Adobe® Lightroom™ Beta

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Steve

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Adobe® Lightroom™ Beta is the efficient new way for professional photographers to import, select, develop, and showcase large volumes of digital images. So you can spend less time sorting and refining photographs, and more time actually shooting them. Its clean, elegant interface literally steps out of the way and lets you quickly view and work with the images you shot today, as well as the thousands of images that you will shoot over the course of your career. Because no two photographers work alike, Adobe Lightroom adapts to your workflow, not the other way around.
Lightroom Beta lets you view, zoom in, and compare photographs quickly and easily. Precise, photography-specific adjustments allow you to fine tune your images while maintaining the highest level of image quality from capture through output. And best of all, it runs on most commonly used computers, even notebook computers used on location. Initially available as a beta for Macintosh, Lightroom will later support both the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

What is Lightroom Beta?

Adobe Lightroom Beta is a new, exciting product built from the ground up for professional photographers. It is an efficient, powerful way to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of digital images. It allows you to spend less time sorting and organizing images, so you have more time to actually shoot and perfect them. Project Lightroom aims to get direct product feedback from the photography community, via our new Adobe Labs web site, so that photographers will have a huge say in what Adobe actually ships.

Why Lightroom Beta?

To put it simply, Adobe Lightroom is unfinished. We want to make it available to you now, so you can tell us what you like, what you’d like better—so you can help us shape it into as close to the perfect photographer’s application as we can possibly get. We also recently launched the Adobe Labs web site, as a venue for showcasing and releasing emerging technologies. Lightroom is the first end-user application to be made available through the Adobe Labs web site.

What is Adobe Labs?

Adobe Labs in the next generation of Macromedia Labs, which launched in October 2005 to share early technology access with software developers. Now that Macromedia is part of Adobe, Adobe Labs takes on the broader goal of being the source for early looks at emerging products and technologies from Adobe, including Project Lightroom. And not just for developers, but for technology enthusiasts everywhere. Here you can get early access to downloads, samples, documentation, release notes, tutorials and more. You can also ask questions, discuss, and share your feedback with Adobe.

Who will use Lightroom Beta?

First and foremost, Lightroom is the product professional photographers have been demanding, especially those who deal with large volumes of digital images. These include fashion and portrait photographers, photojournalists, wedding, landscape and commercial photographers. To these add the seasoned personal photographers who aspire to achieving the same results as the pros, and who demand the same level of quality in their tools.

How does Lightroom Beta differ from Adobe Photoshop CS2?

Adobe Photoshop CS2 is, and will continue to be, the industry standard in digital image editing. Photoshop will always hold an important place in the pro photographer’s toolbox, for detailed image editing and compositing. However, photographers face a variety of workflow concerns beyond image editing. The Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw components of Photoshop CS2 began solving these problems in recent years. Now, Lightroom takes these concepts further, in a very photographer-centric way. Lightroom is also different from Photoshop in terms of its software architecture. Developers and customers have long appreciated the ability to extend Photoshop functionality through third-party plug-ins and scripting support. Lightroom draws on the lessons learned through Photoshop and has been designed from the ground up with a fully modular architecture. All of the tasks you see in Lightroom’s main interface—Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Print—are actually independent modules that have full control over your images, and which can use the entire screen to show you just the tools you need for the task at hand.

If Lightroom has a modular architecture, can third parties develop for it?

In the future, Adobe will be releasing a developer SDK for Lightroom, so that third parties can create additional modules that extend the application and the workflow in groundbreaking ways.

Does Lightroom replace Adobe Bridge or Camera Raw?

For some, it might. Having an interface that is 100% tuned to the photography workflow, plus the unique features that will be in Lightroom, will mean some people will use Lightroom in place of Bridge. On the other hand, some photographers will need or want the broad image capabilities of Adobe Bridge—such as integration with Adobe Creative Suite 2, previewing PDF, InDesign® and Illustrator® documents, and workgroup management tools. Some or all of the time, these people will continue to use Adobe Bridge.

Why don’t my Raw images look the same in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom Beta?

Lightroom uses a different method of implementing the current Adobe Camera Raw controls. We intend to have great XMP compatibility with Bridge and Photoshop by our final version 1.0 release of Lightroom, but complete XMP compatibility is not yet achieved in this first beta release.

Will Lightroom Beta be compatible with Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements?

Yes. Images handled by Adobe Lightroom will be editable in Photoshop CS2 or Photoshop Elements. Some non-photography file formats usable in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements will not be supported by Lightroom, but this is in keeping with the mandate of Lightroom as a photographer’s application. Lightroom does provide a somewhat different approach to image adjustments than Photoshop, however, and this initial beta release is somewhat experimental. Thus, users should expect the integration between Photoshop and Lightroom to evolve over time.

What are the system requirements?

Adobe Lightroom Beta requires Mac OS X version 10.4.3 (Tiger) or higher, a 1GHz or faster PowerPC G4 or G5 processor (including iBook G4 or PowerBook G4), and 768 MB of RAM (although more is recommended), and 1 GB or more of free hard drive space. Windows requirements will be announced when that version is ready.

What about a Windows version?

A Windows version of Lightroom is already under development, but is not yet ready for its public debut. The final, packaged versions for both platforms should be released within a few months of each other. As Microsoft is gearing up for a major operating system transition, and since Lightroom is a brand new product from Adobe, we are spending extra time on the Windows side to deliver the best design that will support our Windows customers today, while also building for the future.


More info and Download for MAC only at this time, from Adobe Lightroom.
 
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Steve

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I would be very interested to hear your thoughts and if possible if you could post a few screen shots for us PC users. :)
 
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Here's some quick screenshots (sorry for large size but I didn't want to resize as text would have become difficult to read)

Screenie 1 - 328kb
Screenie 2 - 551kb
Screenie 3 - 574kb
Screenie 4 - 464kb

Look and feel is very similar to Apple Aperture but in a very cut down way. If Adobe make this a free download after full release then it's going to be a very popular tool.

I havent really had much time to play with it tonight, but I will make time later this week. The screenshots are pretty self explanatory and pretty much all of the tools are layed out so there is no messing about trying to find stuff through multiple submenus and whatnot. It doesn't give you the editing capabilities of Photoshop but other than that, it does exactly what it says on the tin™ :D
 
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Steve

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It does look very functional while still seeming to offer the majority of what people might need. I was reading the press release and the extra information available at the link posted above, apparently this can be used as a "bridge" between the RAw files and CS, if it works well, like you say I can see it becoming very popular (depending on price). from what I can gather it will be a pay for product once out of beta.

Thanks for the overview and the pics. :)
 
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