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RAW files

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  #1  
Old 06-17-2010, 09:54 PM
Chennae Chennae is offline
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Newbie RAW files

Hey, my name's Chennae and I'm new This is my first post and I was wondering if y'all could help me out. I love retouching, but I have absolutely no idea about RAW files. What it is, how to use it... no idea. I downloaded a RAW file the other day and tried to open it in photoshop (cs4) but it wouldn't open. So I downloaded the program adobe provides for that, Camera Raw is it? But wouldn't work. Could someone give me the low-down on RAW files, and if it's not too much, point me too some freeware that will allow me to open them in photoshop?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2010, 11:56 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: RAW files

Channae,

Welcome to RetouchPro ! ... and good question. I don't recall anyone asking it as plainly as you have. My initial reaction is to say, buy a book. A book will do a much better job at explaining it all in a well thought out way. But, here are a few tid-bits, and I'm sure others will chime in also.

RAW files are much simpler data obtained from the camera. They are actually gray scale images that represent the luminance of the pixels. The color information from the color filter array is kept separately. It then becomes the job of a RAW Converter to assemble this information correctly, and make all the adjustments to exposure, tint, temperature, etc., etc. .... just as you may have seen in the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) interface.

So, you see a RAW file is really not usable until you run it through a RAW converter. When ACR first came out, it was not as competitive as some other converters. As of release CS4 and CS5, it is very competitive, if not better.... for now anyway.

There are other things that go on in the background as well, mainly tone mapping and gamma correction. You see, the camera captures the raw data in a linear gamma environment, which while efficient for a computer chip, is not very useful for our eyes to interpret. So, the converter also resamples the data and creates a format that is compatible with most applications, and of more use to us humans.

Then, every manufacturer wanted to implement their own version of RAW formats, plus dump a little pre-processing in there to a) hide some bugs, and b) make you think "wow theirs is great". So, application software like Adobe PS had to create converters for all the various manufacturers, plus all of their various models. This could explain why your RAW file did not open in ACR, as it may not be a supported camera/file format. In that case, you can download 3rd party RAW converters, or use the one that came with the camera. Most of those don't compare to the latest version of ACR from Adobe.

Once you have a converter that works, you can then save the file to several other formats that will import into PS. You could use DNG (an Adobe format), 16-bit tiff, or even jpg (worse due to being 8-bit). But, as important as format is, how you do this whole transition is also important.
- keep it in 16 bit (or the highest supported bits) if possible;
- do most of your initial edits in the raw program, not PS. This preserves data within the image file better by performing the edits in a high-bit, linear-gamma, and very broad color space (typically ProPhoto_RGB).... all on purpose to save and pass on as much usable data as possible.

Many PS users that work on current images (meaning modern day RAW files) are finding that they really can do up to 60 or 70% of their post-processing in ACR (or their choice of a raw converter). Photoshop Lightroom has taken that another step forward with some excellent editing tools... bringing that number up to about 90-98% of post before entering PS.

As to your last question about Freeware... to a search, hit each site's support center, search their site for their tool vs supported cameras. That's the only way to know if someone has built a converter for your camera model. For example, I bought a Fuji camera to test. I found out Adobe doesn't support Fuji's raw format for this camera model.... neither does anyone else. Only Fuji's Finepix Viewer. It works, but its not fun at all. But, it got me through the testing.

Best of luck !
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2010, 11:58 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: RAW files

Chennae, welcome to RetouchPro. RAW files can be thought of as digital negatives. The raw file consists of the information taken off the sensor of your camera which has been digitized and encoded. It also contains a block of data with information from the camera such as time, date, and many of the camera and lens settings. Every camera manufacturer has its own proprietary format it uses to compress and generate these digital files. The software that comes with your camera knows how to decode the info stored in the RAW file. Major photo editing programs such as Photoshop also know how to open and process most RAW files. However, each time a company like Nikon or Canon introduce a new camera model, programs like Adobe Camera RAW need to be updated in order to be able to read the new files.
From what model camera did your raw file come from? What was the file suffix (NEF, CR2)?
Regards, Murray
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:58 AM
Chennae Chennae is offline
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Re: RAW files

Thanks for the information, guys. Mistermonday, it's in CR2 format, but I didn't take the photo so have no idea what type of camera was used!
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2010, 07:05 AM
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Godmother Godmother is offline
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Re: RAW files

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chennae View Post
Thanks for the information, guys. Mistermonday, it's in CR2 format, but I didn't take the photo so have no idea what type of camera was used!
It's a Cannon file.

If you have an old version of photoshop you won't be able to open new files because of lack of compatibility.

Either you upgrade your photoshop or you download a DNG converter.
http://www.adobe.com/products/dng/

DNG is Digital Negative from Adobe. You can convert any kind of Raw to that format and then open it in any version of Camera Raw.

I explain a bit of Camera Raw settings in the first video sample (30 minutes free video in Raw conversion)

https://www.digitalphotoshopretouchi...utorials-dvd-2

On the left of the page, underneath the DVD cover you can find the free videos.

Hope that helps.

Welcome and enjoy it. Photoshop is great fun!

x
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2010, 11:59 AM
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gholmes1936 gholmes1936 is offline
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Newbie Re: RAW files

Welcome to RetouchPro.

After reading the other posts I had to go and try out how my raw files open, as I have just been clicking on them and Adobe Camera Raw would automatically open for me.

what happened was Photoshop opened first and then it was followed by ACR. I happen to have a Canon camera and ACR 6.1 beta. It worked just fine for me.

I am using Photoshop CS5 but it worked the same way for me in Photoshop CS4.

Don't know that this helps but maybe you could download this same Raw converter from Adobe.
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2010, 10:18 AM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: RAW files

Hi all: I've been trying to open a NEF file on my Mac without exit. Can this be done? I use CS 4.
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:38 PM
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gholmes1936 gholmes1936 is offline
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Re: RAW files

It's my understanding that a NEF file is just Nikon's version of the RAW format. Adobe RAW app should include that in it bailiwick! What version of Photoshop do you have and do you have Adobe RAW or Bridge?
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:46 PM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: RAW files

Quote:
Originally Posted by gholmes1936 View Post
It's my understanding that a NEF file is just Nikon's version of the RAW format. Adobe RAW app should include that in it bailiwick! What version of Photoshop do you have and do you have Adobe RAW or Bridge?
I use CS4, and both Camera Raw/Bridge.

What is bailiwick?

Last edited by Boneappetit; 10-16-2010 at 07:13 PM.
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2010, 09:25 PM
Tareq Tareq is offline
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Re: RAW files

I can open all RAW files with different softwares, for CR2 file the first program i use is "Digital Photo Professional", for more workflow i use Photoshop CS4, i have the latest Camera RAW update to open the latest Canon Cameras, i also have CS5 but i don't use it yet.
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