June '20

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2 0 G R A P H I C S P R O J U N E 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G T H E D I G I T A L E Y E | S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O C amera Raw is a wonder tool. It does so much in a single user-friendly interface that many digital artists, photographers, and print technicians find it to be indispensable for improving color, contrast, and tonality of images. Camera Raw is used for importing and enhancing images and has been a must-have tool for graphics professionals since its first release in 2003. Applications that support Adobe Camera Raw include Photoshop, Photo- shop Elements, After Effects, and Bridge. Adobe Lightroom uses the same image- processing technology that powers Adobe Camera Raw. Camera Raw is an application unto it- self and can help prepare files destined for the printer or published online. Camera Raw is a term for a variety of proprietary file formats such as Canon's CRW and CR2, Minolta's MRW, Olympus' ORF, or Nikon's NEF that share important common features. RAW CONVERSION Simply put, a Camera Raw file is a re- cord of the data captured by the cam- era's sensor. The sensors count photons on three filtered arrays and convert the combination of red, green, and blue data into pixels. This pixel information is pro- cessed by the Raw Converter algorithm that expands the amount of data, so that there is more tonal information than other types of graphic files like JPEG or TIFF, for example. With more data comes more opportunity and control. I want to cover the practical features within Camera Raw that are of most benefit to you in processing your images. If you want a more technical explanation and details about how Camera Raw pro- cesses data, I suggest you read Bruce Fra- zier's classic white paper; "Understand- ing Digital Raw Files" at rawarticle. OPENING CAMERA RAW IMAGES Many digital cameras support the Cam- era Raw format. It can be designated as an option when you assign an image quality to the camera (Figure 1). Camera Raw images automatically appear in the Cam- era Raw interface when you open them. In addition, with each Camera Raw file, a JPEG and an XMP file are generated (Figure 2). An XMP (Extensible Meta- data Platform) is a metadata file used by Adobe programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom that records edits made to a Camera Raw file. If the picture wasn't shot in Camera Raw format, it can still be edited in the interface providing that it's a JPEG or unlayered TIFF. Select it in Adobe Bridge and choose Open in Camera Raw from the file menu (Figure 3). Once opened, you have numerous tools and controls at your disposal to pre-edit the image. WHEN TO USE IT Every picture you take does not need be shot in Camera Raw format. If you plan on publishing or printing the picture, or if you think the lighting isn't quite right or the tonality of the image is going to need extensive editing, it's a good idea to shoot in Camera Raw format because it affords that much more control. For snapshots or other quick work, or if you are shooting dozens of images that you need to review quickly, then it may be better to shoot them as TIFFs or JPEGs. Camera Raw images have larger file sizes. If disk space is a consideration, assign JPEG or TIFF formats that can be easily compressed. WONDER TOOL CAMERA RAW IS A GOOD OPTION FOR PRE-EDITING AND MORE FIGURE 1. Camera Raw format can be designated as an option on your camera when you choose an Image Quality. FIGURE 2. When Camera Raw files are generated, they are accompanied by a JPEG and an XMP file. FIGURE 3. JPGS and unlayered TIFFs can be opened in Cam- era Raw by selecting them in Adobe Bridge and choosing Open in Camera Raw from the file menu.

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