Classic-esque Auto-Sync switch, which would admittedly seem a bit clunky on a mobile platform), this is one of Lightroom's most-requested mobile features. Now you can finally copy settings from one photo, select other photos, and apply that copied setting to the entire group of selected photos. The only downside: Android-only at launch. But it will come to iOS in the future.
Defringe and Better Shared Album Control in Lightroom CC
Defringe, the slider group that allows for better control over handling chromatic aberration, is finally jumping from Classic-only and coming over to Lightroom CC as well, which brings just one more step of parity to the two platforms (not to say there isn't much more to go).
Sharing albums also got easier and more robust, as you can now share specifically with individual people by email address instead of sharing a hard-to-guess but still-public link. Collaborators shared via email can also edit their own versions of any image in an album in addition to adding their own photos with the right permissions applied. No support for Lightroom Classic yet, but we're hoping that's around the corner.
Flat-Field Correction in Lightroom Classic
Speaking of Lightroom Classic, there is one new feature that was a little-known plugin that is now built into Lightroom Classic: Flat-Field Correction. Some lens and sensor combinations have varying color and luminance characteristics across the frame at different focal lengths, aperture settings, and focus distances. While automatic or even manual lens profile corrections can account for much of this (and then some, as with automatic or manual distortion correction), the unique aspect of some combinations of settings may require more fine-tuning that only Flat-Field Correction can provide. The results are impressive, and it's use has its merits. But it's worth noting Flat-Field Correction is a very specific tool with benefits that will likely be lost on all but the most perceptive observer upon a quick glance of a natural photograph. But it's great to have for specific uses that require it. For those interested, Sean Reid created a great article that dives more into the intricacies of Flat-Field Correction.
If you have auto-update enabled in your Creative Cloud app or on your mobile devices, you likely already have the latest Lightroom versions across all your devices. Otherwise, Adobe's latest Lightroom updates are available everywhere you normally get them starting today. You can also grab a subscription to Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop here.