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  • Back to basics

    I was watching a video about PS CC for photographers and the instructor was saying that, at this point in time, it makes more sense to do color, contrast, tone, etc. adjustments to an image with the Camera RAW filter than opening up a bunch of panels such as Curves, Levels, etc. to do the same adjustments. He regards that as the "old way" since the advent of PS CC.

    Comments, thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: Back to basics

    It's a matter of what works for him. If it causes problems in compositing or whatever, then it's a bad way to go. There are some advantages in making adjustments in a raw processor, although camera raw isn't my favorite.

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    • #3
      Re: Back to basics

      It's not that ACR is better, it's that adjusting the raw file is better (in many cases). You're working with more data when you adjust the raw file. You can pull detail in from the shadows and highlights that might not be visible onscreen. But if you move into Photoshop, that detail is simply lopped off. Ditto for color gamut.
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning

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      • #4
        Re: Back to basics

        Three factors to consider:

        1. Technical quality of an adjustment. Do the adjustment tools in ACR/LR do a better job than the equivalent tools in Photoshop? Do they produce less clipping, banding, artifacts, etc. Do they produce more "pleasing" results.

        2. Are the tools in ACR/LR easier to use, more intuitive? Can you preview, re-adjust, fine tune better in ACR/LR than Photoshop?

        3. Global vs. Local adjustments. Which is better or easier, ACR/LR or Photoshop? (Adjustment Brush vs. Layer Masks).

        My answers:

        1. Technical quality: ACR is better than Photoshop for highlight and shadow recovery. ACR is better for adjusting white balance. Photoshop is better for adjusting saturation. For Exposure and Curves they are basically equal.

        2. Most experienced Photoshop users agree that adjustments are easier and faster in Photoshop than in ACR. Photoshop gives better previewing and fine tuning capability. It's easy to toggle an adjustment layer on and off, change opacity, group adjustments.

        3. Masking: No contest here. The ACR/LR adjustment brush is a crude sledgehammer, plus ACR/LR can't make complex selections like luminosity masks or saturation masks. ACR adjustment brush settings can't be individually toggled to preview. Consider what it would take in ACR to equal a stack of 5 masked adjustment layers in Photoshop.

        Summary: ACR/LR is a great tool, if you want to make simple and global adjustments. No need to go to Photoshop for the simple stuff. But if you want to go beyond simple and move to the next level.... Photoshop.

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        • #5
          Re: Back to basics

          I don't think it's far fetched than an individual would prefer the swiss army knife tool box of acr to a bunch of individual adjustment layers.

          Dupe a layer, convert it to a smart object and run the acr filter on it. In that instance lets call the acr filter a maskable, non destructive (re-editable) adjustment layer. In one adjustment layer you get the function of levels, curves, shadows/highlights, HSL, vibrance, clarity, sharpening, exposure/contrast, grandient filters, cloning, tinting, lens/perspective correction, etc.

          It's a pretty powerful tool.

          I don't use it all the time because I like to mask a lot of these items individually, but for broad global moves it can be terrific.

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          • #6
            Re: Back to basics

            I have to laugh when experts come out with their sweeping statements about good 'n bad, or new 'n old ways to achieve results. Could be they don't necessarily know how to get the best use out of a toolset. Or, they may not have the artistic ability to judge when a 'treatment' is working or not. Retouching is as much about a way of thinking as it about shifting pixels around: we all have our methods that ignore the rule book but work for us. Whatever gets the job done! ACR is a useful tool and not a bad way to kick off a project but many of us got on just fine before it came along.

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            • #7
              Re: Back to basics

              Originally posted by Repairman View Post
              I have to laugh when experts come out with their sweeping statements about good 'n bad, or new 'n old ways to achieve results. Could be they don't necessarily know how to get the best use out of a toolset. Or, they may not have the artistic ability to judge when a 'treatment' is working or not. Retouching is as much about a way of thinking as it about shifting pixels around: we all have our methods that ignore the rule book but work for us. Whatever gets the job done! ACR is a useful tool and not a bad way to kick off a project but many of us got on just fine before it came along.
              Luddite......

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Back to basics

                Actually ACR/LR is better in some respects:

                1. All edits are parametric (instruction based, recall Live Picture old timers?) as such, it truly is non destructive. Photoshop layers are only temporarily non destructive in terms of data loss.
                2. All edits are applied in a best use order when rendering by ACR/LR, not the user.
                3. All edits are applied high-bit in a wide gamut editing space (similar to ProPhoto RGB) so no saturation clipping on the data.
                4. Unlimited history in LR unlike Photoshop's wimpy history that dies each time you close the file.
                5. You do not have to suck the entire image you are editing into RAM like Photoshop. You are working on a proxy preview. All edits are applied at time of rendering (JIT or Just In Time rendering when you're done editing the data, walk away, let the computer process the data).

                For big global tone and color work, it makes more sense to do this at the raw acquisition stage in ACR or LR, do the precise work these tools don't allow later in Photoshop.

                Different tools for different tasks. But for you old time Photoshop users (and I'll bet that unless you purchased it within the first two months it shipped back in Feb 1990, I've been using it longer ;-) an old saying is worth considering: When all you know is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

                There's tons of work ACR/LR can't touch that PS can. But the opposite is true too, especially for raw workflows (raw to rendered data TO be edited in Photoshop).

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                • #9
                  Re: Back to basics

                  I am not sure if I'm glad that the complete functionality is not yet available in 32bits.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Back to basics

                    Originally posted by skoobey View Post
                    I am not sure if I'm glad that the complete functionality is not yet available in 32bits.
                    It wouldn't become a natural requirement to use it. It just offers better versions of a few tools. The digits of precision offered by that are more than you could really derive from one frame anyway. The advantage is more in the encodings and the way they designed certain tools for it.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Back to basics

                      Thank you all for the knowledgeable replies.
                      I should mention that the instructor was not limiting the use of the ACR filter for just RAW files but also for PSD files or even jpegs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Back to basics

                        @Rodney. Thanks for mentioning LivePicture; from time to time I've tried to recall the name without success. I thought it was a great tool and much better than PS when it came out. Very cheap too compared to the alternatives at the time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Back to basics

                          Originally posted by Repairman View Post
                          @Rodney. Thanks for mentioning LivePicture; from time to time I've tried to recall the name without success. I thought it was a great tool and much better than PS when it came out. Very cheap too compared to the alternatives at the time.
                          I just googled that. It sounds like it was awesome.

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