Adobe’s professional photo editing software Lightroom has finally made its way to iOS devices with Adobe’s new Lightroom mobile app for the iPad, allowing photographers who use the desktop version of Lightroom to edit and organize photos from anywhere.
Integrating seamlessly with the full version of Lightroom 5 for PCs and Macs, Lightroom mobile allows users to log in to the app with an Adobe ID to access the library of content stored in a desktop version of Lightroom. The app downloads Smart Previews of files from the desktop app, allowing for very fast content transfers between the desktop and the mobile app.
The new Lightroom mobile app brings powerful Lightroom tools to the iPad, delivering photography essentials – such as non-destructive processing of files – and utilizing new Smart Preview technologies to free professional-class photo editing from the confines of the desktop. Lightroom mobile is built on a powerful synchronization architecture, designed specifically for photos, and provides the most efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile devices and the Web.
Smart Previews do require an ongoing Internet connection to sync back and forth between Adobe’s servers to prevent iPad users from having to download huge files, but files can also be downloaded in full for offline editing if preferred.
Lightroom mobile supports much of the same functionality as the desktop version of Lightroom, offering users access to metadata and a basic editing toolbar that contains desktop presets (except for custom presets) and adjustment tools for altering shadows, clarity, contrast, and more. There are also crop and rotate tools for manipulating photos, and a simple three finger tap on the screen displays the before and after when editing.
All of the adjustments made within Lightroom mobile are automatic and sync to Lightroom on the desktop, with history states saved as well, making all iterations of a final image visible at a glance.
Adobe’s new app has been designed with mobile productivity in mind and it is not, at this time, designed to replace the desktop version of Lightroom for editing. Adobe envisions it as more of a quick-use tool, allowing users to sort through images and make quick edits on files to determine what might need further editing via the desktop.
Swiping through a huge number of images and using quick touch gestures to mark favorites can be done somewhat more quickly on a tablet, for example. Adobe’s Lightroom mobile has intuitive gestures that include a two-finger tap as an app-wide gesture that controls a number of different functions, including toggling metadata, turning on the histogram, and more.
Images are grouped by folders specified in Lightroom and displayed in a grid gallery. Tapping an image allows it to be viewed full screen and a simple swipe up or down allows it to be flagged for editing or rejected. Lightroom mobile also has some powerful organizational capabilities, letting users sort images by different aspects like capture time, file name, modification time, and more.
Photos in Lightroom mobile can be saved to the camera roll or shared via social networking sites and images taken with the iPad can also be set to import directly into the app – and the desktop version of Lightroom via syncing. The app also contains built-in slideshow functionality, allowing users to use their Lightroom photos in presentations.
Adobe purposefully left some features out of Lightroom mobile so the simple touch experience wouldn’t be overwhelmed with a glut of unnecessary functions. Custom created presets are not available, for example, nor are star labels. The company did make it clear, however, that it is open to adding additional features that its customers want in Lightroom mobile in the future.
With Lightroom mobile, photos will also be viewable and shareable on Lightroom.Adobe.com. While Lightroom mobile is limited to the iPad 2 or later at this time, Adobe does has plans for an iPhone version later this year.
Lightroom mobile for the iPad will be available as a free download but using it will require an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Access to the app is included with following plans: Creative Cloud Complete ($49.99/month), the Photoshop Photography Program ($9.99/month), which includes access to both Photoshop and Lightroom, Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition ($29.99/month) and Creative Cloud for teams ($69.99/month/user).
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