Last week Adobe introduced the latest version of their popular Lightroom Classic CC software and at first it seemed like a pretty good upgrade. They introduced several new colour profiles in addition to the old Adobe Standard one and while they weren’t things I could see myself using on a regular basis, it’s always good to see new features coming out for the software.
I was happy right up until I had to do my usual editing for another property shoot I had done last week and discovered that all is not well with the new version. Let me explain.
Over the years I have developed an efficiency in my workflow that depends on a number of presets that I have added to the develop module. Basically I have presets to do things like straighten vertical lines, remove distortion from my Olympus 9-18mm lens, apply Dehaze in increments of 10, apply a “vanity” filter (which is a value of -20 on the clarity filter), recover 50% highlights and shadows, and so on.
What I normally do when editing a shoot is I open an image and I apply each of the usual presets and depending on how things look on the main preview I will either undo what I applied and select the next preset increment, or if I can’t get my preset to produce the look I want I will then move to the sliders and manually adjust them. The manual adjustments are a last resort because this is a real time sapper when you’re editing through a lot of images. It’s just very handy to be able to do these adjustments with a single click. Once I’m happy with the way the image looks I flag it as a pick (P) and move on to the next one. At the end of the editing session I filter in all the flagged images, select them all and export with (you guessed it) one of a large number of saved exporting presets. I’ve been working this way for several years.
So, when I was editing my property shoot, I was clicking on a preset then moving my cursor over another unrelated preset. I couldn’t understand why suddenly my image was looking horrendous and also that the preset I had just applied didn’t appear to be working (it was the correct verticals one). I also noticed that the fan on my Mac was spinning like crazy and every now and then I would get the spinning beachball too, both things that have not happened in the recent past when doing the same kind of editing.
What could be going on?
It turns out that in Lightroom 7.3 when you move the cursor over a preset in the develop module, it applies that preset as a “preview” over the image you see in that module. In other words, it doesn’t appear in your editing history but you will see the effect that preset has in the main image window instead of just in the smaller preview window on the top left corner of the module. If you happen to slide the cursor over a whole lot of presets on the way to finding one of your regular ones you are in effect causing the computer to activate every one of them and display what they are going to do to the image you’re busy editing.
Ok, I’ll just turn that behaviour off in the preferences, I thought. Except when I went into the preferences there was no option for that to be found. The coders at Adobe have neglected to provide that as an option.
Are you kidding me?
Nope. That’s the way it works now.
Well, needless to say it has a lot of photographers up in arms and if the responses to a request to have this changed on the Adobe community forum are anything to go by, hopefully soon they will see the error of their ways and provide an option to turn this off. Or if they were smart, don’t make the user have to go into the prefs to turn it on again, rather allow us to activate the large preview by holding down the CMD key while hovering over a preset. That would be an efficient solution.
For now I have reverted to the previous version on my iMac (finally returned to me after 3.5 weeks of waiting for the hinge to be repaired - a story for another column). At least I can get on with my work now and not be left wondering what on earth is going on with my images.
If this change is also annoying or interfering with your workflow please follow this link to add your voice to the chorus calling for this to be turned off or at least provided as an option (it's currently "under consideration" by Adobe).