Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Should I use Adobe Camera Raw or Photoshop?, part of Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6.
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Before we actually begin to work with Adobe Camera Raw, I thought it would be helpful to take just a couple of minutes to talk about how Adobe Camera Raw fits into our larger digital photographic workflow. And you know whenever we start to talk about digital photography and workflow, we begin to think of these different elements of our workflow, whether capture, or post-production or output. And here as we start to focus in on post-production, inevitably a question surfaces or arises. Should I work with Adobe Camera Raw, or should I work with Photoshop? And a lot of times this question surfaces because people discover that working in Adobe Camera Raw is incredibly flexible.
It doesn't increase your file size. It's non-destructive, and there are all of these other benefits as well. Therefore, they ask, well should I work with Camera Raw or Photoshop? And from my perspective, I don't think it's an either/or a question; rather, it's both/and solution. Let me show you what I mean. Well, one of the things that we want to do is really focus in on what Adobe Camera Raw is good at and also what Photoshop is good at. I like the way one of my friends puts it. He says you know Camera Raw is really good for making global adjustments.
Now we can, of course, make really specific and fine-tune adjustments as well, but primarily, when we're Raw processing our photographs we're thinking about the larger picture. Then on the other hand, when we want to make more specific adjustments, I mean we want to fine-tune something, or we want to create some really unique and distinct effect, well, in that case we're going to need to go to Photoshop. Another way to think about this is the difference between precision versus speed. We can work incredibly quickly in Adobe Camera Raw, yet if we want to make some real precise edits we need to go over to Photoshop. All right! Well, how then do these two programs really work together, and where do we begin? Well, for most photographers the typical digital photographic workflow works like this.
We start off with Raw processing, whether in Adobe Camera Raw or in Lightroom. We make all the global type of adjustments that we can make, and then from there we send our images off to Photoshop. And in Photoshop, we finish those files off. Well, then you may be thinking okay, well how then does this work for you Chris? You're a photographer. Well, in my own context I always start off with Raw processing, and I do a lot with Raw processing because it's so flexible, and it's so fast. Yet, almost always I finish my images off in Photoshop, and that finishing work is really important.
What I find I can do is I can push my image to about 80% in Adobe Camera Raw, but then if I really want to sweeten up the file, I mean if I want to make it compelling and engaging and enlivening, if I really want to create an image that connects with people, well, in that case I definitely need to go to Adobe Photoshop. So, keep in mind that as we learn more and more about Adobe Camera Raw what we're doing here is foundational work. And the better the foundation the better we can finish our files later. Now, I should say, of course, that there are some images that you can completely finish off in Adobe Camera Raw, like this particular black and white photograph here.
It looks phenomenal, and it's only been processed in Adobe Camera Raw. As we begin to work more and more with Camera Raw, just keep in mind that this tool isn't the only solution; rather, it fits into our larger digital photographic workflow context.
- Comparing Camera Raw and Photoshop
- Understanding the differences between raw and JPEG or TIFF
- Converting to the DNG format
- Opening an image as a Smart Object
- Working with the Crop and Straighten tools
- Color correcting
- Retouching blemishes
- Reducing exposure with the Graduated Filter tool
- Reducing noise and sharpening
- Creative editing in Camera Raw