In case you haven’t heard…  Adobe has renamed the existing photo editing application, Adobe Lightroom Photoshop Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic CC. This name change is to make way for a new product simply called Lightroom CC.  Adobe is positioning Lightroom Classic CC for users who want:

  • A desktop-based (file/folder) digital photography workflows.
  • A well-established workflow solution that is distinct and separate from their new cloud-native service
  • To focus on the strengths of a file/folder based workflow

The new Lightroom update is only for those on the Creative Cloud plans that are subscription based.  For those of you still using a perpetual (or boxed) copy of the software, these new features are not added. The only updates to older versions were the addition of more cameras and lenses (see this article).


Speed and Performance

The major focus on this new version of Lightroom is performance.  Rather than adding a lot of bells and whistles with new features, the team instead attempted to address making Lightroom faster.  Here’s an overview of what changed (many of these require you enabling new options or tweaking your workflow).

GPU Enhancements to Improve Image Editing

If your computer has a supported graphics card, Lightroom can now take much better advantage of the graphics processing unit’s power.  For GPU V2 support, Lightroom Classic CC requires

  • Mac OS 10.11 or later in addition to a graphics card with Dedicated Video Memory more than 1GB
  • Windows 10.0.14393 or later in addition to a graphics card with Dedicated Video Memory more than 1GB

You should see the following improvements:

  • Significant enhancements in optimizing the speed of getting the pixels to the screen as quickly as possible for interactive edits
  • Switching between images, especially loading 1:1 images
  • Improvements when using local adjustment brushing and the spot healing brushing
  • No temporary color glitches when moving a slider

If you don’t have the beefier video card, Lightroom Classic CC still supports OpenGL for older hardware.

Windows Speed Improvements

The under-the-hood Graphics Library used on Windows has been upgraded.  This means faster rendering in Grid, Loupe, and Filmstrip views.  These new APIs in should render photos faster. This specific upgrade is for Windows only.

Faster Switching from Library to Develop Module

In the past, switching between the Library and the Develop module could be very slow (especially the first time after launching).  Now the process has been optimized, and the lag should be removed.

Develop Walk Improvements

When you switch between photos in the Develop module, you should see more responsiveness.  This is because Lightroom is reading ahead and caching Histogram data.  This means switching between multiple photos to edit should go faster.

Improvement in Loading of Images and Use of Develop Controls

Adobe has reduced the load time for images. You should be able to load images and use the develop controls faster in the Develop module, with minimal lag.

Catalog Upgrade

When you launch Lightroom Classic, your Lr6 catalog will be upgraded. A new copy of your catalog should be created so that your Lr6 catalog remains intact.  However, a little precaution is always a good idea (see this article).  The upgrade is compressing Develop History and Metadata values in the lrcat file.  This is expected to improve the overall responsiveness of Lightroom Classic CC. Because compression is being applied, it is expected that this upgrade will take longer time than you may be used to (especially for larger libraries).

This means catalog load time improvements. Adobe has optimized how much time it takes to load a user catalog.  This is most evident with larger catalogs.

Read this before upgrading.

Adobe has also improved the speed when importing from another Catalog.

Import and Previews

A lot has changed with Import and Previews.  Again, there is a focus on performance. Lightroom can also work smarter with its preview files.

Import and Sync Pausing

When you start to import photos, any backgrounding syncing or cloud updates will pause during import for better import speed.  Once the import is completed, sync will resume automatically. If you want to resume syncing manually, click on the Identity Plate during Import session and re-enable.

New Import Dialog Filter – File Type

A new filter has been added in Import Dialog.  You can now choose to filter out specific file types.  This makes it easy, so you’re only importing the files you want.  For example skipping JPEGs when importing RAW files only.

Using Embedded Previews

Your camera already makes a preview image when shooting raw (its the JPEG you see on the LiveView panel when shooting).  This file is a much lower quality preview file, but it is more than useful enough for sorting and culling the photos.  Lightroom can use these existing previews on first import for a faster workflow.

Be sure to select the “Embedded & Sidecar” option for Preview Quality in the Import Window. This will use the previews created by the camera. Embedded Previews in the Library module are retained until you edit them or you choose to generate other previews.

  • Embedded preview generation is prioritized based on the folder you are actively viewing.
  • This means that the folder you are working with will be the highest priority.

Using embedded previews is very useful:

  • You can start culling as soon as you see a few images loading in the Grid view after you’ve started the import.
  • Images will display in the Loupe view faster
  • You can zoom into for faster 1:1 zoom
  • There is no more “Loading…” bezel since you don’t need to wait to cull through images
There is a checkbox option in the Preference Dialog to replace the Embedded Previews with Classic Previews automatically whenever your system is idle. By default, the option is OFF.  This processing will slow Lightroom down, that’s why its off, but you might want to turn it back on so your computer goes to work when you leave it unattended.

Faster Preview Generation

Lightroom Classic CC has reduced the time it needs to make Standard and 1:1 Previews as well as Smart Previews. This applies to previews you choose to make during Import into the Library module. To see this benefit, you must use a computer with Quad – Core or higher CPUs.  Make sure that you choose the Performance tab under Preferences and enable the  “Generate Previews in parallel” option.

Changes to Sorting

The default sort order post image import is changed to Capture Time.   This helps you locate images in the order in which they were captured.

Selection Tool Improvements

Making a selection is critical for targeted adjustments.  Lightroom Classic offers some welcome improvements here.  The big changes are Color Range Masking and Luminance Masking.  These are precision masking tools that isolate an object to make a change to, based off new technology that can detect changes in lighting and contrasting edges based on color, tones, and luminance.

Color Range Mask

This lets you make a general selection using any of the filters or adjustment.  It makes a great selection that can be easily refined based on color.

  1. Select the general area you want to mask using any of the filters or adjustment brush.
  2. The benefit of Color Range Mask is that is it doesn’t require a refined selection.
  3. By default, Range Mask is off. Turn on Color Range Masking from the drop-down menu.

  4. Select the colors for the range:
    • Select the Color Range Selector to choose colors on the image to refine selected mask.
    • A single color can be selected by clicking the Color Range Selector (eye dropper) at required location on the image.
    • For more accurate color selection drag an area around the colors in the image that you want to adjust.
  5. Be sure to adjust the Color Range slider to narrow or broaden the range of selected colors to improve the mask.
  6. Adjust the image to taste.

Luminance Range Mask

The Luminance Range Mask makes a selection based on how bright or dark the image is.  This allows for great control to choose a tonal range for specific adjustment.

  1.  By default, Range Mask is off. Turn on Luminance Range Masking from the drop-down menu.
  2. Adjust the Range slider to set the endpoints of the selected luminance range. This defines the brightest and darkest areas to be chosen.
  3. Use the Smoothness slider to adjust how smooth the falloff is at either end of the selected luminance range.

New Camera Support

Each new version of Lightroom adds support for more camera models.  This one does too.

Tether Support

Lightroom adds additional support for new cameras when tethering.  This allows you to shoot images while transferring them automatically to a laptop for sorting, viewing, and rating. The Canon and Nikon components used for tethering have been updated to support the latest cameras from both manufacturers.  These cameras are also specifically added.

  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon D5600
  • Canon EOS 77D
  • Canon EOS 800D (T 7i)

New Camera and Lens Support

Several new camera and lenses were added to this latest version — see this article for a complete list.


Other Improvements

Here are a few more tweaks to know about.

  • Faster Rendering of High-Resolution Previews.  Lightroom Classic CC has improved camera raw cache management for higher resolution cached negatives. This is most evident on very large images.
  • Apple Live Photos. You should no longer see green frames with videos from Live Photos.
  • New Smart Collections –Title.  You can now make a Smart collection for images based on if its “Title” field is “Is empty” or “Isn’t empty.”.
  • New Smart Collections –Lens Profile. You can create a smart collection using the Lens Profile Collection.  This means you can make collections to sort by how lens profile corrections are applied. Create Smart Collection> Develop > Lens Profile Correction.
  • Slideshow and Videos. Lightroom Classic CC has upgraded the under-the-hood engine used for video rendering and processing, and that is used in Slideshow and Video workflows.  You’ll see more speed here.
  • Export – Additional Metadata Option.  You can better control what metadata is written to an image.  If you don’t want to share the settings or changes you have made to a photo upon export you can now do so.  Use the drop-down menu: “All Except Camera Raw Info” in Export > Metadata > Include.