Thursday, August 10, 2006

Feeback on the Adobe Lightroom beta 1

Having played with Adobe Lightroom for a week or so, I decided to share my findings with the community.

Keep in mind that I am a user of IMatch and RawShooter Essential so my views are partly biased.

Finally, this is not an introduction to Adobe Lightroom, it is merely feedback to the community on the product, this really would appeal to other beta testers.

I may write a proper review for the next release so keep posted and subsribe to the feed (see links section on the right side).

User Interface:

Adobe Lightroom is still definitely too slow at that point in time. It needs a lot of speeding up to become useable. The dev team is very likely of this as it feature in many posts on the forums.

For the purpose of my little test, I imported (just) 36 files - the computer CPU immediately max out for I thought was a very long time! About 20 minutes. For reference I run this on a 1.5 gig of ram 2.66 GHz PC.

The user interface of Adobe Lightroom is very neat but a bit unresponsive and also fiddly. Plus I have to use the full screen mode as quite a bit of space is wasted with the little arrow on the 4 sides. These arrows are used to hide or show the toolbars.

Sadly the full screen mode does not actually use the windows toolbar area even if toolbar is unlocked. It should use that space too if this is possible as space is a scare resource when you are editing pictures (basically the pictures should occupy as much space as possible).

One tiny regret with this lovely user interface is that I was not able to move the toolbars around at least up and down on each side so that I can order them per importance or as per my workflow.

The preferences window bizarrely hasn’t got a “apply”, “cancel” or “close” buttons. Maybe this ok on Mac but they are expected on Windows application. Also I find it strange that is located under edit, file would be more in line with windows practices (don't know about Mac)

Increasing/Decreasing should show the rating after change or just show the new value.

Also I would like to see a mark for delete flag and a way to display all delete pictures (collection?) Then I can review all the marked for delete and actually physically delete them.

Finally the user interface need a “To process” and “Processed” flags as I want to be able to see quickly the finished pictures. Filtering should include processed and not processed option (Collection again) so that I can select these quickly.

Loupe mode:

Unfortunately the Loupe mode does not display ratings. I think this is necessary addition. I would like to see the display settings to be either global (i.e. include loupe view) or better different per view.

I would like to see the picture settings (ISO, aperture, focal and exposure) based of course on view settings which could be different (or not) for the 4 modes.

Develop mode:

The controls aren't smooth enough (e.g. black). It needs to be more subtle. I think there is a general problem when grabbing the slider, depending on where you grad it, it moves left or right a little or a lot ... This is rather difficult to use. I suggest:
- One could have a very small slider which on one click would move to the mouse position at that time,
- Or a large one (like here) which you grad and move (i.e. click on it does not move to the mouse position).

We definitely need states or stacks to compare the effect of a change to the previous state (a la RS). I understand this is under consideration by Adobe and expected by the community.

I would also like a highlight/shadow contrast slider. I use that lot in RS to give a strong feel to the picture. However I am just exploring the curve tool.

I like the Tone curve. It takes some getting use too but I can see it being quite powerful and possibly faster than the curve in PS as you can smooth it up with just a slider (when they work better ;-))

The compare mode is fantastic. A tiny little nag, would it make sense to have the before button before the now button? Also, could we revert to the previous configuration by clicking again the same button?

On the main window can you display the zoom level at the bottom along side the RGB values and also display the picture settings (ISO, aperture, focal and exposure) based of course on view settings.

The crop tool is a bit slow but really impressive. I like the way the picture rotates instead of the crop frame. The crop tool could have a button like PS to black out the cropped area so to see better the effect of the crop.

Generally I like the idea of on/off buttons for tools (to compare the effect of a specific setting) like for grayscale. It could simply revert back to the previous history state.

I don't think the noise tools are sufficient. I hope you will integrate the rest of noise RS tools. Comparing RS to LR Hot pixel / Pattern noise suppression is the one I miss from RS. I also understand that there is better noise reduction engine out there opening up the tool for these engines would be good.

Can we have preset per tool available as a drop-down on each tool? Create and save would be good as well on the tool itself. That would basically create a preset just for this tool.

In RS we have contracts for highlight and shadows would that make sense to integrate it too? I have created some very dramatic picture of NY using these only these 2 sliders.

Library mode:

In compare mode, picture rating messages appears always at the bottom of the screen even if the selected picture is somewhere else. It would be clearer if it appeared at the bottom of the active picture.


It is looking like a great tool, still lots to do but really promising, I like the idea of putting together the main tools that a serious photographer need on a daily basis.

I am using today 3 tools, it is slow and cumbersome, having %80 of these tools in one would be a great benefit to me and other fellow photographer.

I hope that Adobe won’t charge the odds for it or better I hope that would make a free version available ala RS for the non professional user.

1 comment:

Andy Piper said...

Good review. You've gone into some of the user interface issues in a lot more detail than I did. Good work. I guess we will both be waiting to see where Adobe goes with this ;-)