As of October 20, 2022, Adobe released major updates for most of its software including Lightroom Classic Version 12.0. In this article and video, I’ll give you an overview of what’s new (and exciting) and tell you why you might want to wait for version 12.1 before you install the update.
October 28th update: Adobe has now released a fix for the issue mentioned below. So make sure you update to version 12.0.1 now and you’ll be good to go!
What’s new in Lightroom Classic 12.0
As usual, there are speed improvements, support for new cameras and lenses, and a few other things. Here are the minor, less exciting changes:
- Faster data import for Windows users with portable devices, as well as quicker thumbnail rendering and display.
- Now you have the option of swapping the left and right side panels inside Lightroom Classic. Look under Preference > Interface > Swap Left and Right Panel groups. Note: You will need to quit and relaunch Lightroom for the change to take effect.
- New option to disable the Auto-advance settings during auto-import.
- New Develop preset collection called Adaptive: Portraits (you can see them in action in the video below and how they use the new masking tools).
Two BIG note-worthy updates
The things mentioned above are great, but there were two tools that got major upgrades:
- A Content-Aware Remove tool is now part of the spot removal kit (it works great, one-click or swipe and your problem could be gone!
- More advanced selection and auto-masking tools have been added including:
- Select People
- Select Background
- Select Object
Previously if you wanted to mask the background you had to select the subject, then invert the mask. Now it’s one click and done. Select Object allows you to use a brush or just draw a box around an object and Lightroom will attempt to mask it.
You could also use Select Subject for photos of people but it would select the entire person or all the people in the image. Now with the new Select People tool, you can choose a single person (if there is more than one) or just parts of them. Or you can select all people and just their facial skin. Or two of four people and just their hair, and so on!
Here are a few examples:
If you want a full list of everything that’s new in the Lightroom Classic latest version, just head to the Adobe site or CLICK HERE.
Watch the video now to see the new tools in action
Auto Masking is one of the most impressive features. It automatically selects portions of a portrait to mask. You can select: Face Skin, Body Skin, Eyebrows, Eye Sclera, Iris and Pupils, Lips, Teeth, or Hair. It’s pretty darn cool!
But just hold your horses! Don’t install it just yet!
THERE IS A MAJOR BUG IN VERSION 12.0!
Remember I said you might want to wait?
Let me tell you why I recommend that you wait until Version 12.1 is released before you update your Lightroom Classic.
I installed version 12 shortly after it was released (which was October 18, 2022), maybe a day or two later. It was working fine and everything was normal – until it wasn’t!
On the 21st (so it was working for three days) I started getting an error message when I tried to export any images. This is what popped up for me, “Unable to Export Watermarking failed.” But the odd thing is I was not applying a watermark.
So I started my usual troubleshooting routine of closing and then relaunching the program. That didn’t work. So next I completely rebooted my computer – still no luck. Next, I resorted to the internet and Google to find a solution.
I found a short video on YouTube and tried that guy’s suggestion of creating a new watermark preset (just create a blank one). Then after restarting Lightroom yet again, that didn’t work for me either. Some comments on the video suggested applying the watermark and finally that worked.
Until it didn’t again!
I was getting really frustrated. My next step was the Adobe forum where I found this solution. I followed the directions using method 2 on this page to delete my Lightroom preferences.
Once again it worked – once! Then after closing and restarting Lightroom I started getting odd pop-ups of really old third-party plugins that aren’t even on my computer anymore.
Suffice it to say I was MAD by this time!
NOTE: I’d like to make a point here. Many people will hop off the Skylum and Luminar bandwagon and post complaints everywhere if that software doesn’t run perfectly or there is a bug or a glitch in a new release. But can you see how that is completely normal in the software world?! Adobe is a much older and larger company and it happened to them too! So take note that no company is immune to the “stuff happens” rule.
Honestly, of all the photo editing software I’ve ever used this is by far THE biggest issue and most annoying bug that I have ever encountered! Not being able to save your photos is a BIG ISSUE!
Likewise, I kept getting this message too because of the deleted preferences. So make note – if you do get the watermark error and you try the preferences deletion – make sure you fix this!
When you quit the program you need to reassign the backup folder (read this for more on backing up properly).
Adobe support as a last resort
Many photographers avoid contacting Adobe support if at all possible, myself included. It’s often an exercise in further frustration and more like pulling teeth (painful and annoying).
But I had to bite the bullet and do it. It took over an hour of chatting with a support person, and him taking over control of my computer to fix most of the issues I was having. Even he was stumped by some of the stuff happening.
Finally, Vijay (support guy’s name) and I got it mostly solved so that I can at least export images now (I still have some old plugins running again to get rid of, as well as some old unused export presets that just appeared from somewhere).
So I wished him a Happy Diwali and thanked him profusely.
Aye yi yi!!! ¡Qué doloroso (how painful)!
Learn All About Lightroom Classic
These new features introduced in Lightroom Classic update 12.0 will be included as a new lesson in my Lightroom for Photographers: The Complete Course I released earlier in 2022.
The course has been getting rave reviews from students, from beginners to experienced users alike and virtually all students learned more about Lightroom than even they expected.
I encourage you to have a look at it and would expect also that you too will learn more than a thing or two.
Summary and example images
I wanted to share this with you so you could potentially avoid all of this hassle just by waiting for the fix to be released. Adobe is well aware of the issues and is working on it apparently. So if I were in your shoes – I’d sit tight and wait for Version 12.1 or whatever number is next (12.01 maybe) with the bug fix included.
But, having said all that – the actual new tools are fantastic!! Here are some before and after images.
Content-Aware Remove Tool
New masking selections
On the image above, I selected Face Skin to brighten their faces. Then I selected the 3 right ladies to lighten them as well. Select Background was used to darken everything except the ladies, and Select Object was done to mask just the signs to bring out more color in the neon.
For comparison purposes, the image below was done prior to LRC Version 12. I used Select Sky to darken that, but to lighten the ladies I had to use Radial masks and the brush. So it involved more manual selecting and brushing, was less accurate and was more time-consuming.
I think overall the new masking is far superior, faster, and easier. So as soon as they fix that export error – grab the update and install it!
Let me know in the comments below if you have already installed it and if you had the same trouble I did. If so, how did you solve it?
What do you think of the new masking improvements if you have tried them? Drop me a comment below.