Adobe's Lightroom 2 beta broadens editing horizons

When Adobe Systems launched Photoshop Lightroom, it presented users with an all-or-nothing photo editing philosophy. But with version 2, which goes into public beta testing Wednesday, the company is changing course.

Lightroom 2 offers local editing abilities that permit photographers to edit just a patch of an image--whitening a person's teeth, deepening the blue of a sky, illuminating a child in a tree's shadow.

Local editing doesn't open the door to the super-detailed pixel-level tweaking of regular Photoshop, but it's a major step in that direction. It's also a timely answer to version 2.1 of Apple's Aperture, released last week with a plug-in architecture permitting local editing such as dodging and burning to brighten or darken parts of an image.

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