Sunday, 1 April 2007

A day at Adobe's UK headquarters & the launch of Creative Suite 3


I was fortunate enough to be amongst about 15 people invited by Ian Burley of DPNow.com to attend a training day to mark the launch of "Adobe Creative Suite 3" at Adobe's UK head office in Stockley Park. In fact it should be "suits", as there are now seven versions of the Creative Suite, each designed to appeal to a different market. The day was an opportunity to find out more about the programs that make up this collection, in particular Photoshop and Lightroom. I went along feeling quite comfortable with Photoshop, but still unconvinced by Lightroom, and very curious to find out if this experience could spark my interest.

The training comprised an overview of the whole suite, followed by more detailed hands-on sessions (each person had the use of a workstation) with Photoshop and then Lightroom. Also provided, although not exactly part of the training was a very nice lunch.

As expected our voyage through Photoshop showed many of the new but well publicised features, and an opportunity to try out some new tools. As I said before, for me Photoshop simply doesn't need to be sold. It's worth is beyond doubt. I shall not go into the changes from the last version as there are already so many details on the internet.

Lightroom is another matter. It seems to be marketed primarily as a workflow tool. A piece of software designed to help you to be more efficient at dealing with large numbers of files. For photographers working with very large numbers of similar images that all need the same basic correction Lightroom is ideal. There were several people at this meeting who obviously felt that it was a major benefit to them. It fell down for me for a number of reasons. To start with I don't do my RAW conversions using an Adobe RAW converter. I use DXO Optics Pro, and having made a comparison recently I will keep using it. This breaks the workflow chain at the first link. This is not my only hesitation. I don't typically work with large numbers of similar images. I more often work with smaller numbers of images that need individual treatment. Once I have finished with an image in DXO, if I need to do extra work on it I need the tools that are in Photoshop, but are not present in Lightroom.

It was admitted that Lightroom is not yet a full asset management program (although the implication seemed to be that it might well become that). It can't merge libraries created on different drives (such as those on two different computers) and also can not keep track of images that are on drives that are not always accessible, such as CD/DVD's.

Life is full of ironies however. At the end of the session there was a draw, and my name was chosen and I won a copy of - you guessed it - Lightroom. So it seems that I will be using it after all. Time will tell if I become a convert.

My thanks to Adobe for their fantastic generosity and hospitality (including the delicious and plentiful food), to Steve Newberry who provided the training and to Ian Burley of DPNow.com for the invitation to attend.

Photo: Granada 2006

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