Lightroom 2: The deuce is loose!

I’m delighted to announce that the beta of the 64-bit-native Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 has been posted to Adobe Labs.  Everyone is free to download the beta build and try it for 30 days, while customers of Lightroom 1.x are free to use it for the duration of the beta program.  (This build expires Aug. 31.)

My favorite feature(s)?

Unbeatable Photoshop CS3 Integration:

  • Open files in Photoshop as Smart Objects.  (This way you can tweak your Lightroom adjustments within Photoshop just by double-clicking the Smart Object layer that contains your raw file.)
  • Select multiple images to merge as a panorama
  • Merge multiple exposures into a single Photoshop HDR image
  • Load multiple files (or virtual copies of a single file) into Photoshop as separate layers in a single document

Selective image editing that rocks:

  • Lightroom 2 adds a Retouch tool right within the Develop module (see screenshot).  That means you can paint regions of the image to dodge, burn, saturate/desaturate, adjust contrast, and more.  Edits are stored as metadata, just as all other LR adjustments are stored, and are applied directly to your raw images. (Because people will quickly ask, I’ll point out that unlike Apple’s newly released Aperture 2.1, Lightroom integrates its selective editing tools right in with the other adjustment tools.  In Lightroom you don’t have to generate a TIFF file for editing, and unlike in Aperture, you can always tweak the results later.  In addition, Lightroom features Auto Mask technology for tweaking the clicked region without bleeding into neighboring areas.)

Other goodness:

  • Library Module:
    • Streamlined Library layout
    • Smart Collections (based on search criteria)
    • Powerful Filter Bar to search and refine images
    • Suggested Keywords for simplified keywording
    • 10,000 pixel size limit raised to 30,000 pixels
    • Output-based collections
  • Multiple monitor support:
    • Four flexible modes for an alternate window: Grid, Loupe, Compare, Survey
    • Live Loupe mode
  • Export functionality:
    • Auto-add exported images to the Lightroom catalog
    • Auto Output Sharpening for images on export
  • Develop Module:
    • Non-Destructive Localized Correction for dodging and burning specific areas of an image
    • Post-Crop Vignette
    • Basic Panel Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Improved Auto Adjustment
    • Improved memory handling through 64-bit support on OS X 10.5 and Vista 64-bit.(Not limited to develop module)
  • Print Module:
    • Picture Package for multi-page layouts
    • Print Module output directly to JPEG
    • Enhanced Print Sharpening based on PhotoKit Sharpener algorithms
    • 16-bit Printing for Mac OS X 10.5

A ton of blogs and publications are starting to push great info live as I type this, so I’ll
update the following list of resources as I see things pop up:

As you probably know, betas have their pros and cons.  On the upside, revealing Lightroom 2 as a beta now allows Adobe to continue the very successful dialog we’ve been having with photographers, incorporating their feedback before releasing the finished product.  The trade-off is that the beta is unfinished, so you may want to check out the list of known issues before diving in.

With that, I’ll shut up and let you get cranking.  Enjoy!

PS–Lightroom running 64-bit-native allows it to address large amounts of memory, something that can pay off when using large images in the Develop module.  Tomorrow I’ll post more details about what 64-bit means & how it factors into our Photoshop roadmap.

0 thoughts on “Lightroom 2: The deuce is loose!

  1. Wow, just wow. Lightroom was very good before, now it is great. Nondestructive localized adjustments are what we’ve all been hoping for since day 1 (as you’re well aware :P), I was so disappointed with the release of Aperture 2.1 and was worried it would be a few more years before we really saw it implemented.
    Now should we be waiting for 2.5 or 3.0 for multiple sharpening abilities? 😀
    I love the smart objects in Photoshop, that should solve the major workflow hurdle caused by having two apps. Kudos to the Lightroom team!

  2. How about shared database? So that two users on a computer can work with the same LR db?
    [The database isn’t currently set up for simultaneous multi-user access. With a little creativity, however, you can make interesting things happen. My wife and I have an AirPort Extreme base station connected to a USB hard drive. I’ve put a copy of LR onto each of our Macs, and each one can have a local library that includes images living on the shared hard drive. We can make local edits, then hit Cmd-S to save the edits as metadata inside the files. The other person can then synch his/her library with the files on disk to pick up the edits.
    With LR2, I’d imagine you could do something clever with smart collections (e.g. I’d set up one that looks for particular keywords, so that the collection would be auto-populated when it encountered files with matching criteria). It’s not precisely what you’re requesting, I know, but I think it can be pretty effective. –J.]

  3. Super mega awesome. The localized corrections are everything I wanted and more. Still yearning for barrel distortion removal and Noise-Ninja-caliber noise reduction though!
    [I hear you. Note that noise reduction in LR did improve between revs 1.0 and 1.3.
    Re: plug-ins, I think a developer could enable you to bounce from LR to a plug-in and back just about as easily as they can enable an Aperture plug-in now. (The Aperture update strikes me as just a repackaging of the “Edit Externally” functionality that they & LR have had since day 1. The difference now is that the third-party process runs in a modal dialog inside Aperture instead of outside, but the results are just the same: a rendered bitmap image with the results baked in.)
    I’d like to see LR offer a nicer way to choose among external editors (something a third party has already sought to enable), but otherwise the ability to send out an image and get back results is already present. –J.]

  4. Looks like a bunch of excellent improvements. But when will your marketing department drop the unnecessarily long Microsoft-esque name? 🙂
    [No, but customers will, which is probably all that really matters. 😉 –J.]

  5. Hi, will there be any kind of upgrade offer for people who have only just purchased Lightroom 1.3?
    [I haven’t heard of anything. Note that LR2 isn’t shipping, per se; it remains a beta. –J.]

  6. It seems to me that we’re heading back in time toward HSC’s Live Picture—not that I’m complaining. Perhaps we’ll end up with the best from past and present.
    [Yeah, it’s interesting how ideas ebb and flow. You might want to read what Peter Krogh has written about parametric image editing. There are places where it’s great and places it breaks down, much like vector vs. raster imaging.
    Photoshop itself has grown more parametric components (e.g. Smart Objects), but they involve trade-offs, too. (See my post about simplicity vs. power in Photoshop.) It could be cool to see PS sprout more ability to apply effects according to paths, but it’s extremely unlikely that one would want the raster environment made totally parametric. Diff’rent strokes (no pun intended) for diff’rent folks. –J.]

  7. These new features sound great.
    Will the PS integration features that are not CS3 specific, such as panorama merging, work with Elements 6 too?
    [Well, the pano support *is* quite new (or at least radically upgraded) in CS3. I haven’t heard any plans to integrate with Elements in the same way. (I should note that on all these things, I’m just spreading the message. I defer to Tom H. and others more directly involved in the LR effort to give more concrete answers. –J.]

  8. Great stuff. I am very keen for the local edit stuff and the dual head support.
    The tethered shooting didn’t make the cut for this beta or for 2.0?
    [Not in the sense of being able to control the camera from within LR, no. There are various method for having LR watch a folder into which images are being deposited from a tethered cam. –J.]

  9. The non-destructive local adjustments (dodge/burn etc) are great — why the hell didn’t Apple do it this way? — but Lightroom is still modal and fugly as get-all.

  10. Nice to see 64 bit support, I wonder if the explicit mentioning only of Windows Vista x64 actually men that Windows XP x64 Edition is not supported?
    [That’s my understanding. I’ll ask Tom & co. whether it’s possible to launch in 64-bit mode on XP64. Even if you can, to the best of my knowledge it’s not a supported configuration. –J.]
    If so, it would be sad since many are hesistant to take the Vista path just yet due to the problems with color calibration profiles (Vistas WCS seem great, but a few issues need to be sorted).
    [I haven’t been tracking those issues, but at the end of the day we have to try to build for the long haul, and like it or not XP will go away, and Vista will get better. –J.]
    Would XP x64 work?

  11. John, that’s a good tip about sharing your LR library between two computers…
    Can you now “save as” collections or catalogs to independent library-files? I’ve always hated that my personal images were part of the same db as my professional ones…
    [I’m really not an expert here and have to defer to others to give a better answer. There is an “Export as Catalog” command, but that’s been there for at least a little while. You can use that command to save a file that optionally encapsulates raw files, previews, and edits. You can also choose to create or open catalogs right from the File menu–no startup keyboard shortcut voodoo required. –J.]

  12. One thing I’d love to see is customizable XMP schemas that can be created in metadata, right within Lightroom … a workflow I’ve created — probably not the best, but it’s all I’ve been able to do — where I repurpose existing metadata fields for color, quantity, size, notes, etc … then create custom text in the Print module to create a contact sheet that tells my clients the specifics about each image they see.
    If I could somehow create my own metadata schema with those fields in them, and have them be editable in Lightroom, that would save me a ton of time and effort.
    Maybe there’s a better way to do this, but I’m familiar with XMP schemas, and that’s the hammer I bring to every problem.

  13. @jimhere: The Export as Catalog command is essentially the same as it was in 1.3. I’ve recently decided to segregate my own catalogs along similar lines, and I use Export as Catalog to do so. Once I’ve confirmed that the new catalog has been created and contains the desired photos, I go back to my main catalog and delete those photos.
    [Thanks for the info, Eric. (Eric works on the LR team.) –J.]

  14. Jack,
    I have the 1.3 Lightroom, when I downloaded the beta 2, I like it , but it did not capture all my other photos in 1.3, so I lost a lost of “stuff”.
    I assume I did something stupid, but not sure
    affectionately Adobe

  15. Looks very cool. I have two questions/issues. Exactly where and in what format does Lightroom store database information and image changes? When I did back up a database once it was in a proprietary binary format–personally, a plain text xml format would be MUCH preferable. Say I want to do my own batch process with another tool… or want to integrate Lr with some other media management setup I’m using? It seems like such an island and that’s an issue for me. Also, how do you answer the question: “what’s the difference between lightroom and ps?” I guess I feel like I know the diff but I don’t have a great answer when students ask this.

  16. Please tell me other fixes you did not list are included. Lightroom’s Metadata editing and workflow is far too tedious and slow to be used in a deadline-oriented professional business. It appears to be an afterthought by good-hearted souls who’ve never had to edit this sort of information under serious deadline pressures. I know Lightroom is marketed as an image database and not a file browser, but we’re all looking to simplify our workflow here and with just a few subtle enhancements, Lightroom could be an excellent file browser and file import manager too.
    As it is now, the Lightroom v1x handling of File Naming and Renaming, Metadata Editing and Keyword Editing is in need of an immediate overhaul to help professional photographers expedite this crucial and time-consuming first step in the archiving workflow. While Lightroom is very good at many other tasks, I give it a big fat “F” of a failing grade for these tasks.
    First, the Lightroom Library Module needs an even more simple, linear interface that steps users through a precise procedures (and helps them remember them). Arguably, to accomplish this, the Import function may need to become a separate Module that can be selected and used separately before entering the Library. As File Naming and Renaming, Metadata Editing and Keyword Editing currently are implemented, I, for one, am always forgetting to fill out one of these critical sections and can’t even seem to remember that some may need to be done before importing while others appear to be conceived to be done after importing. My point is, all these related steps really need to be done together, but the Interface spreads out the functions too much, and it is nearly impossible to build a logical and linear Import workflow, especially when you are first learning Lightroom.
    I’d like to see a workflow that walks me through applying and editing (in order), File Naming, Basic and IPTC Metadata, Captioning and Keywords, so that I don’t always forget some obscure step in the process (which I keep doing). Here are some specific suggestions, some of which may prove to be valid, some of which may be problems due to my lack of experience with thye software.
    1. As currently implemented, Metadata editing requires too much thought, and does not have enough intelligent automation. Eliminate as much typing as possible (See Photo Mechanic!)
    2. Lightroom needs better Metadata Presets. A “Quick Edit” view to simplify interface for editing minimal metadata info (File Name, Basic Info, Keywords, Headline, Limited Copyright Info).
    3. Separating Keyword Tags, Metadata Browser, Keywording Presets and Metadata Presets confuses the workflow. They should all appear together under one selectable module that organizes a suggested, linear workflowfor these tasks, but allows it to be customized. This is the sort of tasks that need to be learned by rote memory, and having all these panes floating around on both sides of the photo make it impossible to quickly step through these tasks.
    – Name (or Rename) files, Edit/Apply Basic and IPTC Metadata, Edit/Apply Keywords, Import or…
    – Import, Name (or Rename) files, Edit/Apply Basic and IPTC Metadata, Edit/Apply Keywords, Import
    4. Rename should offer the option of renaming the master file names on the disk, not just file names in the database (which I think is what Lightroom does, but again, this is very confusing for new users)! So, it is my belief that this feature needs a checkbox option to rename one, the other or both. But you need to be able to quickly find this dialog box every time you do an import, and it should not be hidden away out of view under the Library menu. Ideally and logically (for workflow), File Renaming should be handled when starting the Import into Lightroom.
    This is critically important because many users just do not want to trust their images solely to any database and we want the ability to go look for master files with identical names should something go wrong with the software or we decide to edit the file in Photoshop outside of Lightroom or even switch to another library software program.
    My own habit is to rename every file with the date followed by a unique, three-digit file number, as in 20070717_001, 20070717_002…up to 999 etc. (I have never shot more than 999 files in a single day, but this could be a four-digit number). To file these on disk, a folder with a similar naming scheme is created for each day’s shoot, although a keyword slug is added to the end instead of file numbers.
    5. Metadata Presets (Basic Info, IPTC metadata, EXIF metadata), Keywords need to be able to toggled on or off (promote/demote-expand/contract). Turning Off/On one section at a time via the Metadata Presets popup menu is too tedious…and you can’t display IPTC and Large Caption together or leave Large Caption turned on. It also is difficult to remember where the Large Caption default (Preferences) setting is…
    6. Please get the EXIF data out of the way entirely when editing captions and visa-versa…And the EXIF data should not separate Basic Info and IPTC Info fields. Please relocate the EXIF to the bottom of the Metadata pane…
    7. IPTC Content, IPTC Copyright, IPTC Creator, IPTC Image expand/collapse sections need more automation:
    – The Presets fields need Preset lists of entry choices for cities, states, countries, etc.!
    – ISO Country Code automatically should be filled in when a country is entered.
    – Date created automatically should be filled in from camera EXIF data
    – Metadata Presets “Save As” should fill in old name, and allow you to rename it; (When it appears, the new name field should not be empty. This would aid in consistent, alphabetical naming
    – Metadata Presets naming should support job names, with actual Presets saved under each job name…
    8. IPTC Status EXIF, Contact, etc.
    – Caption field MUST display more than one line…(6-8 lines)!
    – Caption field MUST support Shift/Return!
    – Headline (IPTC Content) should be displayed with (and above) caption. Please present information logically!
    – Yellow popups should describe what each field name is for…some are real brain teasers…

  17. John,
    The x64 support seems to be a surprise to me. Is this a true x64 app so more than 4 GB of memory can be used etc. Being that my audio drivers are still screwed with my new vista x64, it would be nice to see a reason for installing the 64 bit version since driver support has been a headache.

  18. Hi all,
    this new LR 2 beta seems to be great, LR 1.3 was too. LR2 seems to improve some important features like exposure with more span to adjust, sharpening and noise which were too weak in the near past.
    The question will be : how much will cost the upgrade from v1 to v2 ?
    If any have an answer, Adobe seems to be quiet about that.
    But anyway, LR2 will be a great tool.

  19. I’m curious about the benchmarks comparing the 64 to 32 bits versions,
    especially in light of Scott Byer’s post.
    If you have some, could you post them tomorrow ?
    [I haven’t gotten any quantitative data from the LR team. If I do get some, I’ll share it here. –J.]

  20. Eric and John — thanks for the catalog info. I guess it IS pretty much the way v1x was. I still get this alert:
    In order to use this catalog, Lightroom must close the current catalog and restart. Do you want to relaunch Lightroom with -catalogname.lrcat-?
    So no drag and drop between two or more open catalogs (or working side by side on multiple projects). Maybe 2.5?

  21. Subtly symbolic (yes, pun!) that the icon for the beta 2 is Lr (little ‘r’) against a light background, and for the production 1.3.1 is LR.

  22. What about Soft Proofing (maybe I missed its mention previously)?
    While the current version of LR uses printer profiles for printing, you can’t apply that profile to an image while it’s being worked on in LR, you must get it into PS and turn on Soft Proofing to see an approximation of what the image will look like when printed. At this point in PS, you can add adjustements to compensate for the profiled printer/paper combination (to make the result look more like you wanted).
    Seems to me that, without the ability to Soft Proof in LR, serious work that otherwise could have been handled entirely in LR will still need to be taken into PS for Soft Proofing and final adjustment.

  23. hey John!
    just one question about the new vignettes-panel:
    in the NAPP-tutorial I can see a little menu called “style:” where “corner” is selected.
    in my version (PC) there is nothing.
    is it an older version of the beta they used for the tutorials or is it a newer version?
    [Hmm–possibly. Maybe one of the LR folks can weigh in with more info. I have to admit that I haven’t yet gotten to play with these tools much myself. –J.]
    and…..whats all about this menu? instead of “vignetting” corners can you make a frame for example?
    PS: I posted this on “LR-Killer-Tipps”, too!

  24. Great work doing the editing nondestructively. Aperture missed on their implementation.
    If your team could add pincushion and barrel lens distortion correction that would be huge. Especially with your feature of handing off images to Photoshop’s auto-align. Without distortion correction things won’t line up as well, especially with today’s zoom lenses. Maybe you could tie in with the open-source panotools implementation. With all the existing library of lens models/focal length correction coefficients available already you could even make it automatic (the EXIF metadata gives you all the input you’d need).
    Lens correction makes more sense in Lightroom and CameraRAW than in Photoshop modal filters.
    Again great work on the new featured already.

  25. @theo Yes, this was an experimental feature we had been trying out in earlier betas, but we decided to simplify it for now. Some of these changes happened as late as last week, which is why some of the training material is a bit out of sync.

  26. Uh, John?
    May I respectfully request that you banish, for ever and ever, the word “functionality” from your posts and, if your baseball bat is big enough, from all Adobe websites.
    [Sure, but is there any particular reason why? (I have more of a beef with the merciless overuse of the term “workflow.”) –J.]

  27. Man, I feel locked.
    I got Aperture when it came out without even thinking too much about the relative merits or drawbacks.
    Next thing I know, I am locked into it.
    IMO, the Lightroom team should try to do every conceivable effort to help someone like me move as painlessly as possible. I can’t think of any other feature that would make me switch more than this.
    As it is now, I don’t feel like I have a choice.
    Yes, the new features seem completely amazing. Especially the multiple exposure to HDR thing. But… I am still locked.

  28. I think I may have found a bug. I am on Vista 64. Here are the details:
    I have my user directory set up with a few of the default directories (e.g. Videos, Music, Pictures, Documents, etc.) moved to a different drive. When I first loaded up Lightroom I went to import my Pictures directory, so I went into my user folder, selected “Pictures” and clicked on Choose Selected. Lightroom then told me that there were no pictures to import. Then I tried another import by browsing directly to my pictures folder on my other drive and it worked like a charm.

  29. Is LR2 really going to leave soft proofing on the table and stop what is developing into a wonderful work flow?

  30. Lightroom 2 needs an easier way to edit web templates. I’m surprised that there was no mention of this. At the least, I’d like to see better documentation for it. I haven’t tried the beta yet, so I cannot say for sure if this hasn’t been addressed.

  31. I know someone at Adobe said that there are more features than what is in the beta, they just haven’t been made available to your beta users.
    While I am thrilled that the 10,000 pixel limit has been raised.
    I have to ask. Is noise reduction going to be better. Something along the lines of what the Photoshop plug-ins can do? That is the one thing that keeps me from loving Lightroom.

  32. I’m using Win XP-64 and the 64bit version seems to be working smoothly for me. Whether it’s supported or not, I don’t know, but so far so good. I posted a review and a number of screenshots on my blog for anyone interested.
    Hope it’s ok to leave that link. If not, sorry.
    [Sure, and thanks for the info. Tom H. says that the LR2 beta will indeed install and run on XP64 in 64-bit mode, but that it won’t be supported in that mode. If beta testing reveals egregious issues with that configuration, they may have to disallow it via the installer. –J.]

  33. First, awesome job. Localized editing, even just basic adjustments are a dream. Multi-monitor support and everything else is wonderful as well.
    Two feature questions though:
    Any chance we’ll see some sort of edge detection for the healing and clone tools? Aperture really has that one nailed.
    Softproofing? I would have thought that would be a no-brainer for a 2.0 release.
    But really great for a beta!

  34. LR/PS integration bug not fixed on non English language versions of vista…?
    The bug in ver. 1.x not allowing LR to find an PS installation on for instance a Danish version of windows vista is not fixed – ?+*¨¨@£$ – will smart object editing in LR/PS work then?

  35. I just bought Lightroom and really like it.
    But please add me to the list of those clamoring for xp64 support! I have no plans to buy Vista. If I upgrade, it would be to OSX, and that would drag Aperture into the conversation …

  36. I’m a Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 user. I enjoy both products. I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed that a 64bit version of Photoshop CS4 won’t be coming out, but then I looked at my setup… and realised, it really won’t matter that much. 80% of my time is spent in Lightroom, 20% in Photoshop CS3.
    After the Lightroom 1.5 issues, I’m glad that Adobe is taking a harder, but more responsible decision: releasing solid code, instead of broken code.
    I depend on my Adobe products, and I would rather the product be a tad less efficient than to have it cost me money, because it broke something, pre-press.
    I’m looking forward to using Lightroom 2.0. I love the new features listed. I’ll be looking forward to Photoshop CS4(32bit) soon, and CS5(64bit) when it comes out.
    Until then, please continue to make decisions based on the bigger picture and with a sense of responsibility to your customers!

  37. I am impressed including the improvements in the print module. But No Soft Proofing is a major disappointment. The end of my work for the customer is always making prints. Why, why is there no soft proofing since so many seem to be crying for soft proofing as I read the web.
    Bob K

  38. I love the Beta release. The localized editing, multiple monitor support, and 64-bit processing are very pleasing. I must echo the calls for softproofing though. Please consider adding softproofing for the final release!

  39. Is it required to have CS3 to get all post processing you need? I can’t affort to get get CS3.
    I’m deciding if I should get Nikon Capture NX or Lightroom. What are your thoughts?

  40. Hello, I’ve downloaded the new beta Lightroom. Working on Macintosh 10.4, the web module always block the sofware when trying to access to create a web-presentation.
    I think there are also two important things missing :
    1/ it would be perfect if in the develop module, we could ADD THE GRAIN to the pictures and not only sharpen the pictures.This is something really important in the digital photography nowdays !
    2/ Slideshow module, it would be great to have a possibility to save the slideshow as the FLASH file and not only the PDF.
    Otherwise, GREAT PRODUCT !

  41. I’d be really interested to know why adobe hasn’t enhanced the tone curves to be a) channel-based, and b)non-parametric. I’ve seen quite a few folks say this is a desired feature.

  42. Hello John.
    Are you sure that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is trully 64bit?? I have install it on my G5 with 10.5.4 Leopard and I can launch Lightroom only in 32b mode. Where is your 64b support for PowerPC platform?
    [The 64-bit support is Intel only. It would have been great to offer this support on PPC as well, but everything is a trade-off, and PPC represents a rapidly shrinking portion of the LR user base. –J.]

  43. Dear ferite,
    Are you still having problems with the 64 bit issue? Have you contacted Adobe? If so, what kind of support have you experienced/what kind of solution did you come up with?

  44. How does one rename a LR database? I did it through catalog settings and then realized my previews had disappeared. Thanks

  45. Hi, I have looked high and low and today I will call Adobe if I cannot figure out what I am missing during exports in LR v2.4.
    Have you or anyone had this problem?
    I am having trouble “exporting”, and I wanted to know if you or anyone else has experienced this at all.
    In LR v.1, I would do my pre edits in Develop Module, then once done I would either open in PS or Export to a subfolder in the original folder. I can still do that in LR v2.4, however, it does not export images as they appeared in my Develop and Library Modules, with the presets, adjustments, etc., do you have any idea what I am doing wrong?
    Just to double check I made sure I watched a few video tutorials at Adobe, but I am doing EVERYTHING correctly, any suggestions?
    PS I just upgraded from LR v.1 to v2.4 yesterday. Thanks everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *