Clas­sic vs CC

Does the new ver­sion of the much-loved Light­room editor have the edge over its Clas­sic com­pan­ion? James Pater­son weighs the pros and cons of each

Amateur Photographer - - Technique -

1What’s in a name?

Long-term users and begin­ners alike may be con­fused about their Light­room op­tions. Light­room now ex­ists in two main forms: Clas­sic and CC. Light­room Clas­sic (pre­vi­ously LR CC) is the same app many LR users have

2Pick­ing a plan

Adobe of­fers three Light­room and/or Pho­to­shop plans. At $9.99 a month, the Pho­tog­ra­phy Plan gets you both ver­sions of Light­room – Clas­sic vs CC – plus Pho­to­shop CC. How­ever this only comes with 20GB of cloud stor­age, which is un­likely to be enough if you want to em­brace the LR CC work­flow fully. The sec­ond op­tion, which is also $9.99 a month, gets you LR CC with a healthy 1TB cloud stor­age, but no Pho­to­shop CC or LR Clas­sic. Al­ter­na­tively, you can get all three apps plus the 1TB cloud stor­age for $19.99 a month. been en­joy­ing for years. By con­trast, the new LR CC de­parts from the tra­di­tional method of stor­ing pho­tos on a lo­cal drive. In­stead, orig­i­nal pho­tos are up­loaded to on­line cloud stor­age so they can be ac­cessed, edited and synced across your desk­top, tablet and phone.

4Cloud or lo­cal stor­age?

Do you want to store all your pho­tos on the cloud or lo­cally on a hard drive? This de­ci­sion goes to the heart of the Clas­sic vs CC de­bate. The cloud of­fers ease of use across de­vices and is ar­guably safer than lo­cal stor­age (un­less you’ve adopted a rig­or­ous backup rou­tine). But even with Adobe’s 1TB of cloud stor­age, space will be more limited on the cloud and up­load­ing pho­tos may take time.

3Im­por­tant sim­i­lar­i­ties

Both ver­sions share a range of use­ful fea­tures. The De­velop con­trols are mostly the same: there are near-iden­ti­cal tonal slid­ers, se­lec­tive ad­just­ments, tone curve, split ton­ing, HSL con­trols, black & white tools, pre­sets, pro­files, spot re­moval and more. Both also let you or­gan­ise pho­tos with flags and stars. How­ever there are fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences. The big ques­tion is, which ver­sion is right for you?

5In­te­gra­tion with mo­bile

LR CC has been de­signed to work seam­lessly across all your de­vices. All changes sync and update, so you can be­gin edit­ing on your desk­top, then switch to your tablet or phone – and ev­ery­thing is synced. For those who edit on the go, the seam­less work­flow of­fered by CC is the bet­ter op­tion.

6Im­port di­a­log

The Im­port di­a­log is one of the cher­ished fea­tures of LR Clas­sic (so much so that when Adobe tried to ‘sim­plify’ it a cou­ple of years ago the up­roar caused an im­me­di­ate U-turn). Among the com­pre­hen­sive op­tions, you can ap­ply pre­sets on im­port, con­vert to DNG, add key­words, cre­ate col­lec­tions and much more. By con­trast, other than an ‘Add to an al­bum’ op­tion the CC im­port di­a­log is com­pletely bare.

8Al­bums or Col­lec­tions?

Ex­pe­ri­enced LR Clas­sic users will be aware of the power of Col­lec­tions. They let you cre­ate groups and cat­e­gories of im­ages with­out need­ing to shift around files or make copies. LR CC doesn’t have Col­lec­tions, but it does have Al­bums, which work in the same way. How­ever LR Clas­sic’s Col­lec­tions are more ad­vanced, with op­tions to cre­ate Smart Col­lec­tions based on pa­ram­e­ters like cam­era data or star rat­ings.

7Clever searches One of the stand- out fea­tures in LR CC that isn’t on of­fer in LR Clas­sic is the Search bar. As you’d ex­pect, this lets you search your im­age li­brary. But the clever thing is that it can recog­nise sub­jects and types of scene – like the search for trees here (left) – even if there are no key­words or tags at­tached to the im­ages. Pow­ered by ma­chine learn­ing, this is the fu­ture of im­age cat­a­logu­ing – and great news for those who hate key­word­ing. 9Dual mon­i­tor sup­port Us­ing dual mon­i­tors is es­sen­tial to many pho­tog­ra­phers. It means we can place all our pan­els and tools on our se­condary screen, leav­ing our main dis­play free to dis­play the im­age as large as pos­si­ble. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s only an op­tion with LR Clas­sic – LR CC’s sin­gle win­dow in­ter­face doesn’t work across dual mon­i­tor set- ups.

10Slider lo­ca­tions

Many of the tools and set­tings found in LR Clas­sic (and Pho­to­shop’s Cam­era Raw plugin) are also present in LR CC, although in some cases they are grouped to­gether dif­fer­ently. For ex­am­ple, the slid­ers found within the Clas­sic Ba­sic Panel are laid out in terms of Light, which in­cludes Ex­po­sure, Shad­ows, High­lights, and then in terms of Color, which in­cludes white bal­ance and sat­u­ra­tion.

11Workfl ow tricks

Light­room ed­its im­ages by chang­ing their ap­pear­ance within the pro­gram rather than al­ter­ing the pix­els in an open- edit-save work­flow that Pho­to­shop em­ploys. As such, the ap­proach brings sev­eral work­flow ben­e­fits such as Vir­tual Copies, which let you make sev­eral ver­sions of an im­age with­out cre­at­ing mem­o­rys­ap­ping copies on your drive. It’s an­other use­ful work­flow fea­ture that isn’t on of­fer in LR CC.

12His­tory panel

Found to the left side of LR Clas­sic’s De­velop Mod­ule, the His­tory panel re­mem­bers every sin­gle edit you make to an im­age, so it’s use­ful if you need to re­trace your steps or re­store a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of your im­age. LR CC lacks this help­ful fea­ture.

13How do they sync?

If you adopt the LR CC cloud-based work­flow then your orig­i­nal pho­tos are stored in the cloud and any ed­its are synced to your li­brary in­stantly. LR Clas­sic works dif­fer­ently – you can still edit synced pho­tos on mo­bile de­vices us­ing LR Mo­bile, but rather than the orig­i­nals you work on Smart Pre­views, which are then synced back to your main im­age li­brary the next time you open LR Clas­sic on your desk­top. 14Sync­ing in LR Clas­sic With Clas­sic, you have to man­u­ally choose which col­lec­tions you’d like to sync by click­ing the dou­ble arrow sync icon to the left of the col­lec­tion within the Col­lec­tions panel. When us­ing LR CC all im­ages are synced au­to­mat­i­cally across your de­vices for a seam­less work­flow. As such, LR CC’s synced work­flow is much slicker.

15Range Mask­ing

One of the best re­cent ad­di­tions in LR Clas­sic are the Range Mask con­trols. These let you cre­ate pre­cise lo­cal ad­just­ments by ze­ro­ing in on parts of an im­age based on their tonal or colour val­ues, mak­ing it easy to iso­late and ad­just ob­jects or ar­eas of a photo in sec­onds. Un­for­tu­nately the fea­ture has yet to make it into LR CC.

16Clas­sic mod­ules

The LR CC in­ter­face is akin to a mix­ture of LR Clas­sic’s Li­brary and De­velop Mod­ules (the two most-used mod­ules), but none of the other mod­ules get a look in. So if you like to geo­tag pho­tos, cre­ate pho­to­books, slideshows and print, you still need to use Clas­sic. 18HDRs and panora­mas Cre­at­ing HDRs or panora­mas in Light­room Clas­sic is quick and easy with the Merge con­trols found un­der the Photo menu. Sim­ply choose a set of pho­tos, start the com­mand, work through the sim­ple op­tions, and at the end, Light­room cre­ates a de­tail-rich DNG file of the HDR or panoramic im­age. Un­for­tu­nately, both fea­tures are not on of­fer in Light­room CC.

19Ex­port op­tions

Like al­most ev­ery­thing in LR CC, the Ex­port op­tions are very min­i­mal: you can ei­ther save as a JPEG or as ‘orig­i­nal + set­tings’. There’s no op­tion to ex­port as a TIFF or PSD, but you’ll find these in LR Clas­sic’s more ad­vanced Ex­port di­a­log. With Clas­sic, you can also set up ex­port pre­sets.

17Face recog­ni­tion

LR Clas­sic can’t match CC’s in­tel­li­gent search bar, but it does of­fer one clever li­brary-search­ing ben­e­fit that CC lacks: fa­cial recog­ni­tion. This works by search­ing your im­age li­brary for sim­i­lar faces, let­ting you quickly group pho­tos on the ba­sis of who ap­pears in them. Click the face icon in the Li­brary Mod­ule to switch it on, then start nam­ing faces to be­gin com­pil­ing.

Adobe of­fers three Light­room and/or Pho­to­shop plans

LR Clas­sic en­ables you to cre­ate vir­tual copies that won’t take up ad­di­tional space on your hard drive

Cre­at­ing HDRs and panora­mas in LR Clas­sic is quick and easy

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