LIghtroom has many limitations and restrictions. I’m talking about the web-based Lightroom here, not Lightroom Classic. But at the same time, Lightroom has some clever features that use Adobe’s Sensei AI technologies. One of these its AI-powered preset suggestions.
- Read more: Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic
If you’re ever stuck for ideas about what to do with an image and which editing direction or effect to try, these suggestions can help. This is a bit like the AI preset suggestions in Skylum Luminar Neo, but with a lot more choice and the ability to add and re-use presets you like to your own preset collection.
Here’s how it works. First, double-click on an image to edit it, then click the Presets button at the top of the toolbar button on the right. It’s above the Edit button – though you can have both panels open at the same time if you want.
The Presets panel has three tabs: Recommended, Premium, Yours. If you click on the Recommended tab, Lightroom will analyse your image and its subject matter and suggest some presets from the Lightroom Discover community.
Now these aren’t presets created by Adobe itself, they are presets made by Lightroom contributors who upload them freely to the Discover community. I’m not sure how I feel about Adobe populating its presets with free content from users, but this is how it works.
I’ve even got a choice of sections here. I can choose to see All presets or browse Subtle, Strong, B&W, Cool, Warm, Dark, Bright, Cinematic or HDR styles. Let’s say I like this one right here from the Bright section. What do I do now?
Nothing, as it happens. Simply by clicking on it I apply it to my image. Lightroom also displays an Amount slider so that you can adjust the strength.
So what if I want to save this preset and use it again on other images in future?
What you do here is click the three-dot icon in the top right corner of the preset thumbnail. This tells you the name of the preset and its author, with the option to Save to your presets or Save as Version. You can do both.
If you save the preset, you can find it again in the Presets panel in the Yours section in a drop-down list called Saved from Discover.
You can rename these saved presets and you might often want to, because a lot of presets that feature on Discover were designed around a single image and are very often named after the subject matter. This leads to another general point about presets: a set of adjustments that works on one image can look awful on another. There are no presets which work well on every image. Or, if there are, they are so impossibly generic and bland that they’re really of little value.
The option to save a Version is useful. Lightroom does not offer Virtual Copies in the same way that Lightroom Classic does, but you can save different Versions within the image. It’s kind of useful but isn’t, in that you can quickly flip between different image treatments when an image is open, but you can only ever choose one for the image thumbnail.
- Read more: How Lightroom Versions work
So that’s a lightning tour of Lightroom’s AI preset suggestions. I guess they are a way for photographers to promote their work in the Discover community and not just a free resource for Adobe. You might have to hunt around a little to find a look you like, but it’s a great way to get inspiration if your own creative juices have temporarily dried up.
You can also reverse-engineer other people’s presets by checking the edit panels to see how they did what they did. Is that cheating? Probably not, as long as a commercial preset creators aren’t selling presets developed from other people’s work.
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