Camera raw

In this article, you will be introduced to the Adobe Camera Raw module.

First about what Raw is and what it is eaten with. To understand, let’s briefly recall how a digital camera works (it doesn’t matter if it is a digital camera or a professional SLR camera, everything is exactly the same everywhere). Light through the lens falls on the photosensitive sensor, which consists of millions of sensitive elements. Initially, a black and white image is obtained, which is then broken down into color pixels using peculiar lattices called Bayer filters. At the output from the matrix, we have a Raw file (from English “raw”), which is then compressed using a special microcomputer algorithm of the camera, corrected and converted into the well-known Jpeg. In this case, much of the information is ruthlessly discarded.

Why do more people prefer to shoot in Raw format? The answer is simple:
one. No need to think about the camera settings (sharpness, saturation, contrast, etc.) – they are always in the middle position.
2 No need to adjust white balance. It can always be adjusted later with an accuracy of 1K, or at any neutral point, and without loss of quality.
3 If you make a mistake with the choice of exposure, you can adjust it later without loss of quality, and up to 4 steps, which is absolutely impossible to do with Jpeg files.
four. From Raw it is easy to make jpeg or tiff files of any quality, while you still have the original. Therefore, Raw files are often called digital negatives. The original color depth is from 12 to 16 bits, versus 8 in jpeg, so it is easy to restore information in highlights or deep shadows.
five. In jpeg, each subsequent file conversion leads to a loss of information, that is, a deterioration in quality. In Raw this does not happen.

The disadvantage of the format is a large file size (approximately 2-3 times more than a similar jpeg file).

Briefly go through the interface module. For example, I took Adobe Camera Raw 4.6 for the Russian version of Adobe Photoshop CS3. The module consists of 8 tabs, the switching buttons of which are shown by the number 1.

The first tab shows the main adjustments (2).

The top line shows the icons of tools that will be easy for those who already know the basics of Adobe Photoshop. (without this, you should not start dating with Camera Raw). When you hover the mouse over them, pop-up hints appear. By clicking on the bottom line (3) you can open the dialog box for setting the color profile and resolution of the original image.
The second tab shows the master curve of the composite channel RGB

You can adjust (in professional jargon “bend”) the curve either by using sliders (parametric curve) or by setting and moving control points (dotted)
On the third tab, the sharpness of the image is adjusted, and you can also reduce color and monochromatic noise. To observe changes in the image, it is necessary to increase the size to 100%.

The fourth tab provides great color management capabilities; adjustments are much more accurate and diverse than in Adobe Photoshop. You can fine-tune the saturation, brightness, shift certain colors on the color scale. Also, if you wish, you can achieve a variety of fantastic effects, effects of cross-processing.

Here you can also make a mixture of color components in grayscale, that is, transfer the image to black and white.
The fifth tab will help eliminate extraneous shades in the shadows or highlights, if the shooting was carried out in difficult lighting conditions, and the color balance in the highlights and shadows is different. Here you can also achieve certain effects.

The sixth tab serves to eliminate chromatic aberrations (the appearance of colored halos around bright objects) and the vignette effect when shooting with a flash.

Using the following tab, you can create your own camera profiles for different shooting conditions.

On the last tab, you can select the profile you created, the settings of which will be applied to the image.

Those who wish to thoroughly examine the Camera Raw module can do this with the help of the relevant specialized literature, since a detailed description of all the functions and settings occupies a book of a decent format.

And we will go further and try to apply this knowledge in practice. Download the file in Raw format for exercises here.

Step 1. Open the file in the program Adobe Photoshop. This automatically launches the Camera Raw module.

Analyze the image to present a plan for further action. We need:
one. Change the white balance towards warmer tones. Usually the eye perceives warm tones better than cold ones.
2 Adjust the exposure.
3 Display details in dark areas of the image.
four. Make the colors of the image more saturated and diverse. In this case, we will use Adobe Photoshop and Lab color space, which has no equal in the expansion of the color range.
five. Remove unnecessary noise and sharpen. Here we also turn to Photoshop, since the arsenal of its methods in this matter is much richer.
We will work in this direction.

Step 2. Adjust white balance.
It is made simple – move the slider a bit Temperature towards the yellow region of the spectrum.

In each case, you need to act individually, sometimes it all comes down to a single mouse click in the neutral area, but in most cases you have to adjust two sliders. Having a little practice, you will understand how easy it is.

Step 3. Adjust the exposure. Everything is also very simple – move the corresponding slider to the right to increase the exposure, to the left – to reduce.

Step 4. Show details in dark areas. To do this, move the parameter slider Light filling slightly to the right

Step 5. Now open our image in Adobe Photoshop. To do this, simply click on the “Open image. Our file will open in a familiar program.
We transfer the image to the Lab mode: Image – Mode – Lab (Image – Mode – Lab).
Create an adjustment layer  Curves (Curves). We give the desired shape to the curves, in each case it will be individual, in this case I have obtained the curves shown in the figures.

The advantage of the adjustment layer is that you can at any time change the shape of the curves, the opacity of the layer, its blending mode, apply styles. Here is the result of applying curves.

Now merge the layers by clicking SHIFT +CRTL +E.
Step 6. Remove noise and sharpen the image. I will not dwell on these operations, as the site has many lessons on these topics.

I wish easy and pleasant work in the program Adobe Photoshop!

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