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Adobe Launches Lightroom 5 Beta, Adds Several Exciting Features

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From the very first version of Lightroom in 2006, Adobe has been releasing public betas prior to shipping to make sure that the final product has all of the kinks worked out, and this year is no exception. Earlier today, Adobe released the public beta of its upcoming Lightroom 5, complete with video and photo examples of a few exciting new features.

First up is the Advanced Healing Brush, an enhancement to the Spot Removal Tool that allows you to use brush strokes to clone out unwanted parts of your photograph. No need to use the round dropper to do your work.

Also demonstrated in the video below is a new Visualize Spots tool that photogs who scan negatives or have sensor dust issues will greatly appreciate. This tool highlights dust spots so that you can more easily remove them without having to scour the image first.

Check out the demo below:

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Next up is the Radial Filter, which takes the place of the adjustment brush and masking for those that want something more straight forward. The radial filter allows you to apply local adjustments to a circular mask. That mask can then be resized, feathered or even inverted to make any highlights or adjustments look as natural as possible.

Here’s that demo:

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The last feature given its own video presentation is certainly not the least in terms of wow-factor. It’s called Upright, and it completely automates the straightening and/or cropping work involved in leveling a horizon or adjusting perspective. This one speaks for itself, so be sure to watch the video below to see all of the Upright feature’s ins and outs:

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One final very noteworthy feature that can’t really be demoed and so didn’t come with its own video is Lightroom 5’s new Smart Preview capability. This’ll be especially useful if you use an ultrabook (e.g. MacBook Air) for your editing as it’ll save you from using all of your SSD space.

What Smart Preview does is store small, lossy DNG versions of your RAW files on your computer as “previews” that you can edit even if the original file isn’t present. Any edits you make to the “preview” are immediately applied to the original as soon as the file is found. No need to waste space keeping your originals on your computer’s hard drive, you can keep them on an external and plug it in occasionally to transfer edits.

That’s it for the big features Adobe has in store for Lightroom 5. The beta is out and available for you to download and play with to your heart’s content at this link. It’ll be fully functional until June 30th when Adobe will kindly ask you to fork over a yet undisclosed sum of money to keep it that way. Check out Adobe’s press release for more details.