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We all came to because we are interested in editing photos -- retouching new or old images, restoring damaged images, or creating painterly impressions from a photo.

Everything we do here starts with the photographic image.

The image came first. That is where my fascination still lies.
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Adobe Camera Raw does even more than I knew

Posted 06-11-2010 at 12:28 AM by CJ Swartz

I've been using Photoshop since version 3 back in the early '90's, and I'm used to the fact that I still am learning it. I enjoy finding a new technique or a new way of applying a change within Photoshop. I started using Camera Raw a few years ago, but used it initially just as a way of converting my raw files for use in Photoshop. I soon started using more of the basic features - adding fill light, using recovery to reduce over exposure in the highlights, adding contrast and reducing noise, adding sharpening and changing luminosity levels of colors within the image - but I still saw ACR as simply a quick stopover before opening the image in Photoshop for important changes.

Camera Raw has added features and I upgraded to Photoshop CS5, so I've been going through as many tutorials as I could find to learn the new features. What surprised me most of all is finding out how to use some of the features that I've simply ignored - in Camera Raw. I would sometimes do a crop in ACR instead of Photoshop, but I hadn't seen the dropdown menu for aspect ratios until today (Andrew Rodney wrote in a post here that it could be done, and I started looking for instructions on how to do it.) That will help a lot when I'm trying to prepare an image to print on a particular size paper. I can now see that using the graduated filter (like using a graduated neutral density filter on my camera - which I have yet to add to my camera bag) or the spot removal tool in ACR is a good idea. If I wait to do these things in Photoshop, I'm going to be actually pushing pixels around with my computer, and it's going to take time. Also I will have to make sure that I work on duplicates and protect my original image. With ACR, the computer can take it easy because all it's really doing is writing down a list of instructions for work that it's going to do later on the image.

If anyone else out there has ignored all those tools in ACR or if you're just getting started with Photoshop and ACR, here's a link to an excellent training video by Adobe's Digital Imaging Evangelist -- Julieanne Kost. Adobe offers it for free. I picked up good info at's training (Chris Orwig does the training for Camera Raw 6), but it costs to take their training UNLESS you buy a new Adobe upgrade and get 30 days training for free (big smile).

Just thought I'd share my ignorance so that I could also share my enlightenment - photography and post-processing continue to give me reasons to smile every day while I try to figure them out.
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  1. Old Comment
    Nasturtium's Avatar
    I keep finding 'new' old stuff as I watch the tutorials on And when I was showing a friend a few things in PS I found out there is a 'duplicate' button on the history palette! How useful is that? Waaaaay useful to me.

    I think ACR has so much functionality as a sort of bleed over from the Lightroom version. Sometimes it's hard to decide where you're going to do what.

    In ACR it's going to save me heaps of time to save from there and never even open up PS. I'm a bit confused on the snapshots menu though...managing all my variations and combining bits of them for the final image...and managing all the different version for web..print..etc. Anyway the clearer it is in my head the more organized my workflow can be.
    Posted 06-11-2010 at 11:32 PM by Nasturtium Nasturtium is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Boneappetit's Avatar
    Real nice tutorial for anyone who don't know how to start working with Camera Raw. CR is a great tool, and very user friendly, for people like myself who don't know much about adjustment layers and color correction, or anyone that uses Ps, Thanx for the link.
    Posted 07-28-2010 at 02:15 PM by Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
  3. Old Comment
    CJ Swartz's Avatar
    Lightroom has most of the same features as Camera Raw in Bridge, and many people will be able to process their images without ever having to use Photoshop. As I understand it, global corrections and adjustments can and probably should be done in Camera Raw/Lightroom while adjustments that affect particular areas of an image still benefit from Photoshop. I am still learning to use the adjustment brush and graduated filter tools to their fullest, but it feels less strange to stay in ACR rather than immediately opening Photoshop after only a bit of noise reduction/brightening etc.

    Boneappetit, you call ACR user friendly - which is a very good thing, and that probably will be a big reason for people to want to work with it instead of having to learn all of Photoshop just to "develop" their photos.
    Posted 08-03-2010 at 09:49 PM by CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
  4. Old Comment
    cricket1961's Avatar
    Lightroom is based on ACR, just a nicer UI. For those who missed my class with Lightroom during one of my RetouchPro Webinars look it up. ACR and LR have come a long way towards realizing their own workflows and each offers quite astonishing local area corrections as well. The benefit of these being that they can all be undone at any point as they are related to recorded brushstrokes.

    Glad to see you diving into ACR Janet!

    Posted 08-26-2010 at 06:36 PM by cricket1961 cricket1961 is offline

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