Over a year back, Adobe abandoned its pay-once, use-forever Creative Suite in favor of a subscription-based app distribution model. Despite the ensuing furor, the company’s recurring annual revenue from Creative Cloud subscriptions has grown to over $1.20 billion. That being said, the company seems willing to address some of the gripes of its over 2.4 million Creative Cloud subscribers — well, especially where Lightroom users are concerned.
Want to atone for pirating that copy of Photoshop a couple years back? Adobe has come up with a promotional offer that it hopes photographers will find too good to refuse. From now until December 2, 2013, you can join Adobe's Photoshop Photography Program for $9.99 per month, giving you access to Photoshop CC, Lightroom, Behance ProSite, and 20GB of cloud storage.
Lightroom is tailored for photographers who often don’t need or want the robust image-manipulation tools offered by the pricier Photoshop. From its outset, Lightroom presented photographers with a logical, clean workflow that facilitated photo improvements rather than alterations.
Lightroom 2 added 64-bit support and some refinements—welcome, certainly, but the second version didn’t seem like much more than an incremental update. Lightroom 3, on the other hand, adds a couple of killer features—lens correction and improved noise reduction, namely—that really boost its worth.
Adobe’s stand-alone raw app gives you all the granular photo-hacking horsepower of ACR, plus even more sophisticated photographic adjustments tools and a powerful database tool for managing your collection. And like any good raw app, Lightroom is a nondestructive editor, saving changes to metadata settings, rather than changing the pixels themselves, as Photoshop does.
If you’re only familiar with image editors like Photoshop, Lightroom takes some adjustment. For one thing, there’s no “save” function; if you want to save to another format, like a JPEG or TIFF file, you’ll need to use export. The version we tested, 2.6, is fully 64-bit and robustly supports dual displays.
Version 2 of Lightroom is more tightly integrated with Photoshop, but we recommend that you do as much work in Lightroom as possible. All Lightroom edits are nondestructive, but once you load an image into Photoshop, it’s loaded as a 16-bit-per-pixel TIFF file. Any edits in Photoshop are baked into the pixels, and when you save and exit, the TIFF file shows up in Lightroom with the Photoshop changes. The original raw file is still present, but doesn’t have any of the changes made in Photoshop itself.