Adobe Lightroom 4.0

“My best attempt at cross-processing in LR 3…”

Here is my wishlist for Adobe’s Lightroom 3.0 replacement, which will probably be called Lightroom 4.0… I know it’s probably already at least halfway through development, but I think these few features absolutely MUST be added. Enjoy! (BTW, parts of them were inspired by Scott Kelby’s blog post, HERE.)

1.) Multiple Catalogs:
This one is a no-brainer. As a long-time Adobe Bridge user, (CS! CS2!) …one thing I LOVE is the ability to open multiple windows at once. Hopefully with the amazing processing power our generation of computers, Adobe will be able to give us the ability to open multiple .LRCAT files at once. For a few reasons why I use multiple Lightroom catalogs in the first place, check out THIS video from Pye’s Lightroom tutorial collection

1.B) Or at least a compromise, a “background LR processes” feature, that allows one catalog to continue exporting, importing, etc. while I switch to a different catalog? Again, Bridge has a really cool feature where, even when you try to exit the program mid-export, it pops up a window that says “hey, idiot, I’m still working here!”


OMG, when will I get to stop launching the clunky-as-heck Photomechanic to browse photos based on their JPG thumbnails? We all know that LR can SEE those thumbnails; because the number one LR question is “how come my photos look awesome when I first import them, but then after a couple seconds they turn all mushy?” (LOL, you geeks out there know what I’m talking about!) Anyways, yeah… Lightroom, all we need is the ability to CULL, not edit, based on in-camera generated previews. Personally, I don’t use Photomechanic that often, I use Nikon’s View NX and I LOVE it. I can sort my images, with split-second zooming to 100%, yet WITHOUT the 8-hr wait that I have to endure for generating 1:1 previews on a 5K image job. So, PLEASE, Adobe! All I want to do is flag, preview 100%, and then MAYBE export / extract JPG’s straight from the RAW file. Thank you!


3.) Relative / synchronized adjusting, and presets:
Allow me to explain… As much as I love the Auto-Sync feature, and the powerful presets system, I’d LOVE the ability to simply INCREASE contrast by +10, EVERY time I hit the preset, …instead of setting the contrast TO EXACTLY +10 no matter how many times I click the preset. Take a minute to wrap your mind around that, lol. Basically, this is the main reason that Photoshop actions are still SO necessary for anyone who wants to apply advanced stylized effects. Yes, I know that “+10” adjustments are just an arrow click away. However, for example what if I process an entire job in an un-controlled environment, then review it in-studio, and find that the whole thing is off by a couple clicks on the tint and brightness? I can’t just “select all” and bump up those settings, because it SYNCHORNIZES the settings, instead of synchronizing the adjustment itself. I cannot tell you how many hours this would save.

3.B) Synchronized “Previous” adjustments:
At the very least, give me an “apply prevous adjustments” option for the “Previous” button. Again, same concept. Instead of synchronizing from the exact prevous value, just apply the prevous CHANGE instead.


4.) RGB curves:
Another HUGE yet simple addition, that would GREATLY decrease my need to go into Photoshop. At least half of the reasons I go into Photoshop are simply because I can’t edit RGB curves separately in LR, for that “slightly faded” look. I know, I know it’s cliche, but IMO when it’s done right, you get all sorts of sublte awesomeness.

5.) Keyboard hotkey controls:
This may not necessarily need to be a Lightroom thing; maybe RPG Keys is developing (or already has?) a way to simply program ANY keyboard to do ANY adjustment. Basically, I want the ability to plug in my secondary keyboard, and just have a row across the whole thing (the QWERTY area) that adjusts all the main settings; brigthness, contrast, white balance, blacks, recovery, etc. Could someone please get on this, or if it’s possible could someone please point me in the right direction? I’ve tried both RPG Keys and Motiboto, but to no avail. They either don’t allow you to program your actual keyboard, OR they overtake *both* keyboards (I work on a laptop) which of course takes away my hotkeys for things like module switching and “V for B&W” (which makes NO sense?)

6.) Improved Brush, Gradient, and Retouching local adjustments:
This one is a no-brainer and a given, but also a MUST. Adobe, we gotta see more options in the Brush and Gradient editing. Firstly, add highlight and shadow recovery. Secondly, a few nifty tricks would be cool, like the ability to brush-erase from a graident. Heck yes! Also, better cloning / healing- Maybe just a little bit of drag-able clone / heal stamping, instead of the fixed circle? That’d be awesome…

…Okay, off the top of my head those are the major changes I really MUST see, in order for me to find LR4 even worth buying. If LR doesn’t have most or all of those improvements, I simply won’t buy it. NEXT, here are some minor convenience improvements:

* Easier file renaming, and manual sorting:
Am I just dumb and I don’t know how to sort manually in Lightroom? It’s REALLY easy to do in Bridge, but I’ve never figured it out in LR. And also photo renaming. Maybe allow people to turn off such a dangerous feature in the preferences, but for those who are careful and want it, why not make photo renaming easier? (Okay, I know all I have to do is select a photo and hit F2, it’s not THAT bad really)

* More automated backup, and move some catalog settings to LR preferences:
Right off the bat, I wish that the LR catalog backup frequency option were in the general LR preferences, NOT on a per-catalog basis. As you have probably noticed, this wishlist is taylored to the editing of a high-volume studio that needs to process 10K+ images every single week. We use separate catalogs, for reasons that Post-production Pye outlines in his LR tutorials. But the bottom line is, I’d love to see better performance for people who use multiple catalogs.
Also, I’d love to see more powerful automated backup procedures as well. When a LR catalog checks for issues, and optimizes, why not ALSO have a check box for “save all presets and preferences”??? That’d be an AWESOME thing to back up each time we save a LR catalog. But I dunno, maybe that’d dramatically increase the file size?

* Better “do not import suspected duplicates” feature:
Now, the way LR works is that it simply protects you against importing duplicates that are ALREADY in the catalog. But what ifyou’re using a backup device, like an Epson or a Hyperdrive, and you accidentally backup the same card twice? As far as I know, Lightroom doesn’t protect you against importing duplicates *at the same time*…
I know, it’s risky to give LR the option to automatically exclude photos from an import. But that’s why professionals have a strict verification process in general. OR, at the very LEAST, give us a much more practical way to FIND DUPLICATES! I tried a plugin once, and it was clunky and annoying This could be one of the check boxes in the “synchronize folder” right-click…

* Collect watermark PNG’s etc:
I dunno if it’s just me doing things wrong, but Lightroom seems to get cranky when I shuffle around my folders that contain my PNG watermark logos and stuff. Does LR have the ability to just copy any PNG file to a database and keep it there? I use DropBox to synchoronize small files like PNG watermarks and logos, heck I use DropBox to synchronize the PSD versions of those too! My point is, it’s really annoying when you go to export web-sized images with a watermark, in an export preset, …only to discover that the watermark is dead.

* Improve slideshow function:
BONUS!Lastly, but not least, one other thing I never use Lightroom for is the “impromptu slideshow” feature. It takes forever to render! In Adobe Bridge, or Nikon View NX, all I have to do is hit a hotkey and it fires up the slideshow right away. I understand that Lightroom can’t magically create a slideshow instantly if Standard previews haven’t been generated yet, but at least be SMART about it- If I”ve gone through the trouble of generating 100% or standard previews, then LR should be smart enough to give me an instantaneous slideshow.

Alright folks, that’s it! Please feel free to comment with your own wishlist! The best part about LR is, often times it can already do what you wish it could, and you just never know until you ask!

Take care,