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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Adobe Photoshop CS6
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Camera RAW

  • Camera RAW is a program within Photoshop that allows you to very easily make preliminary corrections to your image that are non-destructive ( do NOT alter any pixel data ) and allow you to return to the original image if you need to.
  • RAW - your image captured in camera with no changes, additions, or compression loss - exactly what the sensor captured.
  • JPEG - a lossy compression format (loses data) that is still quite good.
    • With JPEG, your camera automatically adds some contrast, exposure and color correction, and some sharpening. It also uses the sRGB (smaller color range) instead of Adobe RGB (wider color range).

Camera RAW

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:43
  • What is RAW & Camera RAW? 1:02
    • JPEG
    • RAW
    • Camera RAW
  • Camera RAW 5:20
    • Choosing Your Files
    • Camera RAW Workspace
    • JPEG vs. RAW

Transcription: Camera RAW

Hi, Michael Brown again, welcome back to's Adobe Photoshop CS6 course.0000

We've been discussing Bridge; the editing and sorting program that allows you to easily find the best images from a collection of images that you have photographed.0006

Once you pick your best images, now you two options: you can open them up directly into Photoshop to work on them, or you can take an intermediate step and open them up into first, Camera Raw, which is a separate program within Photoshop that allows you to do preliminary, non-destructive edits to your pictures, and if it's just general you can actually save them out directly from there.0016

So in this lesson, we are going to look at what is raw, and jpeg, and what is Camera Raw, and then I'm going to show you an example that really illustrates the difference between shooting with a jpeg or shooting with a raw file, so let's get started.0043

In this page right here, I define the differences between jpeg and raw.0064

Let's start with the jpeg image.0071

Most inexpensive digital cameras today shoot in a file format, and the file format is the way the camera saves the data from the sensor so that you can utilize it in Photoshop and make prints or put it on the web.0074

A jpeg is a compression format which takes the data and it compresses it down to create a smaller file size to save space, but to do so, it throws away a little bit of data because it is what's called a Lossy compression format, and when it throws that data away, when the computer reopens the image to work on it, it has to fake it to fill in the empty spots.0089

Now this is not a bad thing because it pulls from the data immediately around the empty spaces and does a pretty good job with it, as long as your camera from the beginning is set at the highest quality jpeg and the largest size to give you the maximum number of pixels, there will be very little difference between the opened jpeg and an opened raw file.0118

The biggest difference is that when you shoot the image with your camera, no matter whether you make any internal camera corrections or not, the camera will automatically apply some corrections to a jpeg, and it typically applies color correction, exposure correction, sharpening and contrast as well as sometimes, it will do some lens correction.0143

Now you'd think this is a great thing, and it is!0168

It depends on the amount of detail, and the amount of sophistication that you want to put into what you're working on--if you're doing a professional grade image, in Photoshop you'll probably want to shoot raw where you get all of your data.0171

If you're doing this just to get a great picture or put it up on the internet, jpegs are fine.0186

Very little difference--the biggest difference is in the range of data in the two images.0191

Jpeg has a kind of a squished color space, and raw has a very wide range allowing you to get much more detail--I'll show you this as we move along.0198

So, what is raw?0210

Raw is a format also, and it is precisely the data that is collected when you click the shutter and the sensor captures it--you lose no data whatsoever, no corrections, exactly what the sensor sees so that you have the option to do anything that you want to that image, and you also get a much wider range of exposure which allows you to dig deeper into the very high exposure areas--the bright brights, or the dark darks, and pull detail that you can't in any other format.0213

If you really want the optimal file to work with, raw is your best way to go.0251

Now, Camera Raw is a plugin which is an internal program similar to Bridge that is within Photoshop, and it allows you to do image correction non-destructively--every single thing that you do to your image is saved as a separate mathematical file, not applied directly to the pixels of the original file, so you can do anything you want to an image in Camera Raw, and if you decide at a later time that you go "I really didn't like that, I'd like to go back and change it", you can always change it and it never affects a single pixel.0257

Now, either image--I've compared them side by side, jpegs and tifs, for the most part they're similar, but the detail is significantly different between the two, and we'll look at this in just a moment, so let's move on into Camera Raw, and show you what we've got.0306

Alright, I'm going to go to Bridge...and I've chosen two images that I shot here, and the way I shot camera has both jpeg and raw in it, and it has a method that you can shoot both of them at the same time.0326

In other words, these two images are identical, and one of them (if you'll see this particular image on the right) says dot NRW and the one on the left says dot JPG and they're both 28-09--the one on the left is the jpeg version, the one on the right is the raw version.0343

Now what we're going to do here is we're going to open them both into Camera Raw, and take a look at them.0362

So we'll just double click...and here they are and this is the Camera Raw workspace.0368

Once again you notice that the similarity of Photoshop, as well as Bridge, and now Camera Raw is similar--you have panels on the right, you have the film strip on the left side here--you can open up as many images as you choose at one time within Camera Raw and they'll stack up over here in the corner.0378

This is your viewing window...across the top here is the Toolbar with the various tools that are available for you to do the image corrections to your image, and we have a whole series of panels with this tab format right here on the right side, that allow you to apply all sorts of corrections.0397

We have some informational points at the bottom, and in the center of course we have our image.0420

Now, before I explain everything here I really want to show you, because we were talking about jpeg and raw, the difference between the two.0428

This is the jpeg image (and I'm going to zoom it up in the window) I've made no corrections to either of these images--we just open them up from the beginning, and I'm going to go to this spot right here on the jpeg, and I'm going to take the raw file and zoom it up to the same magnification, and bring it in also into the same place.0437

I want you to look--I'm going to open up a little exposure here (I'm going to pull up the shadows to about 20, let's even go 30...and maybe even 40...I just want you to take a look at this area) there's 40 on that one and we'll do exactly the same thing in the shadows on the jpeg...there.0463

Look right in this area that I'm circling and also right up here in this particular piece of fabric.0490

You see the detail across this handbag, but it looks like all you have are little black circles in there.0498

You don't see a lot of detail in that bag.0506

Take a look when I click on the raw file right in the same area and look at the--this is uncorrected by the way, I just opened up the shadows, we haven't made any corrections at all, here's the raw file.0510

Look, unbelievable the difference in that image--notice that there are diamond shaped texture and Xs all throughout there--you can see it up in this area and over here (let's pull down a little bit to take a look at edging in this blanket behind here) notice all of the detail in this orange strip down here?0524

If I go back to the jpeg...and we look at that same area, you can barely make out the lines--let's go back again to the raw file...look at all the detail running there--look at the texture that runs down through this dark red, and again you can see all of the detail in this band on that bag.0546

We'll go back again to the jpeg...and you can only see the darkest things--right there, it shows you the difference between the raw and the jpeg and this is what happened with the Lossy compression--it threw away a little bit of data and when it opened it up, it lost a lot of that data.0569

Now, we're at a very high magnification here unquestionably so if I drop back to only 100% on either of these images...everything looks really nice, right?0589

Let's go all the way back to the bottom, and I want to show you a couple of more things about the differences between the two.0603

Look at the sky--we have plenty of detail down here in the shadow areas and in the tree, and even the building, but the sky is absolutely gray in the jpeg.0609

I'm going to take the highlight slider here and I'm going to pull it all the way over as far as I can, and still, you've increased detail in the building (some of it) but the sky is still very, very gray.0620

Let's go to the raw file, and do the same thing.0635

Take that slider--go all the way to the left, pull it up, and look what happened.0638

We have sky...the difference between the two, once again there's your jpeg, and there's your raw file (let's go back again) and even in the brickwork you can see some detail loss, it's hard maybe to see on your screen, better to take a look only at the sky.0644

So you can see once again, that using a raw file, if you have the option, gives you a much, much better image and here we have made no corrections, just opened up shadows and highlights.0665

So...let's wrap this particular lesson up with just the example of the difference between a jpeg and a raw, and we're going to come back in the next lesson and actually get down to all of the features and panels, and all of the tools, and actually show you how to work your images from start to finish in Camera Raw.0681

I'll see you in the next lesson.0703