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Lightroom's Transformative Update Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

21 May 2024

Today's release of Lightroom 13.3 boasts some enticing features like Generative Remove, Lens Blur and additional tether support. But behind the feature set is an evolution in the code that is simply revolutionary.

Adobe's John Nack explains just what that is in his blog post GenFill Comes to Lightroom!:

Traditionally all edits were expressed as simple parameters and then masks got added -- but as far as I know, this is the first time Lr has ventured into transforming pixels in an additive way (that is, modify one bunch, then make subsequent edits that depend on the previous edits). That's a big deal and a big step forward for the team.

Yes, it's a big deal. Let's unravel it a bit.

Remove Panel. Remove, Heal, Clone options.

Lightroom has always adhered to a non-destructive editing model. Whatever changes you made to an image were described and appended to the image file, which retained the original image data. The edited image was rendered from that original image data and the recipe of edits you made.

That's what made the Create Edit Replay feature on Lightroom mobile possible.

But, as Nack points out, with Generative Remove, things get complicated. Image data is changed based on previous edits.

But, Adobe notes, the non-destructive model survives:

The Generative Remove feature works on both Raw and non-raw photos. In both cases, Generative Remove is fully non-destructive.

In her overview of the changes, Julieanne Kost notes that Generative Remove is still in development and requires Internet access. She also notes, "Generative Remove is designed to clean-up images, not create fantastical composites."

Firefly AI computes the changes in the cloud, providing three variations you can click through to see how they work in the image.

We will, for example, be curious to see how well it removes urban blight like power lines and inconvenient utility poles.

But for a quick test, we removed someone from a recent image:

Once we found the new panel, we were able to select the person in the image and in a few seconds, Firefly replaced him with a credible extension of the background based on very little data.

The new release requires a catalog update, unusual for a Lightroom dot release.

"This is because the entire Sync engine has been replaced and you have brand new Preview management, both of which should fix some long standing issues and improve performance," explains Sean McCormack in Lightroom Classic 13.3 Releases With Generative AI.

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