Adobe has released a freely-downloadable beta of Photoshop Lightroom 3 software for professional photographers. The Lightroom 3 beta delivers a preview of new tools that will be in Lightroom 3, including more intuitive importing, unparalleled noise reduction and sharpening tools and enhanced slideshow capabilities.


Adobe says that the Lightroom 3 beta has been completely redesigned with under-the-hood efficiencies to better handle growing image libraries and improve responsiveness with a higher-quality processing engine. In the Library module, a rebuilt import system makes bringing photos into the software more intuitive. Users can easily specify the source and destination of their images, and save common processing, metadata or destination settings as easy-to-reuse presets.



In the Develop module, an overhauled processing engine allows users to create the highest quality images, according to Adobe. Improved Capture Sharpening and Colour Noise Reduction tools (above) provide superior results while still preserving an image’s edge detail and contrast. A new Grain tool adds a film-style grain to images, and two new Vignette modes help photographers get a more natural look.


Lightroom 3 beta also offers improved output options, including the ability to export slideshows as videos with audio and title screens that can be posted to video-sharing sites or optimised for mobile media (above). New watermarking capabilities (below)enable photographers to embed text or graphic information directly on an image and then adjust the size, position and opacity. In addition, photographers can customise print layouts and save settings for future use, giving them refined control over their images.


No release date for the final version has been announced.