Adaptive Presets in Lightroom Classic 12


Today’s Question: I’m not clear on what “adaptive” means when it comes to the new adaptive presets in Lightroom Classic 12. Do the adjustments vary depending on the image? That doesn’t seem to be the case based on my testing so far.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “adaptive” part of the new adaptive presets refers to the mask that causes the adjustment contained within the preset to apply to only a portion of the image. In other words, Lightroom Classic is creating a mask based on image analysis and applying the preset adjustments to the image based on the area defined by the mask.

More Detail: The new version 12 of Lightroom Classic includes several groups of new presets referred to as “adaptive” presets. These are divided into groups of Adaptive: Portrait, Adaptive: Sky, and Adaptive: Subject. Each of these groups of presets apply adjustments to specific areas of an image based on image analysis, which obviously relates to people, the sky, or the key subject.

Each of these groups of presets is based on one of the automatic masking features available in the updated Masking controls in Lightroom Classic 12. The adaptive preset groups therefore relate to the Select People, Select Sky, and Select Subject mask options, respectively.

When you apply an adaptive preset to a photo the image is analyzed and a mask is created automatically based on AI (artificial intelligence) technology. Once the mask is created, the adjustments saved with the preset are applied to the applicable area of the image. As a result, you will then see a new mask on the Masks panel after applying one of the adaptive presets to an image.

You can learn more about how the new adaptive presets work, along with the other new features of Lightroom Classic 12, in my video lesson “New Features in Lightroom Classic 12”, which is included in the “Lightroom Lectures” course of the “Mastering Lightroom Classic” bundle available here: