Lightroom Q&A's

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!