There are three additions to the Toolbar in ACR 4.0, one of which is going to change your workflow tremendously and has been a requested feature for nearly as long as ACR has been around. I’ll keep you guessing, though, and save that one for last.
Preferences simply moves the command from the popup Settings options to the toolbar. But given the new Presets panel, you’re likely to find yourself using this option much more frequently, so adding it to the Toolbar makes sense.
You’ll find new options for default image settings in the Preferences dialog box, including the option to make defaults specific to a camera or ISO setting as I mentioned earlier when talking about the Camera Calibration panel. The Auto settings have moved here as well, with the addition of a grayscale mix default.
This option moves the same tool from Photoshop into ACR to let you work directly on your image without making destructive edits.
Heal and Clone
Yep—healing and cloning is now in Camera Raw! Finally, we can do dust spotting and other corrections directly on the image before converting. Aside from the benefit of nondestructive editing, they can also be applied to all images if you’re doing batch conversions. So, no more editing dust spots individually after the conversion.
Heal and clone work differently than what you’re used to in Photoshop. Rather than selecting a source point, as you would with the Clone tool in Photoshop, you select the area you want to correct. You can either drag the mouse to set the radius of the adjustment or enter it in the Radius slider above the Preview. Once you release the mouse button, a red circle will be placed on the image with a green circle next to it. The red indicates the area you’re editing, and you drag the green circle to the area you want to use as the source. You can place as many of these corrections on the image as you like, and they can be moved as needed.
When working with multiple images, the Synchronize option enables you to apply only spot removal if you like, making this a very useful tool regardless of your image settings because dust on the sensor is always in the same location.