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Yup—it’s true! Lightroom 3 is here! (Well, the free public beta version is here, anyway).

Of course to get you up to speed fast on all the cool new goodies in Beta 3, NAPP (The National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals) has put together a Lightroom 3 Beta Learning Center, with videos from Matt Kloskowski and me, along with articles and info from RC Concepcion, and an exclusive video interview with Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty.

Also, later today look for Matt’s “Lightroom 3 Beta Power Session” full training class to go live on Kelby Training, which teaches all the new features in depth, and how they relate to, and update your current Lightroom workflow.

Now, all that being said—just remember—this is a pre-release Beta testing version, so it’s far from the final finished product (if history is any indicator, when the real version ships, it will have more features, and lots of other improvements), so just remember—this is not a “finished” product, but a early testing version they’re letting you use for free to get your feedback before they release the shipping product at a later date.

So, definitely go to our Lightroom 3 Learning Center to get the full scoop (here’s the link), but in the meantime, here’s a 30-second look at some of my favorite stuff in the public beta:

(1) Importing has been redesigned with a new import window that lets you easily see where your images are coming from and where they’re going, with lots of little improvements and enhancements to make the process easier and much more visual.

(2) Drag and Drop Publishing to the Web (and more). Now you can just drag and drop an image to have it automatically published directly from Lightroom right up to Flickr, or directly to an iPhone sync folder, etc..

(3) Pro-level Noise Reduction. This is an area that Lightroom always lagged behind on, but now they have real pro-level noise reduction which competes, or beats, about anything out there (especially because it can do its noise reduction at the Raw file level, rather than on a processed 8-bit file).

(4) Built-in Film Grain feature. There’s been a lot of buzz recently about bringing back that film-grain look, and now that’s built right in.

(5) Better vignetting by a long shot. They really enhanced the post crop vignetting, and now post crop gives you a much better looking, and more natural result (and you have two choices for the type of vignetting effect as well).

(6) You can finally (finally, finally!!!!!) export a slideshow with music embedded in the slideshow (at last), and you can have your slideshow automatically sync the length of the slideshow to the length of your song. Plus, they made it so, on a Mac, you don’t need to use iTunes to host your slideshow music.

(7) Real watermarking is here! Now you can create real watermarks, at different sizes and opacities, and put them where you want them, for both web and print.

(8) Create print layouts with photos wherever you want them. Now there’s a Custom Print Package feature that lets you put as many photos, in whatever shape and size, on the page wherever you want them (you’re no longer restricted to use a grid of uniform cells), so now you can really come up with some creative print layouts without having your hands tied.

(9) You can change the background color for prints. Now you can choose any color as your background for printed pages. I know it sounds like a little thing, but it’s big.

(10) The Collections panel is now in the Develop Module, too. This one addition will dramatically increase your efficiency because now you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth between the Library Module and Develop Module, because you can get to all your collections and images from right within the Develop Module itself.

Plus, there are dozens of other little enhancements, fixes, improvements, and other little features which are scattered throughout the program—-but just remember—-it’s not done yet! (So don’t start posting questions like, “Why isn’t this feature or that feature not there?” because (say it with me, “It’s not done!”).

Now, go check out NAPP’s Learning Center, (link) where you’ll find a direct link to download the free public beta of Lightroom 3 direct from Adobe Labs. Sweet!!!! It’s a great day for Lightroom users!

P.S. Terry White, over at Terry’s Tech Blog has a video on Lightroom 3 Beta as well. Here’s the link.