Lightroom 6 update brings facial recognition, filter brush, merge tools and speed boost

Latest version of Adobe digital photo tool offers GPU accelerated performance, new features and closer mobile and camera integration


Adobe has unveiled the new features in Lightroom 6, part of a Spring update to its Creative Cloud Photography plan. As well as Photoshop CC, subscribers to the plan gain access to Lightroom CC on Mac or PC, Lightroom on iOS and Lightroom on Android, as well as the Photoshop Mix app.

The plan costs £8.57 per month (inc. VAT)

As well as a number of new features, the update offers a performance boost and sharing capabilities with the Adobe Voice and new Adobe Slate free iPad apps.

Lightroom 6 is also available as standalone desktop-only software, for £100.07 (inc. VAT).

Adobe claimed that Lightroom 6 performs better than before, even on 4K and 5K displays, by taking advantage of compatible graphics processors. The performance boost is most noticeable in the Develop module, said the company, able to render images more quickly and operate more smoothly.

As an example of the GPU boost, Adobe quoted figures of rendering speed increases of 3025 percent on an iMac with 5K display, 2704 percent on a Surface Pro 3 and 900 percent on a Retina MacBook Pro, all based on actions using the Exposure control in Lightroom.

HDR Merge

The new HDR Merge feature can create natural-looking or surreal images from extremely high-contrast scenes.

Adobe said users can easily combine multiple shots taken at different exposure settings into a single HDR image.

The resulting DNG file is added to the Library and the current Collection.

If users merge raw files, the DNG format preserves the rich raw data from the original files. Users can then switch to the Develop module to perfect the result by using its nondestructive editing tools.


Facial Recognition

Lightroom 6 can quickly find and organise dozens of images of family and friends, even without metadata tags.

Once you identify a face from one photo, Lightroom finds that face in all of your other images. 

In People View, Lightroom will stack similar faces together and show a count. In the loupe view, you can click in the Filmstrip to navigate to other photos, tagging or confirming additional faces that Lightroom has detected.

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Panorama Merge

As with the similar capability in Photoshop, Lightroom's new Photomerge technology lets you stitch together multiple images, including raw files, to create panorama shots.

The resulting DNG file is added to the Library and the user's current Collection.

Filter Brush

You can also use a brush to reshape gradients created with the Graduated Filter and Radial Filter.

The new Filter Brush allows you to erase parts of the gradient or paint the effect that appears inside the gradient into any part of the photo.


Advanced slideshows

Lightroom 6 also offers the ability to create rich, immersive slideshows quickly.

You can add a professional pan and zoom effect and sync slides to a multisong soundtrack.


Mobile enhancements

There are a number of improvements to the mobile experience within Lightroom on iOS.

These include the new segmented view, which groups photos by date, making it easier to find images in your Collections.

There's also an improved crop tool that enables users to quickly adjust, align, and auto- straighten and the ability to make edits faster by pasting adjustments onto another photo.

It's also possible to directly incorporate photos from synced Lightroom Collections to Adobe Slate and Adobe Voice presentations and stories on iOS.

Lightroom on Android users gain DNG raw file support for Lollipop-enabled devices, access to microSD storage to edit and save photos, as well as Tablet support.

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