Gadgets for humans

Lightroom’s new color-grading tools could change the way you edit your photos

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Ahead of Adobe’s upcoming Max (virtual) conference, the company is teasing a new Lightroom tool that will provide photographers much more flexibility for editing the colors of their photos. I want it, now.

Simply dubbed Advanced Color Grading, the tool upgrades the existing Split Tool feature, which lets you set different hues to the shadows and highlights. Advanced Color Grading instead gives you control over shadows, highlights, and midtones, with controls designed as color wheels rather than the previous slides. There’s also a separate global color wheel that can be applied on top of your other changes, as well as a blending tool for finer control over edits. The feature is coming to both the classic and modern versions of lightroom, as well as Adobe Camera Raw.

It’s the control over midtones that could set it apart. I generally felt it was more difficult than necessary to achieve the colors I wanted with the split toning feature, with the images becoming a bit too heavily stylized. The new tool would allow me to create more subtle color grades by allowing me to keep the midtones from straying into something too far from the norm.

Of course, Lightroom isn’t the first to include this type of color-grading. Adobe says the feature is modeled after the Lumetri Color Panel in Premiere, though it resembles the color wheels in a variety of media software; the interface is reminiscent of similar functionality in Lightroom competitor Capture One. But for those of us who are heavily invested in Adobe‘s ecosystem, the functionality is a welcome addition. Adobe doesn’t say exactly when the feature will arrive but says we can expect to find out more at Adobe Max, starting October 20.

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Published September 28, 2020 — 16:47 UTC