3 Small But Important Lightroom 5 Beta Changes You Might Have Missed - Digital Photography School
Close
Close

3 Small But Important Lightroom 5 Beta Changes You Might Have Missed

Adobe announced the availability of Lightroom 5 Beta at Adobe Labs today and by all means, go grab a free copy and play. I’ve been using Lightroom since version 1 and have been impressed with every upgrading to the program, gladly plopping down my money for a new version as I have found the enhancements in subsequent revisions well worth the funds. And Lightroom 5 seems to be on the same track, based on my findings while playing with the beta this last week.

Adobe has a number of fine new features in this revision and they are sure not to be missed. They include

  • A Smart Preview feature which mobile photographers will love as it creates a smaller, editable version of their monstrously sized RAW image that is easily portable on a laptop and can be synced when the originals, possibly stored on an external drive or NAS back at home, become available.
  • Radial Gradient which allows for selecting oval or circular shaped areas for specific effects.
  • Upright, which attempts to correct crocked images or fine tune vertical lines. (My experience with this tool has been less than stellar on simple horizon shots at sea. More on this in a minute.)
  • Advanced Healing Brush. This one, I like a lot and it is very helpful. Now your “Spot Removal Tool” can be used as a brush to wipe out items that are not in the shape of a circle. This helps a lot and means I spend even less time in Photoshop CS6.

That’s the obvious stuff that Abode packs into their press kit and you probably have seen those items demonstrated on other sites. What I want to show you are three things I found to be helpful in little, but repetitive ways for how I use Lightroom.

(Click any image for a larger version)

Invert Mask

Shot4Thank you! I’ve been wanting this feature for the longest time to save time. But it’s not quite right.

Invert Mask is currently only available with the new Radial Gradient feature. See it at the right? It works well and I’d like to see if appear in the Gradient Tool (especially when creating a new gradient…it would be great to great one just the opposite of the one I am using at the moment) and in the Adjustment Brush.

Here’s a simple rundown of how the tool works.

Starting with this image of one of my client’s boats, the Un-Cruise Adventures Safari Explorer off the shore of Maui, Hawaii, I want to see which direction works best: highlight the boat and darken the surrounding seas or slightly darken the boat and bring up the seas, in order to add contrast to the main subject.

Shot1

I select the new Radial Gradient tool and draw an oval over the boat (Dear Adobe, please make this tool work like the Ellipse Tool in Photoshop for consistency. Specifically, please allow me to grab a “corner” of the ellipse and drag it down instead of starting with the middle of the ellipse. Consistency would really help. Thanks.).

Shot2

Because I have chosen only to increase the exposure by .39, Lightroom masked the boat and increased the exposure for the rest of the image. But if I want to swap that and mask the entire picture except for the boat, it’s just a simple click of the “Invert Mask” check box.

Shot3

Subtle, but useful to me.

Now please, Adobe, add that ability to the Gradient Tool and to the Adjustment Brush especially.

Visualize Spot Healing

I’d like to think my sensor was perfectly clean before leading a recent tour to Bhutan. As a matter of fact, it was extremely clean before I left. But, as life goes, things don’t stay clean.

Take this image of a masked dancer at the Paro Tsechu.

Viz1

I wanted some blur (obviously) and used a small aperture to achieve a slow shutter speed. In this case, f/25 and 1/6th of a second. Closing down that aperture makes dust on the sensor more obvious, but this image has a lot going on making it hard to find all the dust.

Viz1-2

 

Viz2

 

If I click on the “Visualize Spots” check box after clicking the Spot Removal Tool, the slider to the right of it comes alive and I can now more easily see spots. This is a technique used in Photoshop for a while and it works best where edge contrast can be spotted, so in areas without a lot going on.

Viz11

In this image, I found three additional spots, two of which would have been easy to miss without the tool.

Viz4

Remove Chromatic Aberration Check Box

This one is really small, but helpful. With the addition of the “Upright” feature to the Lens Correction panel, Adobe made it easier to get to the Chromatic Aberration removal check box.

Rem1

It’s a small thing, but I often use the check box for “Enable Profile Corrections” for my lens and then want to remove chromatic aberration on only select images, but many. The placement of the box here, as well as on the “Color” tab, helps.

Upright Is Not That Functional For Me

Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I doubt it. This is one of Adobe’s touted JDI (Just Do It) features and it seems to work well on the demos, but not in real life. If it did, it would be cool. I can get the feature to work part of the time, but no where near even 25% of the time reliably.

The feature is supposed to level a scene and make diverging or converging vertical lines straight. It can be helpful when it works. But something as simple as a horizon, an obvious one, in this example is not being leveled.  Here’s the initial image out of the camera.

Level1

Now to show that the horizon is not level using the Crop Overlay.

Level2

And now using the tool in Auto mode.

Level3

I tried in Level and Full modes to no avail. The program clearly states “No Upright Correction Found”. This is supposed to be a boon for landscape photographers, but even with a clear horizon like this, it failed.

I tried another obvious shot from Bhutan.

Level4

Now how can it say, in all four modes (Auto, Level, Vertical and Full) that no data can be found?

I’m not saying it doesn’t work, I’m saying it’s wonky and not yet reliable.

But this is beta software and that is why they put it out, to find the kinks that mean the most for their users.

Give it a try, Lightroom 5 Beta is quite useful with all the upgrades instituted.

 

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Peter West Carey is a world traveling photographer who now is spending a large amount of time going back through 6 years of travel photo and processing them like he should have to start with. He is also helping others learn about photography with the free series 31+ Days Of Photography Experiments which builds off of the 31+ Days To Better Photography series on his blog.

  • Sean McCormack

    Did you turn Lens Corrections on first for Upright?

  • Paul Parkinson LRPS

    One thing I would like in LR5 is the ability to zoom in on an area and, from there, use the levelling tool to “fix” either the vertical or horizontal alignment. Sometimes the “true” Horizontal or Vertical is only obvious from a zoomed area and doing it from the un-zoomed is nigh on impossible.

    Do you know if that is fixed in LR5?

  • DeadDuck

    From what I’m reading, I liking the features so far… unfortunately, I can switch yet as my desktop is used for my official work. Which bring me to my question (as I personally cannot test this), how is the performance compared to LR4? LR4, at least some of the initial versions were slower (my personal experience on a pretty well equipped system) compared to LR3. At least Adobe isn’t touting any major performance boost, so I doubt there is multi-threading improvement or GPU acceleration added… else that would have been first thing Adobe would have been touting. It just odd that Adobe isn’t trying to exploit some of the recent generation hardware, easily available in consumer space, to improve the performance.

  • Robert

    Well it’s a good thing i held off on upgrading to LR 4…

  • http://sudwebdesign.com kiff backhouse

    Great review. I look forward to giving it a go .

    I’m a bit confused by your horizon example. The horizon in your sample photo is where the sky meets sloping hills and therefore you wouldn’t expect it to be correctable. If you mean the shore line then this also is unlikely to be level as you are obviously not exactly parallel with it.

  • http://GaryMintzPhotography.com Gary

    I downloaded it but it will not open in Windows 8. Has anyone else had this problem? I have tried to load it twice by the way.

  • Julie

    Remove chromatic aberration is already in LR4 – in the “color” tab of the Lens Correction panel. One of my favorite gems from LR4.

  • DougS

    I don’t think you are trying to use the upright command correctly. If it was meant to level out the horizon, they would have called it the “level out” command. Try this with a shot of a sky scraper or a light pole. Something that has a definite vertical nature to it.
    I also agree with another comment. You don’t have a flat horizon in that first picture, so you don’t have any way to level it no matter what. As for the second picture, you have no vertical lines to make “upright” so I’m not surprised that it did’t work.
    So far, this seems to be more user error than lack of software functionality. That being said, I haven’t tried the beta yet, but I will install it this weekend and play with it.

  • http://www.herviewphotography.com Darlene Hildebrandt

    @Robert – no you’ve missed a LOT with LR4! The noise reduction was greatly improved, as are the highlight and shadows sliders (fill light on LR3) they are way better.

    @julie I think he’s saying there’s a second check box for Chromatic aberation

    @Steve I’m wondering if there just isn’t enough contrast on the horizon between the water and the green land? Maybe LR can’t “see” the difference and recognize it as the horizon. On the other one – maybe it’s looking for square buildings at the top and can’t understand the dome? Interesting to see it on a a different image.

  • http://photo-bytes.com Henk

    @Peter: you are wrong (ok, sounds harsh) about the Invert mask function. On a standard, old fashioned linear gradient you can also obtain the predefined “invert mask” with the ‘ (apostrophe) key. It will invert the mask, just as well as with the radial one…

    Otherwise good review, we need more of these…

  • raphael

    Hi. Can I download the LR5 beta without upgrading my LR3 to 4?

  • http://louisblythe.com Louis

    Interesting read.

    The subtle drip feeding of features keeps us all coming back to Lightroom time and again.

    Mind you I am an avid believer of only doing what you can do in the dark room on the computer.

    Soon we wont even need to be there to take the photo’s!

  • http://www.johnmaclean.com John MacLean Photography

    Peter, the Viualize Spot Healing was kind of in LR4. Detail panel – Masking slider. But you had to hold down the Option/Alt key when sliding the amount, so it wasn’t so simple as 5.

    Paul, in LR4 you can go to the Lens Corrections panel, Manual tab at any zoom amount and adjust the horizontal and vertical.

  • http://www.wolfnowl.com/ Mike Nelson Pedde

    When using the radial tool, holding down the Alt/Opt key will cause the ellipse to be drawn from the corner and not the center. Holding Shift will constrain to a circle. If you draw an ellipse and then hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key while double-clicking on the pin, the ellipse will fill the frame. If you hold down Ctrl and Alt and drag the pin, it will create a new radial filter with the same settings. This also works for Gradient, and even better, for the Brush tool. Normally when you click and drag on one of the Radial Filters four ‘handles’ it moves both opposite handles an equal amount, but if you hold down the Alt key and drag the handle you can move one at a time. After drawing an ellipse, placing the mouse on the edge of the ellipse and click-drag will rotate the ellipse. Remember also that the radial filter has a Feather, even though in the Beta there’s no way to see it.

    Mike.

  • http://www.sergiodg.com Sergio De Gregorio

    The slow innovation in LR lead me to use DXO Optics most of the times. Keystoning and all other corrections are wonderfully executed via DXO without much work.

  • http://www.softtonesphotography.co.uk William

    I have found Lightroom 5 Beta a bit of a pain. Every 15 to 20 minutes the program stops due to an ‘Unknown Error’ Dose anyone else have this issue?

Some older comments

  • William

    June 9, 2013 03:23 am

    I have found Lightroom 5 Beta a bit of a pain. Every 15 to 20 minutes the program stops due to an 'Unknown Error' Dose anyone else have this issue?

  • Sergio De Gregorio

    June 8, 2013 04:51 pm

    The slow innovation in LR lead me to use DXO Optics most of the times. Keystoning and all other corrections are wonderfully executed via DXO without much work.

  • Mike Nelson Pedde

    June 8, 2013 03:27 pm

    When using the radial tool, holding down the Alt/Opt key will cause the ellipse to be drawn from the corner and not the center. Holding Shift will constrain to a circle. If you draw an ellipse and then hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key while double-clicking on the pin, the ellipse will fill the frame. If you hold down Ctrl and Alt and drag the pin, it will create a new radial filter with the same settings. This also works for Gradient, and even better, for the Brush tool. Normally when you click and drag on one of the Radial Filters four 'handles' it moves both opposite handles an equal amount, but if you hold down the Alt key and drag the handle you can move one at a time. After drawing an ellipse, placing the mouse on the edge of the ellipse and click-drag will rotate the ellipse. Remember also that the radial filter has a Feather, even though in the Beta there's no way to see it.

    Mike.

  • John MacLean Photography

    June 8, 2013 02:32 pm

    Peter, the Viualize Spot Healing was kind of in LR4. Detail panel - Masking slider. But you had to hold down the Option/Alt key when sliding the amount, so it wasn't so simple as 5.

    Paul, in LR4 you can go to the Lens Corrections panel, Manual tab at any zoom amount and adjust the horizontal and vertical.

  • Louis

    June 8, 2013 01:26 pm

    Interesting read.

    The subtle drip feeding of features keeps us all coming back to Lightroom time and again.

    Mind you I am an avid believer of only doing what you can do in the dark room on the computer.

    Soon we wont even need to be there to take the photo's!

  • raphael

    June 8, 2013 10:21 am

    Hi. Can I download the LR5 beta without upgrading my LR3 to 4?

  • Henk

    April 22, 2013 01:38 am

    @Peter: you are wrong (ok, sounds harsh) about the Invert mask function. On a standard, old fashioned linear gradient you can also obtain the predefined "invert mask" with the ' (apostrophe) key. It will invert the mask, just as well as with the radial one...

    Otherwise good review, we need more of these...

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    April 20, 2013 02:11 pm

    @Robert - no you've missed a LOT with LR4! The noise reduction was greatly improved, as are the highlight and shadows sliders (fill light on LR3) they are way better.

    @julie I think he's saying there's a second check box for Chromatic aberation

    @Steve I'm wondering if there just isn't enough contrast on the horizon between the water and the green land? Maybe LR can't "see" the difference and recognize it as the horizon. On the other one - maybe it's looking for square buildings at the top and can't understand the dome? Interesting to see it on a a different image.

  • DougS

    April 19, 2013 11:46 pm

    I don't think you are trying to use the upright command correctly. If it was meant to level out the horizon, they would have called it the "level out" command. Try this with a shot of a sky scraper or a light pole. Something that has a definite vertical nature to it.
    I also agree with another comment. You don't have a flat horizon in that first picture, so you don't have any way to level it no matter what. As for the second picture, you have no vertical lines to make "upright" so I'm not surprised that it did't work.
    So far, this seems to be more user error than lack of software functionality. That being said, I haven't tried the beta yet, but I will install it this weekend and play with it.

  • Julie

    April 19, 2013 12:54 pm

    Remove chromatic aberration is already in LR4 - in the "color" tab of the Lens Correction panel. One of my favorite gems from LR4.

  • Gary

    April 17, 2013 11:03 am

    I downloaded it but it will not open in Windows 8. Has anyone else had this problem? I have tried to load it twice by the way.

  • kiff backhouse

    April 17, 2013 06:48 am

    Great review. I look forward to giving it a go .

    I'm a bit confused by your horizon example. The horizon in your sample photo is where the sky meets sloping hills and therefore you wouldn't expect it to be correctable. If you mean the shore line then this also is unlikely to be level as you are obviously not exactly parallel with it.

  • Robert

    April 17, 2013 06:22 am

    Well it's a good thing i held off on upgrading to LR 4...

  • DeadDuck

    April 16, 2013 10:56 pm

    From what I'm reading, I liking the features so far... unfortunately, I can switch yet as my desktop is used for my official work. Which bring me to my question (as I personally cannot test this), how is the performance compared to LR4? LR4, at least some of the initial versions were slower (my personal experience on a pretty well equipped system) compared to LR3. At least Adobe isn't touting any major performance boost, so I doubt there is multi-threading improvement or GPU acceleration added... else that would have been first thing Adobe would have been touting. It just odd that Adobe isn't trying to exploit some of the recent generation hardware, easily available in consumer space, to improve the performance.

  • Paul Parkinson LRPS

    April 16, 2013 09:14 pm

    One thing I would like in LR5 is the ability to zoom in on an area and, from there, use the levelling tool to "fix" either the vertical or horizontal alignment. Sometimes the "true" Horizontal or Vertical is only obvious from a zoomed area and doing it from the un-zoomed is nigh on impossible.

    Do you know if that is fixed in LR5?

  • Sean McCormack

    April 16, 2013 08:56 pm

    Did you turn Lens Corrections on first for Upright?

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed