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Adobe narrows the gap between Lightroom CC and Classic with new tools

Adobe split Lightroom in two with the last update but a number of the more advanced features did not make the cut for the mobile-focused Lightroom CC. But Adobe is catching up the desktop version of Lightroom CC with new curves and split-toning tools with a new list of updates launched on Tuesday, December 12. The added features also include new artificially intelligent auto options across the entire Lightroom suite, along with updates to the mobile versions of Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, and Adobe XD.

Lightroom CC was initially designed to be identical across any devices, so the same tools on desktop were accessible on a smartphone. That meant several of the more advanced tools from the original but renamed Lightroom Classic were left out. Now, Adobe is bringing back some of those features, but the change also means Lightroom CC isn’t identical across all devices anymore.

On the desktop version of Lightroom CC, the photo editor now includes both the tone curve and split toning. Curves is a popular tool for adjusting tone, contrast, and color balance, Adobe said. Like in Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC can now adjust in either a parametric-curve or point-curve modes. But inside Lightroom CC, the feature is in a bit different location since the entire user interface was redesigned — the tone curve options live inside the light panel.

Split toning is another more advanced tool that didn’t make the cut into Lightroom CC, but the tool is back with the update. Split toning allows photographers to control the color tones in the highlights or shadows individually to create colorized effects, such as a sepia look or imitating a specific classic film.

With the update, there are fewer differences when comparing Lightroom CC with Lightroom Classic. While Classic is still more advanced with the HSL panel and options for exporting a watermark, the addition of the tone curve could sway some photographers to try the revised, mobile-focused edition of Lightroom CC. Another update allows photographers to change the capture time inside Lightroom CC if the camera clock was set incorrectly.

Across all Lightroom options, including CC, Classic and both mobile versions, Adobe Sensei is powering new auto-correction tools. Using artificial intelligence and a database of professionally corrected photos, the new auto edit analyzes the photo and automatically creates several updates suggested by machine learning, improving on Lightroom’s previous auto adjustment options with better results, according to Adobe.

While the updates to Lightroom CC already mean that the program’s feature list is no longer identical across mobile and desktop, a handful of mobile updates push that even further. iOS users can now add a watermark when exporting images from Lightroom CC on mobile devices only. The tool allows for text-based watermarks, while the user can change the size, position, opacity, and color of the mark. The iOS update also includes bug fixes, speed improvements and improved HDR when using the app’s camera mode.

Android users also get a few bug fixes, including issues with specific devices from Huawei, Pixel 2 and Samsung. The update also gives users the option to change how the app launches — tapping and holding the app icon from the home screen will bring up options that allow users to change the default opening screen. The shortcut is only accessible on devices with Android Nougat and later OS updates. The update, Adobe says, also gives more control over how images are stored.

Adobe’s traditional Lightroom Classic also gets a minor update. The color range mask launched in the previous update will now allow photo editors to remove points from the sample for more control over which colors are selected. The option is available by holding the “Alt” key on Windows or the “Option” key on Mac while using the color range eyedropper inside of a mask. The update also brings tethered support for the Nikon D850.

And Lightroom 6, the last stand-alone version of the software before Adobe switched to a subscription program, will be getting an update after all — Adobe will be adding support for recently released cameras on December 19.

The Lightroom split was designed to give photographers an option for editing anywhere across all devices, with Lightroom CC offering a similar user interface from mobile to desktop, along with including full-sized cloud storage for backing up photos. Lightroom Classic, on the other hand, gives photographers access to the traditional version of Lightroom, which Adobe says they still plan to continue expanding.

Along with updating their photo program, Adobe is also releasing updates to Adobe XD, a program for designing the user interface on apps and websites. Adding images from Adobe Stock is faster with new options for licensing raster files from Photoshop in one click. Additional updates allow designers to toggle between stroke align types on a closed object and underline text, while the beta version of design specs is available in more languages. Users also have new options for sharing prototypes.

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