A little over two years ago, Adobe announced that it would no longer update Photoshop CS6. Instead, it would concentrate all its resources on the Creative Cloud, its subscription based software. However, to placate CS6 owners, Adobe would continue to update Camera Raw for CS6 for at least the near future. That time came to an end this week.
It doesn’t really change much for users that are doing their raw processing in Lightroom and moving to Photoshop to do the things that cannot be done in Lightroom. It also doesn’t change much even if you are using Photoshop CS6 to process your raw images and do not plan on buying a new camera in the near future. Finally, it doesn’t change the fact that Photoshop CS6 won’t work on some future version of Windows or Mac OS X.
What does change is that future cameras will not be supported in Photoshop CS6. So, if you are using Photoshop CS6 to process your raw images and want to buy the latest Nikon, Canon, or Sony camera, you will need to find another way to process raw images from that camera. You will have two choices: (1) Use Adobe’s DNG Converter to convert the raw image to the DNG format; or (2) Use Lightroom (the latest version) to process your images and then edit them in Photoshop.
This is just one more step in the slow march to obsolesce of Photoshop CS6. Whether you want a feature in Photoshop CC 2015 or Photoshop CS6 stops working on a future version of Windows or Mac OS X, the end result is the same. You will be subscribing to the CC sooner or later.
Correction: When Adobe first introduced Lightroom 6 (perpetual license) and Lightroom CC (subscription based licensing) a couple of months ago, I assumed that any new features added to Lightroom CC would be added to Lightroom 6. That is apparently untrue. Today’s announcement from Adobe is only applicable to Lightroom CC, the subscription based version of Lightroom. So, I have struck out all references below to Lightroom 6. Lightroom 6 did not and will not be getting the Dehaze adjustment and other new features in Lightroom CC at this time and probably not until the next major upgrade, i.e., Lightroom 7. There are a number of theories why Adobe has done this from it is required to do so by law to greed. I suspect that this will make owners of perpetual licenses upset but Adobe has never promised that the two versions would always have the same features and the two haven’t since Lightroom Mobile was introduced two years ago.
Lightroom 6 and CC 2015 now include a Dehaze adjustment. (Click the images on the right to see a larger version.) Dehaze removes the effect of atmospheric haze in an image and is located in the Effects panel of the Develop module. A simple slider allows you to remove (or add) haze from your landscape images.
The Lightroom update also includes two new adjustments in the Gradient Filter, Radial Filter, and Local Adjustment Brush: Whites and Blacks. These sliders are the same as the Whites and Blacks adjustments in the Basic panel and can be used to fine tune tones in the lightest and darkest parts of an image being affected by the local adjustment.
Lightroom Mobile was given significant new capabilities, including a tone curve adjustment and the ability to adjust color channels and the B&W mix and add vignettes and split toning. In addition, you can now import and sync iPhone and iPad videos to the web and your desktop. Lightroom Mobile is only available to CC subscribers.
If you are a designer, there were a multitude of updates in Photoshop for you. If you are a Photographer, the Dehaze and new adjustments in the Gradient Filter, Radial Filter, and Local Adjustment Brush were added to Camera Raw, the export dialogue was redesigned, and the Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, and Patch tools are faster.
The most exciting update in Photoshop for photographers, however, is the ability to add monochromatic or color noise to blurs. If you have ever blurred a background in Photoshop, you know how well it works. In fact, it is just too good. The blurred areas are too smooth in comparison to the rest of the image and, when you print the image, it is very obvious. Now, with the ability to add monochromatic and color noise to blur, we can match the texture of the blur to the rest of the image.
Overall, this is a great set of updates to Lightroom and Photoshop for photographers. If you have Lightroom 6 or subscribe to the Creative Cloud, update now. If you own Lightroom 5, you might want to consider updating to Lightroom 6 or even the Creative Cloud.
With the release of the Nikon D810 last week, we have received a number of urgent e-mails asking why Lightroom can’t see its raw files. Unfortunately, Lightroom must be updated to recognize the D810 files and, until that happens, you must use one of four workarounds. Each workaround has its pluses and minuses. The four choices are as follows:
Nikon Capture NX-D: Nikon has discontinued support of Capture NX2 and replaced it with Nikon Capture NX-D. While powerful, it isn’t Lightroom or Photoshop and doesn’t support any plugins. It will, however, recognize and allow you to edit the D810 raw files.
Nikon View NX: View NX is an image browser only. You can’t edit the images but you can view them and convert them to TIFF images. TIFF images can be imported into Lightroom or opened in Photoshop.
DNG Converter 8.6 (Beta): The DNG Converter will convert the D810 raw files to the DNG format, which can then be viewed and edited in Lightroom or Photoshop. This and the next option are your most versatile solution at this time. Note: The link takes you to the download page for the Camera Raw 8.6 beta plugin; the link for downloading the DNG Converter is at the bottom of the page.
Adobe is certainly working on an update to Lightroom but it hasn’t announced any release date. It also isn’t clear whether the update will be Lightroom 5.6 or Lightroom 6. Rumors are that Lightroom 6 is coming shortly. We will let you know when an update or Lightroom 6 is available.
Adobe has released Camera Raw 8.5 RC for public beta. While the release candidate contains the usual updates, e.g., support for new cameras and lens and bug fixes, it also contains upgrades to the Camera Raw interface and new functionality. The interface upgrades will provide some of the functionality available in Lightroom but currently not in Camera Raw, i.e., per-panel previews. However, the exciting news for Lightroom users is that the graduated and radial filters are getting new and very useful functionality and this functionality will undoubtedly be in Lightroom 5.5.
Prior to this, when using the graduated or radial filters, the mask was the mask. If you added a graduated filter to your image, its leading edge was straight; if you added a radial filter, your leading edge was curved. With Camera Raw 8.5 and Lightroom 5.5, you will be able to or remove portions of a mask using a brush. Even more exciting is that Adobe included the Adjustment Brushes’ Auto Mask in this new tool. If Auto Mask is enabled, Lightroom will only add to or remove the mask based on the color of the object below the cursor.
When would you uses this new functionality? Whenever you need to. For example, landscape photographers frequently need to darken skies and this is exactly what the graduated filter is for. However, you don’t always have straight horizons so something sticking up in the background is going to get the same adjustment as the sky. This may or may not be okay. With the new functionality, fixing this becomes a breeze. Just add the graduated filter so that the sky is right and then, using the brush, simply brush the adjustment off the object in the background.
You should note that software branded as RC or release candidate is software that has been tested internally and appears to be functioning properly but could still use some additional testing; functionality and features in a release candidate are not guaranteed to be released in the final version. Camera Raw 8.5 RC is for Photoshop CC only and is officially supported only on PCs running Windows 7 and 8 and Macs running Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks.