As you have probably heard there has been a major shakeup in the Lightroom world this week and, due to the way they’ve named the products, there is lots of confusion.
The Lightroom app we have used for years has been renamed and rebranded as Lightroom Classic CC. What we have come to know by name as Lightroom CC is now a completely new app redesigned from top to bottom. It is a completely cloud based app wherein all of your images reside on the cloud (not on your local hard drives although I understand you may be able to do that too) and they are accessible through your Adobe account on any device ( phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) not just a tablet as was possible with Lightroom Mobile.
There are some new features in what is now Lightroom Classic including a Range Mask which offers the ability to refine a mask in the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, and Radial Filter based on Color or Luminosity. Lightroom performance has been enhanced but any benefit from that may vary from one computer to another.
As I mentioned what is now Lightroom CC is brand new from the ground up. Images are stored in the cloud on Adobe servers and accessed on any device. Keywording has been augmented by Adobe Sensei, an artificial “machine learning tool” analyzes your images and allows searching by content. You may still add specific keywords if you wish. Developing your images is still handled by the same Adobe Camera Raw engine it always has but the interface has been streamlined and simplified. There is no longer a Develop Module. All of the image processing tools are accessed through fly out menus along the right edge. In fact all of the modules are gone. In addition there is no way, at least at present to merge HDRs or Panoramas. Adobe has stated that those options are on the table for a future release. Keep in mind that this is version 1 of a brand new product. Lightroom was not all that powerful and feature loaded when it was released either.
As you may have already surmised, if you wish to go on using Lightroom just as you have for years, you’ll need to upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC. If, however, the streamlined interface and access to your images anywhere appeals to you the Lightroom CC may be the way to go.
I think Adobe could have done a better job of informing people as to what was coming and doing more to prepare them for which route to take. I’m guessing that a number of folks, perhaps you, saw there was an update to Lightroom CC and jumped on it without realizing it was completely new and different. I also think that they could have put more thought into naming the new product. Remember (if you are old enough) New Coke and Coke Classic and what a debacle that was??