Lightroom Classic CC: Branding a total catastrophe

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I've used Photoshop since v1.0 in 1990, and Lightroom for some years. I've also been a professional software dev and product manager for 25 years.

It makes a great deal of sense to me that Adobe would introduce a prosumer-oriented, cloud-based photo cataloging and editing application natively supporting mobile workflows. The overly simple slant of Apple Photos and others have left plenty of room for a capable and scalable app+platform targeting less-casual users.

However it's inconceivable to me that Adobe would not see the branding catastrophe of calling that "Lightroom". The announcement video in which Julieanne Kost lays out the differences and argues with a straight face that it "works for both professionals and amateurs" feels tone-deaf, bordering on disingenuous.

Classic" is akin to saying "Yesteryear." It smells like "end of life" and will most surely discourage new professional adoption. It also telegraphs to existing users that this tool, central to so many pro workflows, may not be there in the future. No amount of forum-reply assurances "we plan to keep both forever" can overcome the implication that senior-management focus may have shifted toward greater consumer orientation and that Adobe is paving the way for abandonment of a key pro app.

The language in Kost's video backs this up: unadorned "Lightroom Classic" vs "the All-New Lightroom CC", and so forth throughout, providing a contrapunctal narrative in which at every turn "Classic" represents the old, the manual, the difficult, and the new app (how do I even reference it separate from Classic? I already use "Lightroom CC" (2015), but now "Lightroom CC" is a completely different application. Do I write "Not Classic"? or just ""?) represents the agility and ease of the cloud- and mobile-empowered future.

I happen to come from an industry (feature animation) that got to the cloud long before most, we just didn't call it that in 2005. But in 2017, master data in that industry is still well too large and sensitive to live in public server farms. It's kept on-premises and backed up "manually" as Kost puts it. I have 500 GB of LR master images on an SSD here. I know many LR users have multiple TB of master images. How does Ms. Kost propose one would move those to "the cloud"?

Either Adobe intends to end-of-life Lightroom as a pro app, in which case I'm disappointed, or it doesn't but somehow didn't realize this branding would telegraph such an intent, which would be astonishing.

I hope it's the latter. If so, "Lightroom CC" (the new one, not the one I already have installed) should be given an entirely different name. Or, just call a spade a space: "Classic" is "Pro", and the new one isn't.
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Dan Herman

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Posted 2 years ago

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Carlos Cardona

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BTW, "Classical" music is mostly yesterday, but it's still awesome! So is "Classic Rock" (only the best music EVER MADE) (speaking as an amateur musician, dance DJ, songwriter, theatre/music critic in college!) Don't Dis "Classic"! You GO Adobe! ;-)
(Edited)
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Hamish Niven

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I honestly think that Lightroom is going the same way the Hyena is - extinct. The Hyena struggles to give birth to a new generation, its backbone, its shape, its structure has become an evolutionary  dead end, and Lightroom is doing the same.
Photoshop manages ACR 10 times the speed of Lightroom. photoshop / ACR does everything the develop mode in Lightroom can do - apart from use your presets.
Lightroom is becoming extinct, unless something amazing can be found.
I wonder if it is the language its written in LUA or just that Adobe cant code to late second decade 21C.
I've used LR since it was RAW converter, that was blisteringly fast, but what Adobe have done to LR is a wonder.
The keywording is still back in the dark ages, the speed is hampered by fast processors and vast amounts of memories, and then calling it a classic - well, the Austin Maestro is a classic - one of the UK's worst ever made cars, but its so old its a classic.
Maybe Adobe are making a new lightroom for us all?
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Christian Fürst

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I am not sure whether Adobe actually INTENDED to create such a mess with a new version of a much beloved and respected software like LR was uuntill version 7.00 appeared. I still hope, they simply messed it up by acident, or someone inside ADOBE mailiciously messed it up to damage LR reputation? And i sincerely hope they will not discontinue this messy sotware but try to repair it. up to now I simply don't see which softare could be used as an alternative regarding editing PLUS archiving and managing.
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Carlos Cardona

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Yeah, they should’ve named it Lightroom Desktop, but they’re not that good at branding. No biggie to me. You?
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Sharon Ong

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I've just migrated my Lightroom Classic library to Lightroom CC. The migration went smoothly enough but I agree with the original poster here that Lightroom Classic is actually the "pro" version (which I need). After playing with Lightroom CC for a day -- my migration was smooth because I'm fairly OCD about folders/ folder hierarchy -- I can't stop thinking of Lightroom CC as being Lightroom Stupid. With Lightroom Classic, which is catalogue-based and non-destructive, I stored all of my image files on an external drive with a folder hierarchy which mirrored my Lightroom Classic folder hierarchy. Even the files within each folder (whether in Lightroom Classic's control panel or on my storage folder for "originals) were renamed in running order with a name that conveyed essential info. Worried about duplicates? No worries, look at my original files, and if there are duplicates or any file is missing, that running order can clear things up quickly. Two or three times, this saved me. There was some kind of conflict with the Lightroom Classic after an update. But no worries, I just deleted the wonky LR Classic library, and created a new Lightroom Classic library and pulled all of my neatly-labelled and neatly-filed originals into the new library. Together with the image files, the folders and folder hierarchy were preserved. Now whose bright idea was it to store "originals" locally using... using DATES? OMG OMG OMG. This makes no sense at all. Even if Adobe has to store the originals locally using dates (wtf wtf, and again, wtf?), surely it wouldn't take that much computing or development to allow the end-user to review the originals by folder? Adobe just has to tag each image file with the folder info (shouldn't that already be there in the metadata?) and give us a way to display the files according to folder/ folder hierarchy. Lightroom CC ("Lightroom Stupid") does not cater to those who want full control over how they manage their originals; you can tell them right off the bat by the ridiculously narrow sidebar for viewing the folder and album hierarchies. It's so narrow you can't even read the folder name (I keep it to within 50 characters, in case anybody is wondering; my naming system is tight and the sequence of the file name elements pre-sorts the folders for me). I am so upset. For now I am going to retire the Lightroom CC and just continue working in Lightroom Classic so that I can manage my files. If you work in photography, isn't the most important thing... keeping track of your originals and where everything is stored? (((((( screaming silently )))))

(Edited)
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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> Lightroom CC ("Lightroom Stupid") does not cater to those who want full control over how they manage their originals

No, you're right, it doesn't. People who want full control over how they manage their originals are not its target audience. 
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Sharon Ong

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Thanks. I'm in disbelief at the moment, going through the decision making process that led me to try consider changing over to Lightroom CC. Later today, if I can find a bit of time, I'll review the product descriptions. Last night when I was researching LR CC to figure out how to manage the migration safely, the first alarm bell went off when I noticed that it was only mentioned in passing, almost casually, that "the folder and folder hierarchy" would not be carried along in the migration. Thank GOD I noticed that in time. Surely this is the kind of thing that should have been highlighted prominently? I foolishly decided to ignore this alarm bell when I did a bit more research and learned that if I created collections that mirrored my Lightroom Classic folder hierarchy, that would be carried over into Lightroom CC. So I did that. Then... when my Lightroom CC was up and the migration had been completed, I realised that "albums" are incredibly limited. To create any sort of hierarchy to help me organise things in a professional way, I would have to create a folder hierarchy MANUALLY and then -- I guess? more OMG and more regrets... either manually put albums under folders or maybe pull the album contents into folders? Oh, but I can't do that... you can't put images in folders, only in albums. That was a major, "wtf?" moment for me and I need to mention that I never swear; I'm just not the kind of person to type things like WTF yet here it's happening. Would it have been so difficult for Adobe to explain how users will have to tweak their workflow when moving from working in folders, to working in folders (that unlike Lightroom Classic folders, can't hold images) and albums? Am I supposed to guess that myself? What a recipe for total catalogue disaster. Adobe uses the same word -- "folder" -- in both version but this word means something totally different in each version. I am kicking myself because I didn't go into this blindly; I did research to find out what the known problems and workarounds are, but I see now that what Adobe has done is stick to the technical errors. They do not address the "use" issues. I'm going to go away and hug my dogs now. So I don't scream. (((( hug ))))
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I have to agree their marketing isn't as clear as it could be, and I'm sorry you've had such a frustrating time. Hugging dogs always helps!

Out of interest, what made you decide to move to CC instead of continuing to use Classic?
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Sharon Ong

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And don't even get me started on the fact that photos can be in multiple albums at the same time. I accidentally migrated my catalogue twice so there were duplicates of each album. And had to call chat help which turned into a phone session (he was very helpful and a good listener, no "Adobe Mansplaining" for once!" but even with remote access to my computer, chat support was at a loss to tell me definitely, "If I delete the duplicate albums, how do I know if there are duplicate images in my library, how do I check for that?" Chat support was quite "on the ball", they tried using filters. But no, they discovered they CAN'T use filters coz there is no way to filter for duplicates. I suggested using the "reject" function to reject all the images in the duplicate albums before deleting the albums themselves, so that we could try to call up the "rejected" images and via that, find out whether they were still somewhere in the system after the albums were deleted. However, chat support discovered (while I was talking to them, and I don't blame this guy, he knew what he was doing) to their surprise that this was not an option. Rejected images are just rejected, you don't see them. There is no way (if I'm not mistaken) to filter for "all rejected images" (like you could do with star ratings) and see what you have rejected. I need to get more dogs to hug, to deal with this. :D
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Sharon Ong

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What made me decide to move to Lightroom CC? The way the Photography Plan was packaged and marketed, as well as the name of "Lightroom Classic", made me fear that Lightroom Classic was EOL. That is still my view. However, one more deciding factor is that I went through the sales literature from Adobe on Lightroom CC and didn't manage to get any inkling of its limitations fro managing originals. It honestly is deceptive. It was by sheer fluke that I even noticed that folder hierarchy cannot be migrated. The honest answer from Adobe would have been, "folders and folder hierarchy can't be migrated because in Lightroom CC, the concept of grouping your images by folder (rather than by date) for working and for local storage of "originals" no longer exists. Had I been smart enough to realise that, I wouldn't have wasted half a day preparing a smooth migration. I may downgrade to 20GB storage and then just not use the Lightroom CC. It's worth noting that to continue using Lightroom Classic, I had to subscribe to a photography plan. It was not covered in my CC for Teams subscription, which I have because I use a number of apps in the creative suite. 
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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> don't even get me started on the fact that photos can be in multiple albums at the same time

Most photographers would see that as a benefit, for example, they can have an album for their grandchild and another for their dog, and a photo that includes both their grandchild and their dog can be in both. It is a different way of thinking if you've been used to only using folders though.

The photos inside are likely not duplicate images - CC prevents duplicates being imported - but links to the same photo. For example, if you change the grandchild photo to B&W, and then look in the dog album, it would be B&W there too.

You can filter for all rejected images. Select All Photos then open the Refine filters and click on the Reject flag, just like you would with the Attribute Filter bar in Classic.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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> The way the Photography Plan was packaged and marketed, as well as the name of "Lightroom Classic", made me fear that Lightroom Classic was EOL.

Yeah, I can see how you'd have come to that conclusion. There's still a lot of confusion in their marketing. For amateur photographers, moving to a managed storage is a real benefit - you wouldn't believe how many hours I spent each week helping people track down their "lost" photo - but they're not making it clear enough that it's not the ideal tool for working pros, at least at this time.

FWIW, I'm seeing no signs that Classic is end of life. It has the largest development team it's ever had, and they're continuing to work hard to improve it. Logically, there are far too many people wanting to give them money to use Classic who can't move to CC, at least at this early stage of its development, and Adobe is very profit driven so they're highly unlikely to kill off a money-spinner.
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Sharon Ong

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> don't even get me started on the fact that photos can be in multiple albums at the same time

Most photographers would see that as a benefit, for example, they can have an album for their grandchild and another for their dog, and a photo that includes both their grandchild and their dog can be in both. It is a different way of thinking if you've been used to only using folders though."

I do agree that it's a benefit that photos can be in multiple albums at the same times. That's the functionality that's in "collections' in Lightroom Classic. But the point which Adobe is missing is that in Classic, the collections may contain the same photo in multiple places BUT when you are talking about the locally-stored/ externally-stored ORIGINALS, you can still check the originals and get a sense of what is there and what isn't. With Lightroom CC's albums, you don't know. So how do you check for duplicates (or near-duplicates... sometimes I export a file and rename it so that I can have one version of the original with a certain treatment and another version which is a completely different file that has a different development.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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> So how do you check for duplicates (or near-duplicates..

The All Photos view and the Date views only show "real" photos, so that's the place to check for duplicates. If you're in an album, right-click on the photo and choose Show Photos from the Same Date and it'll take you straight there, just like doing the same in Classic would take you to the photo in the folder. Since duplicates or near duplicates would have the same timestamp, they'd be right next to the photo you're looking at.
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Sharon Ong

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Sorry for the multiple outbursts and the duplicate post (thanks for removing it!). I'm going to go chill. Put this down to a learning experience. And go back to using Lightroom Classic exclusively for now. If I need mobile cloud access, I might export a copy of what I need for that onto my desktop in a folder and with everything renamed (eg, with an extra suffix CC or something like that) to avoid confusion, Then the images in that desktop folder can be added to my Lightroom LR as a new album of new images. But that's like a scratchpad; I'd delete those "working" images and it would not form part of the corpus of my Lightroom Classic library.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Chilling sounds good. You need to recover!

You can sync smart previews from Classic to the CC mobile apps, so you don't need to export copies.
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Sharon Ong

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Oh, that's a really good tip, thanks! I will use that fix. It's a pity the Adobe chat support agent (who understood my English perfectly) wasn't able to think of that. Thanks!
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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You're very welcome. I'm sorry we met under such frustrating circumstances.