Auto Adjustment Discrepancy

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Today’s Question: When creating a new Develop Preset [in Lightroom Classic CC] I can enable “Auto Settings”. This causes Tone, Saturation and Vibrance options to be turned off. Do I want EVERY checkbox turned on to get the best use of the Adobe Sensei feature in Lightroom? If I make a preset with EVERY option turned on, then why does clicking “Auto” again cause further adjustments to the image? Shouldn’t the Auto on import be correct enough?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The only adjustment that is impacted by the Adobe Sensei technology is the “Auto Settings” adjustment, which in turn impacts a set of adjustments in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module. For reasons that aren’t clear to me, you will indeed get different results if you apply the “Auto” adjustments with a preset during import into Lightroom Classic CC versus later in your workflow with a preset or by using the “Auto” button in the Develop module.

More Detail: Adobe recently updated the “Auto” adjustment to make use of Adobe Sensei, which is their artificial intelligence (AI) technology for performing a variety of tasks, including applying adjustments to photos. In Lightroom Classic CC the “Auto” adjustment affects the values for the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Vibrance, and Saturation adjustments.

In the context of the Develop module in Lightroom, you will always get the same result when clicking the “Auto” button, which is found to the right of the “Tone” heading in the Basic section of the right panel. In other words, if you click “Auto” and then reset or revise the applicable adjustments, clicking the Auto button again will produce the exact same adjustment settings as you got the first time you clicked Auto.

Furthermore, if you save “Auto Settings” as part of a preset and then apply that preset in the Develop module, you will get the exact same results for a given photo that you would have if you clicked the Auto button. However, if you use the same preset while importing photos into your Lightroom catalog, you’ll get a different result.

I’m not sure if this difference represents a glitch in Lightroom Classic CC, or if Adobe intentionally doesn’t employ the Adobe Sensei technology during the import process. I’ve not been able to locate any information about this discrepancy. In any event, there is a difference in the behavior, which is why the “Auto” button is still enabled in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module even for images that have had the “Auto” adjustment applied during import.