Lightroom Is About to Get a Brand New Feature: Color Wheels for Advanced Color Grading

Adobe has announced that it will soon be rolling out a new feature for Lightroom and Camera Raw: advanced color grading.

Lightroom’s split toning panel has long felt slightly limited in contrast to the plethora of color wheels available in software such as Capture One — not to mention Adobe Premiere. This short video shows how the new panel will work, offering much greater control, bringing not only a better visual interface, but also the ability to shift colors in the midtones, and not merely the highlights and shadows.

This update will no doubt be welcome and it raises the question of whether Adobe will seek to incorporate other features found in competing software, such as the ability to change hue, luminance and saturation through an adjustment brush, and perhaps the use of layers to bring greater control to local adjustments. While layers are fundamental to Photoshop, it’s markedly absent from Lightroom and Camera Raw, making it difficult to manage complex edits. Improvements to tethered shooting would also be well received.

Adobe plans to unveil this update in full at the Adobe Max conference on October 20-22.

Are you excited to see Adobe introducing significant new features to Lightroom and Camera Raw? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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26 Comments

Richard Bradbury's picture

That's cool but can we have.

1. Better performance
2. Live view

Please.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Yeah agreed, imo #1 is everything. Until Adobe solves its massive performance issues on Lr and Ps all new feature development should be de-prioritized. As it stands there isn't a single feature most of us care about more than dealing with how sluggish it is.

David Love's picture

They can't get new people into their stupid subscription model by offering new and improved. People would just ask why it's not already fast and reliable.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I disagree. I don't think any new customers are gonna be like: "oh it finally has this new way of color grading! Now I'm in!"

On the flip side though, every time Adobe posts anything about a new feature there are a swarm of comments below complaining about horrible performance. If I was a potential new user, I'd find that very concerning.

Adobe gets to be sorta flippant about this because of a lack of competition. There still is no true alternative to PS. Affinity is getting closer and closer but it lacks features still AND has performance issues as well. C1, as discussed, is an alternative to Lr but its a tough sell to pay $30/month for C1 when I can get Lr/PS for $20. Once Affinity or a new competitor (maybe Corel?) hit the market with a true Photoshop competitor that performs like a modern application Adobe is going to have a giant problem on their hands.

It has already happened to them with DaVinci and from what I've heard Premiere has made a ton of progress to try to catch back up. If I was in charge of Adobe I'd be heavily focused on getting Ps/Lr to a point where a new competitor can't swoop in and take a big chunk of the market share just because users are frustrated by literally decades of poor performance.

David Love's picture

I'd love to be using Resolve except the whole nodes thing and fusion being super weird compared to the slow laggy, core code hasn't been updated since 2005 After Effects. Hard to compete with Adobe when they just steal features from other programs. Looking forward to next year when the background removing tool in Photoshop gets 5% better but I'll be too old to use their shite by the time they finally rebuild all their programs from scratch and remove all the old code they've been building on all this time.

But new features, means more news. "Now five percent faster" is hardly newsworthy to them or "Hey we just realized you had a graphics card that can help with the load." Instead it's "Break out your ipad and use those fat fingers on our cool apps."

Ryan Cooper's picture

Totally agree there and I also don't think 5% faster really would matter all that much. That said, if the headline was speaking to a new version of Ps being re-architected to be radically faster on modern machines I think that would really gather attention. The photo editing software world treats sluggish and laggy performance as the norm. The first company to shatter that norm will draw a lot of attention.

Greg Silver's picture

Looks like an easy way to add color casts. Way back when I had to edit photos for a living my main job was to remove color casts. I hope these color wheels make that process easier.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Yey! Great! Copying Capture One! Could they also maybe improve the performance? Yes? No? Too bad...

Luke Adams's picture

Remember when C1 copied Lightroom by adding a radial mask, a “basic” color panel, and more recently a heal/clone tool that was actually useful. C1 didn’t invent color wheels just so you know . . .

derek j's picture

personally, i hope everyone copies everyone else and i end up with a great program. from somebody.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Well thanks, I'm not an idiot. Maybe you should have read the 2nd part of my comment. I want performance, not more gimmicks. It shouldn't take 52 seconds to export a 20 MP RAW file to Jpeg on a 10th Gen i7 CPU with 32 GB of RAM....

Luke Adams's picture

I actually prefer adjustment pins over layers, as I find them quicker for the small things. If I want to accomplish more complex things where a layer based approach would be better, by that point it’s usually worth my time to make the trip into PS.

Another Username's picture

Maybe I sound like a beginner or something but I have been asking for waveform and vectorscopes since the first time I ever opened Lightroom. I started with video editing and color grading and so those tools have been there from the start. Along with these color wheels which are a great benefit. I just hope they add scopes mainly for the skin tone line. I find it crazy there isn’t a specific tool/guide for skin tone in a photography app.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I think it is amazing how far still photo editing tools are behind video editing tools in many ways yet companies like Adobe refuse to or resist moving forward.

My visual effects buddies think it is hilarious how primitive photo compositing is. (another example)

Tundrus Photo's picture

LMAO. The King of Bloatware has a color wheel! All hail the King! Now if Adobe could make it work faster, suck up fewer resources, reduce the number of files creeping your OS and spying on you and that a bugger to delete... But, I guess that's asking Adobe for too much.

Fristen Lasten's picture

IKR. A GUI change now constitutes a 'feature'. LMAO.

Rayann Elzein's picture

An Adobe fanboy must have downvoted you.. Didn't know there are those too, I thought it's only with camera brands :-))

Mark Smith's picture

So basically a complete rip off of Capture One. And this they call innovation.

Ryan Cooper's picture

To be fair, I'm pretty sure this feature began its life in Speedgrade or maybe even Premiere before that. (both are Adobe) Capture One just copied an iconic video grading workflow and used it in photo.

I agree it isn't anything revolutionary though, this is just an iterative, "they finally did it" update.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

All Lightroom users: make it work not that slow!!!
Adobe: Here, you’ve asked, we delivered: color wheels.

David Love's picture

They have to do one bloatware thing a year to say they are doing something to try and justify the subscription model. If their software was still in boxes, we'd upgrade like once every 5 years. It's garbage.

Adam Palmer's picture

Can these do anything that curves can't? Also curves aren't limited to just highlights midtones and shadows.

Ryan Cooper's picture

They cannot, it is just simpler to use than curves. (which is also true of many of the exposure sliders too, they exist to simplify the workflow)

David Love's picture

Can't wait until all my presets no longer work that include split toning.

Arthur Morgan's picture

Thank you.
I have spent several hours over the last few days trying to find out how to do just this, thinking that it was my ignorance that prevented me from doing something that obviously MUST be available.