Adobe Lightroom gets a new colour grading tool, improved watermarking, auto versions, and more

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New updates are here for Lightroom, with Adobe announcing a new color grading tool for the image-management programme, that further enhances split toning and resembles something more like what you would find in the company's video editor Adobe Premiere. 

The update comes in addition to a new auto versioning system that’s saved in the cloud (and hence not available in Lightroom Classic) and graphical watermarks, along with a number of other small feature updates across the application. 

As well as the updates to Lightroom, you can also read about the updates to Photoshop 2021 here.

Colour grading

The new Colour Grading Panel splits the image up into shadows, midtones and highlights, with color wheel adjustments for each. This feature will appear in Lightroom Classic, Lightroom and Lightroom mobile. 

“Color Grading is an extension of Split Toning — it can do everything Split Toning did, plus much more,” Adobe’s Max Wendt explains in the announcement. “Your existing images with Split Toning settings will look exactly the same as they did before, your old Split Toning presets will also still look the same when you apply them, and you can still get the same results if you had a familiar starting point when doing Split Toning manually.”

Graphical watermarks

Graphical watermarks (available on Windows, Mac, iOS, iPadOS, Android and Chrome OS) are a new feature that enhances the existing text-based watermarking already built into Lightroom. Once created, watermarks are automatically applied when you share or export an image with the new system.

Auto versioning

Auto versions (also available on Windows, Mac, iOS, iPadOS, Android and Chrome OS). will make it far easier to save different versions of an image — with these versions also synced across platforms. That way, you can easily go back and forth between different edits and revert those as necessary, too.

Although we've seen considerable enhancements to the AI capabilities of Photoshop in the latest version (22.0), the AI additions to Lightroom are rather minimal by comparison. The major feature is Adobe's new ‘Best Photos’ feature, which uses Sensei to find the best photos you’ve taken, but only on iOS, iPadOS, and Android, Chrome OS and the web, much like what we've seen with a number of smartphones. 

Best Photos looks at the technical aspects of the image, such as whether your subjects have their eyes open and are facing forward, for example, as well as the overall framing of the image. Users can then decide how many of their images make the cut via a threshold slider.

Finally, Canon shooters who use Lightroom Classic gain the ability to use tethered live view – with Adobe promising support for other cameras coming soon as well. 

You can read more about the improvements to Lightroom Classic here.

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