Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the Camera Raw interface, part of Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.
Adobe Camera Raw is a plug- in that comes with Photoshop. Its purpose is to give you a place to process and convert the RAW data in the file so that the image can be opened into Photoshop for further editing, or so that a copy can be saved in a non-RAW format for printing or other output. Adobe Camera Raw has a separate interface from Photoshop proper. In this movie I'm going to show you around that interface. But first I am here in Adobe Bridge, because I want to show you how to open up a RAW image from Bridge into Photoshop. What you are seeing here is contents of the Chapter 9 Exercise Files folder.
I clicked on that folder in the Folders panel of Bridge and then I hit the Tab key to close the panels on either side so we can see these thumbnails better. What I'd like you to see is the title of each thumbnail. Notice that each one ends in the file extension CRW. That's the flavor of RAW file that's made by my personal Canon camera. Other manufacturer's cameras produce RAW files with other extensions. So for example if you have a Nikon then your RAW files will have .NEF extension. I'd like to open one of these photos into the Adobe Camera Raw interface.
To do I'll just click on one of these thumbnails to select it, and then I'm going to press this keyboard shortcut, Command+R on a Mac, or Ctrl+R on a PC. That launches Adobe Camera Raw and opens my file in the Adobe Camera Raw window. This is a separate interface from Photoshop proper, although it comes with Photoshop. In this interface, you'll choose the settings that will be used to process the RAW data in this file, like the white balance, and the exposure, and the saturation, and other settings. Those settings are over in the column on the right.
The most essential settings are here beneath this Basic tab. But there are other tabs too that have other settings in them. And we'll be taking a look at some of these in the upcoming movies. For example here is the Tone Curve tab that has its own settings. A Detail tab with other settings and so on. I'll go back to the Basic tab for now. Up here is a button you can use to give you a full screen view of the Adobe Camera Raw window. I am going to go back to regular view and next to that is a Preview button that you can toggle on and off to see the results of the changes you make by varying these controls.
Over here is an abbreviated toolbox. You're already familiar with some of these tools from Photoshop. For example here is a Zoom tool. I can come in and click with the Zoom tool several times to zoom in. And if I hold down the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC and click, I'll zoom back out. Next to that is a Hand tool just like in Photoshop. If I select the Hand tool and then click-and-drag in the image, it moves to zoomed-in image around so I can see different parts of the photograph. I am going to skip over the next two tools for now.
The first is a White Balance Eyedropper and the next is a Color Sampler tool, and talk about the next tool, which is a Crop tool. This is similar to the Crop tool in Photoshop, but I think it works even better. I am going to go back to make the image fit in this window by double-clicking the Hand tool, and then I am going to click-and-hold on the Crop tool here. This Crop tool, unlike the one in Photoshop, offers you ratios that you can crop to. 2 to 3 is a typical ratio for a photograph. So I am going to select that one. So now when I come in and drag out a crop bounding box, it's always in 2 to 3 ratio.
I can move it around to wherever I want or I can make it bigger or I can make it smaller, but it's still 2 to 3. And when I'm ready to crop I can just hit the Return key. You may think it's not a good idea to crop so early in the process, before I've even gotten the image in to Photoshop. But it's okay, because at anytime even if I'm out of the Adobe Camera Raw window, I can reopen the file and come back to Crop tool and choose Clear Crop and I'll get back all of my file. And that's because the changes I make here in the Camera Raw interface do not directly change the underlying RAW data.
It's always all still there. Next is a Straighten tool and that works much like the Ruler tool in Photoshop, which I covered in another movie. So we won't do that one again. The next tool is a Spot Removal tool. This comes in handy if you happen to have a spot on your camera sensor or on your camera lens that's appearing in the same place on every RAW image that you shoot. Because you can eliminate the spot in one image and then synchronize that change to all of your images. This is not a full-featured retouching tool like the Healing Brush or the Patch tool in Photoshop. What it's mostly used for is if you happen to have a spot on your camera sensor or on your lens and that's appearing in a number of photos.
Because you can use this tool to remove the spot on one image, and then apply that change to a number of images. This is the Red Eye tool and it's used to eliminate the red eye in a subject's eyes that you sometimes get when you use the flash on your camera. This next tool, the Adjustment Brush, is one of the new tools in Camera Raw CS4. That tool and the one next to it, the Graduated Filter, I'll cover in detail in another movie. These tools allow you to apply your changes to just isolated parts of an image, which really extends the capabilities of the Camera Raw interface.
I think you are going to like learning about those. The next icon is a way to access preferences that are specialized for just Camera Raw. Those are separate from the Photoshop Preferences. And then there are a couple of Rotate tools. There are some important buttons at the bottom of the dialog box. You click this button to save an image, this button to open an image in Photoshop, and this button to just close the Adobe Camera Raw window while applying the changes that you've made here and we'll look at those in another movie too. And finally there's this blue underlinef text. If you click this you get Workflow Options.
These options don't govern the way a photo looks here in Adobe Camera Raw, but rather how it will open from Camera Raw into Photoshop. So here you can choose, for example, your color space, which I've discussed in detail in the movie on color settings. I will leave that at Adobe RGB, which is a typical workspace for photographs. Here you can choose the bit depth. Because this is a RAW image, I can choose to open it in Photoshop as a 16-bit image, which contains much more image information then an 8-bit image. So I am going to go ahead and choose 16-bits.
My file will be bigger than it would be if it were 8-bits but I can always change this later by reducing it to 8- bits in Photoshop if I want to do that. In the Size area I usually select the size that has no plus or minus on it, which is the native size at which the image was shot. You can see here the dimensions in pixels and the total file size, or the space that the image would take up on a hard drive. You can always reduce the size of the file later in Photoshop, so I usually don't do that here. I try not to make my files bigger than their native size, but if you have to do it with a RAW file, I suggest you do that here rather than wait till you get to Photoshop.
Down here you can set the Resolution of the file, as it will be when it opens in Photoshop. That's something that you can also change in Photoshop. So it's not crucial how you set the resolution here. And now I'll just click OK to close that box. So that's a quick look at what's available to you in the Adobe Camera Raw interface. And I will be covering many of these features in more detail in other movies in this chapter. What's important to remember is that the changes you make here do not directly change the original RAW file. If you were to open this file after making changes in Photoshop, you'd see the file with the changes you made here, but the original RAW file will never change.
It will always remain as pristine as it once was. So you can feel free to be creative here in this window, because you can always come back and do it again in another way later.
- Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
- Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
- Working with Adobe Camera Raw
- Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
- Creating Photomerge panoramas
- Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries