Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video What is Camera Raw?, part of Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6.
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In photographic circles, Adobe Camera Raw has become quite a hot and popular topic. There's so much excitement about Raw Capture and Raw Processing. Yet, sometimes some of this is a little bit mysterious. It's a little bit confusing. So what I want to begin to do here is to distill things a bit. And the first thing that we need to do is take a look at two terms: Raw Capture and Raw Processing. For starters, Raw Capture has to do with how we're actually capturing the image on camera. On the other hand, Raw Processing is all about using Adobe Camera Raw.
Let's define these even further, starting off with Raw Capture. Whenever you capture an image with a digital camera, the image is captured on the sensor. And if you're capturing in JPEG mode, that information goes through your whole sequence of steps here: Bayer Interpolation, White Balance Contrast so on, Compression and then we get to JPEG. On the other hand, we can capture a file in its Raw format. In other words, the information simply comes straight off the sensor, and we have all of this for our data.
So, in this scenario we're talking about Raw Capture. Now in contrast, when we talk about Adobe Camera Raw we're talking about something completely different. This has to do with how we process an image in software which is called Adobe Camera Raw. So one of the things that happens when we're using Adobe Camera Raw is that we have these actual pixels. We have image information. Well, we then apply a set of instructions to these actual pixels, and the instruction are actually kind of interesting.
They are simply a laundry list of information which describe how we want this image to be displayed, whether the crop or the color, and so what happens then is this set of instructions displays an image in a particular way. Now, the nice thing about Adobe Camera Raw is that working in this context, it's completely non-destructive. In other words, no pixels are harmed, no pixels are affected. We're not actually pushing pixels per se. Rather, we have pixels that we're applying some instructions to which then in turn display the image perhaps in a different way.
This in turn gives us a lot of flexibility, and we can always undo whatever we've done. This can also really speed up our overall workflow, because if you think about it, with Adobe Camera Raw there's no render time, because you're not actually doing something to pixels; rather, you're simply changing the set of instructions. So again, this can result in a different format and here you can see I have yet another version of this image. The other thing that's kind of interesting about Adobe Camera Raw is that we can process images, whether the RAW, DNG, TIFF, or JPEG in this format.
So, we're not limited to just working on files that we're captured in the Raw format; rather, we can use these different types of formats. All right! Well, if we had to distill this, how would we do that? Well, think of Adobe Camera Raw as a way to nondestructively edit and work on your photographs, and what it does for you is it helps things to be a little bit more flexible, because you can always undo whatever you've done. It also will really speed up your overall workflow, because while working in Camera Raw there is no render time.
There's really no save time and so it speed things up by leaps and bounds. And then lastly, I like to think of Adobe Camera Raw as a really creative space. It's not just functional, but it can help you come up with some really creative ways to process images, and it's because of these reasons and more, as you'll soon discover, that Adobe Camera Raw really has become one of the most premiere and prominent tools of our time.
- 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