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In Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6, Chris Orwig provides in-depth training on Camera Raw 6, the CS5 component that enables photographers to open and manipulate images in non-destructive and now even more efficient ways. This course covers the benefits of the raw processing, which makes it possible to more precisely control an image's appearance—exposure, shadow and highlight detail, color balance, sharpness, and more—including new workflow procedures and technical concepts and issues. Learn the entire Camera Raw workflow, from opening and resizing, toning and cropping, to sharpening and saving. Exercise files are included with the course.
Any conversation about Adobe Camera Raw or about Raw processing in general really wouldn't be complete without at least mentioning Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and that's what I want to do here. But first, what we need to do is step back for a second and think about our workflow, all the way from capturing images, to working on them, to output. Now, here in the middle space we really work on Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop, and what we have to start to think about is how do we work with these tools together? Occasionally, people will say, hey! Chris, I discovered Adobe Camera Raw. It's amazing.
I'm never going to use Photoshop again. That's definitely not the right approach. Rather, what we want to do is think of these two programs as separate applications and somehow there is overlap, and we thus work with them together. Perhaps a better approach would be to say, hey! I am going to do a lot of my work in Adobe Camera Raw. I am going to do all my global corrections, and then some of my fine-tuning, I will do in Adobe Camera Raw, but all of the sweet stuff, all of the precise stuff, all the really exact work, well that's going to all take place inside of Photoshop. And this is a really valid, and effective, and good, and strong workflow.
Well then what happens when we bring Lightroom into the equation? Again, I get questions. Chris, should I use Camera Raw, should I use Photoshop, should I use Lightroom? My answer is you should use all three, because each of these different programs have strengths. And first what I want to do is take a look at comparing Bridge and Lightroom. I want to do so simply by comparing the basic controls. On the left we have Adobe Camera Raw; on the right, we have Lightroom. Well, if you compare these controls or sliders, you'll notice they're exactly the same.
Temperature and Tint, Temperature and Tint, Exposure, Exposure and all the way down the list. For that matter, the Raw engine that's actually working or processing the files is identical. Well, why then would you want to use one tool versus another? One of the things that's good about Lightroom is it's a professional level, really strong and effective tool. In other words, there are some more features. There are more shortcuts. There's more efficiency. There's better output. So what Adobe Camera Raw is, which is really good, Lightroom is even better.
A lot of times when people discover this, they then swing their approach. So they work in Bridge when needed, but then they spend a lot of time in Lightroom. And for that matter, they start to spend even more time in Lightroom and perhaps less inside of Bridge and Camera Raw. And for some people this is really an effective approach, because what Lightroom allows you to do is to really keep track of your photographs, and also process them in a pretty unique and powerful way. Now, that being said, this isn't the only way to work on your images, and of course Lightroom costs extra money, right? And so some people stick with working with Camera Raw and Photoshop because Camera Raw comes with Photoshop.
Now, whatever your own workflow practice, just keep that in mind and keep in mind that it is also an incredibly valid way to work, using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. Yet, if you're feeling like hey now, I've learned Adobe Camera Raw, now I want to take this to the next level, well, perhaps the next step for you is to dig into Lightroom. And if you're interested in Lightroom, I've created a number of different training titles on that topic. So you can go ahead and check those out to see if Lightroom might be right for you. Well, whatever your decision, there's one thing that I think is incredibly important in regards to workflow.
I think in order to have a good workflow, it doesn't necessarily matter what software you use, but what does matter is does my digital photographic workflow increase my passion? Does it expand my creativity? Does it enliven my vision? Because I believe wholeheartedly that as Marc Riboud once said, Photography is about savoring life at 1/100th of a second. So therefore, as you step back for a moment and evaluate your own photographic workflow say, hey, is it hitting the spots? Is it increasing my passion or is it bogging me down? Is it helping me to be more creative, or is it a little bit stifling? Is it helping me to set my sights higher or lower? So then after answering those questions, you can then go back to your software applications and say okay, well, what software tools do I really need in order to take my overall photographic workflow to the next level? And in closing, however you decide, I hope that your decision leads you to being a more effective photographer, and also to getting even more out of life.
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