Enhanced Details was made available today in the February releases of Lightroom Classic CC (v. 8.2) and Lightroom CC Desktop (v. 2.2). This new process can potentially improve the quality of very fine detail and reduce artifacts and moire in raw files. It re-renders your raw file using a more sophisticated demosaicing algorithm that is derived from artificial intelligence machine learning techniques. (Demosaicing is explained later in this article.) While it can potentially be useful to everyone, there is more potential improvement with images captured with Fuji X-Trans sensors – Lightroom’s rendering of Nikon, Canon and other manufacturers’ raw files was already very good; there was more room for improvement with Fuji images.
This content is for Lightroom Classic (aka Classic CC) and for the cloud-based Lightroom (aka Lightroom CC).
UPDATE FEB. 17, 2019: For information on bugs some users are encountering with Enhanced Details, read the Update section after the video tutorial below.
Shard Mangalik of Adobe in a very illuminating article on Enhanced Details and demosaicing reports that it “can result in up to up to 30% higher resolution when capturing Siemens Star resolution charts, both for Bayer and X-Trans-based sensors.” The italics are mine. By resolution he means visual clarity, not number of pixels!
That said, you will not experience this level of (or often any) improvement in most of your images. I had to look through many, many images to find a few that show significant improvements – and in most cases I have to zoom way in to see the differences.
In the old Canon image below, zoomed to 4:1, blue/yellow edges in the unenhanced version are very choppy and there are artifacts surrounding the edges. These are notably reduced in the enhanced version. As I discuss further down, blue against yellow (or orange or red) is a challenging situation for demosaicing algorithms that Enhanced Details handles nicely.
All else equal, it is easier to see improvements in small files such as this 8 MP one – so you may be able to now get more out of your old digital images, as well as out of small crops from large files.
Canon 8 MP Image, zoomed to 4:1
(These differences may be too subtle to see on high resolution monitors – try reducing your monitor resolution or try your own examples)
Fuji owners have seen issues with how Lightroom’s regular algorithm renders images from X-Trans sensors. including more false colors. The Enhanced Details algorithm does a significantly better job with these under certain circumstances.
Fuji X-Trans 24 MP image, zoomed to 4:1
Image courtesy of Adobe Product Manager Josh Haftel (Instagram: @joshhaftel)