Lightroom 4 Public Beta Is Here!

Lightroom 4 Beta

Happy Birthday Lightroom! How nice of you to give us a gift on your special day!

That's right, Lightroom 4 Beta is ready for you to play with. You can download your copy at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom4/. As you discover new things and want to get involved in the conversation then head over to http://forums.adobe.com/community/labs/lightroom4/. The Lightroom team is eager to hear what you have to say, good or bad, so don't be shy!

As a reminder THIS IS BETA SOFTWARE!!!!! So please do not use this against any of your original images. Make separate copies of some images you want to experiment with so that your originals are protected. I can't stress this enough. Whenever a new Beta is released I hear from a handful of readers who didn't heed this warning. It's not always a happy ending. So, one more time, THIS IS BETA SOFTWARE!!!!! OK. Now that that's out of the way let's do the quick tour of what's new in Lightroom 4 Beta!

The broad categories are:

  • Better Video Support
  • Geolocation capabilities
  • Simplified Basic Adjustments
  • New Shadow & Highlight controls
  • New local adjustments
  • Soft Proofing!!!
  • Photo Book creation
  • Email capabilities

Two new modules!

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The new Map module brings elegant geolocation capabilities to Lightroom! Now you can easily:

  • Tag images with a location using drag and drop or saved location assignment
  • Search for locations
  • Create Saved Locations
  • Managed privacy settings for saved locations
  • Load GPX tracklogs and auto tag images based on date/time stamps

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Locations can be defined for a certain radius (1) and images placed on the map are highlighted in the filmstrip (2) when the marker is selected. A preview window is available right on the map (3) and positions and groups are easily identified at a glance (4). This should be loads of fun!

Another highly requested feature makes its appearance with the Book module! Now you can create books right inside Lightroom! And these are state of the art layouts!

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  • Flexible auto-layout tool with the ability to save and use customized layout presets
  • Over 180 professionally designed page layouts
  • Intuitive drag and drop behaviors for reordering pages or swapping image locations
  • Helpful layout guides and page bleed information
  • Incredible flexibility for text and photo cells
  • Dynamically located photo captions based on existing metadata or manual text entry
  • Powerful type tools
  • Customizable background color
  • Elegant background graphics to enhance the style of your books
  • Tight integration with Blurb book printing service
    • Set size, cover, paper quality directly within Lightroom
    • Price estimate dynamically provided during book creation
  • PDF Export options include size, resolution, color profile and output sharpening

And let's not forget Video! With the proliferation of onboard video in today's cameras (from point and shoot to professional DSLR) Lightroom is the natural place to store them all.

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  • Video can now be played within Lightroom
  • You can trim the start and end of the video
  • Set Video poster frame
  • Extract single frames as JPEG files
  • Most popular DSLR, compact camera and smart phone video formats supported including AVCHD
  • Videos can be adjusted with a subset of the image controls
    • White Balance (JPEG Equivalent)
    • Basic Tone
      • Exposure
      • Contrast
      • White Clipping
      • Black Clipping
      • Saturation
      • Vibrance
    • Tone Curve
    • Color Treatment (HSL)
    • Black and White
    • Split Toning
    • Process Version and Calibration

You won't have to leave Lightroom to do basic video operations anymore!

It just keeps getting better and better! Remember all those round trips to Photoshop so you could get an accurate soft proof before wasting all that expensive paper? Those days are OVER! Soft proofing has come to Lightroom! I have been waiting for this for soooo long!

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  • Paper and ink simulation
  • Choose between perceptual and relative intent
  • Intuitive virtual copy creation for profile-specific adjustments
  • Profile and Monitor gamut warnings
  • Print module brightness/contrast option to address differences between monitor and paper characteristics

Whew! We're nowhere near done!

Another of the enhancements that caught my eye is the new direct email capability. Yes, we could export for email before. And we could direct the output to email programs. But now you can set up your native email client as well as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, AOL and go direct!

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So easy and quick!

Remember that long scrolling unending list of presets you had to deal with? No longer. Hierarchical presets come to Lightroom.

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Much more manageable.

A new Process Version debuts in Lightroom 4 Beta and with it come new features. New local adjustments.

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Curves for each channel! Get at your R-G-B channels directly in Lightroom!

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There are even more new things to talk about. Here's a list of the other enhancements in Lightroom 4 Beta:

Develop Module Enhancements

  • Simplified controls in the Basic panel
    • Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks
  • Powerful, content aware, shadow and highlight controls
  • Updated Clarity adjustment for superior results without the artifacts
  • Updated Chromatic Aberration correction

Enhanced DNG options

  • Embed Fast Load Data options dramatically improves image loading performance in the Develop module
  • Lossy compression option provides significant file savings with minimal quality impact. (Ideal for archiving outtakes or reducing the size of time lapse projects without losing the flexibility of raw)
  • Resolution reduction via export provides the ability to share lower resolution versions of the original raw file without losing the capabilities offered by raw.
  • Metadata and filter options available for DNG file types

Publish Collections can now include video publishing

Export to Adobe Revel (aka Carousel) functionality

Enhanced output model for saving and storing settings used in the Web, Slideshow, Print, and Book modules.

Additional new features:

  • New Zoom ratios (1:8 and 1:16)
  • Mac version now includes a language selection option via preferences
  • Move multiple folders from volume to volume
  • White balance sample grid is now zoom-level sensitive
  • Noise reduction adjustment is always displayed
  • Collapse the tether toolbar down to the shutter button by Option or Alt clicking the close button
  • Module picker can be customized
  • Saved or unsaved metadata property for filtering
  • Hierarchical Develop Preset display in Quick Develop
  • Layout overlay for tethered shooting workflow
  • Photos in publish collections that have been modified can be set to not republish
  • Additional Metadata controls on export
  • Disk burning now available on Windows 64-bit systems
  • Flag status is now ‘global’ (One setting per image regardless of location in folder or collection)
  • Stacking is now possible in collections
  • Flash galleries are now color managed
  • Per module walkthrough tips

We are going to have a lot of fun exploring all the new features in Lightroom 4 Beta of the next few weeks and months. So what are you waiting for… Download your copy now!