Adobe Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Released

Adobe has released a new version of Lightroom today in the form of Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6. As the name suggests, Lightroom CC is for the subscribers of the Adobe Creative Cloud, while Lightroom 6 is the standalone version.

According to Adobe, the update is said to bring performance improvements of “up to 10x” by utilising your CPU.

Other new features include:-

1. HDR merge / panoramic stitching

You can now merge several shots into a single HDR image, or stitch them into a panorama without having to open Photoshop or any other software. Expectedly, this is based on the HDR Merge / Photo Merge functions already present in Photoshop, but this sure made things more convenient.

Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 HDR Merge
Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 HDR Merge
Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Panoramic Merge
Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Panoramic Merge

2. Facial Recognition

Lightroom CC/Lightroom 6 can now automatically find and tag photos of your friends and family in your library, so now you can find all the photos of your significant other in just one click.

3. Filter Brush

You can now use the filter brush to modify the gradients created by the Graduated Neutral Density Filter and Radial Filter by erasing parts that you don’t want to be affected, or apply the effect to other areas not covered by the filters.

I reckon this will be useful in situations when your Graduated ND filter in Lightroom obscures a subject, inadvertently affecting the exposure in that area.

First Impressions

Since I have the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, I downloaded and installed Lightroom CC from there, installed it and played around a bit with my existing photos. Luckily for me, the installation and catalog upgrade went quickly and smoothly. I’ve read there are several people whose Lightroom CC crashes upon startup.

Unfortunately since I am still on OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), I am unable to take advantage of GPU acceleration, which requires Mavericks (10.9) and above.

Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 GPU Mode
Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 GPU Mode

However, Lightroom CC still felt faster to me. Not sure if it’s placebo, but flipping between the Library and Develop modules, toggling between 100% and “Fit to Window” views, moving between photos felt quite snappy.

HDR Merge / Panoramic Stitching is useful and convenient and good enough for most people, but experts will probably still want to keep using software like Oloneo PhotoEngine or AutoPano Giga, which offers far more control.

I have not played with a lot with it, nor imported any new photos but so far the update looks good.

YS: The very first thing I did was to check if there were any performance improvements with the main annoyance I have in Lightroom: 1:1 Preview generation. Unfortunately after timing both a batch of 10 images and the usual on-next photo view in browsing mode, there is no discernible difference. The hate portion of my love-hate relationship with Lightroom stems from there, as it is really hard to use it to parse through images when there is so much minute waiting in-between each image.

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