Sunday, February 25, 2007

Adobe Lightroom 1.0

Adobe Lightroom 1.0 is the newest non-destructive image editing program. Until recently most image editing programs including Photoshop edited the image by moving pixels around. Too many edits, which was easy to do, would degrade the image quality.

I have been using Adobe Camera Raw, the first non-destructive image editing program, which has been part of Photoshop for awhile. With Camera Raw the program writes a set of processing instructions for the file without moving pixels around. The user never actually writes instructions, but instead makes a series of straightforward visual adjustments. This appears to be a very similar process in the Develop module of Lightroom. There appear to be more editing options than with Camera Raw and a better interface. The best part of all is the Develop module can be used with JPEG and TIFF files. Camera Raw was only usable with RAW files, a format primarily available on high end cameras – most DSLRs and few older cameras like the Nikon Coolpix 5000 cameras and the Canon S70. So now anyone serious about high quality editing has an exciting new option available.

This is Adobe’s first image editing program aimed at just photographers. This is a big step forward in making image editing easier. As usual Adobe’s manual is tedious. A good alternative manual might be The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers by Martin Evening. The first chapter is online for free and I found it to be a better option to getting started than Adobe’s help.pdf. There is enough in Evening’s chapter to use the program at it’s most basic level. Lightroom also does lots of other things besides non-destructive editing, such as image allocation management or in simpler terms – keeping digital photographs organized in an easy way. This is an exciting new product that makes digital image editing much easier.

All text unless otherwise noted is ©2007 Paul Light. All rights are reserved.


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