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Adobe June Updates

Adobe is at it again. Welcome to the June updates for Creative Cloud.

The first thing you may notice is that the icon Adobe used for each application has changed somewhat. Say hello to rounded corners without borders. Adobe claims they are trying to accommodate standards used across the various operating systems they support. As part of the evolution of their branding, though, they've also changed the letters used to abbreviate product names. Does "LrC" mean Lightroom "Classic" or "Cloud?" Click on it and see.

Adobe updated more than just the icons. One notable improvement is that the user interface for Camera Raw now looks more like that for Lightroom. Most of my work gets converted from raw directly in Lightroom, but it's puzzled me for some time now why ACR looked so different. Adobe makes both, and they obviously share some of the same underlying code, so it's about time they updated things to match better.

In the way of new features, Lightroom now supports localized hue adjustments. We've had local, targeted adjustments for exposure and saturation, and now we can do the same for hue. Adding hue makes it easy to tweak the color of some objects without fear that those changes will bleed over to what surrounds it. While you can now completely change colors, it's probably more appropriate to accentuate colors that already exist, so they look more the way you imagined them.

Lightroom presets can now be sensitive to the ISO used when shooting. Adjustments such as sharpening often require different settings for higher ISO images where noise can be a problem. To see how this works, explore some of the new presets included in the updated release. I'm still playing with this feature, but it seems pretty cool.

If you use Lightroom Classic but sync your images to Adobe's cloud, you may be puzzled as to where Adobe moved this feature. Rather than being part of the Activity Center, Adobe has made it a first-class citizen by adding a cloud icon to the end of the main module menu.

If you prefer Lightroom Cloud, you'll be glad to know that Adobe now lets you save snapshots as in the traditional Classic version. Oddly, in the Cloud application, Snapshots are known as Versions.

Oh, and the crop dialog now lets you create your crop centered around a selected point. No longer will you need to guess where to start your crop and then move the outline around to center things before clicking on OK.

There aren't too many changes in Photoshop for us photographers. Despite its name, Photoshop has increasingly become a tool for graphic designers and jobs too big for Lightroom. If you need it, the most significant feature is probably the AI-powered Select Subject tool. For those times you need to isolate your subject, this enhancement will save you a ton of time.

Performance improvements are apparent in both applications.

I have mixed feelings about Adobe these days. Newcomers such as Skylum Luminar and updates to existing applications like Capture One have been making some serious inroads on Adobe's turf. If Adobe's dominance hasn't already ended, it's undoubtedly fading. Gone are the days when Adobe was the only viable choice for professional results. Yet, for every new application I buy, I always seem to come back to Lightroom and Photoshop.

Adobe has always felt comfortable. Well, not if you go back far enough to when I was first learning Photoshop, but you get my point. But the fact is, while Adobe continues to add cool improvements at the margins, it had the core features down long ago. And for every innovation Adobe does add, it's competitors add more. Perhaps they've had more room to grow, but they're catching up fast. Artificial Intelligence is showing up everywhere.

I haven't made the leap yet, but every time I renew my Creative Cloud subscription, I do give it some serious consideration.

Date posted: June 21, 2020


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Adobe Releases Updates, So Does Everyone Else

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