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In this course, Chris Orwig investigates the Lightroom properties as a digital asset management (DAM) system—specifically, its catalogs, which track the location, metadata, and keyword tags associated with your images. The course shows how to import images into a catalog and keep them current with synchronized folders, maintain good backup practices, and recover and restore a catalog. Chris also provides his recommendations on hard drive options, and explains the process and benefits to raw processing when working with catalogs.
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.
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