So how about that Adobe?
I’m sure at least a few people are wondering what gives. The blog has been silent for nearly a month and no new videos have been made in at least as long. So what gives?
Well first off, Adobe happened. To clarify, Creative Suite 5 (also known as CS5) was released AND to complicate things, Lightroom 3 went from an open Beta to a final cut very quickly at about the same time. Why is that significant? Well, it means I had a lot to do, learn, try, test and fix. It’s no surprise that CS5 was released with some bugs and “quirks” in it. And to make things worse, the now fully 64bit version is fantastic and fast but left behind a lot of plug-ins and add-on software. In fact, every last add-on that I own was broken for at least the first few weeks after CS5 was released. (Some of mine are still not compatible in 64bit mode.)
So what’s the hype? Well, now running Photoshop in 64bit on a 64bit OS using a large amount of RAM and fast, multi-core processors (in my case, dual 4-core processors), this made for significant speed improvements in CS5. However some stuff was sadly left behind. For example, the Automate > Picture Package function is not available in 64bit mode. (And is an optional install that must be downloaded, compatible only in 32bit mode.) I suppose they didn’t feel enough people used that function or would rather handle that sort of output in Lightroom or other software. I wish I knew because I was rather confused when I went to use it and could not find it anymore. Of course I already mentioned that many third party plug-ins are now broken until developers update to the new 64bit standard. And to make things even more confusing, some add-on have been moved to the Automate panel from the Filter menu. (For good reason, but it is still a little confusing for some people wondering what happened.)
So what else is great about CS5? Well, plenty. But I don’t have the time to talk about everything new and great. Besides, I’m sure it’s been covered many times already. However, I do feel that Adobe dropped the ball on at least a few advancements and new features. The “Content-Aware” fill for one. It worked great in their demos and on some images it seems to be fine. However I find that more often than not, the “fill” looks half-blended or even samples a swatch from somewhere completely inappropriate. I was working on a panoramic image of a professional sports stadium and wanted to remove some clouds from the otherwise plain blue sky so I gave it a try. Rather than getting a smooth blue sky which I could easily do by hand, I ended up with a sample of the lights in the middle of the sky! Whaa!!? Strange indeed. Needless to say, I did it by hand since it seems to be buggy still. And for some time now (now fixed in the latest version) the Text tool would cause random crashes or cause CS5 to freeze.
So how about Lightroom 3? Well, I must say that I am fully impressed with the improvements with some of the image processing in LR3. Particularly the noise reduction and sharpening algorithms which both got a significant overhaul in LR3. And I’m impressed with the new lens correction features which makes it much easier to tweak my images in Lightroom working with the original camera raw data for as many steps as I can before exporting to a 16bit TIFF and continuing to edit in Photoshop. So thumbs up for that. And LR3 now supports tethered shooting with many major camera models which completely eliminates the need for an external software program and scripts to import files to LR. So kudos to Adobe for adding that in Lightroom 3 as well. However I do feel that MANY of the tools that COULD have used an overhaul, be added to or otherwise tweaked some got ignored in this version. For example, the adjustment brush tool is fantastic however I really feel that it needs more now that “other” image processing software comparable to Lightroom now has advanced tools for working with adjustments. And the spot healing tool still really needs an overhaul. It couldn’t be that hard to make a tool similar to the patch tool in Photoshop could it? Or how about adding a feature like Layers and/or Adjustment Layers work in Photoshop? Heck, I would probably to 90% of my editing within Lightroom if this functionallity was available. Of course we don’t want to hurt Photoshop sales by making Lightroom too powerful but at the same time I don’t want to relearn a software when I feel the need to jump to Aperture, Capture One, Bibble Pro or something else.
So back to me. What gives? Well, i’ve been busy. Simple as that. However some cool things are on the horizon.