01 March 2018

The Lightroom Queen: “What’s New in Lightroom Classic CC 7.1 (December 2017)?”

New Intelligent Auto Settings, powered by Adobe’s Sensei!

Lightroom’s old Auto adjustments were… hit and miss, to put it kindly. No more! Adobe has used its machine learning technology to analyze how skilled professional photographers edited tens of thousands of photos, and then applied this information to build a brand new Auto.

The new Auto applies auto adjustments to Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Saturation and Vibrance, to get the best automated result possible. Furthermore, it’s now smart enough to take your existing Crop, White Balance or Camera Profile into account when doing its calculations. It’s much better at retaining highlight and shadow detail, and doesn’t often overexpose, so it’s a much better starting point. Give it a try!

Victoria Bampton

Good to see that Adobe is continuing to introduce new features to Lightroom Classic CC, despite fears from some photographers that it will soon be deprecated.

The Auto button in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC

I’ve been using the new Auto algorithm for the past months and I’m generally impressed with the results. I know I’m supposed to manually tweak my sliders for each and every photo, but even before this update I relied on Auto to give me a quick starting point for further edits. This new version of Auto is much more aggressive with the Highlights and Shadows, and tends to reduce exposure and contrast, compared to the old version, which had a tendency to overexpose. It’s a good thing for most photographs, because it brings out more details in RAW files that would have otherwise been lost for the viewer. I’ve seen some cases where it goes too far, making highlights look unnatural, but these are usually easy to fix by toning down the Highlights slider.

Another improvement is that the new Auto adjusts depending on other edits made to the image, like white balance, cropping and possibly graduated filters as well, so it’s a good idea to edit the image before (re-)applying the Auto exposure. My only slight annoyance is that you cannot prevent it from changing the Saturation and Vibrance sliders; I’ve rarely seen the need to increase them because color saturation from Canon cameras is more than enough for a good looking image.

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