Adobe has been in the news quite a bit the past month. We already documented how they increased the base pricing for Creative Cloud and now they are set to hit the market with a new update. The new update brings some new features and additional camera support. The May update is live right now if you are an Adobe Creative Cloud user. Although there are more options than ever for post-processing, Lightroom and Photoshop are still my favorite programs to use. Many applications are getting close to Lightroom, but I don’t think any are challenging Photoshop. It is such a powerful tool. Download the latest Lightroom updates today in the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, or use the Creative Cloud desktop app.
Check out the details here – https://helpx.adobe.com/mena_en/lightroom-cc/using/whats-new/2019-3.html.
The update introduces a couple of notable features – Texture, Defringe, Flat Field Correction, and Interactive Tutorials. In my opinion, this is a significant update. All of the newly added features address some important post-processing issues. We will dive deeper into each, but I think Texture and the Interactive Tutorials could have a big impact on workflow. I have always felt that a sharpening or micro contrast slider that operated similar to Clarity, but at a smaller radius would be an excellent slider. We finally get that with Texture. Also, there is no doubt that Lightroom has a slight learning curve, and Photoshop even more so. The new tutorials could be absolutely fantastic for amateur photographers or those new to Adobe’s suite of products.
Texture is a new editing slide that is focused on bringing out the details of an image, whether that’s hair, flowers, or sky. It represents a great median option somewhere between Clarity and general Sharpening. I like selectively applying a Clarity adjustment in my images, but oftentimes the effect can be harsh, especially at high amounts or when applied to the whole image. Clarity is essentially a micro contrast slider and works at a specific pixel radius. Texture operates the same way, but occurs at a lower pixel radius, allowing textures to be brought more seamlessly, with less haloing and ‘crunchiness’. Adding Clarity can also introduce noise into your image. Adobe is claiming that Texture will smooth out details and bring out textures without adding any noise. I am excited about this slider, it will be really great for both landscape and wildlife photography.
Max Wendt, the lead engineer on this slider at Adobe, has written a blog piece on using the slider and all its intricacies. The article can be found over on Adobe’s Creative Cloud resource blog – https://theblog.adobe.com/from-the-acr-team-introducing-the-texture-control/.
I am interested in both the positive and negative effects of the Texture slider. Remember, just like Clarity or Dehaze, when you apply a negative adjustment an opposite effect was applied – a smoothing effect. So, I think this adjustment will be great for bringing out textures and adding a slight amount of texture, I think the negative smoothing effect will be great for creating contrast transitions and smoothing out unnecessary details in images.
You can apply texture to your photos both as a global adjustment and to specific parts of the photo as a local adjustment. To apply texture, select a photo and switch to the Develop module.
Chromatic aberrations can be tough to deal with. The checkbox in Lightroom does an amazing job at removing chromatic aberrations already, but sometimes it falls short. The new Defringe tool helps combat the purple or green fringing you see by lens chromatic aberrations. First, always turn on the Remove Chromatic Aberrations checkbox. If there are still aberrations visible, the Defringe tool will help you remove them form the rest of your image. Simply select the tool and place the eye-dropper over the fringing.
This will help with those high dynamic range scenes where you might have areas of extreme brightness and darkness collide with each other. I often run into fringing when I try to recover shadow or highlight details. This should be a very good addition as well.
Flat-Field CorrectionPreviously available as a plug-in, Flat-Field Correction is now built into Lightroom Classic’s Library module. Flat-Field Correction helps correct for sensor and lens characteristics that can result in asymmetrical color casts. To use the Flat-Field Correction tool, you’ll need to capture a calibration photo by shooting a flat, evenly illuminated reflective surface (or you can make it easy on yourself and use an ExpoDisc® or similar tool) along with your photos, keeping the lighting and lens aperture settings the same. Then, after importing your photos into Lightroom Classic, select the photo plus the calibration photo and navigating to Library > Flat-Field Correction.
The Flat-Field Correction tool will analyze the calibration photo and then remove any color casts due to the lens + sensor combination, resulting in a new DNG file. There is a great article by Sean Reid on the Adobe blog going in-depth on this adjustment as well.
This could be a huge one for Adobe. Most complaints about Lightroom and Photoshop include mentions about the learning curve. Learning each program is difficult and requires time, and still, even then it can seem daunting. The new interactive tutorials introduced by Adobe seem like a great way to foster learning for beginner and amateur users. They are only available on Lightroom now, but it’s a great step forward.
The tutorials offer a new approach to learning the programs. Adobe will provide a photo and then walk you through a complete edit. The instructors actually tell you what sliders to adjust and you can see the effect applied in real time. These tutorials will be excellent for establishing an initial workflow when you are new to the program. The tutorials also offer tips and information on the various adjustments that are possible through Lightroom.
Basically, you can go through ‘inspirational photos’ on the landing page and when you see a photo you really like, you can click on it and get walked through the step-by-step editing process that was used to process the image. Pretty cool!
Adobe has partnered with a number of amazing photography educators, and are working on collaborating with many more. Matt Kloskowski, Katrin Eismann, Kristina Sherk, and Nicole Young all contributed amazingly useful tutorials and photos.
Old Versions of Adobe CC No Longer Available
Adobe has also issued a press release stating that older versions of Adobe CC applications will no longer be supported or licensed.
Here’s a quote from the release:
“Going forward, Creative Cloud customers will only have direct download access (from the Creative Cloud Desktop app and Adobe.com) to the two most recent major versions of Creative Cloud desktop applications. Focusing our efforts on the latest two major releases of Creative Cloud applications, which the vast majority of Adobe customers are already using, will further enable us to develop the features and functionality most requested by customers and ensure peak performance and benefits across Windows and Mac operating systems.”
Adobe has warned that the older versions are no longer licensed and continuing to use those versions might put those users at risk of infringement by third parties.
So, make sure you update today!
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com