Adobe MAX 2018: Lightroom and Photoshop updated, plus full Adobe Photoshop is coming to iPad


posted Monday, October 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM EDT


There’s a lot going on at Adobe MAX, including a lot of news regarding a new Adobe video-editing platform, Rush. However, there’s still quite a bit of interesting content to cover regarding Adobe’s primary photo-editing applications, Lightroom and Photoshop.

You will likely recall that last year, Lightroom was split into Lightroom CC, a multi-platform streamlined version of Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic CC, the same desktop program many of us are familiar with. Adobe is updating all versions of Lightroom CC today, including a new people view, improved search, a share tab, connectors, Apple Photos migration, additional sharing options, a new display view and more. These updates do not universally apply to all platforms and you can get a full breakdown of the information here. These don’t seem like major updates for most users, but it’s worth keeping in mind that throughout the last ten months, Adobe has also added optimized automatic editing powered by Adobe Sensei, improved performance, Adobe Profiles, Adobe Camera Raw, presets and further improved performance to Lightroom CC across mobile and desktop apps.

Regarding Lightroom Classic CC, the focus continues to be on improved performance and image editing enhancements. Considering the former, tethering performance has seen particular attention and has 1.5 to 2 times faster transfer speeds. The update improves the tethering experience for Canon cameras and Adobe promises that Nikon will be next in line to receive expanded functionality.

Considering image editing enhancements, it is now easier than ever to create an HDR panorama. It can be achieved in a single step, as you can see in the video below. There is also new depth range masking. Many cameras available today can capture depth information in their files. The new “Depth” option for Lightroom Classic’s Range Masking tool allows you to view and utilize this data, which in some cases could allow you to easily isolate subjects. This information is available from images captured using iPhone’s portrait mode, for example. You can learn more here.

Adobe Photoshop CC has been updated as well. In the future, you can actually auto-update your Adobe CC apps now, the option can be enabled via your Adobe Creative Cloud preferences. There are numerous new updates, but I will be focusing on the ones relevant to photographers. First, powered by Adobe Sensei, there is a new content-aware fill workspace, which allows for a fine-tuned editing experience, including live full-resolution previews. You can read more about this specific feature here and see it in action below.

There is a new Frame Tool being introduced as well. This allows you to create a placeholder of an image size or shape and then automatically scale your image to fit the selected shape, which means you no longer have to manually resize your image or change its shape. There are many other improvements and new features, although they aren’t as likely to fit into a photographer’s workflow. You can read about them here.

If you’re on iPad user, we have saved the best for last. Adobe Photoshop, a full-fledged version, is headed to Apple’s tablet next year. This is not Adobe Photoshop specifically for the iPad, but rather, it is full Adobe Photoshop CC on your iPad. It is the same base architecture and code and it took considerable effort from Adobe’s engineers to achieve. Alongside this, Adobe .psd files can now be stored in Adobe Creative Cloud. This is important because it allows you to work on the same file on your desktop as you will be able to on your iPad. The files will be seamlessly synced. The .psd file you open on your iPad will be the same one you were working with on your computer, complete with its full resolution, all the data and all the layers. Photoshop on iPad is not a dumbed-down experience.

The user interface is a bit simplified, however, given the smaller stature of an iPad display. The user interface has been designed more around collapsibility and leverages many gestures on the iPad to allow full functionality while maintaining a clean workspace. You will the same tools and layer system on the left and right sides respectively, much like you do in Photoshop CC on your desktop. There will be full Apple Pencil support, of course. If you’d like to stay in the loop on Photoshop for iPad as we approach its release in 2019, you can stay glued to Imaging Resource and sign up for Adobe alerts.