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In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to Adobe Camera Raw or ACR for short. Camera Raw is an independent utility that runs inside of both Photoshop and the Bridge. Its purpose is to take images that are captured using a digital camera to that camera's raw file format. Now, not every camera supports a raw file format. It's typically your high-end SLRs. There are a few midrange cameras that support raw as well. Every camera manufacturer supports its own raw file format. So, Canon has CR2, Nikon has NEF, Olympus has ORF, and so on.
Camera Raw's job is to take these proprietary formats and then convert these images over into something that Photoshop can use, because ultimately these raw files are different than anything we've seen so far. You might think of them as being the digital equivalents of film negatives. So, where a negative is an inverted version of the positive, so that it's a different beast entirely, and it has to be developed in order to generate that print positive, the same thing more or less happens with your raw images, except that in the case of a raw image, it's a single channel of data.
So, instead of being a three-channel image with the red, green and blue channel, in the case of the images that we've seen so far, these are single-channel images that have little bits of filtering information built into them. They also contain a wealth of data. So, instead of just 8 bits of data per channel, we're talking about 10 bits of data or 12 bits of data per channel. So, Camera Raw can extract all of this wonderful luminance information out of the images. You're much better off, if your camera supports the raw file format, you're much better off using that raw file format as opposed to shooting to JPEG or TIFF, for example, and then developing your images inside of Camera Raw.
So, let me show you how that works. I'm working inside the Bridge right now, and I've got the Bridge trained on the contents of the 24_camera_raw folder that's inside the Exercise Files folder. I've gone ahead and converted all of the images inside of this folder, regardless of what kind of camera was used to capture the images in the first place. We've got images that were captured with Canon and Olympus cameras, but I've gone ahead and converted all of the images over to Adobe's DNG file format. If you're interested in DNG and it's a really great file format because it's an open standard.
It's not proprietary. It will work well into the future. You can save your modifications to the DNG file instead of a separate sidecar file. If you want to look into DNG, then you can go to adobe.com/dng and download the free DNG converter. Anyway, I've selected four images as you can see here and I'm working in this sort of modified filmstrip view, by the way, here inside the Bridge. So, I've selected the file Swim meet 1 through Swim meet 4.dng. So, four files in all, and I'm going to ahead and open them inside of Camera Raw.
Now, there's a couple of different ways to work. You can go up to the File menu, and you can choose the Open command. What that's going to do is it's going to switch you over to Photoshop and then it's going to open Camera Raw inside of the Photoshop application. The downside then is that Photoshop is busy hosting Camera Raw. You can still work inside the Bridge, because it'll be free, but Photoshop will be busy. If you prefer it to be the other way around, you'd rather have Camera Raw open inside the Bridge, and then leave Photoshop free for other activities, then you can go ahead and choose this command, Open in Camera Raw, or you can press the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+R here on the PC, or Command+R on the Mac.
That will go ahead and host Camera Raw inside the Bridge. That's the way I'll be working throughout this chapter. If you choose to do otherwise, if you'd rather use Camera Raw inside Photoshop, it's not going to change your experience inside Camera Raw, so you'll still be able to follow along with me. Anyway, as soon as I choose that command, I'm going to get this warning, because I'm working on a very small screen, a tiny bit of real state here. I'm going to be told that you really want your screen set to 1024x768 in order to use Camera Raw effectively. It turns out that's not true. We don't need that much room. My screen is 1024 pixels wide.
It's not that tall though. So, I'll go ahead and click the Yes button in order to go ahead and continue. Then I'll see the big Camera Raw window here, and I can't see, notice I can't see the buttons along the bottom of my screen, so they're cut off. So, you might think well, that's kind of a problem, because there are some very important buttons down there, things like Done and Open in Photoshop and Cancel and so on. So, how am I going to get that final bit of work done? After I make my changes, how am I going to open the image? Well, all I need to do is go ahead and switch to the Full Screen view, which I can do by clicking on this icon right here, or I can press the F key.
That works as well. Once I switch to Full Screen, then I have access to my buttons at the bottom of the screen, which is really great. In fact, I have access to the entire interface. Nothing is cut off whatsoever. All right, let's talk about some basic options that are available to us here. Notice that we have a toolbar across the top of the screen. We've got panel after panel of options over here on the right-hand side. We've got a histogram as well, a full color histogram in the top-right corner of the dialog box. Then if you have multiple images open, as we do right now, then you'll see a film strip of those images over on the left-hand side, and you'll see the active image represented here inside this image window.
This is a fully accurate preview of your image, which is very useful. Now, by default, your Zoom tool is active. So, if you click, you'll go ahead and zoom in, as you're seeing me do right now. If you press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and click, then you'll zoom back out. A couple of keyboard shortcuts to bear in mind. You've got Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to go ahead and zoom in to the Fit In Window view, so that you can see the entire image at a time. If you want to zoom in to 100%, you press Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac.
That might seem kind of strange, because it's Ctrl+1 or Command+1 back in Photoshop. Well, Ctrl+1 or Command+1 is otherwise occupied. Notice if I go ahead and press Ctrl+1 or Command+1 on the Mac, I go ahead and add a single-star rating to this image over here on the left-hand side of the window in the film strip, and Ctrl+2 or Command+2 gives me a two-star rating and so on. I don't want any rating assigned to this image, so I'm going to go ahead and click on the little Cancel icon over there on the left-hand side, to the left of the stars that is. If you want to scroll the image, and you press Spacebar and drag the image to a different location, like so. If you're having problems making that happen on the PC, because one of the buttons is active, then just go ahead and click inside of a numerical value, such as Exposure right there, and then Spacebar+Drag and that should take care of your problems.
All right, I'm going to go ahead and cancel out because I want to show you one more thing. That is, if you go ahead and double- click on a raw image here inside the Bridge, by default, you're going to switch over to Photoshop and open Camera Raw inside of Photoshop. If you would rather host Camera Raw automatically inside the Bridge, then there's a default setting you can change, by pressing Ctrl+K here on the PC or Command+K on the Mac. Then notice here inside the General panel-- So if you're not seeing that panel go ahead and click on General on the left-hand side of the screen.
Then notice there is this check box that says Double-Click Edits Camera Raw Settings in Bridge. Go ahead and turn that on. From this point forward, whenever you double-click on a raw image inside the Bridge, you will open Camera Raw in the Bridge, thereby keeping Photoshop free for other activities. That's the way I prefer to work, so I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. In the next exercise, I'll show how to edit multiple images in one fell swoop inside Camera Raw.
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