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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
I find just about every image I work on in Camera Raw could stand to have a little bit more detail in in the highlights, no matter how good a shot was taken in the lighting and all that. So here's a good example of this. There's a Recovery image here. It's a Camera Raw file. So I'm going to go ahead and just double-click on it. Now the recovery feature inside Camera Raw works great for JPEGs as well. You are going to get better results if you have a raw file to work from, just because you have a lot more data to work with. You actually have more details in the highlights that you have available if you're still working with a raw file.
Here, I see that I've got some slightly blown out highlights. If I look at her foot on the left here, you can see it's a little bit hot and then just the sand itself, there's actually a lot more detail there that I think we can drag out. Camera Raw makes this simple. It's just one single slider here called the Recovery slider. I'm going to go ahead and click-and-drag that to the right. In this particular image, I am going to drag it all the way to right, so you can see the extreme detail that it can bring out here. I'm going to turn the Preview on and off. Here's before, and there's after. Again as a reminder you can just press the letter P to go back-and-forth for that toggle checkbox instead of having to actually take your mouse all the way to the top of the screen.
So just P as after, P again as before and you can see it did a fairly good job of bringing out some additional detail and just really taking down how hot those highlights were to begin with. So I'm going to go ahead and hit Cancel and go back to this other image here called Recovery_Extreme. This is just an example. This isn't normal everyday life. This is probably not an image that I would have kept, but just to show you the power and how cool the Recovery slider actually is, I'm going to go ahead and open up this in Camera Raw. Normally this would be a shot that you would just throw away, especially if you had other images in the same series here, where there was a better shot.
But let's just say that for whatever reason this is the only shot you have and you're hoping to rescue it and make it look a lot better. Let's just see if the Recovery slider can come to the rescue. I'm going to go ahead and drag that Recovery slider to the right, and I'm going to go again all the way over to the right just to make it really extreme. And I'll turn the Preview on and off again, so P before, P again after. You can see it makes a huge difference. Now in this particular one the exposure isn't correct either. So I'm going to bring the Exposure down, and you'll see that the combination of Exposure and Recovery makes this from an image that you would have thought to throw away, to an image that might actually be acceptable depending on what your end goal is there.
So there you have it, the Recovery slider is really powerful. Combine that with the Exposure slider, and you can really rescue a lot of image detail that you didn't even know was there, especially true if you're using a raw file.
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