Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 – some comparisons

I have already posted reasons why I think CS3 is a substantial advance over CS2, but in a nutshell, Adobe Bridge is much quicker and more stable than Bridge in CS2, and the sharpening tools in Camera Raw 4.1 are much better than in previous versions and perhaps better (certainly different) than in Photoshop ‘proper’.

For those not familiar with how Photoshop is bundled; it comprises a Photoshop ‘proper’ module, Camera Raw, and Bridge.

If one is processing RAW images then Photoshop ‘process’ comprises at least two elements – Camera Raw, and Photoshop ‘proper’ – because the image has first to be converted to a Photoshop document (PSD) before it can be further processed in Photoshop ‘proper’.

And if one wants to browse a number of images then the bundle also includes Bridge, which allows one to view large preview jpegs of images of many types, including RAW images.

So what does Lightroom offer?

Well today I found one reason to prefer Lightroom when I wanted to produce a collection of jpegs for the web. Some of the images were jpegs, some were PSDs and some with RAW files.

Lightroon swallowed them all and spat out webpegs in short order. It will also produce high quality jpegs from a variety of source files if you ask it to.

Compare Photoshop where, if the original file is a RAW file, you have to open it and save as whatever format you want – but on a file-by-file basis. There is no batch-process that will cope with RAW files.

Lightroom also offers an additional way of using the tools for adjusting tone and hue/saturation/luminance(HSL). There are sliders as in photoshop, but there is also a Target Adjustment Tool which, once activated, operates by dragging the curser up-down-left-right around the selected area.

If, for example, ‘hue’ is chosen, then as the tool is dragged, the hue changes. It is easier to do (and see the results) than to describe. What the tool does not offer is the ability to isolate the changes to only part of the image. If one chooses to change the hue, then all parts of the image that are a similar hue, are changed.

It is a nice tool but it would be so much better if the chosen area could be set to ‘contiguous’, or selected in some way akin to the marquee tool in photoshop.

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