Tag Archives: lightroom cc

Experiences with Lightroom CC

I have discussed some of the new functions of Lightroom CC here and here. Aside from those changes, how have things been with the program overall? To be honest, I am a bit underwhelmed by the new version. There have been a few minor functionality upgrades but nothing huge. I do like the ability to add images to a collection when importing them since that has saved a step for me. However, the presets do not seem happy remembering which collection it is so that is rather buggy. Many of the bugs in the previous version also exist so, if they have really recoded a lot, they have still reused a lot of the code.

The new version also seems to have a fair few bugs of its own. The crop tool seems to have developed some new quirks that result in it deciding you have finished selecting the area a short while after you actually do so, if you have moved the cursor away, you get some very odd effects. I still can’t get it to stop trying to create a backup copy of my files when I import new images. Nothing new was added for video which I think is daft. They give you the capability to import video and even trim and edit clips. However, with Photoshop having the ability to be a basic video editor (and now my default), there is no way to connect videos in Lightroom with Photoshop in the same way as you do for stills. That baffles me.

The big benefit is in processing speed. My workflow involves rendering 100% views to speed me through the culling process. The new version certainly renders them a lot faster. I did have to upgrade my graphics cards though. My vintage cards did not have the necessary version of OpenGL to let Lightroom take advantage of them. It also has lens profiles for two of my lenses that were not in the previous version which is nice to have.

Overall, I am okay but a bit underwhelmed. Since I pay for the subscription, I am paying for it but it does have the feel of being free so I am less concerned even if I can understand the truth. What I am hoping for is a bit more frequency in fixes to deal with the bugs and maybe bring some extra capabilities.

HDR Within Lightroom

The changes in Lightroom CC that included the Photomerge also included a change to the processing of HDR images. Again, the functionality has been brought within Lightroom rather than requiring the move out to Photoshop and the output file is again a DNG file. This means a smaller file than the 32 bit TIF that I was previously getting. A while back I wrote about some of the odd experiences I was having with moving these high bit depth files between Photoshop and Lightroom so a new workflow is of interest.

According to some of the publicity at the time of roll out, the new processing approach does not require as many images to work with. I have been shooting five images for HDR to date. They say that only a couple are necessary. I have tried carrying out the processing with five and with two and there doesn’t appear to be an obvious difference in the output. There is a benefit in the time taken to process the images though so this does appear to be a good improvement.

You can either let the output be automatically toned using the normal Lightroom processing functions or do it yourself. I let it have a go at first but have not liked the choices it made so have reverted to carrying out the toning myself. It is not a time consuming process so seems worthwhile to me. While I felt that Photomerge was not as capable as using Photoshop, in to case I think it is a better solution and this will be part of my workflow. Now to reset the camera to shoot fewer bracketed images!

Lightroom’s New Panorama Feature

Lightroom CC comes with a number of new features. High on the list is the new panorama feature. Previously, if you wanted to stitch a panorama, you would select the shots in Lightroom, make sure you had them synced up for any exposure edits and white balance corrections and then send them to Photoshop. Photoshop had a Photomerge function that you could use or you could open them as layers in a document and carry the merge out yourself with a bit more control. This was the approach I used and I wrote about the technique here a while back.

The new Photomerge in Lightroom CC is designed to do without Photoshop. It takes your original files and then makes a new DNG file which is the stitched panorama but, as a RAW format, it still allows you to edit the image using the normal editing tools. I had to give this a go so, how well does it work?

The answer is a mixed one. In many cases, it works just fine. It stitches together the shot nicely and you can go on your way. While the initial preview process takes up a little time, the processing of the final stitch is done in the background so you can get on with something else – something I find very handy. However, it does have some shortcomings.

First, it doesn’t always find the way to stitch the shots. I have had a couple of times when it couldn’t work out the alignment. When I tried the same shots in Photoshop, they worked just fine. Not sure why these didn’t work but the algorithms must have some limitations. Next, it doesn’t always deal well with curvy edges. I have had a couple of stitches that I tried where the aircraft fuselage, although a smooth curve, ended up with some kinks at the area where the stitch took place. Photoshop never caused me trouble with these either. Big panos also seem to make it unhappy with some very odd alignments being chosen (after a long time processing) so they may have to stay in Photoshop for now.

The last problem is cropping. You have the option to have the whole stitch or to have it crop in automatically (or you could crop manually afterwards). Cropping pulls you in to the shot more aggressively to get rid of any blank pixels. You can fix this by shooting a lot wider to have more to work with. However, having been used to being able to fill odd little gaps using Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop, not being able to do so in Lightroom is a limitation. I can, of course, open the file in Photoshop and do just that. However, if I do so, I might as well use Photoshop to do the merge in the first place.

Overall, it is pretty good. I suspect there will be some tweaks behind the scenes as CC gets updated progressively so I might not even know that Adobe have fixed some of the issues. The Fill issue will be more obvious though. I shall probably keep using it unless I feel the Photoshop is merited and it is a good addition but I hope they take it further so I don’t have to consider Photoshop in the future. We shall see because the new update of Photoshop is out and includes Content Aware Fill of the gaps in panos which might be enough to sway me back.