This has been Adobe’s week. We have many new features at our disposal, but the most striking is the incorporation of adjustment layers to Camera RAW and Adobe Lightroom. They also work with artificial intelligence. Is it one of the best news we can have to work from start to finish with our photographs in RAW format?
Many photographers have gone to Capture One precisely because of this lack that these Adobe programs had, among other things. It was not possible to develop with guarantees by areas with a RAW file.
It is true that we had the resource of smart objects, but it is not a fluid way of working in areas with our RAWs. Because the addition of adjustment layers (we can finally call them that) is great news.
I have always recommended doing the general adjustments in these two twin programs and then moving to Photoshop for the zone adjustments. From now on, you no longer have to be so clear about this flow. Because if everything works perfectly, we can start and finish the image here, without having to step on Photoshop.
Because if everything works perfectly, we can start and finish the image here, without having to step on Photoshop.
Of course it all depends on our style. If we are from the old school, those of us who believe that photography is done in the camera and then we just have to adjust the light to direct the viewer’s gaze, Camera RAW and Lightroom will become our main program. And Photoshop will be for those who want to take what did not exist at the precise moment of the shot.
The new ACR and Lightroom masks (adjustment layers)
In Photoshopeando they explain very well the philosophy that Adobe Lightroom had until now in regards to local adjustments. It was radically different from the other shows.
Now it works the same way as everyone else, we create the skin first and then decide what to do. And they have unified all the selection tools in a window called Mask, which we open from the tool of the same name. It’s weird, but it is not integrated into the classic program interface.
When we click on the icon, all the selection tools are displayed, among them are Select Subject and Heaven. The artificial intelligence of Adobe Sensei enters these programs through this place.
And everything related to the range masks, as the luminosity masks are called here, we also find them here. They are no longer as hidden as in the previous version. Quite a success.
To analyze how the new masks work (in both programs it is exactly the same) I am going to use a photograph of the famous Capitol building in the center of Madrid. Before starting to work by zones I have revealed it as always. The objective is to darken and contrast the sky so that the view does not go overhead and to darken the buildings a little more so that the artificial lighting of the Capitol stands out.
It is not a simple photograph, but as you know, we do not always find the perfect contrast and sharpness in our shots. We are going to go step by step to try to get the most out of the new skins:
- How I want to work, heaven will Add new mask> Select sky.
- We find at our disposal all the selection tools to improve the result: Brush, Linear gradient, Radial… and the three tools of Rank.
- In the example photo, as the initial result is not worth me, what I do is click on Subtract and click Select subject, for instance. The idea is that the selection of the sky is perfect.
- Once the mask is adjusted as we want, we can begin to make the relevant adjustments within the panel Mask, which hasn’t changed anything, if anything a direct option to automatically reset the sliders.
And if everything were wonderful, our photography would already be perfect and we could forget about Photoshop. But it’s not like that.
The reality of the new ACR and Lightroom skins
It has been billed as one of the biggest changes to Lightroom and ACR in recent years.. But what we find is simply a more logical redistribution of tools, a more natural workflow and the incorporation of two functions controlled by artificial intelligence.
Everything else stays the same. We are not facing a change in the development engine. We continue with version 5 which, if I remember correctly, has about three versions with us. The lights and shadows of this version are still present … and shadows reign at ease when it comes to local settings.
Why don’t they pay Tony Kuyper himself to integrate his luminosity mask module into the program and stop doing experiments?
In the photographs of the promotional videos everything works. But not everything is perfect in our images. Perfect contrast and brightness do not exist in every situation.
If you see the final result of the file that I have used, the halos appear around the edges of the buildings. There are areas, such as the building that appears at the bottom, that are impossible to select with the version ‘1.0’ that we have in hand.
A mask control is missing with Curves and a tool for filling in selections, a simple lasso, for example. Fortunately we have the possibility to combine and copy skins … So there is only time for everything to go smoothly.
And if we work with smart objects we have the advantage of recovering the masks later in Camera RAW. Did I say that it is exactly the same show with a different face?
It is a major change. But it has to improve. Thanks to my students, I have been able to test the new version on several computers. And the results that the new version gives are even in all types of computers, the operation is erratic and I think that an update of this version is necessary to avoid the problems …
Over time this new function will be able to be compared to the other programs. And we will not return to Capture One for zonal adjustments or Adobe Photoshop, where everything works in a more agile and precise way. This is the way, but you still have to wait to achieve good results in any situation.