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Camera Raw basics

From: Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos

Video: Camera Raw basics

Let's take a few minutes to go over some of the basics of working in the Camera Raw window. You've already seen that you can open a file automatically into Camera Raw if it's a raw file by going to the File > Open menu in the editor and navigating to a raw file, or if you used the Elements Organizer to keep track of your photos and you've imported some raw files there, you can select a raw file in the Organizer and then click the Editor button at the bottom of the Organizer, and the raw file will automatically open into this window. You can also open JPEGs and TIFFs into Camera Raw to take advantage of the user-friendly features here.

Camera Raw basics

Let's take a few minutes to go over some of the basics of working in the Camera Raw window. You've already seen that you can open a file automatically into Camera Raw if it's a raw file by going to the File > Open menu in the editor and navigating to a raw file, or if you used the Elements Organizer to keep track of your photos and you've imported some raw files there, you can select a raw file in the Organizer and then click the Editor button at the bottom of the Organizer, and the raw file will automatically open into this window. You can also open JPEGs and TIFFs into Camera Raw to take advantage of the user-friendly features here.

But opening JPEGs and TIFFs into Camera Raw is done differently. All this, I'll show you later in this chapter. The features that you'll use in Camera Raw are accessible from just a few places in the interface. In the column on the right, there is a live histogram that automatically changes as you drag the Adjustment Sliders. Beneath that is the Basic Panel. This is where you'll find the sliders that you use most often as you work on a photo. The default for most of the sliders in Elements 11 is the 0 point. And the sliders can then be dragged to the left or right of 0 to apply differing amounts of a particular adjustment to the image, with a live preview of the adjustments here in the document window.

I'll show you what each of these sliders does in a later movie. But, for now, I just want to drag a few of these quickly, so that I can show you how to undo them. If I change my mind about a particular slider, I can quickly get it back to its 0 point by going to the slider head and double-clicking right on the slider head, which is one of my favorite shortcuts. It really saves time. If I change my mind about all the adjustments that I've made here, I can hold down the Alt key, that's the Option key on the Mac. That changes the middle button at the bottom-right of the interface to a Reset button, and then I can click that button, and all the sliders go back to their 0 point.

You may notice that the Clarity Slider is still at +40. That's because I set this slider to +40 in a previous editing session. Then, when I finished that editing session, I saved that setting with the file by clicking the Done button. I'll explain more about the Done button and these other buttons at the bottom in a later movie, too. But for now, I have this set to Clarity because I want to show you that even if you have made changes in a previous editing session, you can even get the file back to the way it was before those changes. To do that, I'll go up to this small menu item on the right side of the Basic Panel Title Bar.

I'll click there, and I'll choose Camera Raw Defaults. That takes the image all the way back to the way it looked before the very first editing session, the way that the raw file came out of my camera originally. And the Clarity Slider is now back to its 0 point, too. There are a couple of more tabs at the top of the Basic Panel to take a look at. The Detail Tab takes you to sliders for Image Sharpening and Noise Reduction, which we'll look at in a later movie. And the Camera Calibration Tab offers the Process Version Menu, which we've already talked about in a preceding movie, and the Camera Profile Menu.

What the Camera Profile does is set the initial look of a raw file when you first open it into Camera Raw. As you know, a raw file is just unprocessed image data, and Camera Raw has to interpret that image data somehow, so that it can display it here as a color image on your screen. So, Camera Raw starts with a standard preset, or what's called a Camera Profile. Now, it's perfectly fine to leave the standard profile in place and just make your Camera Raw adjustments from here. But, if you prefer the initial appearance of your raw images in Camera Raw to be more like the preprocessed JPEG previews that you see on the back of your camera when you're shooting, then you might want to choose another starting point.

To do that, I'll click the Name Menu here in the Camera Calibration Panel. That gives me a list of Camera Profiles for the particular brand of camera that I used when I shot this photo. If you're wondering how Camera Raw knows which camera I used, it reads the data that my camera attaches to raw files, called the EXIF data. These profiles simulate the various picture profiles or styles for my particular brand of camera, which happens to be a Nikon. If you have a Canon camera, you'll see different choices here. And some cameras may give you just one choice, like Adobe Standard, or sometimes Camera Standard.

From this menu, you can cycle through the choices here and pick the one that you think looks best for this particular image. So, let's see what Camera Vivid does, or maybe Camera Portrait, Camera Landscape. I kind of like that as the starting point, so I'll stick with that. But the choice of an initial Camera Profile is really a subjective one, and it's up to you with each photo. I'm going to go back and click on the Basic Tab again. I'm going to drag some of the sliders to show you something else, which is the important Preview Checkbox up here in the Toolbar above the document window.

If I want to see a before and after view of my photo, I'll uncheck Preview. So, here is a preview of the image without the changes I just made here in the Basic Panel, and here's a preview with those changes. Next to that is a full-screen view button. And if I click that, the Camera Raw window expands to take up my whole screen. So I have more room to work. Over on the left side of the Toolbar are some common editing tools. There's a Zoom Tool and Hand Tool that are much like the Zoom and Hand Tools in the Expert edit workspace. If I click with the Zoom Tool, that zooms me in.

If I hold down the Alt or the Option key on the Mac and click, that zooms me out. I'm going to zoom in a couple of more times to show you the Hand Tool. What this tool does is lets me move a zoomed-in image or a large image around in the document window, so that I can see another portion of it. The shortcuts for these Tools are the same as the shortcuts for those in the Expert edit workspace. So if I want to fit the image on the screen, I'll double-click the Hand Tool. If I want to take it to 100% view, I'll double-click the Zoom Tool, just as I showed you earlier in the Expert edit workspace with the similar tools.

I'm going to double-click the Hand Tool again to go to fit on screen. Also in the Toolbar are the White Balance Eye Dropper Tool, the Crop Tool, and the Straighten Tool, which I cover in other movies in this chapter. And finally, down at the bottom of Camera Raw, are some buttons that you'll use when you're done making your adjustments. Either Save Image, or Done, or Open Image. I'll cover each of these in a separate movie later in this chapter. Until then, if you're following along, just hit the Cancel button to close Camera Raw at the end of each movie, so you're ready to open a new file for the next lesson.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Overview of the editing workspaces
      3m 34s
  2. 43m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 21s
    2. Making the most of the tools in Elements
      4m 6s
    3. Arranging the panels
      4m 32s
    4. Zooming and panning
      4m 3s
    5. Viewing multiple photos
      3m 51s
    6. Undoing
      5m 15s
    7. Cropping
      3m 46s
    8. Resizing
      7m 18s
    9. Saving images and examining formats
      6m 2s
  3. 19m 23s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 59s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      4m 33s
    3. Creating new layers
      6m 51s
  4. 38m 28s
    1. Why use selections?
      4m 20s
    2. Selecting with the marquee tools
      3m 56s
    3. Selecting with the lasso tools
      6m 40s
    4. Selecting by color and tone
      6m 22s
    5. Refining a selection
      4m 51s
    6. Selecting hair
      5m 42s
    7. Hiding content with a layer mask
      6m 37s
  5. 46m 54s
    1. Why use adjustment layers?
      5m 15s
    2. Adjusting color with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 32s
    3. Correcting lighting with a Levels adjustment layer
      3m 32s
    4. Adjusting part of an image with an adjustment layer
      5m 19s
    5. Exploring auto adjustments
      3m 55s
    6. Improving shadows and highlights
      2m 14s
    7. Removing a color cast
      1m 47s
    8. Fine-tuning with Color Curves
      3m 16s
    9. Converting to black and white
      2m 26s
    10. Correcting camera distortion
      5m 32s
    11. Reducing noise
      2m 56s
    12. Sharpening
      6m 10s
  6. 20m 51s
    1. Creating a panorama
      5m 6s
    2. Merging bracketed exposures
      6m 0s
    3. Removing people from a scene
      5m 25s
    4. Combining group shots
      4m 20s
  7. 29m 24s
    1. Removing blemishes
      3m 42s
    2. Reducing wrinkles and circles
      4m 16s
    3. Enhancing eyes
      5m 19s
    4. Removing red-eye
      3m 15s
    5. Adjusting skin tone
      2m 21s
    6. Removing dust spots
      4m 7s
    7. Removing content
      6m 24s
  8. 52m 36s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      5m 18s
    2. Using the latest Camera Raw controls
      3m 16s
    3. Camera Raw basics
      6m 22s
    4. Making use of the histogram
      3m 45s
    5. Setting white balance
      3m 44s
    6. Adjusting lighting
      4m 28s
    7. Adjusting color saturation
      2m 9s
    8. Cropping and straightening
      3m 58s
    9. Reducing noise
      3m 33s
    10. Sharpening
      3m 38s
    11. Synchronizing edits to multiple photos
      3m 36s
    12. Outputting from Camera Raw
      6m 14s
    13. Using Camera Raw with JPEGs
      2m 35s
  9. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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