What’s right and wrong about Adobe’s Lightroom 2 — and how to improve it’s usability for photographers

What’s right and wrong about Adobe’s Lightroom 2 — and how to improve it’s usability for photographers.

Here’s a fairly long blog post analysing the Lightroom user interface. The author makes some of the same points I do but he goes further than me in some areas.

He’s right that the Lightroom modules can be a bit constricting – particularly the distinction between Library and Develop. For example I find myself flipping back and forth frequently as I like to crop my pictures while I am adding keywords.

He identified the “Quick Develop” panel in Library as evidence that Adobe knew that the Library / Develop distinction is not a good one. I tend to agree: I’d love to hear the reasoning behind the inclusion of Quick Develop. I have removed it fr0m my right-hand panel it Lightroom because I never use it.

On the other hand I am not so annoyed by the Library / Develop switch. It is but a keystoke to swap back and forth and on a fast machine with ample memory the switch is almost imperceptable.

As user interfaces go it does not vex me nearly as much as the Microsoft Office 2007 “ribbon”.

He also makes a good point that sometimes Lightroom seems to want to be “not Photoshop” and does things a different way just to be different. I think that “not Photoshop” tend got started in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom is in the ACR camp.Again I’d be interested to learn the internal politics behind the decisions. I am sure it would remind me of my time at HP.

One example of an apparently arbitrary difference between Photoshop and Lightroom is the way the Crop tool works. In Photoshop you move the cropping frame “over” the picture. In ACR and Lightroom you move the picture “under” the frame.

I find the latter the easiest to use and think it is an improvement on the “over” model. So when I edit in Photoshop I am always doing cropping “backwards” and grumbling at the lost seconds in my workflow productivity(!).

I wonder if in the long term – say Lightroom 8 or 10 – it will have subsumed all the photography related functions of Photoshop and I will never need to switch?

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