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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Let's imagine that you want to go ahead and open this image inside of Photoshop, and you want to bypass Camera Raw. Maybe you've already established some settings in Camera Raw in a previous session, and you don't feel like visiting again. Well, then you would select the thumbnail for that image, and press Shift+Enter on the PC or Shift+ Return on the Mac, and that will go ahead and open the image without Camera Raw, just send it directly to Photoshop. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and close the image, because I was just demonstrating that. So I'll close this DNG file. Photoshop is going to say, hey, do you want to save the changes? Now even though there were no changes, Photoshop's big fear is it's never gotten a chance to save this image. I mean you gave it Photoshop, why don't you want to save it? So let's say, I say yeah.
Sure you bet, you go ahead and save it buddy. You're prompted to go ahead and save the image in a native PSD format, but you could just as easily choose JPEG or TIFF or one of the other flat file formats, because this is a flat file. Now what's missing? Well, DNG. There is DNG option, and there is no other Raw image option. Photoshop cannot save to the Raw image format, and for a very good reason. It wouldn't do it any good to so. Not only that, you would run the risk of overwriting your original DNG file. So notice that this is an RGB/8 image, meaning it's 8 bits of data/ channel. The original DNG image contains as much as 12 bits of data/channel. So you would be down sampling the image, colorwise, when you save over it, you'll be ruining the image. This is essentially what would happen. So Photoshop doesn't let you. All right, so cancel out. We don't want to save this image though. So I'm just going to go ahead and close it and say, No.
Now let's say you want to copy some settings that you've applied to one image, and you want to paste them on to another. Here is how you would work. Let's say I want to create a strange other worldly infrared version of this Crazy Christmas House. So I'll go ahead and Right-Click or on the Mac you might need to Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail for the Tree & shadow.dng image. Then choose Develop Settings. Notice that you can clear up the settings if you want to. So you can just get rid of all that metadata information. You'll be left with the original image totally intact, but of course, I don't want to do that. I want to copy the settings, and then go over to Energy crisis.dng, Right-Click on it, choose Develop settings, and choose Paste settings. By the way you can do this on multiple images at a time. So you can paste on to many images if you want to.
Then I get this whopping big dialog box that ask me which settings I want to go ahead and paste? I definitely want the Exposure setting, because I changed that, and I changed the Blacks and I changed obviously the Grayscale Conversion and the Split Toning and so on. But really what I recommend is when in doubt you just go ahead and Click OK, because the default settings are really great. Basically all the numerical parametric stuff is turned on, and all the specialty stuff like Cropping which is probably going to be different between any two images, Spot Removal, and of course Local Adjustments, which include the Gradient Filter and the Adjustment Brush.
Those things are not going to be replicatable from one image to the next. So I might as well leave those turned off. So Click OK, and you get this freaky effect right here. You can either just go ahead and accept it, or use it as a jumping off point for some different modifications if you like. All right, now I want you to go ahead and Double-Click on this thumbnail in order to open the image once again inside of Camera Raw, and I would like to talk you about this button. Notice if I hover over the Open Image button, if I Alt+Click or Option+Click this button, let's bring up that tip again, then I'm going to go ahead and open the image without updating the metadata, and that's really important.
So let's say you had already applied a bunch of modifications to a DNG file. Then you Clicked Done in order to save those metadata. Then later you come back to this image, and you make some different modifications, but you want to keep your old ones, and you want to open the newly modified image inside of Photoshop without losing the old settings, why, then that's what you do. You should Alt+Click or Option+Click on this button, keep the old metadata settings; also get the best of both worlds, right? You get the different settings open inside of Photoshop, and then you can edit the image in Photoshop as you desire.
All right, you also have this little link here, which allows you to specify how you're going to open an image inside of Photoshop in general. Now I'm going to go ahead Click on it. If you want my advice keep these settings as is. So Adobe RGB is a great color space, 8 bits/ channel is the way that you want to go, specially if you are applying most of your color modifications here inside Camera Raw in a 10 bit/channel or 12 bit /channel space, you don't need all the benefits of 16 bit/channel. So you have the up sampling get a much bigger image. In Photoshop, 8 bits/ channel is going to serve you just fine.
Then you have the option of up sampling or down sampling those. If you Click on this option, all the pluses are up samples, all the minuses are down samples. Pretty much does the exact same thing you would do in Photoshop anyway, so there's not a heck of lot of benefit to doing it here. And then you can choose what your resolution is going to be. That's not going to change the darn thing. That's just going to change resolution value; the number of pixels inside the image is going to remain as is. If in the future do you want to open the Camera Raw images as smart objects inside of Photoshop, if you turn that checkbox on and Click OK, then notice this button now reads Open Object, and it's telling you that you Shift+Click to open the image as a normal flat image inside of Photoshop. So that's an option as well. As I say, we'll come to that when we discuss Smart Objects in the future chapter.
One more thing I'll say about this item right there. I'm going to go ahead and Click on it, to bring up the workflow options. Once again, I'm going to turn his checkbox off. Because when in doubt I prefer just to open a flat image. But I'll tell you, if you are the kind of person that for some reason you insist upon working in the 16 bit/ channel space when you're coming out of Camera Raw, then not only do you want to change Depth to 16 bits/channel. But you want to change your space to ProPhoto RGB. Because ProPhoto RGB is designed to work with 16 bits/channel. And that's going to give you the best possible result.
That said, I don't really think it's that much better for day-to-day image editing. For your specialty images that you really want to have to look, they're absolute best, you're going to spend a fortune printing the image, you're going to frame it, you're going to sell it, they potentially go with 16 bits/channel, but for day-to-day image editing 8 bits/channel in Adobe RGB are just fine. I'll Click OK to turn off this checkbox right there, and there we have it, just about everything there is to know about Camera Raw. Now is that everything that is to know? No, there are other things going on inside Camera Raw. We skipped those panels of options: Lens Correction, Camera Calibration and Presets.
Then there is all kinds of other stuff you might want to learn about it. If so, let me say this. My friend Chris Orwig has an entire series on Camera Raw. It's mostly a creative series, so those of you who want creative stuff, check it out. If you want more technical stuff on DNG, and some of these options over here, then you can check out my series called Photoshop CS2, Mastering Camera Raw. But much of it is still applicable, so especially the early chapters and the late chapters are the ones you'd want to look at. Then sort of mix and match with what I have told you here, and you'll have an incredible idea of how Camera Raw can work for you.
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