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Processing images with Camera Raw  

 
Written by Sabina  
Thursday, 06 December 2007
Category Adobe Photoshop - Camera Raw and Misc.  
 
A raw image file contains unprocessed or unmodified data straight from the camera’s sensor. A raw file obtained from a digital camera is the equivalent of the negative image of film photography, it has all the necessary information to create an image. In the past, only expensive professional cameras were able to save images in a raw format. Nowadays, more and more digital cameras offer you this option. By saving your pictures in raw format, you will analyze the image taken and make the necessary adjustments. By comparison, by saving a picture in a compressed format (JPEG), you let the camera’s internal algorithms deal with the image’s characteristics. By choosing to shoot raw, you can use editing software (such as Adobe Photoshop) to set the image’s settings: white balance, tonal range, contrast or the amount of sharpening.
 
In conformity with the camera used to take the picture, the resulting raw file will have different extensions: .nef (for Nikon cameras), or .crw (for Canon cameras). You can use import the raw formats from many camera manufacturers into Adobe Photoshop for further editing. Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is the Photoshop’s component which allows you to process the raw files.
 
When you start editing a raw camera file, Photoshop does not alter the initial file content. After you have performed the desired modifications, you export the edited image and in this way the original remains unchanged.
 
You can open raw files with both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge, as they have the identical Camera Raw dialog box.
 
Step 1
Open the raw file you want to edit. Do this just like with any other image type, by choosing File > Open in Adobe Photoshop’s main bar. If you are using Adobe Bridge, select one or more camera raw files from the thumbnails and choose File > Open With > Photoshop CS2. You can select more than one raw files to be opened at one time.
 
Figure 1.
 
Step 2
Once you have selected the raw file to open, the Camera Raw dialog box appears, dialog box which offers you extensive options for editing the image: white balance, exposure adjustment, contrast and sharpness editing and many moreThe Camera raw dialog box is divided in many parts: in the center you will notice a large preview of the selected raw file. If you selected more images, there will be a filmstrip on the left side with thumbnails of all opened raw images.
In the top right part of the screen you will see the image’s histogram, showing the tonal range. In the bottom part of the dialog box the information about the picture are shown (resolution, color space, bit-depth and size). At the top of the window you will find some tools which you can use to edit the image. You can zoom in, pan, crop, rotate or select colors. The in-depth settings for the white balance, tone, detail, color, camera calibration and lens correction are found on the slide bars in the right of the dialog window.
 
Figure 2.
 

 
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