Adobe Lightroom 4 | First Impression

Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta

Since this morning the internet world has been buzzing a lot about the Beta release of Adobe’s flagship Image management and editing tool > Lighrtoom 4. Adobe is currently allowing users to try out the beta version ( just remember quite a lot of things can change before the actual launch ) free of cost until 31st March, 2012. Some of the major changes in the LR4 has been with regard to inclusion of two new modules called Map and Book, the latter which allows you to design and publish books formats ready for print right from the Lightroom module. Detailed insight into what are the new features and to get to download the copy of the Beta version for yourself head on to

Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta New Modules

This evening i spent a bit of time running through all the changes that are part of the LR4 and try to push some of my images through the LR4 hood. One of the biggest and noticeable change in the LR4 develop module has been with regard to the Shadow/Highlight tool which now is more powerful and the algorithm seems to be more precise than giving the images a psuedo HDR’ish look whilst using the Fill Light and Recovery tool in the older version of Lightroom. Apparently there is a slight re-organisation of the menu structure in the Develop module which is slightly confusing considering that I am used to the Contrast under the Brightness slider and also the lack of Fill light and Recovery now replaced with Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks.

Adobe Lightroom 4 Develop module Basic tab

As with any of the previous releases of the Lightroom we are not allowed to use or open the existing catalogs or the ones which are created with previous versions of Lightroom, which forced me to create a one from scratch and also randomly pull in few images from my external storage for the test. All the images that i pulled were mainly done to try out the new Shadow & Highlight improvements. Though i couldnt spend quality time with each of the images selected, i ensured that i push the edits to the extreme to see how LR and the Images respond to it. I was pretty convinced with the flexibility available in this new change. Below are some image with a comparison of before the adjustments and after the adjustments. Click on the images for a larger view. None of the below images have been processed in Photoshop or any other image editing tools. They are direct export from LR after the changes in Develop module.




Having played with the above images, the time was now for to check the Video editing responds to in LR4.  Yes, unlike in LR3, we can now view videos and do basic adjustments to the video files within the LR4 Library module. You read it right the adjustments what so ever basic has to be done in Library module only. Unlike the FCP and Adobe Premier video editing tools that we use, LR4 video editing is not that sophisticated but instead allows us to do very quick edits and export the files in native h.264 format to be used in applications like say iMovie for further cut. There is a workaround to apply the desired look and feel for the video using the Develop module but that involves a longer time as we have to export the main frame from the video as an image and take that image to the Develop module and play around with the image to get the desired look and feel, then save the settings in form of UserPresets, later revert back to Library module to apply this preset to the actual video file. Its very very cumbersome but the results are really pleasing. I did try out this method a bit and was quite pleased. LR4 also allows the users to apply the various company shipped presets to the videos as well. I was really surprised to see very handy and helpful presets from OnOne software in the develop module.

Below is a small video clip which runs you through different types of edits that can be done in LR4. Please not LR4 is not a replacement or anywhere close to even the basic video editors available in the market. It just allows you to grab quick frames and apply somebasic edits. But if you are a person who plays around with 100s of video clips then LR is not the place to do the edits.

Though i have not done the complete justice for the tool in one night, I am sure am gonna come back to it many more times in the next 2-3 months and try to squeeze the complete potential of it. Also as its in Beta, you will find lot of noticeable bugs and minor glitches which am sure Adobe will address before the product goes live. I will also be using LR4 instead of my LR3.6 to work on one the Timelapses which we are going to publish over at Landscape Wizards in a week or two. So watch out for that too.

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