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Adobe Announces Lightroom 4 Beta

Biggest LR4b Surprise

On Tuesday Jan 10th, Adobe announced a new beta version of Lightroom.  It has been a few days and I am still trying to put my arms around this new version of Lightroom 4 Beta [LR4b].  LR4b is not just the explosion of new capabilities but the expansion of existing tools for nondestructive digital image processing.  I have been viewing videos, reading blogs, taking notes, pulling and poking sliders in LR4b all with the thought of trying to distill this new version’s features and their effect on real-world digital image processing.

To say the least, LR4b is a very exciting release… it not only expands the scope of our processing capability but will change how we process and work with our digital photos. In this post, I offer my initial Most Exciting New Features, Biggest Surprise, initial video and blog links to explore along with considerations when using LR4b.

My (initial) “Short-list” of Most Exciting New Feature:
–   Soft proofing ability to preview how a color-managed image will look when output
–   Extend functions to the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter
–   Photo book creation from within Lightroom
–   E-mailing directly from Lightroom
–   Filter and search images by a saved /unsaved or conflict metadata property
–   Burn images to CD/DVD on Windows 64-bit platform
–   Extended video support to organize, view, adjustment, edit and share video clips.

Biggest Surprise! [Process Version 2012 /  Camera Raw 7.0]
Adobe has made a significant process change expanding the dynamic processing range of the digital image – they call this “Process Version 2012” (PV2012). The “Develop” module in LR4b has been optimized for content aware, shadow and highlight controls to extract all of the dynamic range in a single capture. Adobe claims that this new process version might even eliminate the need for HDR.  That seems a little extreme to me right now but at first blush the LR4b processed images appear to have smoother gradations, more tonality and an overall “dye transfer softness” quality”. However, this might just be me finding a new learning curve with PV2012 and the change in the sliders functions.  I will need to get more processing under my belt and feel this out a little more. I’m sure this will be the subject of future posts.

Major Changes in Develop Thought Process? (a.k.a. Develop-Head-Readjustment?)
LR4b Develop module’s “Basic” panel sliders have been… rearranged, renamed and effect the image differently!
      –   “Exposure” is “Brightness”; “Highlights” is “Recovery”, “Shadows” is “Fill Light”
but different!
      –   Some Sliders’ brighten/darken movement and values have changed
but not consistently!
   …Other than those few changes… not so much!

Cause and Effect?
For those of us who have a methodology with non-destructive processing in Lightroom 3 (PV2010 /ACR 6.x) and understand the difference between the “Exposure” and “Brightness” sliders… we may have to readjust our “develop” head a bit.

Adobe recommends that you approach the sliders from top-down. Now this was too easy a mantra when processing in LR 3 (ACR 6.x / PV2010) – and I did not believe the best approach.  However, in LR4b, with the sliders rearrangement and changes, this approach seems more appropriate.  Again more hours in the Development module will help sort this out.

Just a thought at this juncture… because of the slider functions and PV2012 fundamental changes, I think jumping back and forth between LR4 (PV2012) and LR3 (PV2010) might be a challenge and a head scratcher.

Best Lightroom 4 Beta “Overview” Videosand Websites (so far)
Of all the videos and blogs I have visited, these are links to the ones that said the most to me…
–  Videos: Julieanne Kost Adobe TV  – Clear, concise, full  [Click here]
–  Website: Ian Lyons – Best Synopsis Overview of LR4b  [Click here]

Considerations When Using Lightroom 4 Beta
LR4b:Lightroom 4 Beta:
–  will not overwrite or overwrite or upgrade previous versions of Lightroom installed
–  will not upgrade previous versions of your Lightroom catalogs
–  will expire after Lightroom 4.0 is available
–  catalogs will be able to be migrated to the finished version of Lightroom 4
–  Develop settings applied in LR4b are not guaranteed to transfer correctly to the final version

Conclusion:
In my next post, I will offer a way for you to integrate LR 4b for version into your workflow while still working with your existing version of Lightroom.  I look forward to your comments – Bob

Categories: Lightroom, LR4 Tags: ,
  1. Paul Casco
    January 16th, 2012 at 09:28 | #1

    Bob,
    Another box to check.
    Remove Chromatic Aberation—-works like a charm
    Paul

    [Reply]

    Bob DiNatale Reply:

    Paul,

    Agreed. Not having profiles for my lenses this check off box in “Develop’s – Lens Correction” panel does an amazing job.

    [Reply]

  2. Hank
    January 14th, 2012 at 14:16 | #2

    My guess would be that Chris’s post on the prevue will continue to be free as an “tease” into the final official LR4 video tutorials that Chris posts on Lynda.com (which are not free and require a monthly/yearly subscription to).

    Chris had 3 tutorials on Lynda.com specifically for LR3 lasting over 25 hours in addition to at least 6 CS5 tutorials!

    BTW, others like the Lightroom Queen have stated although she is working on an her “LR4 Missing FAQ manual” she wants to wait until LR4 shipping code is gold before finalizing the book so that there will be minimal (or no) differences between what she publishes and what LR4 users have on their computer. OTOH, Mike and Jeff Schewe are meeting at Mikes Mexican retreat to film a LR4 video in early February – doesn’t sound like too much of a Beta if LR4 is “close enough” for a week long video take in a few weeks, while the Beta is still good through March 31st. Someone said that “official” Adobe Beta testers (Jeff, Mike, Digital Dog, Lightroom Queen, Jardine, etc.) get unrestricted working code that lifts all the code blocks between LR3 and LR4 (allowing LR4 to ingest and convert LR3 catalogs, etc.) so it seems to me that LR4 may already be 99% finalized when the public Beta was released last week! What we see is probably what we get, and not much more.

    [Reply]

  3. Bob DiNatale
    January 14th, 2012 at 13:50 | #3

    Hank,

    A comment on the shutdown date of LR4Beta. The splash screen of LR4b states: “Warning: This software will expire after Lightroom 4 is released”. I guess this frees Adobe from trying to hit a finite ship date.

    Bob

    [Reply]

  4. Hank
    January 13th, 2012 at 17:40 | #4

    Good overview, and I agree with your initial short list.

    2 items I might expand on:

    1. There is a definite shutdown date (apparently built into LR4Beta of March 31, and the assumption is this should be around the time LR4 ships.

    2. Two website’s that should be mentioned (maybe planned for your next post?) is Chris Orwig at Linda.com (http://www.lynda.com/Lightroom-4-tutorials/Photoshop-Beta-Preview/96215-2.html) found by Paul, and, Digital Dog’s softproofing video (http://digitaldog.net/files/LR4_softproof.mov)

    I grabbed a bunch of files, exported the original copies to a LR4Beta dummy folder, created a new LR4B catalog and have been playing with it also. Everything seems to be working so far – maybe the implication because of the added features of LR4 made Adobe rethink the Photoshop upgrade policy as many beta testers (especially with the added softproofing) are saying they don’t plan to upgrade Photoshop anymore – who knows what new tricks Adobe has on file for Photoshop CS6 when it is released, probably this Spring. It’s been on the warez sites for at least 2 month’s but I have not downloaded any copies.

    Hank

    [Reply]

    Bob DiNatale Reply:

    Hank, I agree with your recommendations of Chris Orwig’s at Linda.com (http://www.lynda.com/Lightroom-4-tutorials/Photoshop-Beta-Preview/96215-2.html) and Digital Dog’s softproofing video (http://digitaldog.net/files/LR4_softproof.mov). My intent is to incorporate those sites in specific “Develop” and “Soft Proof” posts. Do you think the Chris’s post onLynda.com will continue to be free?

    As for using LR4b, grabbing a bunch of files and copying them to a dummy folder and creating a new Lightroom catalog is a good way to go. I will offer a different option that I am using in my next post.

    Interesting thoughts on LR4b’s affect on Adobe’s upgrade policy for Photoshop CS 6

    Thanks for your comments.
    Bob

    [Reply]

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