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What's New in Lightroom: October 2022 Complete Guide

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Your in-depth look at all the improvements and new features that have been added in Lightroom version 6 and Lightroom Classic version 12

 

Adobe Max, the annual conference held by the makers of Lightroom, Photoshop, and so much more, is here, and that means it's once again time for the big yearly updates for Lightroom "cloud" and Lightroom Classic. This year's new features aren't quite as revolutionary as Lightroom masking that came last year, but we are getting one fairly major enhancement that has long been requested, in addition to several really nice masking updates.


Not surprisingly, there's a lot to cover! I've reviewed all the release notes to condense them down into a digestible length for you.


Below, I cover the updates to both versions of the desktop apps: Lightroom (aka Lightroom "Cloud") and Lightroom Classic. I've also noted which updates also apply to Adobe Camera Raw and/or mobile apps.


If you're not familiar with the differences between the two desktop versions of Lightroom, I encourage you to hop over to my deep-dive post where I compare the two apps and provide some recommendations to help you choose which version of Lightroom is the best for you, and how you can use them together, getting the best of both worlds.


To see my Top 10 new features in action, watch my walkthrough video. I review - and demo - what I think are the biggest new Lightroom updates that will have the most impact on your editing. There are some major updates, as you'll see below, and it's worth seeing them in action before you jump in on your own.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Click on any of the main sections, or the bulleted sub-sections, to jump right to them



 

Other Blog Posts You May Enjoy

 

Did I mention this is Adobe's big annual update?!


Once again, we see the major new features coming to both versions of Lightroom (and in many cases mobile and Adobe Camera Raw, too). That's as it should be as we don't need to see any further gaps in functionality beyond those that already exist.


That being said, each desktop app does have its own unique list of updates, as well, and so I've broken those out separately (as you probably noticed in the table of contents above).


Don't forget to check out the video to see demos of my Top 10 favorite Lightroom updates for October 2022!

 

OCTOBER 2022 Updates Available in Both Versions of Lightroom


LENS & CAMERA SUPPORT

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw and the Lightroom mobile apps


Let's get the standard stuff out of the way first: As with any update, Adobe has added new lens correction support for several lenses and camera bodies, the most notable being the slew of iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lenses and the new sensor that goes along with them.


Support for two new Sony FE lenses from Tamron, the 20-40mm f/2.8 and their 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3.


Nothing earth shattering here, so let's just move right along.

 

CONTENT AWARE HEALING TOOL

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw and the Lightroom mobile apps


This one is probably the biggest brand-new feature to come out of Adobe Max, and content aware healing in Lightroom has long been requested by users. Lightroom now uses an AI-driven process to perform content aware healing (the familiar Heal and Clone tools are still available, as well).


An example of content aware in Lightroom
Content Aware example

In addition to the usual Lightroom healing process of simply drawing on the image to select the area you wish to heal, you can also direct Lightroom to only pull from a specific area of the photo for the content aware analysis. Simply hold down CTRL on Windows or CMD on Mac and click and drag to create a "sampling" box. Lightroom will then only use that area to generate the content aware replacement.


The following screenshot shows a selection box for content aware:


Selecting an area for content aware healing in Lightroom
Content Aware selection box

Once you let go of the mouse button, Lightroom will automatically reanalyze the content aware healing based on the selection box constraints. If you're not happy with the automated results - which you can also refresh to force Lightroom to reanalyze the entire image - using a selection box can often provide a better healing blend.


The other welcome change that's worth noting is the healing brush for all the tools (content aware, heal, clone) is now transparent, showing a simple white outline of where the healing repair will be applied instead of the previous solid white. This makes it much easier to make accurate selections, although you still need to take into account the feathering setting and provide an appropriate amount of overlap between brush strokes as applicable.

 
 

NEW PEOPLE MASKS

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw


And now we move on to one of the biggest updates to Lightroom masking (there are several, so keep reading!). Lightroom and Lightroom Classic now automatically scan each image for people when you open the masking panel and will provide options for creating a mask for a group of people, or every individual person it identifies.


People Masks in Lightroom Classic
Suggested People Masks in Lightroom

Once Lightroom has identified any people in an image, you can choose to create a mask for All People, or just Person 1, Person 2, and so on. As you hover on each of the icons, a temporary overlay is shown so you can see how each applicable mask will be applied:



There are two key benefits with this new People masking detection:

  • Users are no longer limited to the Subject masking detection, which would generally create a mask that included multiple people, with no option to select individuals

  • The automated nature of People identification can speed up your workflow as there's no need to manually trigger Select Subject

What's more, users can start out by creating a mask for one individual person, and then add in others (in the above example, you can create a mask that includes two people, but not the third):


People masking in Lightroom Classic
2 of 3 people selected to mask

You can see the Add Person option in the upper circled area in the above screenshot. In the lower circled area, you can see that there's also an option that will automatically create two separate masks for each person: by default, the people you've selected would be grouped in a single mask.


Now, you may have noticed some other masking options in that last screenshot... more on those in the next section!

 

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NEW PEOPLE COMPONENT MASKS

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw


I may be primarily a nature photographer, but I have done some portrait work. The new People masking features outlined above are huge on their own, but Adobe went further and added in several other automated masking features that detect different "components" of each person. Depending on the image, you can easily create masks (or combined masks) for:

  • Face skin

  • Body skin

  • Eyebrows

  • Eye sclera (aka the whites of eyes)

  • Iris and pupil

  • Lips

  • Teeth

  • Hair

The default setting is Entire Person, but as soon as you tick one of the boxes for more specific body areas the mask overlay preview will update to show only the applicable part as selected. You can tick as many of the sub-masks as you like and, just like when you choose more than one person to include in a mask, you can have one mask created - combining all the selected parts - or choose to have separate masks created for each person, and each part.


In the following example, 6 separate masks would be created based on the two individuals that were selected, and the 3 specific body "component" masks:


People masking in Lightroom Classic
2 people, 3 components, 6 masks in Lightroom

And here you can see the 6 masks that were created. Each one is for the applicable person and corresponding body part, and you can still add/subtract/intersect other masks just like any other mask you create:


People masks in Lightroom Classic
New People mask groups automatically created based on your selections in Lightroom

Unfortunately, the mask groups themselves are generic (Mask 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). Only the automatically created masks within each group are named so you know which is which. I'd like to see this updated in the future so the group is automatically named the same way, which would eliminate the need to manually rename each group.


Regardless of that annoyance, this is an extremely helpful enhancement! Using the above photo as an example, you could create a single mask that just includes the teeth for all three people, letting you make a quick mask and adjustments far easier than before.


Speaking of which, there are some other tools that can automate some of this even further... more on that further below.

 
 

NEW SELECT OBJECT MASK CREATION

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw


It's not just portrait photographers that have gotten some love in this latest update. You can now also manually select an object within an image to have Lightroom create a mask for it. Whereas you could sometimes rely upon Select Subject to help with this in the past, it didn't always choose the subject/object you wanted, and there was no way to control it.


Now, you can paint over any object within a photo and Lightroom will try to create a mask based on that direction. In the following screenshot, you can see how I used a (very rough) Object selection to point Lightroom to the object I wanted to mask:


Object masking in Lightroom Classic
A (rough) Object mask selection I made in Lightroom Classic

This works for just about anything, really, although I have found the edge detection is not as refined as when using Select Subject, which is disappointing. It usually doesn't cause issues but, if you need to push an edit more extremely than usually, it is possible to introduce halos around the selected object.


Regardless, once you let go of the mouse button, the object mask will automatically generate, giving you something like this:


Object masking in Lightroom Classic
An Object mask in Lightroom Classic

As opposed to the following example of a mask created using the Select Subject option:


Select subject compared to Select Object masking in Lightroom
Select Subject doesn't give you any control

Clearly, if I wanted to mask just the building, using the new Object masking tool works far better than the fully automatic Select Subject tool we've had for the past year.


Now, if you look closely at the Object mask, it's not perfect. It included some of the trees I painted over and, unfortunately, it seems being more precise with your brushstrokes doesn't result in a more precise mask.


Either way, when comparing it to the Select Subject mask, there's no contest: Select Object gives you the control that has been sorely lacking in Lightroom masking until now.


Alternatively, you can also select objects by dragging a box around an area instead of brushing over an object. To do so, simply click on the Rectangle Select icon in the Select Objects Mode section:


Rectangle Select mode for Object masks in Lightroom Classic
Click on the Rectangle Select mode to enable click and drag object selection

Once you've enabled the Rectangle Select mode, simple move your cursor out to the image and click and drag around the object you want to mask.


Click and drag using the Rectangle Select mode to create an object mask in Lightroom
Click and drag using the Rectangle Select mode to create an object mask in Lightroom

Just like using the brush mode, once you let go of the mouse button, Lightroom will automatically scan the area to determine what object you want to mask, and then create the mask:


Using Select Object to mask objects in Lightroom
An automatically created mask using Object Rectangle Selection

Even though drawing a box around an object you want to mask may seem like it would create a far less accurate mask, for the most part Lightroom does a pretty good job of using its machine learning AI to make an accurate selection.


Using this more controlled Object selection for creating masks works well for product photography, as well. Using a test shot from an outdoor product shoot I completed last year, Select Subject creates a mask for the two chairs on the left, but excludes the one on the right. Using Select Object, I can point Lightroom in the right direction when it comes to creating the mask.


Object masking in Lightroom
A targeted mask using Select Object in Lightroom

Again, I made a pretty rough selection using the object brush, but the result still homed in on the single chair I wanted to mask. Even though the mask is once again not perfect in this example (it pulled in some of the shadows between the floor boards), subtracting a simple brush mask would clean it right up.


There's one more major update to the masking tools in Lightroom and Lightroom Classic, which I'll cover in the next section.

 

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New Select Background Mask Creation

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw


You may have already noticed in the screenshots above a slight change in the appearance of the masking panel in Lightroom. There are now three large "Add New Mask" buttons when you go to create your first mask on an image: Subject, Sky, and Background.


The new Lightroom masking panel
The new Lightroom masking panel

Personally, I'm not a fan as the new large buttons just take up space, and it also pushes Color and Luminance masking into a "Range" submenu you have to select. It would be one thing if it was customizable, but as someone who doesn't use Subject masking all that much, I now have a giant button that's of little use, and two of my most used masks (Luminance and Color) are now an extra click away.


But I digress...


The main takeaway with this new design is the addition of the Background masking option for Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. This one isn't groundbreaking, but it does save a few steps when you want to create a background mask for a portrait. Instead of creating a person mask (or all people mask) and then inverting it, you can now just click on that Background button to accomplish the same thing in one step.


The new Background mask option in Lightroom
A Background mask created with one click in Lightroom

It appears the AI selection for Select Background is based on Select Subject, so this can be used on any image with a clearly defined subject. For a group photo, for example, it's smart enough to include all the people as the "foreground" and mask out the rest of the image for the automated background mask:


A background mask for a group of people in Lightroom
A background mask for a group of people in Lightroom

Once again, you can modify the automatically created mask by adding, subtracting, or intersecting other masks with it as needed.


Next up, we'll take a look at another new feature that leverages many of the new masking tools that have been introduced to further streamline your editing workflow.

 
 

New Adaptive Presets for Portraits

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw


Portrait photographers are getting plenty of love with these October 2022 Lightroom updates, and that theme continues with the addition of new adaptive presets, expanding upon the Adaptive: Sky and Adaptive: Subject presets that were added earlier this year.


As shown in the screenshot below, they are:

  • Enhance Portrait

  • Glamour Portrait

  • Gritty Portrait

  • Enhance Eyes

  • Whiten Teeth

  • Darken Eyebrows

  • Texture Hair

  • Smooth Hair

New Adaptive Portrait presets in Lightroom
New Adaptive Portrait presets in Lightroom

Just like the adaptive presets we saw added in a prior update, these new adaptive portrait presets leverage the AI masking tools to automatically identify and create masks for specific areas of the image and apply adjustments.


So, selecting White Teeth will trigger the automatic detection of any teeth - regardless of whether there are one or multiple persons in the image - and, once you click, create the applicable mask with pre-determined adjustments to brighten that area, or those areas, of the photo.


What's interesting - and disappointing - is that the mask created via the adaptive preset panel is often not as accurate as the masks one can create using the automatically detected people feature that I showed towards the start of this post. For instance, Whiten Teeth may miss parts of someone's smile, whereas creating a "teeth" mask using the people component masking results in a far more accurate mask.


On a positive note, unlike the original Sky and Subject adaptive presets, you can apply multiple Portrait adaptive presets to a single image without having to use the workaround I showed in this video.


The next topic is tied to masking, but it's not in and of itself a masking feature. That being said, it is a very important new tool that Adobe seems to be hiding for some reason, so keep reading!


 

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New Update AI Settings Option

Also available in Adobe Camera Raw


This new feature is both really useful, and a bit frustrating.


For years there has been an issue in Lightroom where using spot healing at certain points in your workflow would result in the spots you were trying to heal/remove being left in the image as a faint shadow. To some degree, that issue was fixed when the new Lightroom masking tools rolled out in October of last year, however, a new issue was introduced.


If you create an AI-generated mask - Select Sky, Select Subject, etc. - and then use one of the healing tools - Content Aware, Heal, or Clone - and then go back to the AI mask and make further adjustments, you can encounter the same issue where a ghost of the removed spot/object reappears.


Here's a sequence of screenshots that illustrate the issue:


An example of a Select Sky mask in Lightroom
An example of a Select Sky mask in Lightroom

After creating the sky mask and making some adjustments, I decided to use the Healing tool to remove one of the birds from the sky:


A photo of birds flying at sunset in Lightroom
100% zoom to show the birds in the sky mask
Bird at sunset over Oregon sea stacks
100% zoom showing one of the birds removed

So far, we're all good. I created the mask, made some adjustments, and accurately removed one of the birds using the Content Aware tool.


The issue appears, however, if I then decide to go back into the Sky mask and make further adjustments:


A screenshot of a spot removal issue in Lightroom
A ghost of the removed bird reappears after adjusting the sky again

Even if you go back to the Healing panel and delete the healing pin, and then select the area again to try to remove the bird, the ghost will remain.


The only way to fix this healing + AI mask issue is to go into the Lightroom menu and run the new "Update AI Settings" tool. Or, you can click into every mask group that has an AI-generated mask and look for a warning dialogue below the masking panel, which includes a Refresh button. In Lightroom, the menu option si found under the Photo menu, while in Lightroom Classic it's under the Settings menu:

Update AI Settings in Lightroom
Update AI Settings in Lightroom
Update AI Settings in Lightroom Classic
Update AI Settings in Lightroom Classic

By running this tool, Lightroom reanalyzes the applicable AI mask(s) and will update the image accordingly to account for the healing tool usage and the updated mask settings.


A bird at sunset along the Oregon coast
The fixed image after running Update AI Settings

Without getting too technical, this issue comes down to an Order of Operations problem. If you're familiar with my personal workflow, this is one of the reasons I try to do all my healing near the beginning of my editing process instead of later, but sometimes it's unavoidable.


Fortunately, Adobe has provided this fix. Unfortunately, at this time, there's no obvious way of knowing the issue may exist in your edit. The only way you'll know is by visually identifying the issue, or by hovering on each AI mask - or opening mask groups, as noted above - in your masking panel to see if there's a warning message that pops up:


Adjustments that may affect this mask warning in Lightroom
Upon hovering on an AI mask, you may see this warning

What's worse is not only do you have to hover on each AI mask, but you also have to first expand the mask group or groups in which you have AI masks to get the warning to appear. There's no visual warning indicator that shows up anywhere else.


I don't want to blow the problems with this new tool out of proportion, but it is disappointing to see such an apparent lack of thought towards the user experience. Hopefully, with time, this issue can be resolved without any manual intervention but, if not, I do hope they add a visual alert to let you know you may have an issue that needs to be addressed via the Update AI Settings tool.


And on that bombshell, that's it for the major updates that are in both version of Lightroom. Next up, I'll discuss the new app-specific updates, starting with Lightroom Classic.

 

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Exclusive Lightroom Classic 12 Updates for OCTOBER 2022


Updated Minimum System Requirements


Okay, so this isn't exactly a new feature, but it is worth being aware of, especially if you happen to be running Lightroom Classic on an older PC or Mac.


macOS

Adobe has dropped support for macOS Catalina (10.15.x). The minimum macOS version

supported is now macOS Big Sur (11.0). If you are not running at least Big Sur 11.0, you will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 12 on your system.


Windows

Adobe has dropped support for Windows 10 v1909 and v2004. The minimum Windows 10

version supported is now v20H2 (or later). If you are not running at least Windows v20H2, you will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 12 on your system.



Required Catalog Upgrade


As is usually the case with these big annual updates from Adobe, the Lightroom Classic catalog will require an upgrade. Nothing major to note here, but I do strongly advise you make sure you have a backup of your existing catalog file before upgrading.



Swap Left and Right Panel Groups


This will be appreciated by anyone that's left-handed and using a touchscreen laptop or monitor to work in Lightroom Classic. You can now "flip" the UI, for all intents and purposes, so the panels you would normally find on the left are now on the right, and vice versa.


Alternatively, if all you want to do is swap the panels in Develop mode, but not across the rest of Lightroom Classic, you can choose that as an option, too.


Swap left and right panels in Lightroom Classic preferences
Swap left and right panels in Lightroom Classic preferences

To enable either of these new options, just go into Preferences > Interface and you'll find them at the top of that menu panel. Once you make your selection, simply restart Lightroom Classic to apply the changes.



Removal of the Done Button


This is a small change to the user interface of Lightroom Classic, and it brings it in line with the cloud-based version Lightroom in that there is now an Edit button in the tools panel (to the left of the Crop icon, and along with Healing, Red Eye Correction, and Masking).


The newly added Edit button in Lightroom Classic
The newly added Edit button in Lightroom Classic (highlighted)

With the addition of this new button, however, Adobe felt it was necessary to remove the Done button that used to be displayed in the lower-right when using masking. It's not a big deal, but as someone that was in the habit of using that Done button to close out of the Masking panel, it's a bit of an annoyance as I have to retrain my muscle memory.


You can still just click on the Masking icon again to close it out, or click on the new Edit icon to go back to the main global editing tools.



Improved Importing Performance from Mobile Devices


This one is specific to Windows. With Lightroom Classic 12, imports directly from portable devices such as phones or cameras connected via USB is now almost 3x faster to load and display images in the import screen's grid view.


Additionally, the new backend updates should improve the reliability of importing from portable devices, eliminating occasional system hangs and crashes.



New Parent Folder Display


In prior versions of Lightroom Classic, the parent folders for newly imported images were hidden. Now, with the upgrade to Lightroom Classic 12, parent folders will be displayed in the Library > Folders panel. The goal here is, I believe, to eliminate some confusion and help users better organize their files.


Additionally, a new option, "Show parent folder during import," has been added in Preferences > General under the Import Options section. This new option is checked by default.


New Lightroom Classic option to show parent folders during import
New Lightroom Classic option to show parent folders during import

And that wraps things up for Lightroom Classic! There are some more behind-the-scenes enhancements and features, but nothing worth noting for 99% of users.


Before I provide some final thoughts on all these updates, let's take a look at what new features are exclusive to the cloud-based version of Lightroom.

 
 

Exclusive Lightroom 6 Updates for OCTOBER 2022


Updated Minimum System Requirements


These new requirements are the same as noted above for Lightroom Classic, but I'm repeating them here just in case you jumped right to this section.


macOS

Adobe has dropped support for macOS Catalina (10.15.x). The minimum macOS version

supported is now macOS Big Sur (11.0). If you are not running at least Big Sur 11.0, you will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 12 on your system.


Windows

Adobe has dropped support for Windows 10 v1909 and v2004. The minimum Windows 10

version supported is now v20H2 (or later). If you are not running at least Windows v20H2, you will not be able to install Lightroom Classic 12 on your system.



Edit in Compare Mode


This is probably my favorite new feature for Lightroom 6, although it's a long overdue addition. If you're familiar with Reference View that's been in Lightroom Classic for a while (forever?), Compare Mode now offers almost identical functionality. In fact, it's probably a little better thanks to one added trick.


Using the compare view in Lightroom does exactly what you would expect: it lets you compare two images side-by-side. This is great when you're working on similar images and want to create a similar editing style across them. Previously, the compare view only let you visually compare two images; no editing tools were available.


Compare mode editing in Lightroom 6
The new and improved Compare Mode in Lightroom 6

Now, you can select either image and access all the usual editing tools. Having the ability to edit both is where Lightroom 6 gains the upper hand compared to Lightroom Classic's Reference View, as that mode only lets you edit the "active" photo, and there's no easy way to perform a quick edit on the other image.


In Lightroom 6, whichever image is selected has a white border (see screenshot above), indicating it's the photo that can be edited. To switch, simply click on the other photo.


You can also choose to "lock" the zoom tool to both images or set it so only one image is zoomed in when using the magnification tool. Just look for the Parallel setting and link icon in the lower right of the main display window (a broken link icon indicates zoom will only be applied to one image at a time):


Parallel zoom setting in Lightroom 6
Lock or unlock zoom between images in Lightroom's Compare mode

New Mask Amount Slider


It's a mystery as to why this wasn't added to Lightroom when it was introduced in Lightroom Classic back in June of this year, but the important thing is it's now available in Lightroom 6.


The Mask Amount slider lets you adjust the intensity of masking settings with a single slider, instead of having to adjust every slider individually. It also lets you increase the intensity beyond the maximum value of single sliders. For instance, if you have the Shadows slider for a mask maxed out at 100, you can use the Mask Amount slider to raise them a bit further.


Screenshot of the Mask Amount slider in Lightroom 6
The Mask Amount slider in Lightroom 6

Using the slider doesn't actually change all the individual slider settings, so you'll always be able to gauge what you did.



GPU-Enhanced Export Performance


Another feature that came to Lightroom Classic first has made its way to Lightroom 6. Exporting now leverages supported GPUs, helping speed up the processing time.


Pretty straightforward!



Versions Naming for Presets


This particular update falls under the Nice but Not Necessarily Useful category. In Lightroom 6, if you apply a named preset to an image and then create a Version (if you're not familiar with what Versions are in Lightroom, watch this video), the preset name will automatically populate the name field for the Version you're creating. In the following screenshot, I applied the Landscape 4 preset (LN04):


Versions in Lightroom 6
Versions are now named using the preset name

You can still override the name field to name the Version as you wish. I question the usefulness of this new feature as, as you can see above, many of the pre-packaged presets included in Lightroom don't exactly have very useful names. This one will be most helpful for those of you that have created your own presets and named them in a manner that's useful for you.



Copy/Paste from Grid Views


This is a nice little enhancement that lets you copy the edit settings from one photo to another - or multiple others - from the grid view in Lightroom 6. Simple right-click on the image whose settings you want to copy, then select the other photo or photos to which you want to paste those settings.


Copy/Paste within the grid in Lightroom 6
Copy/Paste within the grid in Lightroom 6


Annnnd... that wraps up the major updates that are exclusive to Lightroom 6!

 

In Conclusion


These Adobe Max updates for Lightroom and Lightroom Classis aren't quite as revolutionary as last year's when we saw Lightroom Masking completely overhaul the way local adjustments are handled, but there's still a lot to unpack (as you should now realize if you've made it this far!).


The new People Masking tools are extremely useful for portrait photographers, or hobbyists that just like to take pictures of family and friends and then make minor adjustments in Lightroom. Having all the new AI-powered component masking tools is especially useful as selecting things like eyes, teeth, etc. have always been a bit tedious.


Content Aware healing is a huge win and removes one more reason to hop over to Photoshop, although Photoshop still offers far more robust clone stamping tools and more to attack more complex healing needs. With competitor software, such as Luminar Neo, offering AI-based healing to remove things like dust spots and power lines automatically (to varied results, admittedly), it will be interesting to see if Adobe continues to add more healing functionality in the near future.


The new Object Masking is another big improvement for masking as a whole and addresses one of the biggest gaps with Lightroom masking to-date.


All that being said, there are some reasons to be a bit disappointed and/or frustrated.


I didn't get into it above, but the masking accuracy when selecting All People is often far worse than the masks generated for an individual person within a group photo. I don't know why, but Lightroom apparently uses a different AI algorithm for All People, instead of just combining all the individual masks.


For Object Masking, I've encountered significant halos around objects when needing to push adjustments more aggressively, even though Select Subject may generate a mask with virtually no edge detection issues for the same object, or part of the same object.


Object masking accuracy issues in Lightroom
Select Object edges vs. Select Subject in Lightroom

Granted, the above example is an extreme adjustment that I'd probably never do (raising exposure almost to the max amount), but the halos show up more subtly with lesser adjustments. As someone making a career out of the quality of my work, that's not acceptable. This seems like an obvious miss on the part of Adobe.


We see similar masking inconsistencies when using the new Adaptive Portrait presets. A mask for teeth whitening generated via the adaptive preset is often far less accurate than a mask for teeth that's generated via the automated People masking selections (I've seen half a mouth get selected using the preset, whereas the People mask was perfect... see the video for that example).


Why are the two systems, that should be doing the same thing, apparently using completely different algorithms to make masking selections?


Taking the above issues as a whole, it gives the feeling that the implementation of some of these new features was either poorly thought out, or just poorly implemented. Either is disappointing, and it leaves users with a subpar experience.


To be clear, some of these issues can be worked around with a little effort... but why is that even needed?


Moving away from those concerns, but staying on the masking topic, I'm also disappointed that we've yet to see any options for refining masking edges (especially when faced with the issues shown in the Object masking screenshot above). Edge refinement tools has been widely requested since masking was first introduced a year ago. So far, there's been no sign that work is being done to address that feedback.


Obviously, the Lightroom teams at Adobe have to pick their battles as there are only so many resources and only so much time, but part of me would rather see refinement options like that, and improving what we already have, than adding in new features that, admittedly, introduce their own new issues to the mix at times.


I realize I'm sounding quite negative, so let me clear: the new October 2022 updates for Lightroom are pretty impressive. Gripes aside, they're a step forward and are welcome additions. Compared to the initial implementation of masking, however, they feel less polished. Last year's move from local adjustments to masking wasn't without its own problems, but none of them felt like sloppy - or worse, lazy - oversights.


As competing editing tools continue to step up to the plate with new features and more robust AI-selections for masks and more, it feels a bit like Adobe is falling behind in some areas or, at the very least, not innovating fast enough.


What do you think of the updates? Am I being too harsh? Let me know in the comments or ask a question below!



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