Archive for Web Design

In Detail: New Content-Aware Crop Tool in Photoshop CC


With the launch of the new Photoshop CC came many new and exciting features and enhancements. One of the most talked about is the new content-aware crop tool. This tool is super exciting because is so intuitive that it can actually help to add additional space in the cropping of photos by expanding the boundaries of an image with matching detail.

What will it do?

This is a tool that can be very useful if you are attempting to crop an image after you have already straightened it, or if you need to add more space on the sides, above, or mellow to create a better layout. It will also allow you to be able to move the horizon be expanding the ground or even adding more sky. You will also be able to fill in any of the corners when rotating the image so that you do not have to sacrifice any valuable pixels.

How do you use Content-Aware Crop?

Of course, the very first thing that you will have to do to be able to use any of these features will be to go and download and then install the update to your previous version of Photoshop. It is always recommended that you also restart your computer before you begin if the software doesn’t already prompt you to at the conclusion of the installation. The update is available on either app store or on the Adobe website.

As previously stated, this feature will allow you to do a few different things to your images; so let’s break it down a bit further. First, we will look at what to do if you need to use the feature to rotate your image and make it perfectly straight. Begin by clicking on the crop tool and make sure that you have the “content Aware” option checked on the toolbar at the top. Then click on your picture to activate the Crop Shield. Drag your cursor to the outside edge of the picture and be sure that a curved double arrow appears. That is the cursor used for rotations. Once you see that appear, click and drag that cursor to rotate your picture to its desired angle and hit enter. The tool will now rotate your image and actually fill in the corners with the information that it has taken from the other portions of the image.

That is pretty impressive, huh?

Now let’s take a look at how the tool can be used to extend your images further. Again, clicking the “Content-Aware” checkbox on the toolbar at the top of the screen will be key. Begin this process my selecting your image to activate the crop shield, as you did in the cropping process. Next, move the cursor to one of the sides of the picture so that you are able to see the double arrow. Now you can click and drag the mouse to outwardly in the direction that you want to extend the canvas. Keep in mind that the tool will work best for simple images like a beach scene.

Mark Hamburg’s Going Away Party

Posted By Jeff Schewe

Mark Hamburg, founder of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and former architect of Photoshop is leaving Adobe for a post at Microsoft. Mark, who was the second engineer hired to work on Photoshop after Thomas Knoll, has been at Adobe for over 17 years. He joined Adobe in the fall of 1990–the year Photoshop 1.0 shipped.

He left the Photoshop team after Photoshop 7 shipped and spent time in Adobe’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG) where he worked on a “sandbox project” originally called PixelToy which was later renamed Shadowland. Adobe changed that name to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom when it was released as a public beta in January, 2006. See the PSN story The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story for more info.

Since Mark has been a good friend and co-conspirator over the years, I decided to use some miles and fly out for his going away party at Adobe last week. Mark’s last day at Adobe was Wednesday, April 23, 2008.

Mark’s office was littered with boxes–it’s unclear if those were his new packed boxes or left over from the recent move to 10 West. The Lightroom team was recently moved onto the same floor as the Photoshop team (I guess in an attempt at “togetherness”). Right: Mark explains that he needed to work on one more Lightroom 2.0 bug before going to the video conference with the Minnesota team, his last such conference.

Here we are in one of Adobe’s video conference rooms on the 8th floor. On the screen is the Adobe Minnesota office’s Frostbite Falls conference room. See this story about the Minnesota office on PSN titled A Visit to the Adobe Lightroom Engineers for an explanation of conference room naming.

The two teams, one in San Jose and the one in Minnesota, reminisced about working with Mark. Some of the stories were funny, some poignant and some were melancholy–but all were good natured.

In an ironic twist, Minnesota actually had some pretty good wine while San Jose only had beer to toast with. I say ironic because most of the time the drinks of choice would be reversed (since Mark and George are a bit wine snobbish).

I lucked out and got a Pilsner Urquell…

Mark and Kevin Conner (right) joke about “life with Mark”. Kevin stated his most memorable aspect of Mark’s career was his pure refusal to accept anything but the best. Mark joked that it was “never too late to change a feature”.

My main comment represented the general consensus of the alpha testers who have worked with Mark over the years; “Be careful what you wish for because you just may get it”–and Mark will make it completely different than you thought it would be.

The last goodbye from Minnesota wishing Mark well.

Mark’s last walk down the Adobe halls (on his way to his Adobe HR exit interview).

We walked out of 345 Park Avenue on the way to the Paragon restaurant where Mark’s going away party was to be held.

VP of Engineering for the Digital Imaging Group, Winston Hendrickson (left) and Kevin Connor, Senior Director of Product Management for the same group (right) hosted the party (and paid for the first two rounds–well, I think they paid for every round actually–there were a lot of rounds).

Here’s Kevin saying a few “words” about Mark’s tenure at Adobe…

…and Mark listening carefully.

Kevin presented Mark with a going away present. A 3D print made by Russell Brown.

On close inspection you can see it says “Mr. Microsoft”. But the 3D part actually shows more…

Here’s the 3D arrangement of image planes (below) showing that Mark is actually holding a sign saying Mr. Lightroom that turns into a sign saying Mr. Microsoft. With fire below of course.

Another parting gift was a guitar (I believe from a Photoshop World keynote or party) signed by the “Photoshop World Dream Team” instructors including Scott Kelby, Dave Cross and others.

If you don’t know, Mark is a bit of a guitar buff (spending a lot more money on guitars than camera equipment).

Winston said a few words, claiming he will always go down as the guy who was Mark’s boss when Mark left Adobe.

Bryan Lamkin, former Senior VP of Adobe’s Creative Solutions Business Unit, showed up to say a few words as well. Bryan retired from Adobe in March of 2006 (see the PSN story)

Sean Parent (center in red: researcher at Adobe Systems and manager of the Adobe Software Technology Lab) recounted the time he had spent working with Mark on Photoshop, including the time he wrote a script on Mark’s computer to turn every iteration of the word Photoshop to be spelled PhotoShop (the intercap was a pet peeve of Hamburg’s).

Russell Brown also talked about the importance of Mark’s contributions to Photoshop.

Mark didn’t seem to mind all the attention.

But Mark’s son Gavin didn’t like so much attention–people with cameras…

Gavin decided to hide.

Gavin was pretty much done (he was hungry). Here is Ann, Mark’s wife getting ready to go to McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant for a last supper.

Kevin was melancholic. Obviously Adobe would have preferred not losing Mark, but Mark had already “made his mark” at Adobe and was looking for a new challenge. Mark on the other hand characterized his departure as the scariest thing he had ever done (and mentioned something about RAIN).

At the restaurant, Winston points out that Mark was missing. Seems the long goodbyes took a long time. Finally Mark showed up.

Zalman Stern (from the Camera Raw team) pours some wine for Ann. I think George picked the wine (he usually does, otherwise he tends to complain about the wine).

Mark was eating oysters (left) while Gavin got his fav grilled cheese.

In a more serious moment, Winston wishes Mark well.

Mark’s now defunct Adobe ID–pretty well worn out.

The next morning, Mark and Ann were due to fly up to Seattle to start house hunting. The prospects were daunting–Mark noted that Seattle had just had snow the previous weekend (April 19/20) and that housing costs in Seattle weren’t a lot cheaper than San Jose. And there’s this thing called “RAIN” up there…

As for Mark leaving Adobe, I wasn’t surprised. Mark had talked about leaving the Lightroom team after 2.0 shipped for the last few months. He felt he had pretty much done what he wanted to at Adobe: 11+ years on Photoshop and almost 6 years on Lightroom. And while Mark is a brilliant coder and conceptually creative in the digital imaging/processing realm, he felt a strong pull to do something completely different. For somebody like Mark, there are really very few options; a startup or going someplace where there are few if any limits. He was heavily recruited by Microsoft and given an unbeatable opportunity to work outside his normal digital imaging field. Mark was invited by David Vaskevitch to come lead a team working on the future of OS User Experience at Microsoft.

This is the way Mark phrased it:
Now, given that I find the current Windows experience really annoying and yet I keep having to deal with it, this opportunity was a little too interesting to turn down. I can’t imagine doing serious imaging anywhere other than Adobe, but, I needed to do something other than imaging for a while.

Mark is leaving the Lightroom team at a time when 2.0 is pretty much done except for the bugs (which Mark was literally working on his last day) and the future of Lightroom is really no longer in doubt. The team that Mark has helped assemble for Lightroom’s development and engineering will now actually be able to step out from underneath Mark’s rather large shadow and take Lightroom where it needs to go.

The raw processing pipeline that Lightroom uses is in the capable hands of Thomas Knoll, Zalman Stern and new hire Eric Chan (and a few others). So there will be no let down there. And Mark has long been gone (but not forgotten) when it comes to Photoshop (although the Photoshop team aways seems to get Mark to try to “explain his code” when they come across something he wrote).

The one thing I noted was the gracious manner in which Mark left and the way everybody at Adobe honestly wished him well. Yes, there was a sense of melancholy and a degree of sadness at Mark’s leaving. But no bridges have been burned and Mark will always have a home at Adobe (hey, Adobe even has a Seattle office if the Microsoft thingie doesn’t work out).

Good luck Mark and best wishes. To Microsoft I’ll only say “be careful what you wish for, you just may get it”…



About Camera Raw 4.1

Posted By Jeff Schewe

Adobe has released Camera Raw 4.1, and rather than a small update just for new cameras, this one is major. New features and new functionality are showing up in a long awaited upgrade of Camera Raw’s sharpening controls, a new control called Clarity, enhanced noise reduction and two new defringing controls in lens correction. All told, there is a surprising amount of “new” in Camera Raw 4.1.

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[Editor’s note: it should be noted that Jeff Schewe was personally involved in the development of Camera Raw 4.1. This article is not an independent review of Camera Raw 4.1 but an explanation of the new tools. Jeff explains at the end of the article how he came to be personally involved. It should also be noted that all the figures contained in the article are available at full size by clicking on the image. You don’t need to click on EVERY image-just those you want to see full sized. PSN regrets that fact that our story formatting requires inline images to be so small]

On the main panel, only the new control called Clarity is visible and I’ll cover that new control later. The big news is the new sharpening functionality in the Detail panel of Camera Raw 4.1 (as shown below).

Camera Raw 4.1 Sharpening

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As with previous versions of Camera Raw, you need to be at a zoom range of 100% (one image pixel for one screen display pixel) to see the effect that the sharpening controls will have on your image. This is an important note as you can change the controls but you won’t see any feedback of what the controls are doing to your image. It’s even more important now that there are more controls in Camera Raw 4.1.

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There are new slider controls for the sharpening;

Amount: as you might expect, Amount is a volume control that determines the strength of the sharpening being applied. It runs from 0 (zero) meaning no sharpening is being applied (this is the default amount set for non-raw images) all the way up to 150. At 150, without adjusting other controls, your image will be pretty much sharpened to death. But it’s because the other controls will alter how the sharpening is applied that the amount goes to 150.

Radius: radius is how many pixels on either side of an “edge” the sharpening will be applied. Camera Raw 4.1′s radius controls goes from a minimum of .5 pixels to a maximum of 3 pixels.

Detail: during development, the team tried to come up with a better name for this, but the word “detail” is at least descriptive. Similar in concept to USM’s threshold (but totally different in application and function) Detail varies how the sharpening attacks your image. If you run Detail all the way to the right (100 setting) CR 4.1′s sharpening will be very similar to Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask. Not exactly, but similar. Running Detail to the left does a halo dampening on the sharpening. Setting Detail all the way to the left (zero) will almost completely pin the sharping edge halo. This is “new tech” and pretty cool.

Masking: as the name suggests, controls an on the fly edge masking creation that will reduce the sharpening of non-edge areas while concentrating the sharpening on edges-which is a principle of “capture sharpening”. The fact that Camera Raw is creating an edge mask on the fly is very way cool. One should note, however, as with Camera Raw’s Fill Light, setting the Masking control above zero will cause a bit of calculation to be done. By default the Masking is set to zero-meaning no masking and no mask being built.

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A hidden preview of each new control is available in 4.1. On Mac, hold the Option key while adjusting a slider. On Windows hold the alt key. On the figure above, holding the option key shows a preview of the luminance data in your image and this is relevant because sharpening is being done not on the color data but luminance data.

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Holding option/alt in Radius shows the effect edge width that the sharpening will be applied to. The “default” Radius setting is 1.

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As shown above, here’s the preview of Radius set to .5 pixels. Shown below the Radius has been set to the max of 3 pixels.

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The figure below shows a preview of the effect of the Detail control while set at the default of 25. Detail is the brainchild (based on a suggestion by Thomas) of Mark Hamburg, founding engineer on Lightroom who worked with Thomas Knoll and the Camera Raw team of Zalman Stern and Michael Jonsson during the development of Camera Raw 4.1. The halo suppression of the Detail control allows you to apply more sharpening without creating ugly light/dark halos around edges. There are some other neato things going on inside of Detail but 1) I don’t really understand them and 2) I can’t talk about them. The best way to see what’s going on is to use the option/alt preview and then examine the effect after setting.

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The two following previews show the effects of Detail set all the way to the left (zero immediately below)…

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…and Detail set to 100 as shown below. With a Detail setting of 100, the halo dampening is turned off and the resulting sharpening is rather similar in effect to Photoshop’s USM. But this is only to give a frame of reference-the settings are not a one-for-one match.

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As shown below, the Masking is set to zero by default, meaning there is no edge mask being built or applied. It would have been nice to develop the ability to auto-select the correct edge mask settings based upon the image itself, but there wasn’t time-this is something you’ll need to set for yourself.

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Shown below is Masking set to the middle setting of 50. The edge mask is being created on the fly from the image itself. This ability to dynamically create edge masking is another offshoot from Mark Hamburg who was inspired by Bruce Fraser’s writings (more about Bruce’s role at the end).

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As shown below, when set all the way up (100) only the edges will be receiving any sharpening-the flat non-edge (sometimes called “surface”) will be severely reduced. Both Masking and Detail can be combined to optimize where and how sharpening is applied to the image-and this is why Amount goes to 150. Increasing the edge mask and reducing the Detail will substantially lower the total effect of the sharpening on an image. I will take a degree of credit for convincing Mark to allow the setting to go to 150-originally it stopped at 100 as the old Camera Raw sharpening did. But by fine-tuning the Detail and Masking, I found settings above 100 that were actually useful. Although truth be told, I’ve never actually found an image that could really look good at 150 (all the way up) regardless of the other settings. But it’s nice to know 150 is there if I ever find an image that needs it.

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As shown below, setting Amount to 150 is “not recommended”. The image here is at a 200% zoom.

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Based upon this image’s particulars, the figure below shows what I feel is optimal sharpening for this image. Remember, the new sharpening controls are not designed nor intended to be all the sharpening that an image may need. Camera Raw 4.1′s sharpening is intended only to be “capture sharpening” that follows with Bruce Fraser’s Sharpening Workflow concept. The intent is to do only the initial “global” sharpening required to optimize an image for further processing. As such, the design is to do “less” than “more” while preserving the ability to edit the image further down the line.

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The figure below shows a screen shot of the processed image at 100% zoom in Photoshop. I think (and we are still testing this approach) that contrary to the old “make it look crunchy at 100%” of the past, the new approach is to make the image “just right” at 100% in Camera Raw & Photoshop. It’s an easier and more visible approach that allows for further work down-stream such as creative sharpening and output sharpening. Stay tuned-I’ll have more info on this in the near future.

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The figure below shows the image at a 25% screen zoom in Photoshop. While not exact, this is at least a bit more realistic in terms of predicting what an image may look like when printed.

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Noise Reduction in Camera Raw 4.1
Thomas Knoll and the Camera Raw team wanted to make improvements in the demosaicing and noise reduction capabilities in Camera Raw 4.1. And while not as revolutionary as the new sharpening, there is indeed an evolutionary improvement in both the demosaicing and Luminance noise reduction. Now don’t get too excited…the new noise reduction is not designed to completely replace 3rd party specialty tools such as Noiseware or Noise Ninja. So, you won’t see magical results running noise reduction on ISO 6400 images and have them look like they were shot at ISO 100. There’s only so much you CAN do within the raw processing pipeline-and only so much you actually want to do.

By default, Camera Raw’s Luminance noise setting remains zero. Also, as with the sharpening settings, to see the effect of Luminance noise reduction you will need to be zoomed to at least 100%-although looking further zoomed in will give you a better idea of what the noise reduction settings are actually doing.

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The figure below shows the Luminance setting at 50 on an ISO 1600 Canon 10D image. Careful examination between these figures will show you the effects at zero, 50 and 100.

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The figure below shows the maximum Luminance noise reduction setting of 100. The noise reduction tries to preserve edge detail while wiping out super high frequency noise. But there will be artifacts between edges and surfaces (non-edge areas) where the lack of noise reduction may be noticable.

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It’s easier to see the results of the noise reduction when zoomed into 200% or more. The three figures below show zero, 50 and 100 Luminance noise settings.

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The figure below shows both Luminance and Color noise reduction settings at zero. You can clearly see the magenta/green color noise that is common with higher ISO digital captures due to the amplification in the analog to digital process.

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The figure below shows what I deem to be optimal Noise Reduction settings. While it doesn’t make this ISO 1600 capture look as good as one shot at 400 or 200 ISO, there is a useful decrease in the noise.

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The image below is a screenshot of the processed image at 100% inside Photoshop. Noise is clearly still visible but the processed shot is better than what one could have achieved with Camera Raw 4.0. But looking at the image at 100% inside Photoshop does not really show you what the image would look like printed.

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The image below is a screenshot of the image at 25% zoom in Photoshop. The screen dithering at 25% is a more accurate prediction of what the sharpening and noise reduction would look like when printed.

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Defringe controls in Camera Raw 4.1
One of the long standing problems with many raw processing applications is how to handle near specular sensor flooding. This flooding seems to add either purple, red or magenta colors in the areas surrounding hot specular highlights. New to Camera Raw 4.1 and found under the Lens Correction tab is a drop down menu selection for Defringe (as shown below).

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There are three options; Off, Highlight Edge and All Edges. As with Sharpening and noise reduction you really only see the effect at 100% zoom or higher.

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The image below shows a section of the water with lots of specular reflection and the dreaded purple fringes. These fringed edges are not the result of chromatic aberrations-they happen because the photosites immediately around the spots that fill to clipping tend to be effected because of the demosaicing process and partially because these photosites get a degree of photon overflow.

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Selecting the Highlight Edges removes most of the color additions caused by problems in the demosaicing but there may still be a degree of fringing.

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Setting to All Edges essentially removes all the fringe effects as shown below. It can have an effect on color saturation in the areas where the defringing is going on so this is something you will want to evaluate on an image by image basis. But for those image such as this example where the color fringing is obvious and a real problem, these new Lens Corrections do a really, really good job.

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The word says it all…this new control (one that I’m very fond of since I personally begged and pleaded with Thomas Knoll to put in) is a hybrid of using USM at a low amount and high radius-called Local Contrast Enhancement in an article by Michael Reichmann quoting a technique mentioned by Thomas-and a technique called MidTone Contrast Adjustment taught by Mac Holbert of Nash Editions. Last year during the Epson Print Academy, the MidTone Contrast Adjustment tutorial was one of the most popular of the entire Academy.

Well, on a trip to Ann Arbor to work with Mark and Thomas on sharpening, I got Thomas aside and started working on him. “Thomas, this can’t be too hard to do, right? I mean you’re already doing adaptive image adjustments with Fill Light, how hard would it be to put in an adaptive contrast adjustment?” I asked. He giggled…(and that’s always a real good sign).

Several weeks later he said he had figured out a way to do it and it would be in an upcoming build-it was called “Punch”. And sure enough, it certainly DOES add punch to an image-but in a way you simply can’t do with a curves control because this adjustment actually uses the image itself to make a mask on which to apply the mid tone contrast adjustment. There is a story about how the name changed from Punch to Clarity, but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to tell it publicaly…

The figure below shows Clarity at zero (the default).

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Here the Clarity has been increased to 50…

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…and here all the way up to 100. This is an adjustment that doesn’t need to be previewed at 100% to actually see. But I do suggest you at least look at the image at 100% to see what it’s doing in various areas of your image and to get used to predicting what it will do for and to your images.

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Here’s the image previewed at 100% zoom with Clarity at zero (well, ok, I screwed up the screenshot and Clarity is actually set at 1, but you know what I mean-it’s not really on).

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In the figure below it’s set to 50…

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…and here it’s set to 100.

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In this figure below, I’ve set the Clarity to 30-which I think is just about right. I’ve found that almost EVERY image can do with some Clarity adjustment-I’ve kinda defaulted to about 10 as a basic starting point.

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The figure below shows a 100% zoom crop of a screenshot with the image processed with the settings above and with optimized sharpening and noise reduction settings.

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The figure below shows the processed image at a 25% zoom in Photoshop.

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I honestly think that with the Camera Raw 4.1 update, it can be argued that Camera Raw 4.1 has now jumped to the top of the heap for raw processing software. The combination of radically improved sharpening, improved demosaicing and noise reduction, the new Defringe functionality and Clarity has made raw processing through Camera Raw 4.1 incredibly powerful and with the potential for the highest image quality.

With the new controls found in Camera Raw 4.0 that unify Camera Raw and Lightroom such as; Hue & Sat controls, B&W conversions, Split Toning, parametric curves and oh yeah, spot healing, I really think there’s nothing else out there that can touch the Camera Raw processing pipeline. And yes, call me biased. Since I had a small role in the development of Camera Raw 4.1, you certainly can’t call me an independent reviewer.

My involvement started last summer when Bruce Fraser, Seth Resnick and I traveled to Ann Arbor to speak at the Photoshop Soup 2 Nuts Conference. Bruce and I hooked up with Mark Hamburg to talk about improving the sharpening functionality in Lightroom and Camera Raw. Mark had been working on some interesting new directions but wanted Bruce to look at what he had done. Mark had viewed Bruce’s involvement as important since Bruce had pretty much designed the Sharpening Workflow that was embodied in PhotoKit Sharpener that PixelGenius released in the fall of 2003. It was decided by Mark, Thomas and Tom Hogarty that Adobe would hire Bruce as a consultant to work with Mark and Thomas and the Camera Raw/Lightroom team. Unfortunately, Bruce passed away last December before he really had the chance finish the consulting and see what Mark had developed. It was agreed that I would step in and finish off Bruce’s consulting. I did my best to add what I thought Bruce would view as important.

This is what Mark Hamburg said regarding Bruce’s involvement…

Bruce Fraser was an invaluable source of insight and penetrating observations. He could look at sharpening results and tell you immediately what was good about them and what was bad about them. He acted as a great reference because he had a strong knowledge of everything that had been tried to date and the strengths and weaknesses of those techniques.
–Mark Hamburg
May 29th, 2007

All of the new controls and functionality will also show up in a soon to be released update of Lightroom. While the capture sharpening has been substantially improved, we still won’t have the final leg of the Sharpening Workflow inside of Camera Raw/Lightroom. But we’re “working on it” (that’s about all I can say at this stage).

So, run, don’t walk to the Camera Raw product page and be ready to download the new Camera Raw 4.1 update-it should also show up in the Adobe Updater (I’m not sure which one will show up first). And if you’ve been on the fence regarding updating to Photoshop CS3, well, jump off that fence dude. Camera Raw 4.1 is big…big I tell ya!

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:

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 ( 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:

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

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 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:// for helpful links, including the Photoshop CS3 beta forum, and John Nack’s blog ( If you have a question or want more information about mobile authoring in Photoshop software, visit Bill Perry’s blog at 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:

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 ( 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 ( There is also a Photoshop CS3 beta Forum where you can exchange feedback. John Nack’s blog is also a good information resource at If you have a question or want more information about mobile authoring in Photoshop, visit Bill Perry’s blog at 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:

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 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:

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 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 To find out more about the Adobe Mobile Developer Program, go to

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 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

Adobe Lightroom FAQ’s

Posted By PSN Editorial Staff

Adobe has written a Lightroom FAQ. It answers, from Adobe’s point of view, some of the questions that are bound to surface regarding Adobe’s intentions regarding Adobe Lightroom Beta 1 and the development of the commercial release sometime later this year.


Q: What is Project Lightroom?
A: Adobe Lightroom Beta is a new, exciting image handler built from the ground up for professional photographers. It is an efficient, powerful way to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of digital images. It allows you to spend less time sorting and organizing images, so you have more time to actually shoot and perfect them.

Q: Why Lightroom Beta?

A: To put it simply, Adobe Lightroom is unfinished. And before we finish it, we want input from the people who are going to rely on it. We want to make it available to you now, so you can tell us what you like, what you’d like better-so you can help us shape it into as close to the perfect photographer’s application as we can possibly get.

Q: What is Adobe Labs?

A: Labs was originally developed as the public home of work-in-progress at Macromedia. Now that Macromedia is part of Adobe, it has been retitled Adobe Labs, and will be the source for early looks at emerging products and technologies from Adobe, including Project Lightroom. Here you can not only gain early access to downloads, samples, documentation, release notes, tutorials and more. You can also ask questions, discuss, and share your feedback with Adobe.

Q: Who will use Lightroom Beta?

A: First and foremost, Lightroom is the product professional photographers have been demanding, especially those who deal with large volumes of digital images. These include fashion and portrait photographers, photojournalists, wedding, landscape and commercial photographers. To these add the seasoned personal photographers who aspire to achieving the same results as the pros, and who demand the same level of quality in their tools.

Q: Does Lightroom Beta replace Adobe Bridge or Camera Raw?

A: For some, it might. In truth it will depend on what you do and how you like to do it. Having an interface that is 100% tuned to the photography workflow, plus the unique features that will be in Lightroom, will mean some people will use Lightroom in place of Bridge. On the other hand, some photographers will need or want the broad image capabilities of Adobe Bridge-such as integration with Adobe Creative Suite 2, previewing PDF, InDesign¨ and Illustrator¨ documents, and workgroup management tools. Some or all of the time, these people will continue to use Adobe Bridge.

Q: How does Lightroom Beta differ from Adobe Photoshop CS2?

A: Adobe Photoshop CS2 is, and will continue to be, the industry standard in digital image editing. Photoshop will always hold an important place in the pro photographer’s toolbox, for detailed image editing and compositing. However, photographers face a variety of workflow concerns beyond image editing. The Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw components of Photoshop CS2 began solving these problems in recent years. Now, Lightroom takes these concepts further, in a very photographer-centric way. Lightroom is also different from Photoshop in terms of its software architecture. Developers and customers have long appreciated the ability to extend Photoshop functionality through third-party plug-ins that are confined within dialogs, and that can’t always access all of the information in an image. In contrast, Lightroom has been designed from the ground up with a fully modular architecture. All of the tasks you see in Lightroom’s main interface-Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Print-are actually independent modules that have full control over your images, and which can use the entire screen to show you just the tools you need for the task at hand. In the future, Adobe will be releasing a developer SDK for Lightroom, so that third parties can create additional modules that extend the application and the workflow in groundbreaking ways.

Q: Will Lightroom Beta be compatible with Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements?

A: Yes. Images handled by Adobe Lightroom will be editable in Photoshop CS2 or Photoshop Elements. Some non-photography file formats usable in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements will not be supported by Lightroom, but this is in keeping with the mandate of Lightroom as a photographer’s application. Lightroom does provide a somewhat different approach to image adjustments than Photoshop, however, and this initial beta release is somewhat experimental. Thus, users should expect the integration between Photoshop and Lightroom to evolve over time.

Q: Is Lightroom Beta an image editing tool or a workflow productivity tool?

A: The concept behind Lightroom is to provide a single environment that has all of the functions photographers most commonly need to perform on their images. It’s not about having every tool in the hardware store. It’s about having a focused set of features that are just right for photography, are intuitive, powerful, and easy to learn. So yes, it’s an image editing tool, and it’s a workflow productivity tool.

Q: Are there any training materials available?

A: One of the goals of Project Lightroom is to create an application that is so easy to use, you may never even look at the user manual. A basic tenet of the product team is that a new user should be able to get up and running easily after learning no more than five basic rules about a new application. Thus, Lightroom displays its five rules prominently when the application is first launched. Basic information about using Lightroom is contained in the Release Notes available with the product download at Adobe Labs ( There is also a discussion forum accessible via links on the same web page. We encourage you to ask questions and talk about your experiences with Lightroom, as Lightroom product team members will be participating as well.

Q: How can I download a copy of Lightroom Beta?

A: Simply visit Adobe Labs at ( to download a copy of the Adobe Lightroom beta. You can choose to download only a copy of the Lightroom application, or the application along with some sample content to get you started.

Q: When will Lightroom ship?

A: Our current intention is to ship a 1.0 version of Lightroom before the end of 2006, but that date could shift based on user input during the public beta.

Q: How will vendors create modules of their own? What kind of third-party support will Adobe offer?

A: Because Adobe Lightroom is being built using an entirely new open modular architecture, third-party vendors will ultimately be able to develop valuable enhancements and custom workflows. Once the final product is released, an SDK for this purpose can be made available.

Q: What are the system requirements?

A: Adobe Lightroom Beta requires Mac OS¨ X version 10.4.3 (Tiger) or higher, a 1GHz or faster PowerPC G4 or G5 processor (including iBook G4 or PowerBook G4), and 768 MB of RAM (although more is recommended), and 1 GB or more of free hard drive space.

Q: What about a Windows version?

A: A Windows version of Lightroom is already under development, but is not yet ready for its public debut. The final, packaged versions for both platforms should be released within a few months of each other. As Microsoft is gearing up for a major operating system transition, and since Lightroom is a brand new product from Adobe, we are spending extra time on the Windows side to investigate the best design approaches that will support our Windows customers today, while also building for the future.

Q: What file formats will Lightroom support?

A: Over 100 native camera raw file formats, DNG, TIFF and JPEG-in other words, the formats primarily used in digital cameras. A complete list of manufacturers and models supported in Camera Raw can be found at

Q: Why is Lightroom unable to read the white balance settings for my Nikon D50, D2X or D2Hs cameras?

A: These three Nikon camera models have encrypted white balance settings that cannot be read without additional support from Nikon. Adobe Systems and Nikon worked together to provide support for those cameras in Adobe Camera Raw, but Lightroom is a tool designed on the latest available coding platform, and we are again working with Nikon now to provide a solution that works with our new platform.

Q: Why don’t my Camera Raw images look the same in Photoshop and Lightroom?

A: Although Lightroom leverages much of the core Adobe Camera Raw technology, we’ve disconnected compatibility for the moment to provide the most flexible environment possible.

Q: Will Lightroom be available in languages other than English?

A: The final version of Adobe Lightroom will initially be available in English, French, German and Japanese.

Q: How do “Shoots” and “Collections” differ?

A: A single photo belongs to only one Shoot, but it can be in as many Collections as you choose. The Shoot is created when you import photos to Lightroom-it’s the digital film roll. If you want to organize a photo in different ways, you can place it in more than one Collection afterward.

Q: When will the beta version of Adobe Lightroom expire?

A: The first release of Adobe Lightroom Beta will expire in June, 2006. However, additional beta versions with appropriate expiration dates will be released throughout the life of the project, so that photographers who have come to rely on the beta version will not have an interruption in their ability to use Lightroom.

Q: How do I make the panels at the left and right side appear again?

A: Just run your mouse to the left or right side to make the relevant panel appear temporarily. If you want them to stay open, press the Tab key on your keyboard-and press it again to make them disappear.

Q: I thought “beta” meant “feature complete.” Is Lightroom complete?

A: Terms change. Lightroom is not final software, which makes it a beta to us. But no, it’s not feature complete-we will finalize the feature set based on the input we receive from you, the people who use it first.

Q: Will Lightroom run on Intel-based Macintoshes?

A: Lightroom Beta requires a PowerPC-based Macintosh, as the Intel-based Macs are not available yet. The final shipping version of Adobe Lightroom will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

Announcing Adobe Lightroom

Posted By Jeff Schewe

Adobe announces Adobe® Lightroom®, a new digital photography application and provides a free Public Beta download.

Adobe Lightroom Public Beta 1 splash screen.

While not known for being adept at keeping secrets (see the PSN article; Adobe accidently leaks Photoshop CS2), Adobe has succeeded in keeping Lightroom (AKA Shadowland) very low profile up until a leak at AppleInsider on January 6th, 2006; New Adobe app to take on Apple’s Aperture and one brief mention 3 days earlier on Duke Of Digital; Shadowland – 287. Of course, AppleInsider got the name goofed up-there is no innercap on the “R” of Lightroom. If you know Mark Hamburg, you know that would NEVER happen. See this PSN article: It’s Photoshop, not PhotoShop–Fact

So, it might come as a surprise to many people that Adobe is taking the unusual route of announcing a new application and making it available as a Public Beta on the same day. It’s a rather un-Adobe sort of thing to do, but then Lightroom is a rather un-Adobe sort of application. The download and additional resources which include a User Forum and video tutorials will be hosted on the new Adobe Labs web site (see PSN story; Adobe Labs Delivers Early Access to Emerging Technologies)

What is Lightroom?
Well, in Adobe’s own words “Adobe Lightroom Beta is a new, exciting image handler built from the ground up for professional photographers.

Ok, I have no idea what an “image handler” is, but let me tell you what I think Lightroom is; a robust front-end and back-end for Camera Raw with lots of cool stuff in the middle and in need of some additional tools-which will come.

Remember, this is a Public Beta (some might argue it’s really alpha) Lightroom is not yet “feature complete”.

What will be added or changed in Lightroom?
That is for the professional photographers who download it and use it to help decide. Unlike another certain “A” company that recently released an application directed to pro photographers (whose development was was shrouded in KGB like secrecy) Adobe is hoping that those people who download and use it will have a positive and direct impact on it’s development. Thus, Lightroom will truly be an application designed by photographers for photographers.

What will Lighroom cost?
I have no idea-I’m not sure Adobe even knows for sure-although I know they have certain “target price points”.

When will it be released as a full commercial application?
Again, I have no idea but Adobe has stated an intention to ship it “before the end of 2006″.

So, what does Lightroom look like?
Glad you asked, because it’s pretty nice.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The main window of Lightroom defaults to the Library module (more about modules later). The window includes the Library info (left panel) and the image info (right panel) and a grid of images in the center. At the bottom is the Film Strip (I’m actually getting kinda tired of analog film analogies). At the top are application menus. The interface is considered a “single document interface” (SDI) meaning everything except for the menus are within the main window-no palettes.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The next module is Develop (shown with the left panel of small preview and Presets Browser hidden). The Develop module allows for a wide array of image controls over tone and color as well as additional controls (ala Camera Raw) for sharpening, noise and lens corrections. All edits are “metadata edits” meaning the original files are preserved and only previewed with the adjustments made. Adjustments are not actually applied until images are rendered upon Export. The controls are a superset of Camera Raw controls with very interesting additional controls added.

Controls for rough tone and color adjustments.

Tone Curve
Adds some interesting and useful touches to a curves adjustment.

Split Toning
Adds interesting color adjustments for both color and B&W.

Grayscale Mixer
Adds a unique approach to converting color to B&W.

HSL Color Tuning
Allows for very precise and accurate hue, saturation and lightness tweeks.

Detail and Lens Corrections
Ala Camera Raw.

Also from Camera Raw’s functionality.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The next module is called “Slideshow” for lack of a better name at the moment. Slideshows are only the tip of the “iceberg” of what this module can actually do. Yes, it’s there to be able to create slideshows but those shows can be exported as HTML, PDF files or Flash movies. So Slideshow has a bit of an under-promise in it’s name.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The last module in Beta 1 is Print. This is one that will really attract photographers who wish to go from raw to print with as little fuss in-between as possible. Unlike Photoshop where each image must be handled as a separate document, Lightroom treats images as pages and allows for far more efficient and robust printing-while keeping things such as color management very simple.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
Most users will be spend most of their time in the Library. The Library module allows for a wide variety of configurations (currently not savable as “workspaces”) and users can easily hide the info panels to better view the image grid.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
When you select a single image, you have access to the EXIF metadata as well as IPTC Caption, Copyright and Keyword fields.

You can also do a quick adjust of the image tone and color using the Quick Develop controls .

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
From the Grid view, double-clicking (or clicking on the Loupe button or clicking the E key or hitting the space bar) brings you to the Loupe view to see a single image.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The view is limited to the screen real-estate of the center panel but you can access a 1:1 zoom view by clicking in the image. Zoom out by single-clicking (the space bar will also toggle between fit in panel and 1:1) The hand tool allows panning or you can use the small preview in the upper right to navigate throughout the image. At this point, there are only two zoom views available, either fit in panel or 1:1. Hopefully additional viewing options will come.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
From the Loupe view you can easily add additional images for the Compare view of two or more images. Command clicking on additional images in the filmstrip adds images, command clicking on the image previews dismisses images from the Compare view.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
Back in the Grid view with the left & right panels hidden, a user can expose the panel by hovering in the hot-point area on the far left & right. The respective panels appear as opposed to sliding in/out.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
Here the right panel is exposed…

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
…here the left panel is exposed. Command keys allow exposing and hiding the panels as well.

Other than the drop down or fly out menus in the Lightroom window, the only other menus are the application menus;

The main Lightroom menu.

The File menu.

The Library menu.

The Photo menu.

The View menu.

The Window menu.

And the Help menu.

Importing into Lightroom

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
One of the most critical aspects of Lightroom is the main “Import Photos” dialog. Lightroom uses a relational database for maintaining its knowledge over all of the images in its photo library, all of the image settings as well as all metadata. This database is critical to keeping Lightroom fast when accessing image thumbnails and previews as well as being able to do fast searches.

In the Import Photos dialog you are given a very important choice-either copy/move images or maintain references to images in their existing locations. If you move or copy, the images will end up in the Lightroom “Library” wherever you’ve chosen to locate it-either in the default location of User/Pictures/Lightroom/Photos or wherever you’ve selected in the Lightroom preferences.

This is a critical decision because at this point there is no easy or elegant method of moving the Library location once you’ve set the preferences. Also, depending on how you have set up your computer’s hard drives, the copy/move options can rapidly fill up the main boot drive where the User folder is located.

Each import can have its own designation–either reference or copy/move. But at this early stage of development, one should use caution. At this point, I’m going to punt and generally only reference files in their current location (often on my server) instead of doing a copy/move. As there is no current ability to do a double-copy, Lightroom’s Import can not really be considered a full featured ingestion procedure.

Exporting from Lightroom

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
As with Import, the only way to get images out of Lightroom is to either Export them or open them in another application. The Export dialog allows for some innovative renaming capabilities as well as 3 standard file formats; JPEG, TIFF or DNG.

The bit depth is relevant only for TIFF, the color space only for JPEG and TIFF. At this point, exporting a DNG does not produce Camera Raw settings reliably as Lightroom contains far more metadata editing than Photoshop’s Camera Raw plug-in can understand.

This is an issue that must be addressed, I’m just not sure how it will be resolved. On one hand, I would hate to have Lightroom’s editing capability limited. On the other hand, it would be useful to be able to export DNG’s that could be used by users inside Bridge and Photoshop. This falls under the heading of TBD (to be determined).

Speaking of preferences, Lightroom’s preferences are very simple.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The location of the Managed Photos folder is an important consideration. But other than that, there is no general color management nor other complicated preferences. Simple, huh?

In point of fact, Lightroom is itself very simple. But this is deceiving. Lightroom is much more powerful than its current application size of 10.1 MB might suggest. Even with only the current four modules, there is enormous functionality already in Lightroom. With the prospect of additional modules either by the Lightroom engineers or future 3rd party developers, the sleek and modern architecture of Lightroom leaves a lot of room for expansion-which was one of the fundamental reasons that the engineers wanted to do a modular design for the application.

Simplicity vs. Complexity.

Their approach is reflected in “The Five Rules
(under the Help menu).

Rule One
Module Picker
The Module Picker strip is located at the top right of the Lightroom window. The choices found there — Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Print — describe a loosely sequential “garden path” of tasks common to a photographer’s work. Change the contents of the panels (at right and left onscreen) to provide the tools necessary for that particular task or set of tasks.

Rule Two 
The Panels are found at the right and left of the screen. Each contains the elements needed for tasks associated with the current module. The panel to the left will generally contain content and preset browsers; the panel to the right will generally contain the tools needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. Clicking on the section headers hide and show their content.

Rule Three
The Filmstrip at the bottom of the screen is a persistent view of the current images in the library grid. The contents of a selected shoot or collection will be reflected in the Filmstrip. The other modules will use the images in the Filmstrip as source materials for operations undertaken therein. Change your selection in the Filmstrip to change the images used by the other modules. To change the contents of the Filmstrip, simply return to the Library and select new images.

Rule Four
Important Key Commands
Tab Hide and show panels
Shift-Tab Hide and show all panels
F Cycle screen modes
L Dim the lights
~ Go between Loupe and Grid mode

Rule Five

I particularly like Rule Five…which I also interpret as have fun…and Lightroom is indeed fun to work in. Yes, it’s very feature incomplete. But unlike other apps that may have been released prematurely with a fixed set of functionality and usability, Lightroom is open to a lot of room to grow in ways that are important to users.

I suppose a lot of people will look at Lightroom and think Adobe is simply doing a last minute panic reaction to Apple’s Aperture. They would be wrong. I know for a fact that both Adobe and Apple have been working on their respective applications for years. Both companies took different development strategies and both companies worked in near secret-although it’s pretty clear both companies knew the other company was working on an application “for photographers”.

It’s both ironic and also encouraging that two talented sets of developers seem to have found some common solutions to photographer’s problems.

The ideal way of evaluating Lightroom is to download the free public beta and see for yourself. It doesn’t take long to get the gist of using Lightroom. Check back in the Lightroom forums-the Lightroom engineers and development folks will be hanging out there to answer questions and give suggestions for using Lightroom to its fullest. The Lightroom forums will also be the primary place for users to put forth their feature requests and bug notifications. A lot of the early alpha and private beta testers will also be visiting-I know I’ll be there a lot to see what users think.

Lightroom Resources:
Project Lightroom at Adobe Labs
(home of the beta downloads and forums)

Introductory Lightroom video tutorial by George Jardine-Lightroom Evangelist (Quicktime required)

Adobe Lightroom A First-Look & Primer by Michael Reichmann
of The Luminous-Landscape.

Michael Reichmann (and myself) will be releasing an in-depth look at Lightroom with tutorials in Issue #14 of his The Luminous Landscape Video Journal due to ship in February.

Check out my story The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story with an inside look at its development and some of the players involved.

Read Adobe’s Lightroom FAQ’s.

PhotoshopNews will be adding a Lightroom editorial catagory so PSN readers can keep up with news and info pertaining specifically to Adobe Lightroom.

Ian Lyons (our Leprish Iricon) has posted a Lightroom Preview

About Mark Hamburg:
Mark Hamburg was the second engineer hired to work on Photoshop-after Thomas Knoll. Mark actually interviewed at Adobe the same month that Photoshop was first released-February of 1990 but wasn’t brought on-board until the fall.

Mark has been responsible for both features and core architectural engineering since Photoshop version 2. Mark’s first feature implementation was Bezier curves added in 2.0. Mark was responsible for a major UI and usability overhaul for Photoshop 4.0 along with Andrei Herasimchuk–who returned to Adobe to initially team up with Mark for Shadowland. I worked with Mark extensively while he developed the Photoshop History feature for version 5.0.

Mark was named Photoshop Architect and was responsible for helping guide the direction of Photoshop through Photoshop version 7-after which he moved over to Adobe’s Digital Media Lab. Under the guidance of Greg Gilley, he started working on early experimental developmental versions of what would eventually become Shadowland/Lightroom back in 2002. He recruited the additional engineering help of many of the former Adobe ImageReady engineers (called the Minnesota Phats) from the Adobe Minneapolis office including Troy and Melissa Gaul.

Mark is married with two children and lives in Scotts Valley, CA. He has developed a keen interest in digital photography-one of the reasons he wanted to work toward developing an application for photographers. He is also an avid musician whose musical interests have lead to the code naming of a lot of the early Photoshop beta versions. His musical style might best be described as “Ambience“.

Listen to a short sample of Mark’s music: Dark Water (Coda)
from the CD The Evolution Of Desire (available only from Mark Hamburg).
(1.4 MB .mp3, run time 1:15 minutes)

Photo of Mark Hamburg by Jeff Schewe. Images shown in the Lightroom screen shots ©2005 by Jeff Schewe–all rights reserved.