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Using Adobe Camera Raw

From: Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

Video: Using Adobe Camera Raw

Generally speaking if you're using the Organizer to manage your images and the Editor to optimize your images, the work flow is very simple. You send the image from the Organizer to the Editor, save a copy of that image and and then get back into the Organizer to continue working with other images for example. But if you're taking advantage of the Raw Capture option in your digital camera, you'll have one additional step and that is to convert the Raw Capture to actual pixel values through Adobe Camera Raw. Let's take a look at how that works.

Using Adobe Camera Raw

Generally speaking if you're using the Organizer to manage your images and the Editor to optimize your images, the work flow is very simple. You send the image from the Organizer to the Editor, save a copy of that image and and then get back into the Organizer to continue working with other images for example. But if you're taking advantage of the Raw Capture option in your digital camera, you'll have one additional step and that is to convert the Raw Capture to actual pixel values through Adobe Camera Raw. Let's take a look at how that works.

I have an image here that is a Raw Capture. I'll go ahead and select that image and then choose Edit > Edit with Photoshop Elements Editor from the menu. The Elements Editor will launch if it wasn't already running, and then Adobe Camera Raw will be displayed with your image ready to be converted. In this process, we can apply some fine tuning adjustments to help make sure the image looks its best, before we start working on it in the Editor. There are a variety of adjustments available in Adobe Camera Raw, but I actually prefer to do a relatively basic adjustment in Camera Raw and focus most of my energy on working on the image within the Elements Editor. The first thing I'll adjust is the White Balance.

White Balance allows us to compensate for the color of light. For example very early or late in the day the lighting tends to be relatively warm, more yellow to orange for example. And in shadows, the light tends to be very cool, more blues or cyans. We can compensate for less than ideal color in the image, and also fine tune to add an aesthetic appeal. For example, warming up an image just a little bit. For that we use the Temperature Intense sliders. We can drag the Temperature slider to the right to warm-up the image, to make it look a little more yellow. And we can drag to the left to make the image look cooler or more blue. Obviously we usually want the image to look reasonably accurate, although you might get a good effect by slightly warmng up the image more than it actually appeared.

The Tense slider allows the shift between green and magenta. Generally speaking, you want want either of these tints. And so this is really just a matter of fine tuning the adjustment, so that you don't see too much green or too much magenta. You want the image to look relatively natural. Next, I'll move to the Exposure adjustment. And what this is really doing is establishing how bright the brightest pixels should be in the image. To get a better sense of just how far we should move this slider, we can hold the Alt key on Windows, or the Option key on Macintosh while adjusting the slider to see a clipping preview.

This will show us which pixels are losing detail. Generally speaking, we won't want to lose any detail in the highlights, and so we'll adjust Exposure so that it is as bright as possible without any pixels being visible. Sometimes that will call for moving the slider to the left, as in this case. And sometimes it will call for moving it toward the right. But in either event, it's best to evaluate the image after applying this adjustment to make sure the image still looks good overall. Here, it seems to be working out just fine. So I can move on to the Blacks slider. This allows me to adjust the amount of black in the image. And in this case, the scene had quite a bit of contrast. And so some of the information is probably going to be lost regardless of my adjustment.

But the same principle applies as with exposure. In the case of blacks, I want to hold the Alt or Option key and then move the slider to the left until the last of the pixels disappear. For this image, even at a setting of zero, there are still some pixels, so I'll leave that as my final adjustment for blacks. I'll then fine-tune overall brightness, just adjusting the overall brightness levels within the image. I think for this photo a little bit brighter version might work out a little bit more nicely. And of course there are other options available to us, but by and large I don't make use of those options in Adobe Camera Raw.

Instead I'll save those adjustments for when I'm actually working within the Photoshop Elements Editor. Although, one other adjustment that you might want to consider in Camera Raw since it's not available in the Elements Editor is clarity. And as the name implies. This makes the image appear to have greater clarity. It's similar to making an image appear to be more in focus, though not quite exactly that. Think of it as a setting that allows you to reduce haze in a photo. That is, it reduces haze if you increase the value of clarity. Here I'll increase the value of clarity then bring it back down to zero, and you can see that with the clarity up at plus 100 for example, versus at a setting of zero or nearly zero.

The image looks considerably sharper in a general sense with a higher clarity. I can also create an interesting Soft Focus effect by using a negative clarity. This generally works well with portraits or pictures of flowers for example. But generally speaking, I'll use a slight increase in clarity for images that I want to have a little bit more pop. But other than these adjustments, I'll save everything else for the Elements Editor. I will change the bit depth to eight bits per channel. 16 bits per channel certainly offers some advantages, but the Elements Editor doesn't support the 16 bit per channel mode for most of the adjustments.

So generally in Elements Editor I'll work in the eight bit per channel mode. I can then click Open Image. And my image will be open in the Elements Editor with the adjustments I applied in Adobe Camera Raw, applied to that photo. I can then continue applying any adjustments I like to the image, using all the various tools and options within the elements editor.

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Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

35 video lessons · 467 viewers

Tim Grey
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