About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What’s New in Lightroom CC Classic

There have been some big changes in the Lightroom world of photo management and editing.

The Big Split

Lightroom CC
Recently Adobe split the Lightroom Program in two.  There are many good discussions of the differences between these very different programs, but simply speaking, the new Lightroom CC is an entirely new cloud based program, with a simpler interface, but significantly pared down capabilities.  It is designed for more casual photographers, and those who work primarily through a mobile interface.

Lightroom CC Classic
For more serious photographers who store larger image archives locally on hard drives and who want to use the full features of the old Lightroom, the new program has no significant place.  That includes me.

Many of the Lightroom Classic devotees have been concerned that an ‘old” program might be neglected in favor of the shiny new cloud version.  Adobe’s commitment to the desktop version remains to be seen, but they would be crazy to abandon their power users.  The optimistic news is that the new Classic program does have a few significant improvements, and new features.

Range Masking of the sky

I can get the usual boring stuff out of the way first.  As is true with most Lightroom upgrades, Lightroom Classic includes compatibility with new cameras.  

Other major improvements include:

·      Broad Improvement in Performance

o  Faster response when launching applications, generating previews, switch between Library and Develop Modules, adjusting sliders and brushes, scrolling through images in Library and develop modules, Smart Preview generation and more.

·      More Powerful Auto Adjustments

o  Lightroom CC Classic uses Adobe’s Sensei technology’s advanced machine learning to automatically apply the best edits for many slider controls including: Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Saturation, and Vibrance.  As before, the Auto buttons may not provide the perfect solution, but they may be a better first step in making adjustments.

·      Faster Image Selection

Image previews open more quickly.  This is activated when images are uploaded with the Preview set as Embeded and Sidecar. 

·   Range Masking for fine selection control  

   This is my favorite new feature.  Range Masking provides additional control over the application of local adjustments including with Adjustment Brush, Radial Filter, or Graduated Filter.  After defining a rough mask, Range Masking can be used to refine the selection based on color and tone based criteria. 

Darkening the Greenery

I wanted to selectively darken the leaves behind the yellow lilies.  I could have done a rough selection of the leaves and then use the color Range mask to sample a few of the green leaves to refine the selection.  I found that a simpler approach was to select the entire image and then the color sampling worked as well to isolate the greenery.

Original Image
All of image selected

Range mask adjusted to darken greens

Village Sky

Original Image Spofford Village
Another frequent use is to use Range Masking to isolate the effects of Gradient and Radial mask.  Again, an initial rough mask can be refined by sampling the unique color or luminance under the mask.  Here I was able to achieve independent control of the sky above the complicated horizon at dust in Spofford village.  The was to add a touch of color without affecting the branched below.  This would be an impossibly complex mask to draw by hand.

Gradient Mask Applied to sky

Final Image
By applying a luminance Range Mask to the initial Gradient Masking, I was able to select the sky for adjustments in tone and hue.

Range masking improves the ability to apply local adjustments and, if your editing is limited to Lightroom, it is a great addition.  The selection and masking features in Photoshop remain much more powerful and precise.  One obvious limitation in Lightroom CC Classic’s Range Masking is that it can only work if there is a difference in color or luminance between the selected and unselected part of the image. I will continue do most of my global editing in Lightroom, Photoshop remains my choice for most local adjustments. 

With a few significant improvements in the first Classic Lightroom CC, we can hope that Adobe will continue upgrade the "Pro" version of this important program.  We will be watching!

AND if you want learn more, there are still a couple of seats available for Introduction to Lightroom "Classic" which starts this coming Tuesday.  

Jeffrey Newcomer, NEPG

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