Prepare to be wowed. Up until this point, Adobe has been pretty mum on the capabilities of the new AI masking coming to Lightroom and Camera Raw, except for a single “sneak peek” video that didn’t go into very much detail.
I assume that people are extremely excited about this next update, as it will usher in a significant change in the way people use Adobe’s photo-editing software. The term “game-changing” is being bandied about and for very good reason.
In this video by Piet Van den Eynde, we finally get a more detailed look at the AI-masking technology behind this major update. Piet is able to show us in real-time the layout of the new masking toolbar as well as how to create masks and manipulate them. To keep track of your masks, there is a new “Masks” window, which looks increasingly similar to the layers palette from Photoshop.
Piet makes the point that perhaps gone are the days of multiple nondescript pinpoints scattered throughout the image, depending on which local adjustment you chose to use. Now, every local adjustment will have a mask associated with it, which you are free to name and keep organized in the new window.
He also shows off the ability to mix and refine masks, like intersecting an AI-created mask with another, or refining it with a color or luminance range mask, or even adding and subtracting gradients, allowing for extremely specific masking that frankly isn't that easy, even in Photoshop!
I, for one, had my jaw agape the entire video. The possibilities are literally endless. Couple that with the fact that since this is built into the Camera Raw plugin, it can be used in all the photo-editing programs Adobe offers, including the cloud version of Lightroom, which is pretty exciting all by itself. Kudos to Adobe for being able to push this update across all platforms. Remember that what you are seeing is effectively layers for Camera Raw. This means that they are permanently customizable in the interface you start in, and at least theoretically, can be written to .XMP. How exciting is that?
The Adobe Max conference is October 26 through the 28, and I think after that, everyone will get a clearer picture of the inner workings of this truly remarkable update.