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Camera RAW, Part 1

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 0:09
  • What is RAW and What is JPEG Files? 1:22
    • JPEG Files
    • RAW Files
    • JPEG vs. RAW
  • Camera RAW 6:30
    • What is Camera RAW?
    • Why Use Camera RAW?

Transcription: Camera RAW, Part 1

Hi, everybody--Mike Brown here again; welcome back to's Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Beginning and Intermediate course!0000

We talked, in the last couple of lessons, about Quick and Guided Edit--how to take your images out of Organizer, open them up into Elements Editor, and do some really instantaneous, if you will, quick or guided edits--some of them, even one-button clicks, and it's done--simple ways to take your images and improve them.0009

If you are just looking to do only that, Quick and Guided, and a couple of little touches from the Expert mode, may be all that you need.0031

But, on the other hand, if you want to do professional-level stuff, we can take it further.0042

This program goes both ways.0046

There is third piece of software inside, kind of in between the Organizer and Photoshop, that we need to discuss, because it provides you another additional method to improve your images very easily.0049

It's called Camera Raw.0062

In this lesson, we're going to ask three basic questions and explain them: What is a raw file and what is a jpeg file--how are they different/which one is better? What is Camera Raw? And why and when should I use Camera Raw?0066

Let's get started.0082

We're going to revisit "What is a raw file, and what is a jpeg, and which one is better?"0084

Most digital cameras have two different file formats available: raw and jpeg--or both; you can actually, I think, if you remember from the intro, shoot both at the same time.0091

My camera, this little Nikon, has both; for this lesson, by the way, you will see what happens when you shoot both of them, because I use the sample where we shot the identical shot (it doesn't shoot two separate shots; when you click the shutter, it takes both the raw and the jpeg at the same instant).0101

So, you see both different ways at the same time.0119

With a jpeg image, your camera automatically applies corrections to your image.0123

It applies auto color correction, auto exposure correction, some sharpening, some contrast, and also some lens corrections.0131

So, when you first open up the jpeg image, it already looks pretty good--it has been corrected a great deal.0141

Now, if you're shooting as an amateur, and you only want to do some limited corrections to your image, make them look better, and move them on to the Web--or to take prints--jpegs are fine.0146

There is nothing wrong with a jpeg, even for the more professional level, with a couple of exceptions.0159

Jpeg images have a narrower range of exposure than a raw file, so there is less recoverable detail in the shadows and highlights.0166

This is rather important if you are shooting professional-quality imagery and you want to make sure that you don't have blown-out highlights or blocked-up shadows.0179

That is where the raw file comes in, right there; jpegs have a little narrower range, so even though it has corrections applied, you may lose detail in the highs and the lows.0189

Secondly, jpeg is a lossy compression format, which means it throws away some data when compressing the image.0201

The reason for that--that is why it can compress it into a small space; it has to get rid of some pixels.0212

When you open the image back up, the computer tries to restore all of the areas where it threw things away, and sometimes it just plain misses, because a lot of the spots it has to interpolate from the areas around, because it threw away a pixel and it doesn't know what to put there.0218

What that will do is slightly degrade your image, and you will end up with what is called jpeg color noise, which can be removed, somewhat, in noise reduction, but it does degrade your image.0238

Now, with a raw file, your image is exactly what the camera's sensor captured--exactly--no losses, no ups, no extras, zero data loss.0251

You have total control over every aspect of the image: exposure, color, sharpening, and anything else you want to do with it, because you get what the sensor sees.0266

The quality of the image, then, falls down on the quality of the camera itself.0275

If you want the optimal file to work on, raw is the best way to go.0281

Now, even if you are an amateur, and you just want to work on it, raw is just fine.0285

This is what Camera Raw is all about: it's taking the raw files and doing, in a way, what the computer or the camera does originally with the jpeg.0291

That answers the question, "What is raw and what is a jpeg?"0303

They are both good files; I'll show you a little difference; in fact, right now, I'm going to show you the difference between the two.0308

Here is a shot that was taken--I just took it--at the Japanese Garden right next door here: this little sculpture of a dinosaur, and in the background, you see some bamboo and some other stuff.0315

We will deal with this further, but I just wanted to give you a quick look.0329

Let's come up one more time; you see that it's a little bit soft; it's in focus, but it's a little soft in the background; the bamboo is also a little soft.0333

Here is the jpeg of the same shot, identically; now, you notice that the little dinosaur over here--he is in good focus; the bamboo is; let's go back and forth.0346

You can see the difference; there is also a little expansion; that is the lens correction.0361

You see that this is a little bit squished and this is a little bit open: the camera has sharpened this image and adjusted color (notice how the color has changed?--look, it's kind of yellow and flat over here, on the bamboo, and when we go to the jpeg, notice, it's now more green, clean, and sharper).0365

There is your difference between the two.0384

All right, so the second question was, "What is Camera Raw?"0388

Camera Raw is a plugin contained within Photoshop Elements that allows you to work on your raw images (let me add that) non-destructively; in other words, it will not affect the pixels--anything you do in Camera Raw.0393

The adjustments you make are saved as a separate file in the same folder as your original image.0412

The original file is unchanged until you open it in the Editor.0418

You can always go back and change those settings, if you want to--very cool feature.0423

With Camera Raw, you can do exposure correction, sharpening, and noise reduction before you even get to Elements Editor.0428

So, you ask the question, "Well, didn't you just say that that is what jpeg does?"0439

I does, but remember, jpeg has a narrower range, and it works on the pixels; those corrections on a jpeg image are in the image; all of the corrections made here in Camera Raw are saved as a separate file, so the original file is untouched--no destruction whatsoever.0445

If you're only interested in just making your photos look nice for posting on the Web, Camera Raw is a very easy way to get the most of your corrections done without even having to go to Editor.0465

You might find that it does enough that that is all you need; so it's just an extra tool for you.0476

If you're doing professional-quality work, Camera Raw is a quick and easy way, and quality way, to get your raw files started non-destructively, and then move on to Editor.0480

All right, and next you ask the question, "So, why should I use Camera Raw if I'm going to do everything in Editor anyway, or with the jpeg if the camera already did it?"0492

Camera Raw is a good tool for non-destructive overall image adjustment.0503

You can quickly make all, like I said, exposure, color, noise and camera distortion, and lens aberration corrections--all of that for initial improvement.0510

Why bother with Photoshop Elements, then? Because it has a greater variety of tools, functions, and techniques for a wider variety and more precise adjustments.0518

Elements also has layers, which are amazing; when we get to layers, you are not going to believe it.0528

Again, layers allow you to do things totally non-destructively; you can also make composites--all sorts of stuff extra.0534

You can make far more precise selections, as well, which allow you to isolate areas, whereas Camera Raw and the other ones only allow you to do overall adjustments; the same with Quick and Guided Edit and Camera Raw.0541

It's overall, whereas, right in Editor, you can isolate areas.0556

So, if I can do everything in Editor, why use Camera Raw? Camera Raw offers you non-destructive adjustments and edits for quick initial improvement, right out of the camera.0561

Use Camera Raw to make initial overall corrections, very quickly and easily, and then move to Elements for more precise stuff.0572

It's another tool.0580

All right, that describes what it is all about and what the difference is between jpeg and raw.0582

In the next lesson, we're going to go in-depth and show you the value of Camera Raw.0590

I have talked about it; time to show you how to work it.0595

I'll see you back in the next lesson!0598