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One of the ways that you can open up your images when using Adobe Camera Raw is you can open it up as a Smart Object. Smart Objects give you a lot of flexibility and you can use this technique whether you're working with the native RAW file, DNG, JPG, or TIF formats. Let's go ahead and take a look at how we can open our images as Smart Objects. I'll select this photograph here, then press Cmd+R on a Mac or Ctrl+R on Windows to open this one up inside of Adobe Camera Raw.
Next, if you click on the Workflow Options link here, you notice that we have this option at the bottom, which I mentioned previously, which is to Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects. Now, if you turn this option on, every time you open up a RAW file, it will open into Photoshop as a Smart Object. I don't recommend this, because while Smart Objects are flexible, they do add extra file size to your documents. So what I recommend you do is turn that option off and then go ahead and click OK, and then when you want to open up an image as a Smart Object, just hold down the Shift key, then you notice it changes this Open button.
Now the Open button reads Open Object, so if you Shift+click that button, here you can see we have this image open inside of Photoshop. Well, what's the big deal and what's the difference? Well, you'll notice now that the difference is the layer, it's unlocked and it has this little icon next to it. Let me right-click or Ctrl+click in this Layers panel and make that a little bit bigger so you can see that better. Again, we have this Smart Object icon on this layer. And why that's helpful is, let's say that we process this image by creating a black-and-white Adjustment Layer.
Then we decide that we want to brighten the eyes here a little bit and we also may want to darken the background, and as I make these little subtle changes, I start to just look at how I can change the photograph and I realized, oh, I completely forgot to reduce the noise in Adobe Camera Raw, if only I could go back to Camera Raw. Well, with the Smart Object you can. And to reopen Camera Raw, well, you can just double-click on this little icon here, that will then relaunch Camera Raw, you could go to the panel that you want to work on, perhaps the Detail panel, we could reduce some of the Noise here in this file, and then we could apply those settings by simply clicking OK.
Once you click OK, it will then update the file. And I think it will be kind of tricky to see when these movies get small, but this file now looks so much better because I went back to Camera Raw. So Smart Objects, they have this built in connection to that RAW processing engine, and this is true whether you're working with native RAW files, DNGs, JPGs, or TIFs. So as you can see, opening your files this way will add just that extra bit of flexibility, which in certain situations can really help out.
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