After nearly 21 months, Adobe released Lightroom 6 and CC today. (Yes! Two versions. See below for the distinctions and why you might want CC rather than 6.) As Adobe stated earlier, there are not many new features and most of the improvements are below the surface. However, the new features and performance improvements should make for a faster and more streamlined workflow.
The new features include:
- HDR Merge: As a fan of using Lightroom to tone map my HDR images, this one is great! All the steps for merging a series of exposures into a HDR image and tone mapping the resulting HDR image can now be done within Lightroom. In Lightroom 5, you had to select all the images, go to Edit In > Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop, which would open and merge the images, save the image back to Lightroom as a 32-bit TIFF, and then use the tone and other adjustments within Lightroom to tone map the HDR image.
- Panorama Merge: As with the HDR merge feature, all the steps for merging a series of images into a panorama can now be done within Lightroom. In Lighroom 5, you had to select the images, go to Edit In > Merge to Panorama in Photoshop, save the resulting image, and process the image in Lightroom.
- Facial Recognition: If you take a lot of portraits, you’re going to love this one. Select a face in one photo and Lightroom will search for that person in your other photographs.
- Filter Brushes: If you have ever used the gradient or radial tool, you know how helpful these tools can be but sometimes they are just a little too inflexible. For example, your horizon isn’t always a straight line and using the gradient tool to darken the sky means darkening any mountains or trees that extended into the sky. With the filter brush, you can remove any adjustments applied to those mountains or trees. Filter brushes have existed in Photoshop Camera Raw since last summer and now they are finally available in Lightroom.
The improvements include the following…
- GPU Acceleration: Photoshop and many other applications offload part of the processing load from the CPU to the GPU (graphics processing unit) to speed up processing. Lightroom 6 now does so as well. This should give Lightroom to be a big performance boost.
- Slideshow Module: The Slideshow module now has more transition effects and you can include still images, video, and music in a slideshow.
- Web Module: Web modules can now be created with HTML 5 rather than being limited to Falsh. HTML 5 is the latest HTML standard and ensures compatibility with all current browsers.
With this release, Adobe is releasing two versions: Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC. The difference is that Lightroom 6 is the boxed version and has a perpetual license and Lightroom CC is only available by subscribing to the Creative Cloud. The other big difference is Lightroom 6 doesn’t come with Lightroom Mobile; you must subscribe to Lightroom to be able to use Lightroom Mobile.
Lightroom 6 is available immediately from Adobe as a download at a cost of $149.00 and, if you are upgrading from Lightroom 5, $79.99. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud or the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, Lightroom 6 is included in your subscription and can be downloaded immediately from the Creative Cloud application. (To avoid server meltdown, Adobe is rolling out the update so, if it doesn’t appear in the Creative Cloud application, try again later today.)
I will be working with Lightroom CC today and will post a more detailed review later.
Postscript: For those trying to decide whether to upgrade to Lightroom 6 or move to Lightroom CC, Adobe has published a comparison of Lightroom 5, Lightroom 6, and Lightroom CC.