Adobe's Tom Hogarty talks about the extra features in the Lightroom 4 beta
We spoke to Tom Hogarty, Lightroom's Principal Product Manager, about the changes being previewed in the latest public beta of Adobe's processing workflow software. The beta version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 introduces a wide range of additional functions, tight integration with a third-party vendor and significant changes to some fundamental image editing tools. Hogarty explains how these features came about, their impact on Lightroom users and what Adobe hopes to learn from user feedback during the beta process.
|Tom Hogarty, Principal Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.|
The headline features of Lightroom 4 include two extra modules (for book creation and geo-tagging of images), a soft proofing workflow, enhanced support for video files and a reworking of the 'Basic' panel's editing tools. We've examined these and other new additions in our Lightroom 4 Public Beta hands-on preview.
Hogarty says that the public beta process is valuable to Adobe which, 'gains a lot', from such a broad range of user feedback. While the company has a strong history of incorporating user feedback from public betas into the shipping version, each public beta serves a unique set of purposes, he explains. 'With Lightroom 4 we're confident we're headed in the right direction', Hogarty says. 'We're not introducing a brand new concept to users, as was the case with Lightroom 1, obviously. But we've added book creation and greater video support, and user reaction to them is important. We want to know if our choices work for our customers.'
This latest release introduces new functions on a scale not seen since Lightroom 2's introduction of localized editing tools and dual monitor support. Yet it was back in the development of Lightroom 3, with an eye towards these bigger ticket items that the Lightroom team took a critical look at the software's underpinnings. As Hogarty states, 'In developing Lightroom 3 our priority was to improve the underlying performance and image quality architecture of the software. These under-the-hood changes are what allowed us to provide the new features you see [in Lightroom 4].'
Basic panel revision
Hogarty notes that the earliest adopters of Lightroom were primarily professional photographers who needed little convincing to embrace a workflow-oriented way to manage and edit the hundreds of images they were generating on a daily basis. The growth of the software's user base, however, is coming from enthusiasts who have a wide range of competitors' offerings - both desktop and cloud-based - from which to choose.
One of the primary goals with Lightroom 4 was to simplify the user experience for new customers, Hogarty says. This can be seen in the overhaul of the Basic panel's tools that accompany the new processing options that come with the latest 2012 process version (PV). This decision grew out of internal feedback from Adobe's Revel (formerly Carousel) team as they explored Lightroom's interface to integrate it with their services. 'They questioned some tools whose use seemed obvious to us because we'd lived with them for seven years,' says Hogarty. As a result of these changes he believes that with Lightroom 4, users can get the image editing results they want more quickly.
|Many of the Basic panel sliders familiar to
users of Lightroom 3 (above)...
|...have been changed in Lightroom 4, which
now sets a global default value of 0.
Using PV2012 does require long-time Lightroom users to adjust their work habits to accommodate the revised tools. Hogarty feels confident, however, that current users will adapt to the changes relatively quickly. 'If you've been able to figure out the concepts of our old tools like Fill Light and Recovery (which have been replaced in Lightroom 4) it shouldn't take you long to become familiar with the new ones,' he states. He also notes that Lightroom 3 users are not required to update any of their images to PV2012. 'We are, and always have been flexible, by allowing users to maintain their existing process version,' he states. 'You can stick with PV2010 or even PV2003 until you're ready to switch. It is always our intention to support older process versions'.
His personal recommendation is that users migrating from Lightroom 3 begin using PV2012 initially on newly imported images. Then, once comfortable (and satisfied) with what the new tools offer, consider revisiting a select number of older images that can benefit from what PV2012 has to offer. In general, he argues that if your old images look fine as they are, it makes the most sense to leave them at their current process version.
Book and Map modules
The book-creation module includes a direct order link to Blurb, the popular San Francisco-based book publisher, and represents Lightroom's tightest integration with an outside vendor. While Hogarty says Adobe is open to evaluating and exploring possible relationships with other providers, several reasons led to the decision to directly support Blurb as a book vendor. 'Blurb has a very knowledgeable support team that we feel is well suited to our users. Their physical proximity to us provides the opportunity of a tight feedback loop between the two companies. And of course the image quality during our internal testing was at a level we're comfortable with,' he says.
Adding support for geo-tagging of images and the ability to more easily search by location using the Map module may seem to be slightly ahead-of-the-curve, as GPS-enabled cameras currently make up a small fraction of the enthusiast market. Yet, as Hogarty points out, even professional photographers - notably photojournalists - are producing published work using smartphone cameras, which automatically store location data. He also sees signs in recent releases like the Canon S100, not to mention a number of Sony models like the SLT-A77, that built-in GPS capability is destined to become a standard feature in the not too distant future.
The big picture
With addition of the Book and Map modules, Lightroom's Module Picker is growing more crowded. This calls into question the expansion capability of Adobe's modular approach to the Lightroom interface, as there is clearly a limit to the number of additional modules that it can comfortably accommodate. Hogarty acknowledges this challenge, noting that, 'while we do now offer you the ability to hide modules, the current approach is not ideal and calls for a more elegant design solution. We may have to find a solution that incorporates higher level items [in the Module Picker] based on what you want to accomplish rather than a list of modules.'
One feature that some users had hoped to see in Lightroom 4 is face recognition, in which the software identifies specific faces in images and embeds this information as metadata for easier image searches. Hogarty says that when allocating resources for a new release, highest priority is given to features that benefit the greatest number of users. 'Face recognition is very important to some', he says, 'but irrelevant to others, leading to [internal] debates about what solutions are tackled in a release cycle.' Perhaps even more important, he notes there are serious privacy concerns about, 'the ability of software solutions to collect person-specific information.' He says that the challenges in implementing a face recognition workflow in Lightroom involve: 'privacy controls, integration with third party solutions like Facebook, tolerance for false positives - and the effort required to correct them - as well as the time required [by the user] to teach recognition tools.'
When asked about Lightroom's rivals, Hogarty sees a broad range of competitors beyond Aperture and Capture One, which notably includes Photoshop. And, as Lightroom continues to add capabilities that previously required a trip to Adobe's flagship image editing software, the obvious question is whether photographers still need Photoshop. While Hogarty stresses there are still things that can only be done in Photoshop, he also recognizes that for a majority of users' images Lightroom may indeed be the final destination. He notes that with his own images, 'I tend to work in Photoshop less often, but now I am happier when I do.'
Jan 13, 2015
Jan 15, 2015
Dec 12, 2014
Dec 11, 2014
|Sophisticated construction by the nature by Orchideon|
|After the Rain by Flor Tempra|
from Macro - Something Pink
|Asilah by Limburg|
from Cozy Corners
With card readers disappearing from MacBooks, USB-C card readers are now a necessity. Macworld's helpful guide compares five models and decodes the current mess of card speeds and certifications.
A Sony a7S II mounted on the outside of the ISS' Japanese Experiment Module (KIBO) for the last seven months has sent back some impressive 4K video and stills.
A Federal judge has refused to throw out a copyright case against controversial artist Richard Prince, who used an image by photographer Donald Graham in an exhibition.
Sony has teased its customers with news of an upcoming announcement: it will soon take the wraps off a new CineAlta motion picture camera, one sporting a 36x24mm sensor.
QuikStories is integrated into the latest version of the GoPro app and automatically creates 'stories' using the video clips you've shot during a day.
Journalists photographing a protest in the US Capitol building claim they were told by Capitol Police to delete photos and videos of arrests.
The Meizu Pro 7 Plus secondary display can be used for music playback, date and weather-related information, or as viewfinder when taking selfies with the rear cameras.
Nikon is marking its 100th anniversary in many ways, including the creation of a new scholarship program for 'future visual creators' in the USA and Canada.
Take one Digital ELPH (or IXUS), rotate it vertically, add a fully articulating LCD and a lens with a camcorder-like focal length, and what do you get? Why, the Canon PowerShot TX1, of course. In this week's Throwback Thursday we revisit Canon's one-of-a-kind hybrid stills/video camera.
Just in case there was any doubt in your mind, here's the definitive video proof that yes, a $50,000 cinema camera beats the pants off a $50 camcorder in a side-by-side test.
Photographers who fly frequently in the US may want to finally invest in that TSA Pre-check status: in standard security lines, cameras and all other electronics larger than a smartphone will need to be placed in a separate bin for screening.
Images have appeared which claim to show Nikon's forthcoming D850 DSLR, the development of which was announced this week. If genuine, the pictures indicate that the D850 will offer illuminated controls and a tilting LCD screen, but no built-in flash.
To celebrate the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 lens' successful Kickstarter campaign, Lomography has announced a chrome-plated version of the lens in Nikon and Canon DSLR mounts.
Nikon just released four new firmware updates, adding features and fixing bugs in the D600, D610, D750 and the KeyMission 80.
It probably hasn't made your landscape photography bucket list just yet, but there's a good reason to visit Idaho. Here are 9 must-visit locations in this beautiful state.
Oops... Adobe accidentally leaked their unfinished Lightroom-powered cloud-based photo editor 'Project Nimbus' to some Creative Cloud users yesterday.
Storm chaser and award-winning photographer Mike Oblinski just released his latest time-lapse, and it is absolutely stunning.
Looking to level up your video capture capabilities without buying a whole new camera? Blackmagic's Video Assist 4K is well worth considering, despite a few flaws and its lack of 4K/60p support.
We're big fans of Fujifilm's fast-growing GFX system, and the GF 110mm F2 lens is no exception. Positioned as the system's classic portrait lens, its optics are just as impressive with non-human subjects as well.
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.