Thursday, May 31, 2007
Lightroom Lights Up
After a lengthy public beta and considerable time and thought in development, Adobe Lightroom arrives. Will the application become your ultimate workflow tool?
After more than a year of “public preview” and several years of internal development, Adobe has shipped Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is a workflow application designed specifically for digital photographers, particularly photographers who shoot RAW captures, although Lightroom also can handle RGB JPEGs, TIFFs and PSD files and use its processing controls to adjust them as well as RAW files.
Lightroom's workflow requires that photographers import images into the Lightroom application where everything that's done to the images is tracked inside the Lightroom database. The application is modularly written to allow users to move between the five main image-handling modules: Library, for sorting and selecting; Develop, for tone and color adjustments; Slideshow, for projecting images to music; Print, for output to printers; and Web, for creating and posting Web pages.
The main Library is where imported images live. For this article, I have a database of nearly 23,000 images—mostly RAWs, but intermixed with camera JPEGs as well as processed and rendered files from Photoshop. On the hard drive, these thousands of images represent just over 230 GBs. This isn't my entire collection of images, mind you, but it's suitably large to get a sense of how Lightroom can handle an archive. Lightroom 1.0 actually is rather fast-running on my dual 2 GHz Mac G5 tower; it's a bit faster on my 15-inch Core Duo MacBook Pro (although I don't have the entire library there).