It was bound to happen sooner or later, Adobe completely overhauled the Adobe Camera Raw engine. The changes made to the engine used in Lightroom 4 has required us to do a full update of XeL: Black and White.
The key problem in the Camera Raw upgrade in Lightroom 4 is the Process Version. We have been using Process Version 2010 since Lightroom 3 beta, and XeL was developed using that engine. Lightroom 4 introduces Process Version 2012, which completely changes Basic Adjustments, Clarity and Tone Curve – to name a few.
Upon realizing this, we set out to bring XeL: Black and White up to current. We are happy to say that we have accomplished this task.
Now, be prepared for some of the legacy presets to appear somewhat different. The Cold Storage Film Emulations are still accurate to our test targets, however you may notice that the tone is less dramatic than before. This is due to the way PV2012 renders images now, recovering highlight and shadow and using a new default curve.
Instead of trying to compensate for this effect we decided to embrace the change. The new rendering actually brings the feel of the films printed out on actual paper a bit more authentically. If we were to have tried to match the PV2010 tones rendered by our presets applied to an untouched image, we would be creating some severe tone curve or touching Exposure and Contrast (which is forbidden by the XeL PLatform).
So instead, you take control of overall tone. Which is as it would be in a darkroom. Use Lightroom 4’s Exposure and Contrast controls (which should be the first two sliders you adjust from now on) to perfect the effect of the preset.
Some of the presets in our Special Effects and Solarization families of presets have changed some as well. This is due to the changes made to the Tone Curve and its use in PV2012. These presets have been altered to create a similar effect as was accomplished in PV2010.
Aside from these changes, XeL:Black and White is relatively the same as it was, the best Black and White preset toolkit available for Lightroom.
For both prior and new users. When you download the new XeL:Black and White, the download will contain two folders: one for LR3 and one LR4.
Open the folder that you wish to install and follow the installation instructions in the manual. We are providing both versions for the time being to ensure support for users who have not upgraded. Do not try to install both, it will not work as desired. If you install Lightroom 3 versions of XeL and later upgrade, please remove the presets from the preset folder used by Lightroom before copying the Lightroom 4 presets to the destination. Do not trust your computer to overwrite the existing presets.
Take note, XeL:Black and White will be our last preset product that will be Lightroom 3 and Lightroom 4 compatible. All future X-Equals products will be for the current version of Lightroom, and we will upgrade for each new version as time goes on.
We should note that XeL: Local Adjustments is 100% compatible within Lightroom 4 as it is now. There is no need to upgrade this product as all features work as desired.
Thank you for being our customers and using our products. We hope that this update is timely for all involved.
Michael W. Gray and Brandon Oelling – X-Equals – Click. Download. Smile.