Well, I'm stoked.
I've been playing with the beta for the new Lightroom for a few weeks and I think the team at Adobe has done a great job. This project is NOT a full review of Lightroom CC/6. For that, please check out Victoria Bampton's review. Rather, this project shows the results I've been able to achieve, often very quickly, while never leaving Lightroom.
The two areas that most interested me were panoramas and HDR, as these are two workflows that originally required me leaving LR to get the job done.
This little slide show was built using Lightroom's workflow, incorporating the Pan and Zoom feature. It's the first time I've ever bothered to even create one, and the process is pretty simple. Next time I'll add music.
Most of you have probably already seen my panoramas. I've included a few here but they are NOT new. What IS new, are all the HDR images. These are all newly processed, all from RAW NEF files. On average, each HDR has at least 3 images merged together, but I recently learned that all LR really needs is an over exposed and under exposed image to work from, because RAW files retain so much exposure range. This really helps in reducing ghosting issues, too.
That's not to say LR doesn't handle ghosting; it does and overall, quite well. But the less you have to experiment with the degrere of ghosting (None, Low, Medium, High), the faster you work!
Another interesting point. The merging for HDR or or panoramas happens in the background. This means you can start the process and go back to working on other image files. You can also que files; start one HDR, then move on to creating a second one.
And - it's pretty freaking fast!
The other thing I like is LR's approach to HDR. It generates very accurate, very photo-realistic HDR images. If I want some far-out HDR version, I can certainly go into the Develop module and crank the sliders to get the other-worldly effect I'm looking for.
Lightroom is available both as CC (subscription) or in perpetual version (Lightroom 6). Keep in mind, that if mobile is part of your workflow, you would need the subscription version of Lightroom (CC). Adobe has both LIghtroom mobile and a web viewer version of LIghtroom that are both part of the mobile offering. Add to that, the abilty to access synced LR collections in a variety of Adobe's other mobile apps, such as Voice, Slate and Photoshop Mix. For more on the differences, check out Laura Shoe's post.
Creating HDR Images in Lightroom
In broad strokes, I've listed the major steps below.
Step 1 is to select your images for the HDR. Remember, you only need two images to successfully create an HDR using Lightroom. Once selected, simply right-click on the selection and choose Photo Merge > HDR.
Next, Lightroom builds its preview. This happens VERY quickly. You have some options to choose from (Auto Align and Auto Tone are selected by default). You can choose whether or not you need to de-ghost the image. Each tiime you change your mind, LR will need to rebuild the preview). Then, Click Merge.
The merged file is a 16-bit DNG file, so you're really still working on a RAW file! This is awesome because you get all that fine-tuned control you're used to with a RAW file.The initial HDR likely won't look the way you want it to, but that's OK! You're working in DNG, so you have lots of room to play and experiment - non-destructively. The final HDR for my sample is on the left. Not bad if you ask me.
Other Examples
Panoramas
This image is a great example of a pano I simply could NOT create using Photoshop. Every time I tried, the frames on the left (our fleet) would never merge/blend well, if at all. On my very first attempt creating a pano in Lightroom, ALL the images blended very well.

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