What Lightroom Needs

As of this post, the current version of Lightroom is v3.5. But with B&H running a one-day half-off sale on Lightroom (on Oct 3), it’s looking like a new version is right around the corner.

Since all the cool kids are doing it (building up their expectations for a future version of their favorite product just to inevitably have it all come crashing down when the final version is released without any of their expected features), here’s what I would like to see in the next version of Lightroom:

First, let’s start with the Develop Module — the main reason why I have Lightroom.

Adjustment brushes for EVERYTHING UNDER THE DAMN SUN.

  • Why tease me with all of the options in the Develop module if the adjustment brush is only going to let me use six of those sliders?
  • Suggestion: Put a little brush button next to every little feature in the develop module.
  • (Hey Adobe, Aperture is kicking your butt in this department!)

Auto Mask Feathering

  • Create a brush using the auto mask; zoom in and you’ll see a crunchy hard edge.
  • This might be fine if you’re scaling the image down for a website, but if you’re making oversize prints (20×30″), you can see the crunchiness from across the room. You’ll have to zoom in and micro the mask edge to death for the next hour, redo the mask altogether in Photoshop, or just live with it.
  • Maybe crunchy hard mask edges is what you’re looking for, that’s cool. But I’m picky.

Eraser for the Graduated Filter

  • I want to darken the sky, but I don’t want the trees to go black. So I go back to using the adjustment brush and completely ignore the graduated filter.
  • This tool is dead to me without an eraser.

An actual, honest-to-god Clone Tool!

  • ..not this half-assed spot removal thingy. Meh.
  • While you’re at it, invite over Content Aware Phil from CS5! He’s an awesome guy! :)

Separate RGB Curves

  • Not sure what I’d use it for, but lots of other people are looking for it.

Preview color profiles and gamut warning

  • Exactly what it says on the tin.
  • What’s it really gonna look like when I save it out to sRGB? Which colors are gonna come up missing when I send it to my printer?

Fix the Recovery slider so it doesn’t muck with the hue.

  • Here, try this:
  • 1. Get a photo with a nice yellowish sunset
  • 2. Move Recovery up.. +20.. +40.. +100
  • 3. Watch as that yellowish sunset takes on a reddish hue.
  • What’s up with that?
  • (unofficial fix: Invariant Camera Profiles)

Native Layer and Mask support with multiple images

  • This would break the “one image per xmp file” relationship, but it would be handy — and be one fewer reason to have the full version of Photoshop.

Rewrite it in a faster language / Improve memory management

  • Something’s gotta give. When it comes to memory usage, it’s like a gas.. it fills up the room no matter how big the room is.
  • I upgraded to an Intel i7-920 processor, a Crucial C300 solid-state drive, 6GB of RAM — all just so I could run Lightroom faster, but it still slows to a crawl and gobbles up 2GB of RAM after about 30 minutes of use.
  • Maybe it’s me, am I doing something wrong here?

Now for other things that aren’t part of the Develop Module.

Library Module – Import multiple photoshoots in one go

  • Sometimes I’ll do several different shoots on the same memory card before getting back to my computer. When I import the photos, I have to put them all in one folder then organize them later. I’m lazy, and sometimes forget to do it later, so I end up with an “Unorganized” folder full of subfolders with seemingly random dates.
  • I haven’t the foggiest idea how to make a simple interface for this, but I would like to flag one group of photos as one shoot, and flag another group of photos as another shoot. I’d then like each “shoot” to have certain naming conventions and go into specific folders. Then press the import button, and sit back and watch everything get put in its right place like an awesome game of Plinko.

Print Module / Custom Package – Guides and Align/Distribute Functions

  • I gang-print my photos on a 44″ wide roll of paper. I want a certain margin around each photo, so that means I have to place images twice that far apart.
  • I’m getting clever with my use of empty cells to imply margins, but it’s still a hack.
  • What I want to do: Drop in some guides, drop in some photos, set the photos to the sizes I want, align them to the margins, distribute them across the page. Done.
  • It’s a pain in the butt to do with the current Print Module. It makes me grumpy.

That said, I love Lightroom! I play it like a video game! But like going from Doom to Doom II, Lightroom needs a double-barrel shotgun.

This entry was posted in General Discussion.