One of the cool new features in Lightroom 4 (LR4) is the added control to the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter. The more features and controls Adobe adds to this tool the better it gets. Now in LR4 Adobe has added a local White Balance control which is a huge benefit for photographs shooting in mixed light sources. A new HIghlights and Shadows control is also added. The third set of new controls added are Noise and Moiré sliders which are a welcome addition for those who want to remove noise in selected areas of your photo when its not needed in the entire image.
Truly the biggest addition here in my opinion is the added White Balance control. The Noise and Moiré controls are great too but I've had too many photos that were taken indoors and contaminated by the outside light from a window. Previously in LR3 you could only balance for one light and that presents a problem. Also, if you're photographing a wedding there is no control over light and you're at the mercy of what is falling on your subjects. This is not going to be a local adjustment you apply to a hundred photos but for the real important ones, you can make the fix when needed.
With the added Highlights and Shadows slider to the local adjustments and in combination with the Exposure slider I think you have some great tools for adjusting areas of your photos now. Before in LR3 I would use the Exposure and Brightness to adjust areas but it wasn't a great fix. Now I can open up shadow areas, tone down highlights or just make an area brighter with better controls. I think these two are a nice addition to LR4.
With the added Shadows slider in LR4 you can now open up those dark areas but if you tried this before you may have noticed the noise and posterization that plagues the dark areas of our digital photos. Thanks to one of the newly added sliders here in the local adjustments, Noise and Moiré, we can open up the shadows and fix the noise at the same time. The Noise slider is almost equal to the Luminance noise slider in the Detail panel but not quite as much. Its nice to have the option to reduce noise in selected areas instead of compromising for the entire photo.
An interesting observation too is the slider can go the other way so you can add noise to selected areas too. Not sure where this come in hand yet but I'm sure others will find uses for it.
I have not encountered a photo with a Moiré problem in a long time so I have yet to really get a chance to try the new Moiré slider out. If you have any samples please email them to me and I'll share them with everyone else.
Adobe has added some great new features in Lightroom 4 and the added controls in the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter tools are welcome changes. I for one will be using the White Balance control for all those pesky indoor photos with mixed lighting sources and that will make me happy.