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Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop

So I want to take a few minutes and talk about the benefits of the Camera Raw Editor. I have already talked about the benefits of the raw file format. This is a little bit different topic. This is the benefit of the software that is included in Adobe Bridge used to process raw files. Now, it can also be used to process other file formats, and I'll get to that in a moment. The first myth I want to dispel is that Camera Raw is geeky. It's only for professional photographers. It's not for anyone who wants to make their images look better, and that's just false. In fact, one of the reasons why I'm starting with the Camera Raw Editor in the Photoshop CS5 Essential Training title is because it is so powerful and so quick, it's actually a better idea to start in Camera Raw.

Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop

So I want to take a few minutes and talk about the benefits of the Camera Raw Editor. I have already talked about the benefits of the raw file format. This is a little bit different topic. This is the benefit of the software that is included in Adobe Bridge used to process raw files. Now, it can also be used to process other file formats, and I'll get to that in a moment. The first myth I want to dispel is that Camera Raw is geeky. It's only for professional photographers. It's not for anyone who wants to make their images look better, and that's just false. In fact, one of the reasons why I'm starting with the Camera Raw Editor in the Photoshop CS5 Essential Training title is because it is so powerful and so quick, it's actually a better idea to start in Camera Raw.

Kind of the little phrase I use for new students or people new to Photoshop is to explain that you should be using Camera Raw for global changes and Photoshop for local changes. Now, what do I mean by global? By global, I'm talking about changes you're making to the overall image. So the things like tonal correction and color correction and sharpening. If there are specific areas in an image that you want to adjust separately from rest of the image, that's what I mean by local adjustments and Photoshop is obviously the best tool for that. For global changes though, the reasons why I like Raw is that it's a lot faster and easier to use than Photoshop in general, and I'll explain some of the benefits here in a moment.

There are basically five reasons to start in Camera Raw before you open up the file in Photoshop for further editing. The first game changer here is that it's a nondestructive edit. Anything you do in Camera Raw is not actually affecting the file itself. What you're doing you is making a series of choices. Those choices are being saved out as a little text file, and not to too geeky, but it's called a Sidecar file. And then when you open up that image again in the Camera Raw editor, it's simply loading those settings from that Sidecar file into the dialog and presenting those updates to you.

So you can make as many changes as you want. You never have to worry about destroying the file or doing something that you can't go back and undo, because you're never actually editing the actual file. So that's benefit number one. Benefit number two is that it has a built- in workflow. Now what do I mean by that? So the great thing about Photoshop is that it's anything to everybody. I mean lots of different people use the product. Doctors and creative professionals and designers and architects, even the FBI and law enforcement officials. Everyone kind of has a different way of using the product.

And if you ask 10 different Photoshop experts how to do any particular thing in Photoshop, like how you do a color correction, you'll probably get 10 different answers, because it's that robust. What I love about Camera Raw is that the controls are laid out in the actual order that you're supposed to use them, at least until you learn the rules. Then of course, you can go out of order anytime you want. But when you're just starting out, it's so much more approachable because it has a structured workflow. Now, if you go on to watch some of the other videos in this chapter, you'll actually see what I'm talking about instead of just listening to me babble about it.

But hold that thought for now. There's a built-in workflow that takes the guesswork out of what you're supposed to do to get a good looking image. The other thing, the number three is that it works on JPEG's too. So even though it's called Camera Raw, I actually wish Adobe would change the name of this thing, because it's such a phenomenal little workflow, a phenomenal little piece of software for editing JPEGs, Raw files and TIFFs and again all nondestructively. It's not just for raw files. Number four is that it can be automated without recording Photoshop actions.

For any of you who have actually tried to record actions before, you may have discovered that that's a potentially fragile workflow. Actions can get pretty complex pretty quickly especially when you play them back on files after they've been recorded. Or if you've inherited actions from someone else, and for some reason you can't get them to work on your images. What I like about Camera Raw is that it's very easy to batch process dozens, even hundreds or thousands of images without a lot of effort or understanding. And then lastly, it's simply a better or a quicker learning curve if you're just starting out.

Now if you have years of experience in Photoshop and you're just watching this title to kind of brush up on your skills or see what's new in the new version, you might have a different perspective on this. But I've been teaching people Photoshop for years and even experts, when they see kind of this new workflow, they're like wow, that is so much faster and so much easier. But what do I mean by this specifically? To get started in Photoshop, there are a lot of building blocks that you kind of have to roll up your sleeves and learn right away. You have to learn things like layers, and how to make regional selections of a particular image, or masks.

You have to learn the things like adjustment layers, and things like Curves ,and Levels, and blend modes, and it goes on, on, on. There are lots of little different building blocks. Now, all those building blocks add up to the world's most powerful image editor on the planet. But when you're just starting out, you may just want to have a simpler learning curve, and Camera Raw represents just that. So that's a very quick overview. You're going to learn a lot more about the specifics and the power of these five points in the Part I section of this title.

But this is just kind of a way to get you thinking about why you might want to start in Camera Raw as opposed to just jumping in Photoshop and hunting and pecking around in the menus there.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 93574 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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