Archive for Photoshop

Photoshop CS3 Beta Q&A

Posted By PSN Editorial Staff

Got questions about the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta release?
These are the official answers from Adobe…

Q. What is the Adobe¨ Photoshop¨ CS3 beta?
A. Adobe Photoshop CS3 is the next version of Adobe Photoshop software, the professional standard in digital imaging, to be released in spring 2007. The Photoshop CS3 beta is an unfinished version of the application that we are making available to you now, to enable you to work natively on the latest hardware and operating system platforms prior to our ultimate release of the final product.

Q. What’s the big news?
A. Adobe is delivering a widely available Photoshop CS3 beta to enable customers to more easily transition to the latest hardware platforms, particularly Apple’s new Intel based systems. The beta is available as a Universal Binary for the Macintosh platform as well for Microsoft¨ Windows¨ XP and Windows Vista computers, with the final shipping release of Adobe Photoshop CS3 planned for spring 2007. The software can be downloaded at: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/

Q. Why is Adobe making the Photoshop CS3 beta available now?
A. Adobe has a long-standing commitment to the Mac community and this release is Adobe’s way of delivering native performance to our Mac customers many months earlier than we otherwise could have done. Over the years, Photoshop has consistently done right by Mac customers, offering a free PowerPC¨ update for Photoshop 2.5 and a free G5 update for PS 7, even though new versions were right around the corner. Making the Photoshop CS3 Beta available to all of our Mac-based Photoshop CS2 users is a further proof of our commitment to the platform. Since a large portion of our customer base is on Windows, Adobe is simultaneously releasing a Windows version of the Photoshop CS3 beta to Windows XP and Vista users.

Q. Who is eligible for the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A. The Photoshop CS3 beta is available in English only but to Photoshop CS2 users worldwide. It is available to licensed users of either the Photoshop CS2 (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Creative Suite 2.x Standard or Premium (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Production Studio Standard and Premium (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Video Bundle (full, upgrade, and education) or Adobe Web Bundle (full, upgrade, and education). You will need to provide your Photoshop CS2, Creative Suite, Production Studio or Bundle serial number in order to get a Photoshop CS3 beta serial number, enabling you to activate the Photoshop beta and use it beyond the 2-day grace period.

Q. Where is the Photoshop CS3 beta available for download?
A. The Photoshop CS3 beta is available on Adobe Labs (http://labs.adobe.com/ technologies/photoshopcs3/). Adobe Labs is the source for early looks at emerging products and technologies from Adobe. It is not just for developers, but also for technology enthusiasts. On Adobe Labs, you can get early access to downloads, samples, documentation, release notes, tutorials, and more.

Q. What are the system requirements of the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A. The Macintosh and Windows minimum system requirements are as follows:

Macintosh
PowerPC® G4 or G5 or Intel based Macintosh processor
Mac OS X v.10.4.8
320MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
512 minimum of RAM if you are running Adobe Bridge as well
64MB of video RAM
1.5GB of available hard-disk space
1,024×768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
Internet or phone connection required for product activation
QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features

Windows
Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor
Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™
320MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
512 minimum of RAM if you are running Adobe Bridge as well
64MB of video RAM
650MB of available hard-disk space
1,024×768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
Internet or phone connection required for product activation
QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features

Q. What’s new in the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A. Our primary reason for releasing this beta version is to allow our Macintosh customers to run Photoshop natively on the latest Intel based systems, but we have no doubt that all of our customers will enjoy exploring the application and seeing some of the new features we have in store. The application is not yet complete, but some of the features you may want to check out in the beta include: Non-destructive Smart Filters, Quick Selection tool, Refine Edge, Automatic layer alignment and blending, Vanishing Point with multiple, adjustable angle perspective planes, Black and White conversion and of course many more for you to discover. For more information on the new features, please go to http://labs.adobe.com/ technologies/photoshopcs3/. Photoshop CS3 beta also includes a pre-release version of a major upgrade to Adobe Bridge as well as a preview release of the all-new Adobe Device Central.

Q. Is the Photoshop CS3 beta feature set complete?
A. By definition, a beta is not the final build of a product. Since the Photoshop CS3 software is far along in its development cycle, there will not be time to incorporate feature feedback from this public beta into the final release. However, engineering and testing work on Photoshop CS3 will be ongoing until the launch in spring 2007, and feature suggestions gathered during the public beta may still influence future releases of the software.

Q. Can I use the Photoshop CS3 beta in my professional workflow? What are the limitations of a beta?
A. Although some may find the Photoshop CS3 quality good enough to use in a production environment, the nature of beta software is that it is not production quality, so not everything may work perfectly. Customers should be aware that Adobe will not offer any technical support for the Photoshop CS3 beta.

Q. Will Adobe provide support for the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A: No. Adobe will not be providing any technical support for the Photoshop CS3 beta. If you would like to exchange ideas with other customers using the beta, please go to the Adobe Labs page (http:// labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/) for helpful links, including the Photoshop CS3 beta forum, and John Nack’s blog (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/). If you have a question or want more information about mobile authoring in Photoshop software, visit Bill Perry’s blog athttp://www.flashdevices.net/mobileauthoring/. Perry is manager of Adobe’s developer relations for mobile and devices. If you have questions about Adobe Bridge, go to the Bridge team’s blog at: http://blogs.adobe.com/bridge/.

Q. If I make a feature suggestion about the Photoshop CS3 beta, will I see it in the shipping product?
A. The timing of this release is such that our plans for Photoshop CS3 are already set. Adobe is always eager to hear what users think, however, and feedback will be considered for future versions of Photoshop.

Q. What if I find a bug in the beta?
A. If you find a bug in the Photoshop CS3 beta, please file a bug report via the form on Adobe Labs at (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/). With Microsoft® Windows Vista, Mac OS X (Leopard) and the Intel based Macintosh transition all coming at once, Adobe welcomes customer feedback to make our products production ready.

Q. Will there be updates to the Photoshop CS3 beta before the final product ships?
A. We do not plan any additional beta releases for Photoshop CS3 before it is announced and ships.

Q: When will the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta expire?
A. The Photoshop CS3 beta will expire soon after the launch of Photoshop CS3 in spring 2007.

Q. Will the Photoshop CS3 beta be available in languages other than English?
A. No. The Photoshop CS3 beta however is available to licenced Photoshop CS2 users worldwide.

Q. Are there any training materials available?
A. Adobe will provide Release Notes on the Adobe Labs page at (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/). There is also a Photoshop CS3 beta Forum where you can exchange feedback. John Nack’s blog is also a good information resource at http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/. If you have a question or want more information about mobile authoring in Photoshop, visit Bill Perry’s blog athttp://www.flashdevices.net/mobileauthoring/. Perry is manager of Adobe’s developer relations for mobile and devices. If you have questions about Adobe Bridge, go to the Bridge team’s blog at: http://blogs.adobe.com/bridge/

Q. Can this beta help third-party developers?
A. The availability of the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta provides developers with a head start in developing plug-ins before Photoshop CS3 ships. Photoshop CS3 beta APIs can be used to develop third-party tools now and then tested once Photoshop CS3 is available, allowing your product to be available shortly after Photoshop CS3 ships. Since this beta is not a final build of Photoshop CS3, however, Adobe will not provide third-party support at this time.

Q. When will Photoshop CS3 ship?
A. Adobe Photoshop CS3 is due to ship in spring 2007.

Q. Will I get a discount on Photoshop CS3 if I download the Photoshop CS3 Beta?
A. There are no discounts planned for Photoshop CS3 Beta users.

Q. If I buy Photoshop CS2 today in order to get access to the Photoshop CS3 beta, will I get a free upgrade to Photoshop CS3?
A. No. The rich feature set and productivity enhancements of Photoshop CS2 already provide a strong upgrade value, and the opportunity to preview the upcoming CS3 release is an additional bonus. In addition, customers who are still using Photoshop version 6.0 or earlier will benefit from taking advantage of a more liberal upgrade policy for Photoshop CS2. Adobe will not offer upgrade pricing more than three versions back on Photoshop CS3. Go to www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/index. html for more information on Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Q. What is Adobe Bridge?
A. Adobe Bridge software is a powerful, easy-to-use media manager for visual people. Bridge helps clear the clutter and lets you focus on what’s critical with features such as the Filter Panel to quickly locate assets by attributes such as file type, camera settings, and ratings. Bridge shows immediately what’s in your hard drive, network or storage device without the need to import into a catalog or database. Staying organized is as simple as viewing your project files with Adobe Bridge.

Q. Who should use Bridge?
A. Creative professionals that need to deal with visual assets quickly and efficiently. Photographers will welcome new features such as quick thumbnails, image stacks, and multiple image previews. Multimedia workflows benefit from the versatility of the software’s ability to preview video, audio and animation assets. Creative pros can rely on Bridge’s simplicity to navigate the challenges of multimedia workflows – from camera raw editing and processing to multiple media creation to mobile output.

Q. Where can I get more information on Bridge?
A. Adobe will provide release notes regarding Bridge on the Adobe Labs page. The Bridge team has also setup a blog at: http://blogs.adobe.com/bridge/.

Q. What is Adobe Device Central and why is it included in the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A: Adobe Device Central is an integrated tool in Photoshop CS3 software, enabling you to design, preview, and test compelling mobile content. Creative professionals and mobile developers can quickly browse, search, and group device profiles, as well as start a new mobile project in Photoshop. The Photoshop CS3 Beta includes a beta version of Adobe Device Central to give you a taste of how Adobe is working to facilitate the workflow for authoring mobile content. The beta version only includes a limited number of “generic” device profiles. “Generic” device profiles are not associated to any particular device manufacturer. When Photoshop CS3 ships in spring 07, Adobe Device Central will include a more extensive library of device profiles, from actual phone and device manufacturers.

Q. Who should use Adobe Device Central and why?
A. Adobe Device Central is geared towards creative professionals interested in designing mobile content, as well as for experienced mobile designers and developers. Now Photoshop users can view mobile content, such as phone wallpapers or application mockups, using Adobe Device Central software’s built-in device profiles and testing environment. Draw on Adobe Device Central to tune your designs for various mobile screen sizes and lighting conditions.

Q. How can I learn more about Adobe Device Central and creating content for mobile devices?
A. Adobe will provide Adobe Device Central Release Notes on the Adobe Labs page athttp://labs.adobe. com/technologies/photoshopcs3. Adobe’s Bill Perry’s Blog is also a good information resource on mobile authoring at http://www.flashdevices.net/mobileauthoring. Bill Perry is the global manager of Adobe’s developer relations for Mobile and Devices. There is also a Photoshop CS3 beta forum on the Adobe Labs page where you can exchange feedback. To learn more about creating content for mobile devices, go to http://www.adobe.com/go/mobiledeveloper. To find out more about the Adobe Mobile Developer Program, go tohttp://www.adobe.com/go/mobileprogram.

Q. What is Adobe¨ Stock Photos?
A. Adobe® Stock Photos is a royalty-free service located right inside the Adobe® Creative Suite® family of products. This convenient, integrated service gives you:
-Hundreds of thousands of images, all in one place—Search, download, and buy all the royalty-free images you need from a single location.
-Uncommon images at unbeatable prices—Get streamlined access to some of the world’s leading providers, like Getty Images and Jupiterimages, without ever paying extra for the convenience.
-A simple way to purchase—Buy all your royalty-free images at once, from a single location—even if you’re purchasing images from multiple providers.

Q. Who are the stock image providers, and does Adobe plan to sign up additional providers?
A. Adobe Stock Photos provides access to hundreds of thousands of images from some of the world’s leading stock image providers, including collections from Getty Images and Jupiterimages. Adobe plans to continue to sign up new providers so that designers have access to a wide selection of high-quality, royalty-free images.

Q. How does Adobe Stock Photos’ integration with the Adobe Creative Suite family of products improve my productivity?
A. Only Adobe Stock Photos gives you a complete royalty-free service right inside the Adobe Creative Suite family of products. This integration allows you to find, download, manage, and buy all your royalty-free images from a single, integrated location. Here’s how it works:
-Easily access Adobe Stock Photos from the new Adobe Bridge file browser in Adobe Creative Suite 2, Production Studio, Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, After Effects 7.0, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 , Adobe Audition 2.0, and Encore DVD 2.0 software.
– Place edited or original comps into InDesign CS2 layouts.
– Open downloaded comps for editing in Photoshop CS2.
– Edit and rename images without losing metadata.
– Find comps and purchased images fast: They’re automatically saved in folders within Adobe Bridge.
-Use InDesign’s built-in preflight function to check for images that need to be purchased and purchase directly from ASP.

Q. Will I have to pay more for images that I purchase through Adobe Stock Photos?
A. The price of a stock photo varies from image to image, but one thing remains constant: Customers never pay more than list price, no matter what collection they purchase from. Here’s how it works: Customers can download a watermark-free, low-resolution comp version of any image at no cost. The final price of a downloaded image depends on the resolution of the image and other non-quantifiable factors. Prices can vary from about US$50 for a low-resolution image to more than US$499 for a high-resolution image. Stock-image prices in Adobe Stock Photos are non-negotiable.

© 2006 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704 USA

Adobe, the Adobe logo, After Effects, Creative Suite, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere, and“Better by Adobe” are either registered trademarks World Wide Web or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Mac OS and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the www.adobe.com United States and other countries. Intel, Intel Centrino, Intel Xeon, and Pentium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.PowerPC is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Vista are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of

The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story

Posted By Jeff Schewe

The development of Adobe Lightroom, code named Shadowland, was not something Adobe started after Apple announced Aperture. The Shadowland project has been going on for years.

How do I know that Adobe has been working on Shadowland for so long?

Because that’s how long I’ve been working on it.
Back in October of 2002 Mark Hamburg sent me a little developmental application he called PixelToy (breaking his own rule, there was an innercap) and jokingly refered to as “SchewePaint”.

After leaving the Photoshop development team he worked on a concept application based upon painting with snapshots which used no layers. Mark had developed the History feature of Photoshop to more or less to suit me so he believed that I was uniquely suited to look at his new “toy”.


The original PixelToy floating palette was rather reminiscent of Kai Krause’s UI design-something Mark actually laughed about. (See the PSN story on Where’s Kai Now.) Ironically, Mark ended up choosing Phil Clevenger (Kai’s former UI designer) to work on UI design for Shadowland after going through some other designers (myself included).


Phil Clevenger
Photo by George Jardine

The original PixelToy application


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
It its original incarnation, shapshots were taken after image adjustments were made by punching the adjustment buttons. The adjustments could then be painted in from the snapshots.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The next build of PixelToy dropped the floating palette in exchange for the slide out panel for adjustments. The concept was still to make adjustments, do a snapshot and then paint them in.

Shuffle


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
An early developmental application called Shuffle was coded by Mark to determine the feasibility of organizing images as though they were slides on a lightbox.

At the time, late 2002, Mark was in Adobe’s Digital Media Lab under the direction of Greg Gilley working on experimental development primarily directed towards Mark’s then increasing interest in digital photography. Greg had already gotten highly interested in digital photography and that had leaked over to Mark.


Greg Gilley
Photo by Jeff Schewe

In December of 2002, Mark, UI designer Sandy Alves, project lead Andrei Herasimchuk and Thomas Knoll visited my studio for a couple of days of brainstorming product ideas directed towards photographers. During that meeting I expressed the importance of developing an application to deal with lots of images easily and efficiently instead of an application used for spending a great deal of time on a single image-in the 1990′s it was all about how long an imaging artist spent working on an image, the new millenium dictated an application designed to spend as little time as possible working on many images.

And…the time spent should be more enjoyable for photographers than working in a complicated application like Photoshop.

For various reasons, Mark was no longer working on Photoshop and his desire to develop his own application for digital imaging went down the path that lead to Shadowland, uh, I mean Lightroom.

From Mark: “I don’t know that it’s so much that I wanted to do my own digital imaging app as that I felt that I had done Photoshop and it was time to see what the world held beyond Photoshop. With Greg really pushing me to look at photography and with a lot of leftover ideas from Photoshop that had been at most partially explored — e.g., snapshot painting — it seemed like an interesting challenge to create a digital imaging app that wasn’t Photoshop.

Shadowland is a musical reference to K. D. Lang’s 1988 album Shadowland.

Mark has a history of choosing code names based upon musical references.

 

The early development of Shadowland was a bit rocky-to say the least.

Adobe just didn’t know how or where to position Shadowland in the ecosphere that is known as Photoshop.

A great deal of time was spent researching to determine exactly what Photographers needed and wanted. Mark, Sandy, Andrei and researcher Grace Kim made a lot of site visits to photography studios all over the country. There they interviewed a wide variety of photographers-some famous and some just regular hard working folks-from all walks of photography. The aim was to identify where the current pain points were with digital and to design innovative solutions to relieve the pain…

On one particular site visit to Greg Gorman’s studio, Mark got a rather rude awakening-he personally had to deal with gigs of images that he shot. Greg, shooting with a Canon 1Ds, shot about 4 gigs of images during the course of the shoot day. Mark, shooting with a Canon 10D, (smaller raw file sizes) shot about 4 gigs of shots of Greg shooting as well as the models; Andrew and Kevin Atherton-twin gymnasts from the Cirque du Soleil show Varekai. Mark also shot Greg’s studio and anything he could think of to aim his camera at. Mark learned firsthand the difficulties of dealing with tons of RAW images.


Mark shoots Greg shooting the models.


Mark’s actual shot from his camera.


Mark did this shot of Grace Kim (left), Sandy Alves (right) and myself (center-in case you didn’t figure this out yourself). I’m not sure what the fascination is with the beard…


Mark got this shot of me shooting Greg.


Mark took this shot of the models under natural light in Greg’s studio. I processed it into B&W-I’m not sure Mark remembers he gave me copies of his files.


Mark shot me under the same light, unfortunately, the body doesn’t seem to have the same impact.


I then got Mark to stand in and shot him.


Mark hit the wall when he had to deal with downloading all those cards and dealing with all the files. Grace takes a moment to ponder the problems of photographers.


Mark and the models and Sandy watch as Greg makes his selects. Greg, shooting both RAW plus JPEG was able to use iView MediaPro for selection editing (far faster than Photoshop’s File Browser) and made rapid edits in Camera Raw to get final prints for the models before they left the studio. It was proof that what photographers needed was a fast way to get a lot of files edited down to selects, corrected and printed, ASAP.


Of course, after a hard day’s work we all went up to Greg’s house for dinner-of course wine to start.


Greg had invited a few other friends, on the left, Graham Nash and on the far right Mac Holbert; partners in Nash Editions. To the right of Greg is Steve Gorman, Greg’s brother and owner of Gorman Framing. Useful to have a brother in the framing biz, huh Greg?


Also stopping by was Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer. Seth and Jamie happened to be in LA for one of his D-65 Workshops so Greg invited them over to meet Mark and the Shadowland crew. Look at Seth’s hair…this was his pre-Miami slicked back Eastcoast look, check out my Antarctica Expedition to see what Seth’s hair looks like after a year on the beach.


One of the treats of going to Greg’s house for dinner is that Greg loves to cook. This time however, the foie gras got a bit “smokey”.


The smoke actually came rolling out of the kitchen-those of us in the dining room became a bit concerned.


Robb Carr, Greg’s digital retoucher was also invited to come meet Mark.


Here is Robb bending Mark’s ear a bit. Mark actually loves the attention…


Seth talks to Sandy about the problems of digital workflow.


Mac and Sandy listen to Seth-Seth can get going pretty good talking about “workslow”.


Grace wanted to have me take a shot of her with Graham.


So did Sandy-she wanted a print to prove to her husband she met Graham. I guess I really should make a print for Sandy now that I’ve found these shots.


As might be expected, Seth-a wine lover-got a little buzzed.


Mark decided to take a late-night plunge in Greg’s pool.

Mark and the Shadowland crew made a lot of site visits to determine, on a task based system, those things photographers really needed to accomplish that Photoshop and even Bridge with Camera Raw can’t quite provide. That is what Shadowland, er, Lightroom is all about. But the difficulties surrounding Shadowland persisted. Sandy left the team-she and her husband moved out of Santa Clara up to the mountains outside of Lake Tahoe and she decided to quit the commute. Andrei got a bit fed up and left to start Involution Studios, his design firm. Mark also had to try to recruit additional engineering help-he couldn’t do it all himself.


Andrei Herasimchuk
Photo by Jeff Schewe

During a trip to Adobe Minneapolis to evaluate how to deal with the Adobe ImageReady code, he met one of the senior engineers on the ImageReady team, Troy Gaul. Troy and Melissa Gaul struck up a good working relationship with Mark (something that isn’t always so easy) and Troy, Melissa and some of the other former ImageReady engineers (called the Minnesota Phats) signed on to start working with Hamburg-Mark finally had an engineering team.

But with the loss of Andrei, Mark didn’t have a “product manger”. Enter George Jardine. George was an ex-Adobe guy who had worked with Russell Preston Brown in the mid 1990′s evangalizing Photoshop. George had a commercial photo background from working in at Shigeta-Wright Studios in Chicago (ironically just down the street from my studio-although we never met till much later).


George Jardine
Photo by Douglas J. Martin

Months and months went by while Mark, George and Grace Kim tried to nail down a feature set for Shadowland and try to develop a product position within the Adobe pro-imaging product line. The development continued-slowly-with new builds being sent out to a small select group of early alpha testers. Some of us were Adobe “regulars” such as Martin Evening, Katrin Eismann and myself (Photoshop alpha testers) and some new testers where brought on to represent a non-Photoshop centric photographer’s view. But development was difficult without a strong voice in the UI design of Shadowland.

During a visit to Adobe I had dinner with Mark Hamburg. He was lamenting the fact that the UI, something he felt strongly should be non-Photoshop in design, needed a jumpstart. He wanted to get a UI designer to bring new ideas and innovative designs to the team. I shocked him by offering my services as the UI designer on Shadowland. Of course, I had no actual work experience as a UI desginer…but I had worked extensively with the Photoshop UI design team for years and I knew a little something about working with Mark.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
This was an early prototype compare module mockup I did for Mark.

I think Mark was shocked…both that I would offer myself but that he was considering it. Seems I did impress him by turning around the mockup on a flight back from San Jose and that I had some skills mocking up UI and usability. But ultimately he wanted somebody with a known track record and experience doing UI design in tough development situations. He turned to Phil Clevenger, formerly of MetaCreations. Phil earned his UI design bones by having to deal with Kai Krause-who could also sometimes be hard to work with.


Kai’s Soap 2 splash screen-released in 1998.


Soap 2 Desktop view.

For the last year, it’s been a struggle for the Shadowland development team. Not only was Adobe fixated on finishing the Macromedia acquisition but Team Photoshop was working to get Photoshop CS2 with Adobe Bridge 1.0 launched. It’s fair to say that some thought engineering resources used on Shadowland might better be used on Photoshop. The internal struggle also had to deal with the fact that Apple was working on Aperture and the odds were good that it would beat Lightroom to the marketplace.

During the PhotoPlus Expo in New York during October of 2005, Shadowland had a pretty up/down existence. First, the Aperture announcement (Adobe knew it was coming) caught a lot of attention in the photo community. Apple is always great at doing product launches and Aperture was getting a lot of attention. On the other hand, Hamburg and the Shadowland team had to deal with the fact that they would not be first to market a high-end application to professional photographers. However their contention-that an application designed for pros could be a reality-was proven. In many respects, Aperture actually helped save Lightroom. It gave the dev team and all of Adobe a target to shoot at-and the engineers at Adobe are nothing if not competitive (as well as being pretty darn talented).

So, here we are at the official announcement of Adobe Lightroom. Adobe chose to go an unusual route (for Adobe) and offer what is arguably a work-in-progress project up to the photographic community for review and comment. Time will tell if that approach will work. I think it will. It’s really hard to develop an entirely new application from the ground up without a lot of feedback and involvement by what will be the application’s end users-which in today’s climate of corporate secrecy is tough.

I personally really like Lightroom and the direction it’s headed-but of course, I’m biased. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Photoshop…I’m pretty good at Photoshop. But Photoshop is an application with many masters used by many different types of users in a lot of different industries. It’s also a huge application, not only from the code base but from the complexity of use. It’s tough for photographers-some of them old graybeards-to learn all the ins and outs of working with Photoshop. Add the complexity of a new application, Adobe Bridge and the powerful but complex interaction between Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop and you have a lot of photographers whose eyes spend a lot of time glazed over.

I’m also really glad that the professional photographic community is finally getting the attention of not one, but two big players in the computer software biz. I’m tickled to death that Apple and Adobe are paying us so much attention.

So, the best thing for pro photographers to do is test the waters, check out the various options out there. Lightroom is a free download, so all you lose is a bit of bandwidth to get it. Working with it is far easier than learning something like Photoshop. Spend a little time playing and see if you like what you see. If you have strong ideas or opinions about where Lightroom should go, check out the Lightroom user forums. You’ll find a lot of the Lightroom development team there was well some of the early testers like Bruce Fraser, Katrin Eismann, Martin Evening, Seth Resnick and others. I’ll be around too, see ya there.

Oh, one last thought, if you have some friends who just KNOW that Lightroom is just a knee-jerky reaction to Apple’s Aperture, tell them to read this story. Applications take years to build…

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated at 5:55 PM on 1/10/06 to correct several small errors.