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Adobe Camera RAW - Advice on use

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I have been using the Adobe Camera RAW plugin (PS 7.0.1) for a while now but only recently have I realised how powerful it is. I seem to have worked out the best approach for correcting the colour and exposure but would like someone to verify my technique as sound.

 

I have four steps to adjusting an image prior to importing into PS, three of which rely on the histogram. The steps are

1) Set sharpness to 0

2) Adjust the temperature slider so that the red, green and blue histograms overlap as much as possible without saturating on either end of the spectrum

3) As 2) but using the tint slider

4) As 2) but using the exposure slider

 

This seems to produce pretty good results on almost all occasions, it also seems to give me maximum latitude within PS to adjust the colours/curves etc. without experiencing unremovable colour casts.

 

There are two things I would like to know.

1) Is the technique above sound or is there a better way

2) How many of the sliders on the RAW user interface are actually recovering information from the data and how many are generating that information. For example, if I set the temperature slider very high to recover red in my image am I actually "recovering red"

 

Thanks for your help

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I have been using the Adobe Camera RAW plugin (PS 7.0.1) for a while now but only recently have I realised how powerful it is. I seem to have worked out the best approach for correcting the colour and exposure but would like someone to verify my technique as sound.

 

I'm new to Adobe Camera Raw plugin with Photoshop. I used CaptureOne so far, but processed the images with Photoshop afterwards. I like the idea to have just one program to process the images. As you seem to have loads of experience with the Cameras Raw Plugin I have one question I haven't solved yet. Is it possible to batch develop images with Photoshop Camera Raw plugin?

 

Does anybody have a link to a performance [speed and output quality] comperison between Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw?

 

/lars

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You can batch process with the RAW plugin by creating Photoshop actions although you will probably end up with second rate conversions if the photographs were taken in varying light. The article http://www.outbackphoto.com/artofraw/raw_04/essay.html

 

gives a good overview of the RAW plugin.

 

I'm not sure I understand your last question

 

Richard

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I'm not sure I understand your last question

 

Richard

 

I meant a comparison between Adobe Camera Raw and Capture One. :oops:

 

/lars

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I have been using the Adobe Camera RAW plugin (PS 7.0.1) for a while now but only recently have I realised how powerful it is. I seem to have worked out the best approach for correcting the colour and exposure but would like someone to verify my technique as sound.

 

I have four steps to adjusting an image prior to importing into PS, three of which rely on the histogram. The steps are

1) Set sharpness to 0

2) Adjust the temperature slider so that the red, green and blue histograms overlap as much as possible without saturating on either end of the spectrum....

 

There are two things I would like to know.

1) Is the technique above sound or is there a better way

2) How many of the sliders on the RAW user interface are actually recovering information from the data and how many are generating that information.

 

I don't think it's very useful to think of any of the sliders as "generating" data. The RAW image contains numerical data from the sensor array - the sliders just modify the way that data is interpreted by the conversion program to generate an RGB file. When you move the temperature slider up or down, you're just changing the parameters the program uses to determine how much "blueness" or "yellowness" to assign to specific ranges of sensor data numbers..

 

Personally, I don't think trying to align the different colored histograms to make the overlap (white) area as large as possible is necessarily the optimal way to use the sliders. Some images will still have large non-overlapped areas when the converter settings are correct. However, if you have any subject matter in the image that you know is supposed to be white or grey, then the eye dropper is an excellent way to generate a first approximation setting for the color temperature and tint sliders.

 

The Adobe raw converter interface is truly wonderful, a big step forward from what we had before.

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FWIW, Adobe has just posted a new revision of the Camera Raw plugin for Photoshop CS on their website. I've been using it for the past several hours with fine results.

 

As best I can tell, there is no new functionality. However, a much larger number of cameras are supported with this new release.

 

The updated plug-in is free, although I am not sure if it works with Photoshop 7 or not (IOW, it may only work with CS)

 

I would agree that I don't believe there is a "magic formula" for using this technology, at least for UW photography. The primary colors, especially here in Puget Sound, will widely and wildly vary based on whether I am shooting wide, macro, at night, etc. I have more than a few photos where a completely balanced image (in terms of R-G-B mix) would destroy the overall effect.

 

I am curious - why do you set sharpening to zero? I have experimented with the varying sharpening settings, and I find (at least with my Oly E20N) that the sharpening done with the camera raw plug-in is superior to the unsharp masking filter. Of course, keep in mind that when shooting raw, the Oly doesn't apply its own sharpening algorithms in-camera - but perhaps your camera is already doing the sharpening in advance (on-board).

 

I am anxious to experiment with the D100... while I have been very pleased with my E20, it is more susceptible to blue-channel noise than I would like. I am hopeful that perhaps the D100 will do a cleaner job UW in this respect.

 

-david

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Thanks for your replies. It all adds to my limited knowledge about the RAW plugin. In terms of why I asked the "recovering/generating" question its down to the fact that I was amazed how much correction you can apply using the RAW plugin. I recently went on a diving holiday where my external strobe stopped working. For that day all the photos I took were without flash and, as you would expect, they all turned out very blue. I was amazed when I seemed to be able to recover the colour. I have seen people use chanel blending in PS to "recover" colour before and wondered if the RAW plugin was performing a similar function when the sliders were at their extreme settings.

 

As to why I set sharpening to zero. it's just part of my process really. I was always taught that you should leave sharpening to the very last stage of your digital process. If you sharpen too early on you degrade your image. If I remember rightly the Adobe Carmera RAW documentation even encouraged you to do this.

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I don't agree that sharpening should be the very last step of the process.

 

I generally sharpen just before I resize an image to target resolution. I think of it as accounting for the Bayer effect. Then, I resize to output resolution using SI, and sharpen again, if appropriate.

 

Note that this doesn't contradict what you are saying. Sharpening should be left out until late, but I don't believe you should interpolate without sharpening, first.

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I agree that a first round of sharpening should be done to account for the anti-aliasing filter/bayer effect. Something with a radius of around .5 pixels. This has a wonderful effect on the images from the S2pro.

 

Cheers

James

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That's interesting as I always interpolate and then sharpen on the basis that if sharpening is degrading the image (which on the whole it is) then by sharpening first I'd expect the interpolation to magnify the degradation. All that said if I compare your pictures to mine then I have got a very long way to go

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I also agree with Eric (and James). Sharpening is necessary because of the Bayer and AA filters. I sharpen late in the process but before I resize. I then sharpen again if necessary.

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Thanks for comments guys. We have wandered a little from my original question but I have learn't something very useful

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To answer your last question - the color temp slider is what you use to set white balance basically. You can never "recover red" if it's not there. Basically all you can do is "take away" blue or green to bring out more red.

 

FWIW, I usually set the CT slider at about 5100k which is the color temp of my Ikelite strobes. I also subtract about 20 color units of tint for my macro shots - which counteracts the green filtering of the water.

 

I now do most to all of my image adjustment using Photoshop CS raw converter. Except for resizing and sharpening.

 

HTH

James

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If you use the Camera RAW setting, have a look at: http://www.russellbrown.com/body.html

 

... and check out "Dr. Brown's Image Processor".

 

It's worth watching the tutorial video to figure out how to use it. For batch conversions, it's pretty dang good. And best of all, it's free.

 

-d

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Funny how he goes out of his way to make his cross-platform script available only to mac users, though. Some pretty wierd UI in his tutorial!

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Craig, I was under the impression that this was a cross-platform script.... does he state in the video or instructions somewhere that this is for Mac only?

 

It's JavaScript, so it should be cross-platform compatible...

 

Did I miss something?

 

Sorry in advance if this is the case.

 

-d

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Is there any updates to this matter? or any UW RAW processing tips?

I just took my 1st pictures with RAW and now I should start processing them. I have CS4 Photoshop

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All that at the beginning of your posting could be done by using the whit balance tool on neutral gray point or closest to neutral in your image! That will do that on a BAM.

Well see my Cozumel picts http://tbarros.zenfolio.com. I do more than that of course. I have CS3 but have but shooting Raw for a long time I do not bother with JPGs.

Goos Luck

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I actually prefer to get the white balance as perfect as possible in the RAW converter. The more you start pulling the colors and contrasts afterwards, the more risk you will have of seeing noticeable banding/noise/artifacts. And on the subject of sharpening : Sharpening more than once in an image is not good, in my view. As sharpening looks at edges of darker and lighter color and adds lighter and darker lines of a certain amount of pixels to that, doing it twice basically means you are sharpening your sharpening artifacts. Smart sharpen really has negated the need for extreme sharpening anyway, if applied thoughtfully. If your image really needs extreme amounts of sharpening, perhaps it wasn't too sharp to begin with and you should investigate why. Lens too soft? Stop down, find a different zoom setting (lenses are not equally sharp over their entire zoomrange), or if needed find a different lens. Can also be other things such as poor quality dome port (scratches or just the design itself). If it's the lack of contrast in the water then LCE/Dehaze offer you much more benefit than sharpening, as they increase the contrast of image parts in a smart way, meaning that you don't need to apply as much sharpening. If any at all.

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