Tablet computers may soon rival desktop computers in RAW editing potential. Adobe has revealed that it’s working on bringing Lightroom-style photo editing to tablet devices, and the software would include powerful RAW photo editing features that are currently found only in the desktop versions of Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw.
Adobe Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty appeared on the online show The Grid yesterday and gave Photoshop guru Scott Kelby a sneak peek at a very rough-around-the-edges version of the app.
Here’s the 50-minute episode (skip to about 19 minutes in to go directly to when the demo begins):
The app appears to contain most (if not all) of the powerful sliders found in Lightroom’s Develop module, albeit in a very stripped down user interface. Rather than a single panel with multiple sliders, the app features a list of controls and one slider on the screen at any given time.
The list seen in the prototype comprises: exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, vibrance, clarity, temperature, tint, sharpen, luminance noise reduction, color noise reduction, whites, blacks, auto tone, and auto white balance. There were also buttons for flipping the photo and cropping it.
Hogarty’s demo used an iPad 2, and revealed the ability to use a number of sliders (e.g. exposure, clarity, shadows, highlights, white balance), the ability to check the details of your photos by zooming 100% in (in the demo, Hogarty zooms all the way into a 36-megapixel RAW photo), and cloud-based editing that syncs changes between tablets and desktop computers.
Since Lightroom changes are stored in text-form as simple parameters, syncing the changes across devices would be relatively fast (i.e. it wouldn’t involve sending entire photos across the web).
The software is in relatively early stages of development at the moment — some of the menu items would have made the iPad “explode,” Hogarty says — but tablet-based RAW editing is surely on Adobe’s roadmap now, and it shouldn’t be too much longer before we can start doing “heavy lifting” post-processing tasks while holding a tiny tablet in our hands.