New Adobe Lightroom 6: Intro & HDR merge

It’s here, right now: The brand new Adobe Lightroom 6 and I presenting you the new features that came with it. In this episode, we not only see the list of new major features but also one in particular, the HDR.

The major new features of LR6

  • LR6 now can utilise the Graphic Processor Unit of your computer to improve the rendition performances:
LR6 uses Graphic processor
LR6 uses Graphic processor
  • The Develop module is the only module that currently leverages graphics processor (GPU) acceleration. Commands and processes outside the Develop module are not currently (GPU) graphics processor accelerated. For example, the commands for merging multiple images to create HDR files or panoramas do not leverage the graphics processor (GPU).
  • Only the “Main” Lightroom window is accelerated. The “Secondary” window is not accelerated by the graphics processor (GPU).
  • Leveraging more than one graphics processor/video card at this time is not currently supported.
  • LR6 can now automatically build the preview to better suit your screen resolution:
Auto sizing of the Preview
Auto sizing of the Preview
  • LR6 has a new button to level your images automatically:
Auto level of your images
Auto level of your images
  • LR6 adjustment brush strokes can be moved by selecting and dragging the Edit pin.
  • LR6 Adjustment Brush overlay can be of different colour (white, green or red).
  • LR6 enables you to softproof your photographs using the CMYK profile.
  • LR6 has Red Eye correction for the animals:
Red Eye correction for animal
Red Eye correction for animal
  • LR6 can be used with touchable screens and such command: Scroll through panels and filmstrips, Add flags, Zooming/out in the Loup and Grid views, Access your user-created presets and local corrections.
  • LR6 Web module has 3 new gallery styles: Grid, Square and Track which work as well with Desktop and mobile devices’ browsers.
  • LR6 Book module lets you save your photo text-metadata settings with custom pages.
  • LR6 Slideshow module let you adjust the amount of panning and zooming, add up to 10 music tracks, and slide can synchronise automatically the slide transition to the music. You can also preview your slideshows at your screen aspect ratio or your intended output aspect ratio (16×9 or 4×3).
  • LR6 Library module lets you filter your collections the same way as keywords. Flags and Rating categories are now available as part of the Metadata filter.
  • LR6 has a Face Recognition feature that lets you quickly organise and find images.
  • LR6 can let you merge photographs to obtain either an HDR or a Panorama. We see the HDR process in details below.

 How to make HDR inside LR6

Suffice to say I am not a big fan of HDR in its popularised fashion. I do appreciate what it brings to digital photography thought.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is a technic which consists in merging multiple exposures to increase the dynamic range of the resulting photograph.

Despite the improvement made to our digital cameras, we can sometimes be faced with the situation where the scenery we want to capture has a dynamic range too broad for our sensor. This means the volumes of information between the darks and the highlights is too great which either:

  • leads us to take a compromising exposure where some details will be missed either in the shadows or the highlights
  • leads us to use the HDR technic and collect all the information across the entire light spectrum.

HDR is particularly used in architectural photography given the strong contrast and volume of details in the structures.

What before LR6?

Before LR6, one would either use Adobe Photoshop or another 3rd party software or plug-in. Some cameras do offer a special creative mode that generates an HDR picture, but given the poor customisation of the built-in feature, the serious photographer would usually rely on the software approach.

I have tried many softwares and plug-ins over the years, and those tend to be quite cumbersome to use with so many options to choose from.

Simple steps in LR6:

1) Select the photographs you wish to build an HDR from (at least 2).

2) Right click -> Photo Merge -> HDR:

HDR merge Lightroom 6
HDR merge Lightroom 6

3) The HDR Process window opens and generates the resulting preview:

HDR window in LR6
HDR window in LR6
HDR merge Lightroom 6
HDR window in LR6

4) On the right side we have a few basic options:

HDR options in LR6
HDR options in LR6
  • Auto-Align will make sure all your images will be aligned. This is crucial if you did not use a tripod to take the exposures. It is required to have used the same Focal length for each exposure. I recommend leaving it on at all time.
  • Auto Tone provides a good starting point for an evenly-toned merged image.
  • Deghost Amount will address any ghosting effect that could appear when merging multiple images. Ghosting refers to some subject in the movement from one image to another, resulting in a semi-transparent or blurred part in your final HDR. There are four levels of de-ghosting and an option to show a mask revealing where the de-ghosting was applied:
    • None: disable the feature.
    • Low: cures little of minor movement between frames.
    • Medium: Cures considerable movement between frames.
    • High: Cures high movement between frames.

 The resulting HDR photograph is full of details in the shadows, and the highlights are not burned:

HDR result in LR6
HDR result in LR6

In the next episode, we will take where we left off and use what may be the biggest new feature of LR6, the adjustment brush inside the Graduated Filter to get the following photograph:

The Millenium bridge in London, England
The Millenium bridge in London, England

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