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Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta Now Available

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Adobe has announced the availability of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 beta for Windows and Mac. Adobe says, "Adobe Lightroom is the essential photography workflow application allowing photography enthusiasts and professionals to enhance, organize and share photos. The Lightroom 5 beta offers a free, public preview of new features and tools that will be offered in the final release, expected later this year."

As always, there are some key updates to look for.

The new "Advanced Healing Brush" allows you to heal imperfections and remove distracting elements. This works more like the healing brush in Photoshop with the capabilities to mimic the "Content Aware" tool as well.

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The "Upright" tool analyzes an image to automatically level horizons and straighten objects like buildings.

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But that's not the coolest part, the "Upright" tool can also fix perspective problems like the keystone effect, when tall objects appear to fall away from the camera.

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The new "Radial Gradient" tool creates off-center or multiple vignette effects. This improves upon the vignette tool offered in previous versions of Lightroom, which were complicated to move from the center of the image.

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There are some other nice improvements like "Smart Previews," which will allow you to edit images without needing the original raw file. This speeds things up and allow you to work away from your network or external hard drives.

The video slideshow functions enable you to combine still images, video clips and music in a creative HD slideshow.

The "Book Module" has also been upgraded enhancing the ability to create, customize and order elegant photo books using a variety of tailored templates.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 beta is available immediately as a free download on both Windows and Mac at labs.adobe.com. Keep in mind that Lightroom beta programs are free, but also expire. If you haven't tried Lightroom or if you're curious as to whether the upgrade will be worth it, downloading the beta is a great way to try it out.

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