Adobe just released Lightroom 2015.1, also known as Lightroom 6.1, as well as Lightroom Mobile 1.5 for iOS. These are incremental updates to Lightroom’s spring release of 2015/6.0. There’s support for some additional cameras, local Black and White clipping controls, and a new effect for removing atmospheric haze from your photos.
Some of the new features are only available to Creative Cloud subscribers, but I’ve released an update to the Prolost Graduated Presets for Lightroom that works around this limitation (and adds two powerful new preset groups for adjusting exposure and “fade.”) I’m also making the Dehaze presets free on their own. I’ll explain why in a bit, but first let’s talk about this new control.
Dehaze the Thing
Removing haze from a photo sounds like magic, but it’s something Adobe has been working on for a while. They demonstrated it at MAX last year and teased its addition to Lightroom a few weeks ago:
Dehaze seems to work by algorithmically separating surface details from shapes, and then estimating depth based on coloration consistent with atmospheric haze. It’s a neat trick, but be careful with it — the results are interesting, but not magic, and you’ll probably want to combine the effect with your trusty good taste and some local edits.
Personally, I tend to like haze in my photos, but this slider goes both ways — provided there’s some atmospheric depth cuing in your shot already, negative Dehaze values can actually increase the apparent haze. Either way you work it, Dehaze is an interesting control to have, even if you use it rarely.
CC Only Features, and a Workaround
The Dehaze control, as well as the newly-added Whites and Blacks sliders in Local Corrections, are only available to Creative Cloud subscribers in this release. Put down your pitchforks though — this isn’t some big conspiracy by Adobe to screw over people who choose to buy a Lightroom license rather than rent it — it’s just Adobe complying with the federal regulations that prohibit them from shipping new features in non-paid updates. Steve Hoeg of Adobe has a candid explanation here.
One can presume these new features will be made available to perpetual license holders (that’s Adobe’s term for folks who purchase a release of Lightroom rather than subscribe to CC) in a future paid update, but in the meantime, there’s a workaround to enable the Dehaze control for CC deniers: presets.
Lightroom 6.1 (perpetual) has the same camera raw innards as Lightroom 2015.1 (CC), including the ability to process the Dehaze adjustment. So a photo with Dehaze applied will render correctly in 6.1 (even though the parameter isn’t available), and a preset that changes the Dehaze settings will also work.
This preset workaround happens to align perfectly with my approach of using gradations of presets to intuitively adjust basic image settings, so today I added a Dehaze set to the Prolost Graduated Presets, bumping them to version 2.1. This new Dehaze preset group requires Lightroom 6.1 or 2015.1, and works just as well in both — in other words, these presets bring the missing Dehaze control to the non-CC version of Lightroom. You just do your dehazing the Prolost Graduated way — which is actually a great way to do it, so grab these presets even if you’re a CC subscriber.
I don't really feel comfortable selling presets purely on the premise of working around an Adobe business decision though, so I'm also making the Dehaze preset group available on their own as a free download.
I'll have more on the new presets and Lightroom Mobile 1.5 soon, but for now, congrats to Adobe on another solid Lightroom release!
Adobe has released another update to Lightroom, with more Dehazing features. I've updated the presets to match. Real all about it here.