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Let's take a look at how we can open and improve our photographs using Adobe Camera Raw. We'll be working with these three files here, which you can find in the subfolder basic which is a subfolder of our Chapter 07_camera_raw folder. Let's select all three of these files. We can do so by pressing Command on a Mac, Ctrl on Windows, and clicking on these three documents. Next, I want to share with you two different techniques that you can use for opening these files in Camera Raw. The first is to navigate to the File pulldown menu and then to select Open in Camera Raw.
Another technique is to hover over one of your selected images, whether you have one or more images selected, you can then right-click or Ctrl-click, and here in this Contextual menu, you will notice there is an option for Open in Camera Raw. So go ahead and select one of those techniques in order to open these files up in Camera Raw. Well, here you can see I now have these files open in Camera Raw, yet one of the things that's kind of interesting is it's hard to focus in on the image. That's because Camera Raw isn't running in full-screen mode. Let's change that.
To do that, you can click on this icon here so that it covers up the rest of the interface. That's much better. We can focus in on the task at hand. With this first image, one of the things that you are going to notice is we have a filmstrip over here, and this image is selected, and in the bottom corner there is an exclamation point. This is showing me that this file has been worked on in a previous version of Camera Raw. To take advantage of the latest and greatest controls in Camera Raw, we'll just click on this icon, and it will then update that file.
Well, now that we have the updated process version, let's explore how we can use some of our basic controls in order to improve this image. One of the things that I want to do here is I want to go ahead and brighten this image up. I want to brighten up some of our shadow detail. Well, we can use these different sliders that we see here in order to work on specific areas of our image, for example the shadows. Let's go to the Shadows slider and just click and drag this to the right.
As we do that, we can see that we now have more detail in this area of the photograph. And what's great about these sliders in this latest version of Camera Raw is that it allows us to tap into a lot of the data in the file in order to make some pretty dramatic corrections and enhancements to our pictures. Let's take a look at the preview just with that simple adjustment. Well, here is our before, and now our after. You can see that this adjustment really is primarily targeting this side of the image. But what about the Highlights? Well, the Highlights over here--if we want to darken those we can click and drag this to the left.
You can see that I now have more detail in the sky area. We can constantly modify these in order to come up with the correct combination of working with this file in order to make it look its best. What about some of the other controls like Exposure? Well, exposure will allow us to brighten everything, just to add a little bit more vibrance or brightness to the overall image. Contrast, as you would imagine--click and drag to the right--and here it's going to increase the overall contrast. Drag to the left, and it's going to decrease the contrast and makes the image appear a little bit softer and less saturated.
So these controls give us the ability to make these really fascinating and specific adjustments. Let's deconstruct a little bit more about how these controls work. To do that, I want to click on this demo slide here. This demo slide is just a screen grab of these controls, and what I want to highlight is the way that we work with these controls is this: drag to the left and things become darker, drag to the right and things become brighter. Let's take a look at this with one more image, this one here. Well, with this file, one of the things that I want to do is I want to try to modify the overall exposure, brightening this up a little bit.
I want to bring in some detail into my shadows, so I'll go ahead and crank that up as well. Next, for the sky or the Highlights I'll bring that down, so I am going to go ahead and darken that so you can see that we have more detail there. I am also going to add some contrast and then work on the overall whites or the brightness, and also those blacks, those deeper blacks there. Here, we have the ability to add what's called Clarity. This is midtone contrast, and midtone contrast can kind of make your image have a nice texture or look or feel.
We have some color controls in the Basic panel. Vibrance, that works with more muted colors, helps you to bring the saturation out and colors which aren't saturated. Saturation will just boost all of the colors in your picture. So again, here you can see we've modified this photograph. We have modified it in a pretty interesting way. Let me just make a few more adjustments here, and then let's take a look at our preview. You can do so by clicking on the Preview icon or by pressing the P key.
Let's press the P key this time. Here is our before, and now our after. As you can see, these Basic Controls are anything but basic. I think they are referred to as basic because this is our starting point. This is where we are going to make some important global corrections to our photographs, and as you can see, these controls can really help you when it comes to making enhancements or corrections to your pictures, and once you've applied some adjustments to your photographs, you don't need to save them in the traditional sense. In other words, all that you really need to do is to click on this Done button, and then all of these settings will be applied to your files.
If you do want to save these files out, though, in another format, you can click on the Save button, which will open up the Save Options dialog. Well, here you can choose to save these files out perhaps as a different file format, but that's really only in those situations where you really need to save these files in a different format. In most workflows, what you are going to do is simply go ahead and apply these settings by clicking Done or just open up the images in Photoshop with these settings applied. Again, in either situation, the settings or the adjustments which you've made here, they will be applied to your image.
Well, let's go ahead and click Done here in order to see how these differences can be shown inside of the Adobe Bridge. Well, inside of Bridge, as I click on these photographs, again, you can see that these files have been adjusted in Camera Raw. Well, if ever you want to go back to Camera Raw, well, again what you can do is you can navigate to your File pulldown menu and then choose Open in Camera Raw. And let's do that with this image here. I don't quite like the contrast. I'll go ahead and increase that and also maybe decrease the exposure just a little bit.
So as you can see, these adjustments, well, they are really flexible. Once you're ready to go to Photoshop, you go ahead and click on that Open Image button. This will then open up that file in Photoshop with those Raw settings applied to it as you can see here.
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