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Introducing raw and DNG processing

From: Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth

Video: Introducing raw and DNG processing

In Lightroom catalogs and RAW processing are closely connected. Because we know that by default all of the RAW processing that we do, well, it's saved inside of that catalog. And here what I want to do is just start to talk about this whole concept of RAW and DNG. I also want to point out here that I've covered these topics in one of my other training titles. So if you've already seen these slides, of course feel free to skip ahead to the next movie. Well, in order to begin to understand RAW and DNG we first have to differentiate something.

Introducing raw and DNG processing

In Lightroom catalogs and RAW processing are closely connected. Because we know that by default all of the RAW processing that we do, well, it's saved inside of that catalog. And here what I want to do is just start to talk about this whole concept of RAW and DNG. I also want to point out here that I've covered these topics in one of my other training titles. So if you've already seen these slides, of course feel free to skip ahead to the next movie. Well, in order to begin to understand RAW and DNG we first have to differentiate something.

There is a distinct difference between RAW capture and also RAW processing. Let's first take a look at RAW capture. RAW capture has to do with the way that we set up our camera. We can either choose to capture images in JPEG format or in RAW. Now what's the difference? When we are capturing JPEGs, the file is actually going through a process, Bayer interpolation, contrast, sharpening, all of this compression, it leads to that final JPEG file. On the other hand, if we select to capture RAW files, well, those files come straight off the sensor, right directly from the sensor.

All right. Well that's RAW capture. Well, how does this then differ from RAW processing? Well, RAW processing has to do with the way that that we use software to process the actual pixels, whether those are TIFF or JPEG or PSD or RAW files. And this is a really interesting process. What this does in Lightroom is Lightroom doesn't actually modify the pixels; rather there are these RAW instructions. You can think of these instructions like a small text file. This text file says apply this sort of adjustment, whether it's a color adjustment contrast, sharpening, etcetera.

And what's interesting about Lightroom is that all of these instructions, by default they are saved inside of the catalog. This gives us the ability to process our images in a different way. Whether it so we want to make a drastic color change to the background or to the image or perhaps if we want to convert this photograph to black and white. And again, when we're processing our images inside of Lightroom, when we're doing what's called RAW processing, well we can work with all sorts of files whether that's a RAW, DNG, PSD, TIFF, JPEG, or movie file.

So why use RAW processing or why does this matter? Well, RAW processing allows us to make what are called nondestructive adjustments. Because the actual pixels aren't being modified, it's just a set of instructions where we can always and forever make changes to those instructions. This of course gives us a lot of flexibility and also speed. In other words, there's no rendering, there's no saving. By default when you make an adjustment, well, let's save it into the catalog. This of course really speeds up our workflow, which ultimately and perhaps even more importantly helps us to become more creative.

All right. Well, let's then move to this whole topic of these different file formats. When we're in Lightroom and when we're working with our catalog, well, we can process this different file formats, and one of them which is unique or different is the DNG format. Lightroom handles these DNG files a little bit differently. The DNG format: it stands for digital negative and this is a RAW format. And there are couples of different things which are interesting about this format. You can have DNG files which are lossless or lossy.

In other words you can have compression which doesn't lose information or which does. We'll need to talk about that more later, right? But I just want to point out that here. You can also have what are called Fast Load DNGs. This is new to the latest version of Lightroom, but it allows you to preview and work with these images in the Develop module up to eight times faster. So not all of RAW processing is the same, right? And that's what I'm trying to point out here. Also when you're working with DNG files, if you decide to save the adjustments to the file, well it doesn't generate a sidecar XMP file.

And again we'll talk a little bit more about that in a moment. Also ideally this DNG format, because it's open source, it can give us archival confidence that we'll be able to access and process these images in the future, because this isn't tied to any company, rather its open source. It's something that Adobe has created and Adobe has let everyone know how this DNG file format is put together. Well, what's interesting about this is that if you do decide to save these settings to the files I mentioned, there aren't any sidecar files.

Now that's different if you're working let's say with a RAW file. If you have a RAW file, then you save those settings to the file, well it generates or creates an XMP file. Therefore you need both of these documents together in order to see how that file is processed. The problem with that of course is that if ever you'd lose that XMP file, well you'd lose all of the processing. On the other hand with that DNG file format, well it's contained within that file. So again, just adds a little bit more security here, and again ideally gives us a bit more confidence.

All right. Well, now that we've been introduced to this whole topic of RAW capture and RAW processing and working with RAW and DNG files, let's dig a little bit deeper into this and let's do that in the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth
Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth

37 video lessons · 8600 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      38s
  2. 11m 25s
    1. Understanding why digital asset management matters to Lightroom
      2m 35s
    2. Exploring hard drive options: RAID versus JBOD
      3m 59s
    3. Hard drive recommendations
      4m 51s
  3. 30m 46s
    1. What are catalogs and why do they matter?
      5m 33s
    2. Where are my catalog files?
      2m 6s
    3. Importing images into a catalog
      3m 22s
    4. Where are my images?
      1m 59s
    5. Making folder and image changes
      5m 3s
    6. Keeping your catalog current by synchronizing folders
      4m 36s
    7. Comparing catalogs, collections, and folders
      4m 43s
    8. Upgrading legacy catalogs
      3m 24s
  4. 13m 36s
    1. Exploring catalog backup defaults
      5m 2s
    2. Performing a better catalog backup
      4m 6s
    3. Optimizing catalogs
      1m 51s
    4. Deleting old catalogs
      2m 37s
  5. 17m 13s
    1. Exporting catalogs
      6m 38s
    2. Understanding how to work with multiple catalogs
      3m 26s
    3. Merging multiple catalogs
      7m 9s
  6. 13m 29s
    1. Consolidating catalogs
      3m 54s
    2. Relinking multiple images
      3m 7s
    3. Solving catalog conflicts with new hard drives
      3m 30s
    4. Dealing with computer crashes and locked catalogs
      1m 15s
    5. Restoring from a backup catalog
      1m 43s
  7. 42m 36s
    1. Introducing raw and DNG processing
      5m 21s
    2. Understanding how Lightroom saves raw adjustments
      4m 33s
    3. Saving adjustments to raw files
      4m 55s
    4. Saving adjustments to DNG, TIFF, PSD, and JPEG files
      3m 17s
    5. Working with catalogs and virtual copies
      4m 18s
    6. Converting to DNG: the Embed Fast Load Data option and lossless compression
      5m 12s
    7. Archiving a photo as a DNG with lossy compression
      5m 31s
    8. Working with CMYK files in Lightroom
      3m 8s
    9. Making changes to CMYK files
      6m 21s
  8. 1m 32s
    1. Using dpbestflow.org as a resource
      52s
    2. Looking at helpful demo files
      40s
  9. 27s
    1. Adios
      27s

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