Adobe unveils Lightroom CC as a cornerstone of its subscription-based Photography Plan

Adobe is describing Lightroom CC as all new, with 'lightning fast' performance and new tools for editing, enhancing and displaying pictures. Mobile, 'connected' imaging is an increasingly large part of Adobe's plans, and while users will still be able to get Lightroom CC as a standalone package ('Lightroom 6'), it will miss out on Creative Cloud features, such as the ability to synchronise images with mobile devices and create and share online galleries. Lightroom 6 will sell separately for around £100/US$150

It's been almost two years since Adobe pulled the plug on the regular desktop version of Photoshop and migrated to its new subscription plan, but fears that Lightroom would meet the same fate have yet to be realised.

Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC brings performance improvements and new features.

In fact, although Adobe's subscription plan caused controversy and upset at the time, it's actually worked pretty well – and now, for just £8.57/US9.99 per month (based on an annual subscription) you get both Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC. Even for sceptics, it's got to look like a pretty good deal now, especially since updates are automatic – and included in the fee.

Adobe says Creative Cloud now has around 4-million paid members worldwide, so it looks like it guessed it right after all.

Lightroom CC new features

HDR Merge: It's now possible to create HDR composites directly within Lightroom by merging a series of separate exposures into single high-dynamic-range image. What's more, this is saved not as a JPEG or a TIFF, but as a raw file.

Panorama merge: Another job that used to need a separate editor will now be possible in Lightroom. You will be able to take a series of overlapping frames and stitch them together into a single panoramic image.

Lightroom CC

The HDR Merge feature means you can now create HDR composites within Lightroom.

Lightroom CC

The Panorama Merge feature can stitch together overlapping frames to make super-wide shots.

Performance improvements: Adobe says Lightroom CC is up to 10 times faster, making use of hardware GPU (graphics processing units).

Face recognition: It's long been available in low-cost 'amateur' image-editing tools, but now face-recognition comes to Lightroom. You can use it to quickly find family and friends or, in a professional environment, you could use it to find shots of specific models or subjects.

Advanced video slideshows: These can be created using still images, music and video, and finished off with pan zoom effects.

We've also been told that Lightroom CC will include CMYK soft-proofing, for checking how colours will appear in commercial printing processes, 'pet eye' correction and new metadata filtering tools, plus HTML5-based web galleries. It will also have a Filter Brush for the Radial and Graduated Filter tools, to mask out areas that you want left unaffected.

Pricing and availability

Lightroom CC will come as part of the Photography Plan at no extra charge – this stays at £8.57/US9.99 per month (based on an annual subscription) – and should be available straight away. And if you're still not sure about the Photography Plan yet, you can download a 30-day trial version instead.