Lightroom 4 Beta and Photoshop-like Cloning and Healing?

Last week, Tom Hogarty (Adobe’s Lightroom product manager) was in town for the Lightroom 4 Beta launch. He co-hosted 4 live webcasts with me throughout the day. As we looked through the list of questions on a break, I saw one that read “Why didn’t you include real cloning and healing tools in LR4 like Photoshop? Aren’t you just trying to keep it so we have to buy both?”. Tom saw the question and immediately said “Let’s take that one”. So we did and he had a great response to it. One I thought was worth a quick post because I think plenty of folks out there wonder the same thing (I know I always kinda secretly did).

To paraphrase, Tom said that when they add features to Lightroom they want to make sure that they’re features that are well planned and thought out, easy to use, and can work within the overall structure of Lightroom (mainly the fact that it has to be non-destructive). Tom explained that there’s not just one retouching workflow in Photoshop. There’s 20 right? Everyone uses the tools just a little different. Some people use Healing, some use Spot Healing with Content Aware turned on, some use the Patch tool, some use the Clone Stamp tool set to the Lighten blend mode at 20% Opacity. When you think about it, there really are a lot of different retouching strategies in Photoshop. For Lightroom to just include a Cloning and Healing Brush doesn’t cut it. Does the brush have Opacity, blend modes, layering, etc…? There’s much more to it then just taking the code from Photoshop and moving it over to Lightroom. They have to do it right or else Lightroom just becomes a clone of Photoshop. Although that seems tempting at first, I’m pretty sure we all don’t want Lightroom to become Photoshop.

In the end, Tom mentioned that this is a feature he’d really like to see in Lightroom as well. Reading between the lines I think we can tell this is at least ON the development table. I guess whether or not we really see it is unsure, but I thought it was really cool that Tom dove right in to that question. And, to me at least, he gave some really good reasons why that technology isn’t there yet, but also answered a question (the whole Adobe making it so we have to buy both thing) that I believe plenty of people have.

If you haven’t see any of the Lightroom 4 Launch Day webcasts with Tom, them make sure you stop by Kelby Training’s website. They’re free to watch and there’s some fantastic info in there that, well, is the stuff you’d only really get from Lightroom’s product manager. Thanks!

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog, LightroomKillerTips.com, where he's built up a massive library of Lightroom videos, presets and tips. In addition to teaching Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world, he's an instructor at Photoshop World and one of the full-time staff writers for Photoshop User Magazine.

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1 Comment

  1. i am not happy with this answer except we know it is on table to have content aware brush.
    it is true photoshop has several tools lr doesn’t have but i am using capture nx2 for years and it has a very nice retouch brush.
    onone suite 8 has now a very nice retouch brush too.
    both are content aware.
    we are happy with these even if less powerful than photoshop.
    but lghtroom retouch brush is really a toy and we will need 2 years to have it improved in lr6 or lr7.
    on the other hand it is true that lr doesn’t have blending mode and glow and it is a pity. i don’t understand how this is possible in 2014 that every application has blending mode except lightroom.
    working with texture and blending mode is imposible in lr.
    moreover for unknown reason if you want to send an image and a texture in photoshop, it is not possible in lr to select an image in a folder and browse to select a texture in another folder to have both side by side before sending them to photoshop or onone suite. you need to make a quick collection.
    i really love lightroom but quite limited for these basic operations which require tif or psd huge files and external plugins.

    best regards
    marc

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