Adobe Updates Lightroom with Photographer-Created Tutorials, Texture Slider, and More

Adobe Updates Lightroom with Photographer-Created Tutorials, Texture Slider, and More

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

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.

Interactive Tutorials

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.

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16 Comments

Studio 403's picture

Good post. Just hope Adobe is not setting us up with what are called “value added” feature for more $$. My rant for the dat.

LR users: make it faster!
Adobe: here are Texture and Tutorials you’ve never asked.

Lightroom for Mac OS got a 2.5x speed bump in browsing (bringing it up to speed with where Windows was already).

Lightroom Classic (which is where almost all of the speed are focused on) has a LOT of work being done behind the scenes and it is the #1 priority for that team.

Unfortunately, it's hard to see all of the work going on for Lightroom Classic. It's a complicated codebase, used by many millions of photographers, who depend on it day-in-and-day-out. And yes, that means that the speed issues are felt very strongly (and we're aware) and it also means that making any changes that impact the quality of the application (either in terms of rendering quality, UI experience, or stability) would be equally problematic. That means improvements don't happen as fast as anyone would like.

We also get that it's frustrating to see other products getting improvements. It is important to understand that just adding resources to a project can often slow a project down, so while we cannot just add the Lightroom for Mac/Win/iOS/Android engineers to the Lightroom Classic project, please know that we have a very large engineering team working very hard on Lightroom Classic and we hope we can share great news with you soon.

-Josh
Lightroom PM

Rayann Elzein's picture

I'll believe you when I see it... It's been what, 3 years that we're hearing the same excuses when it comes to the reactivity of LR... Stop tweaking it by adding useless features and finally dig into the code and make it work.

We've made huge improvements over the course of the past three years, so to say we've not made any improvements is :|.

Do we think we're done? No, but then again, no one is ever done.

Do we hear that people want the app to be faster and more responsive, yes, and that's what we're doing.

The common question of "why did you work on feature X when I really want feature Y" is understandable, which is why I wanted to shed some light that we have different teams working on both X (tutorials) and Y (speed in Classic), and they're mutually exclusive projects with completely different teams.

We also hear that people are frustrated with the amount of time it's taking and the lack of visibility into progress. We're listening and we're paying attention and we're making progress. All we can ask is for your continued patience.

David Love's picture

At least you're admitting that it has responsive and speed issues. Adobe has told their help desk to blame the users computer. Even threatening users that have to downgrade to get a stable version, "Please be aware that should you use the discontinued version(s), you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties." And then of course getting ready to rake everyone for more money every month.

The problem is the develop module being sluggish when using these tools so adding more will just weigh it down even more. Maybe build a stronger ship before piling more bricks on it. Maybe have a team working on a complete rebuild rather than piling new code on top of old code and burying the base structure problems even more? Capture One and other programs seem to have it down but they have to don't they because they don't have everyone trapped in a subscription plan.

Studio 403's picture

I do appreciate you guys at adobe keeping in touch. Any chance we can download photos from behance once they are loaded up?? Seems so silly not be able too....you guys are a big deal, Please don’t get lost in all the code jungle

Just another datapoint Josh: I've got a five-year-old-not-that-great PC and Lightroom has improved significantly for me in the last couple of years. I acknowledge that this isn't the case for everyone: but for me at least the speed and performance improvements have been noted and are appreciated.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Just 1 example: it always takes about 1 minute if not more to export 1 simple photo from RAW to JPEG. And I have an i7 8700K and 16 Gb RAM. So please don't tell me that LR is working as it should.

I have a similar setup and it runs just as bad. I refuse to use lightroom any more. It has gotten completely unusable for me. I jumped ship to Capture One and it is leagues faster, more reliable, and customizable than Lightroom. It also handles color, shadow and highlight detail far better than Lightroom.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Thank you for confirming that I am not the only one. It is indeed borderline unusable. Unfortunately, I don't have time to learn a new software just yet, but I'm going to take that time soon. LR is just too painful to use.

Matt Kosterman's picture

Hey Josh - thanks for jumping in on the discussion. I've been using LR since it was Bridge and PS. I like LR and I find it reasonably responsive. But I am on a top of the line, loaded, two year old MBP. The one function that I find to be utterly and completely inexcusably slow is searching for files. And please don't tell me to optimize my catalog, because I have. When it takes thirty seconds to search for a string of 1-10 comma-separated file names using a pre-scoped selection (a single directory with 100-150 images in it) using a "Filename contains" filter it tells me that you don't have anybody on your team that knows diddly about databases. I could do that search on a database on a MacPlus in 1990 and it would run circles around Lightroom. Have you ever heard of indexing? If Capture One ever improves their culling process and equals the non-destructive retouching features of LR, I might just jump ship. Your subscription model borders on criminal.

Tony Tumminello's picture

The Texture feature is interesting, and like any slider the image starts to get weird if you push it too far. I've tested it on some wildlife photos, and for birds especially it really makes the feathers pop so I foresee it getting a good amount of use for those types of shots.

Disappointed that there still isn't a lens profile for the Canon RF 35mm.

Luke Adams's picture

Happy for this time saving feature for high volume shoots when I don’t have the time to take each and every image into PS for skin editing.

Hey there,
I made a visual comparison between the texture and the clarity slider so fellow photographers can see the difference: https://www.helmutsteiner.net/2019/05/15/difference-between-texture-and-...
It's my first post of this kind, so please leave some feedback! :)