Top 7 NEW UPDATES for Lightroom Classic 12.3 + Lightroom CC 6.3



Adobe just dropped some fantastic new Lightroom classic updates in version 12.3 and Lightroom Cloud version 6.3. So one of these updates is going to blow your mind.

You won’t believe what Lightroom can do now, and there’s a hidden keyboard shortcut that will allow you to batch process with this new editing tool that I’ll share in a moment.


Lightroom Interface Update

Let’s jump into Lightroom and review the top seven updates to Lightroom.

So the first one is a visual indicator that’s been added to the interface for both classic and the CC version.

So we have these new eye icons here that replace the switches that we had before.

So this will show or hide the different edits for that editing panel. So if I click and hold this “eye” icon, you can see that those edits in the basic panel were removed.

Now once you’re released, it shows it. So unlike the switch that we had before, it’s going to turn off those edits permanently or temporarily once you turn it back on.

But if you want that feature, there’s a hidden tool inside of this or a secret keyboard shortcut, which is your al alter or option key.

If you hold that down, it will show those switches we had in previous versions.

Then you can come in here and turn off that edit. And once you release it, we will go back to those eye icons.

Now the other thing is we have a visual indicator of what editing tools have been applied to a specific image or the image you selected.

We can see in the basic panel that this eye is brighter than the others.

These are grayed out.

I haven’t applied any edits with these other editing tools. I’m going to turn that tab back on because I’m going to show you something else real quick.

Once that’s turned on, the tone curve is grayed out, and that says that no edits have been applied, which is technically accurate.

I actually applied a tone curve during import, and if I open up the tone curve, you can see the S-curve that was applied during the import process.

Even though I applied an edit here, it’s still showing that no edit has been applied, but as soon as I adjust that tone curve, that eye indicator will light up to show me that something has happened inside the tone curve.

We have these little dots under any tools used in the local adjustment toolbar right here.

We can see this little here, which shows that I did a crop for this particular image.

And then it also shows that some masks were applied.

This makes it easier to see what edits have been applied in case these panels are closed and if they are closed. It’s a quick review.

Of each editing panel to see if we’ve applied any edits. 


Lightroom Performance Enhancement

The second new update to Lightroom is for Classic only, and it relates to the library module.

According to Adobe, if we go into all photographs here, they’ve increased scrolling speed inside the library module.

I’ve never had a problem with the speed of Lightroom, whether I have 3,432 images or over a hundred thousand images, which I have for a master catalog that includes all my portrait and wedding clients.

I’ve never really had a problem with speed, and that’s probably due to the amount of RAM I have, which is 128 gigabytes.

If you have less ram, you may see an improvement in scrolling speed in the library module.


Photoshop Workflow | Smart Objects

The next update to Lightroom again is for Lightroom Classic only.

If we go into the preferences panel under the external editing tab, and if you go to the Photoshop version, it will now list all the versions of Photoshop that you have installed.

You can select a different version from here if you want to use a different version.

And if you right-click on an image, you now have a new option to open that file as a smart object in Photoshop, which is pretty cool.

That’s something I will be using from now on because I like using Smart Objects to preserve those layers of edits I’m applying.

If you’re unfamiliar with Smart Objects, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll create a new video tutorial for you.


Lightroom Masked Tone Curve

The masking tools have some major updates, both classic and the Lightroom cloud version. This is awesome.

L let’s go inside our masking tool here, and you’re going to notice a new editing tool inside of the masking options here called Curve.

It’s basically your tone curve that can now be applied to a selection or a mask you created.

Now, I’ve already added a tone curve down here, but if I want to apply that tone curve to a specific mask, we now have that option.

Once it’s selected, I can come in here and add an S curve for that background to create something slightly more dramatic than I had originally. So now that background is a lot more vibrant, stands out a lot more, and has more contrast because of the S-curve I applied.

We also have our regular RGB color channels to target to remove a color cast in our images.

And if you want to learn more about the tone curve because you find it difficult to use or understand, I have a Tone Curve tutorial that will demystify the tone curve and how to use it.

I’m really excited about the tone curve being in the masking tools now. It gives me more precision and control over my contrast versus what we had before, which is no tone curve in the masking tools.

That is awesome if you ask me. 


2 New Lightroom Masks

That wasn’t the only update to the masking tools. We now have two more types of masks. So let’s go ahead and look at this image that I found of this gentleman with a beard and mustache.

And it’s not my photo, I didn’t take this; I found it on I don’t know anybody with a beard.

I had to find somebody with some photos of people with beards and mustaches.

If we go ahead and click on the person here, you’re going to notice that we now have facial hair. How awesome is that? I love it.

So now we can target that facial hair and create a mask, and then we can apply our adjustments based on our creative vision.

We can increase the exposure, shadows, blacks, whites, colors, C tone, curve presence, and detail, and all of that fun stuff can now be applied just to the facial hair. That is awesome. I’m loving that.

This next one I’m loving this as well. Let’s look at a photo here of my daughter, and maybe my daughter said to me, you know what?

I should have worn a different color shirt. I don’t like this orange color.

It should have been green or blue. Perfect, not a problem. Go ahead and select that person.

And now you have clothes, another excellent masking tool to help us with our editing.

Now I can go in here, and I can change the color.

We can change the colors slightly with the temp tint and, of course, the hue slider.

If I wanted something a little bit bluer, I could do something like that or increase or decrease the temp to change that color slightly more. So, something like that.

And, of course, I need to subtract and add from this mask that Lightroom automagically created so that it’s just affecting the shirt.

I will add in for the shirt here because we’re missing a little bit of it here, and it’s not perfect, but you get the idea.

How cool is that? I love it.

Now we have more precision and control over the mask we want to create for our editing of images, but we’re still going.

There are two more things that Lightroom added that are included or part of the masking process.

I’m going to go ahead and delete all these masks.


2 New Lightroom Adaptive Presets 

We now have some new adaptive presets.

Let’s go ahead and look at the first one, which is Darkened beard.

Let’s go ahead and go back to this guy here and let’s go ahead and delete this mask.

And now I’m going to come in here to darken the beard, and I’m going to click on it, and Lightroom will automagically add a mask for the facial hairs, including the eyebrows.

That’s awesome since it makes it more accessible. Yes, you can do it from here, or you can do it from here.

So one’s not too big of a deal because you can do it from here. But this next one is pretty awesome.

Also, this adaptive preset has some edit settings automagically applied based on what Adobe has included with this preset.

Highlights and shadows have been adjusted, and if we look down here, we can see with this eye icon that the presence has also been revised. So the texture.

If you need a place to start your editing, you can use the adaptive preset versus coming over here and creating the mask and starting from scratch.

And that’s what I love about these adaptive presets, especially for this next one; I’m going to go ahead and delete all these masks, and we’re going to come over here and click on polished portrait, and boom, Lightroom creates, creates a mask for all these different parts of our portrait automagically.

Not only that, if we take a look here, if we zoom in, oops, let’s go up to 100, 200% for that one too much—so 100%.

If we look at the before and after, you can see that the skin is smoother and cleaner than originally, and that’s all based on this polished adaptive preset.

And, of course, you can come in here and make adjustments to those masks or the edits applied to those masks by selecting them and then coming in and adjusting these according to your preference. Here’s the before and the after.

This particular adaptive preset it’s adjusting the texture and clarity to smooth out that skin and reduce the skin blemishes, and it does it for all of them.

There are some pre-made settings for each of these, and you may want to come in and adjust them individually, or you can use the amount slider here to reduce or increase those effects.

All right, this next Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC update is amazing. All of you. 99.9% of you are going to love this new editing feature.

Now it competes with some other tools we use, and I’m going to create some new video tutorials to compare them, but for now, we’re going to focus on what this new tool is.


Lightroom AI Denoise!

So finally, we have a new AI tool in Lightroom to make our editing easier and quicker and make our images better, cleaner, and sharper.

So what is it? Well, let’s jump into the detail panel here. Drum roll, please.

And here it is, right here we have a new AI Denoise tool. Now you can

Either edit one image at a time, or you can batch process multiple images that have the noise removed auto-automatically when you activate the hidden feature, which I will share with you in just a moment.

Let’s review the basics of the Denoise tool and see how it works.

Also, if it doesn’t give you the results you want, you still have the legacy noise reduction options here, but I don’t think anybody’s ever going to use these again.

At least I’m not because the results I got with this particular tool and the last few weeks were pretty spectacular.

We will select the image we want to remove the noise on. And this image of this red-winged blackbird I captured last weekend, and the ISO was 1400.

And as you can see, there’s a lot of noise.

We’re going to click on de-noise, and we’re going to get this new enhanced preview window, which will look similar when you apply the raw details enhancer or the super-resolution.

Now these are currently grayed out, and that’s because, well, let me explain how this works first, and then I’ll let you know why these are grayed out and some of the things that we can’t do with DNG.

Right now, I have it set to 100; the default is 50, so you can change how much or how aggressively the de-noise tool will be.

Also, we only have a few options for zooming in. If you want to navigate to another part of the image, you can click here and drag it around.

And what I like to do is I like to see the eyes of my subject to see how much detail is being retained or lost with the amount of de-noise that I’m applying. So doing this is going to take forever.

Instead, we can come down here and click on this magnifying glass to zoom out, and then we can click anywhere on the image.

In this case, I will click on the I, and it will zoom into that location.

Now I can hold down my left mouse button to see the before once I release, I see the after, so before and after. So 49 is removing much of the noise, but more is needed.

I’m going to increase this to 75. And again, it’s removing all that digital noise, but it’s starting to soften up the image.

But for this particular image, even at 100, we still retain a lot of that detail, but I do need to sharpen the image, and we do have our legacy sharpening tools available for the last 20 million years.

Okay, so again, Lightroom is adding a new sharpening AI tool that can work with De-Noise like we can with the Topaz photo AI tools.

But at this time, that’s one of the limitations of De-Noise is the sharpening options give us a different quality of sharpening than Topaz photo AI does.

If you’ve never used it, check out the link in the description below to try out Topaz photo AI for free to see how it works with your own images.

But even so, if you want to avoid using Topaz, you can get great results with the de-noise tool in Lightroom.

Now another limitation is we can’t upscale our image with super-resolution.

We can enhance the raw details with this enhancing tool.

And that’s because once you enhance or click on the enhance button here, Lightroom says it will take 30 seconds to create that new file, and it is creating a new file, in this case, a new DNG file.

At this time, we cannot use these other enhancement tools with DNO AI because it can only work with raw files. There are a couple of other file formats but not JPEG or TIFF.

A RAW file is the only major or main type of file format that you can use with Lightroom AI, noise reduction tools, and vice versa. You can’t go into super-resolution and bring in your DNG file.

It has to be a raw file, a jpeg as well for super-resolution.

But overall, these three tools will only interact with one another, or you can only work with them together.

Now, down here again, we have an estimated time of how long it will take to remove the noise and create that new DNG file.

This will increase or decrease based on the amount of noise and the size of your file. I’ve seen this as low as 10 seconds and as high as 45 seconds.

The other thing you want to do is create a stack.

Make sure this is turned on because once you click on Enhance, going to start processing that file, and then it will stack it with the original raw file.

Now I’m currently in a quick collection, so I’m going to right-click and go to the folder in the library. And once it’s complete, you’ll notice that the new DNG file is stacked or grouped with the original raw file, which is right here.

Let’s go ahead and increase the size of that. And there we go.

We now have that DNG file stacked or grouped together with the original raw file.

And then the other thing you’ll notice is the file name here; here’s the original, and the DNG file name now has an enhanced dash and is appended to the file name.

That’s cool. It keeps everything clean and organized and together. Now let me show you the hidden feature in the AI Denoise tool so you can batch-process multiple images.

We’re going to select a couple of other images here. Make sure they are raw files.

Now, when you click on the noise button, it will open this window, but it will only process that first image, not all selected ones.

Also, you want to make sure that your amount is set to where you want it for those images because Lightroom is going to apply the last setting used, in this case, 100, to all the images being processed.

I recommend selecting images that have the same range of iso.

Right now, I have ISO 1400 for one, and the portrait of my daughter in the landscape is ISO 100.

Those images may come out better than I like because I’m applying too much de-noise for those particular ISO settings.

Just keep that in mind. All right, I will cancel this now to batch process all three auto-automatically.

Hold down your alter option key, then click on the DNO button.

You’re going to get this little message here that is a warning to let you know that if you’re using content aware remove and or masking in your images, they will be updated automatically. Still, it may cause a visible change in the final result.

When I tested this out on dozens and dozens of images in the last few weeks, I didn’t find any problems.

It’s a warning to let you know that some beta users may have encountered problems.

Just keep that in mind.

If you’re seeing something that’s not looking right, that’s probably why you can turn this off if you don’t want to show it again or just click okay, and Lightroom will begin automagically batch processing the noise of your images.

Now, out of these seven updates in Lightroom, which one are you most excited about?

Let me know in the comments.

Picture of Parker
A 30-year photography pro with a desire to help you achieve your creative vision! Facebook | Youtube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.