updated 01:35 pm EDT, Fri October 20, 2006
Lightroom Beta 4.1
Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1, an update to its software created for professional photographers as an efficient way to import, select, develop, and showcase large volumes of digital images. Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 includes new general, Filmstrip, Import, Export, Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Web features. The latest revision also includes 10 bug fixes addressing issues with the original Beta 4 build. Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 is available for download from Adobe.com, and will expire on February 28th, 2007. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.
Photoshop Lightroom's toolbar is based on a new design that allows users to easily hide and show it using the T key or the corresponding menu command. The new keyboard shortcut -- like many others in Photoshop Lightroom -- supports a "long press" behavior where the state of the toolbar is temporarily toggled, is usable via the mouse, and will revert to its original state when the key is released if it has been held down rather than just pressed and immediately released.
Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4.1 offers panels that are based on a new design, which are usable in a "solo" mode by option-clicking one of the panel headers. Opening a panel automatically closes the other panels in the same panel track, and users can remove panels from the panel track by right-clicking the header of any panel to hide or show the panel from the menu. Panel tracks also include a number of different behaviors, including right-clicking the bar on the side of the panel to display a menu with choices for Auto Show & Hide, Auto Hide, and Manual modes. Modes are remembered on a per-panel basis.
The font size used in panels is adjustable using the interface tab of the Preferences window, and progress feedback is displayed in the upper-left corner of the screen -- visible only when the panel is not collapsed.
- The filmstrip now sports a grid icon and a forward and back icon. The grid icon goes to the Library module's Grid view. The forward and back buttons go between recent view states. Currently, this is somewhat limited, but will be enhanced in the future. It will now go to the previous module, previous view when in the Library module, or the previous selected "source" in the Library module.
- Information about the selection and active photo are now displayed in the filmstrip.
- The filmstrip is now only re-sizable by clicking and dragging on the top bar.
- Users can move photos from one installation of Photoshop Lightroom to another via Photo Binders. A photo binder is a folder containing all of the photos you've selected, plus the data created about them in Photoshop Lightroom. Users can find these commands in the Library menu.
- There is an option to control what kinds of previews Photoshop Lightroom should collect or generate for the photos being imported.
- Import-time file naming now supports various EXIF metadata fields.
- Export now supports running an action after the export has finished. There are a few such actions built-in.
- If a drive supports burning, users can burn exported photos to disc by selecting Burn Disc as Photo Binder. The software also supports right-click on a shoot, collection, or keyword and can Burn to Disc as Photo Binder.
- The Grid view features a new appearance that can display a few pieces of user-selectable information for each cell. The visible information is controllable using the View Options window from the View menu. The previous view is still available as an option and is now also customizable. The "J" key can cycle between the grid view configurations.
- The Loupe view and the Develop module now support an information overlay. The information displayed is configurable in the View Options window. The information overlay supports two sets of info, and the "I" key can cycle between these and no information overlay.
- There is new search code which should be generally more responsive.
- There are optional badges on photos in the Library Grid view and the filmstrip. These badges signify a photo with Develop settings changes, a specified crop, or some applied keywords. Users can double click the icons to go to an appropriate place to edit the settings they indicate. Currently, there is a bug where the Develop settings icon will always display when there is a crop, even if the adjustment settings in Develop have not been changed.
- The Filter panel now supports presets. Users can save these from the panel as well as accessed there and in the Filmstrip when in any module.
- The Metadata panel now shows the combined metadata from all of the selected photos and changes affect all of these photos when in Grid view (but only the active photo when using Loupe or Compare).
- There is now a command to go directly to the Crop view of Develop from the Library module.
- There is a command to rename the selected photos.
- There is a command to convert previously-imported photos to DNG.
- Photos are moved from one shoot to another when they are copied or moved into the Photoshop Lightroom Managed Photos directory on import (and changing those shoot names will change the names of the corresponding managed folders). Note that currently there isn't any indication whether a photo/shoot is managed, and it is possible to mix managed and unmanaged items.
- Holding down the shift key when assigning a rating to a photo will automatically advance to the next photo.
- There are several new controls, some revised controls, and other controls brought into alignment with their meanings in Adobe Camera Raw. While Adobe has endeavored to preserve the overall look of the settings from beta 3, the company has decided that since this is beta software, it isn't going to keep things backwards compatible forever with beta versions. (However, once version 1 ships, Adobe intends to preserve the effects of the settings in future versions.)
- New key controls which include "Recover," "Vibrance," "Tone Curve," and "ACR Curve."
- There are lots of user-interface enhancements in Develop related to clicking and dragging in the histogram at the top of the track, and placing the cursor over a photo and using the arrow keys with the Tone Curve panel open.
- Photoshop Lightroom now allows for direct resizing of Identity Plates, Rating Stars, and Text Blocks in the Slideshow. Also, Text Blocks are editable via double-click.
- The Windows version adds MP3-based music playback.
- The update revises the default Photoshop Lightroom HTML template, and removes the middle zoom level. Version 4.1 beta also reduces the minimum size to 3x3.
- The HTML gallery now has no limit on its size and should preview much more quickly.