Photoshop CS

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The latest version of Photoshop includes a built-in RAW plug-in that is compatible with the proprietary formats of a growing number of digital cameras, both new and old. This plug-in also works with Photoshop Elements 6.0.

To open a RAW image in Photoshop CS3, just follow these steps (Elements 5.0 and 6.0 users can use much the same workflow, although fewer settings are available):

1. Transfer the RAW images from your camera to your computer's hard drive.

2. In Photoshop, choose Open from the File menu, or use Bridge.

3. Select a RAW image file. The Adobe Camera Raw plug-in will pop up, showing a preview of the image, like the one shown in Figure 8.18.

Figure 8.18

The basic ACR dialog box looks like this when processing a single image.

Figure 8.18

The basic ACR dialog box looks like this when processing a single image.

4. If you like, use one of the tools found in the toolbar at the top left of the dialog box. From left to right, they are:

■ Zoom. Operates just like the Zoom tool in Photoshop.

■ Hand. Use like the Hand tool in Photoshop.

■ White Balance. Click an area in the image that should be neutral gray or white to set the white balance quickly.

■ Color Sampler. Use to determine the RGB values of areas you click with this eyedropper.

■ Crop. Pre-crops the image so that only the portion you specify is imported into Photoshop. This option saves time when you want to work on a section of a large image, and you don't need the entire file.

■ Straighten. Drag in the preview image to define what should be a horizontal or vertical line, and ACR will realign the image to straighten it.

■ Retouch. Used to heal or clone areas you define.

■ Red-Eye Removal. Quickly zap red pupils in your human subjects.

■ ACR Preferences. Produces a dialog box of Adobe Camera Raw preferences.

■ Rotate Counter-clockwise. Rotates counter-clockwise in 90-degree increments with a click.

■ Rotate Clockwise. Rotates clockwise in 90-degree increments with a click.

5. Using the Basic tab, you can have ACR show you red and blue highlights in the preview that indicate shadow areas that are clipped (too dark to show detail) and light areas that are blown out (too bright). Click the triangles in the upper-left corner of the histogram display (shadow clipping) and upper-right corner (highlight clipping) to toggle these indicators on or off.

6. Also in the Basic tab you can choose white balance, either from the drop-down list or by setting a color temperature and green/magenta color bias (tint) using the sliders.

7. Other sliders are available to control exposure, recovery, fill light, blacks, brightness, contrast, vibrance, and saturation. A checkbox can be marked to convert the image to grayscale.

8. Make other adjustments (described in more detail below).

9. ACR makes automatic adjustments for you. You can click Default and make the changes yourself or click the Auto link (located just above the Exposure slider) to reapply the automatic adjustments after you've made your own modifications.

10. If you've marked more than one image to be opened, the additional images appear in a "filmstrip" at the left side of the screen. You can click on each thumbnail in the filmstrip in turn and apply different settings to each.

11. Click Open Image/Open image(s) into Photoshop using the settings you've made.

The Basic tab is displayed by default when the ACR dialog box opens, and it includes most of the sliders and controls you'll need to fine-tune your image as you import it into Photoshop. These include:

■ White Balance. Leave it As Shot or change to a value such as Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent, or Flash. If you like, you can set a custom white balance using the Temperature and Tint sliders.

■ Exposure. This slider adjusts the overall brightness and darkness of the image.

■ Recovery. Restores detail in the red, green, and blue color channels.

■ Fill Light. Reconstructs detail in shadows.

■ Blacks. Increases the number of tones represented as black in the final image, emphasizing tones in the shadow areas of the image.

■ Brightness. This slider adjusts the brightness and darkness of an image.

■ Contrast. Manipulates the contrast of the midtones of your image.

■ Convert to Grayscale. Mark this box to convert the image to black and white.

■ Vibrance. Prevents over-saturation when enriching the colors of an image.

■ Saturation. Manipulates the richness of all colors equally, from zero saturation (gray/black, no color) at the —100 setting to double the usual saturation at the +100 setting.

Additional controls are available on the Tone Curve, Detail, HSL/Grayscale, Split Toning, Lens Corrections, Camera Calibration, and Presets tabs, shown in Figure 8.19. The Tone Curve tab can change the tonal values of your image. The Detail tab lets you adjust sharpness, luminance smoothing, and apply color noise reduction. The HSL/Grayscale tab offers controls for adjusting hue, saturation, and lightness and converting an image to black and white. Split Toning helps you colorize an image with sepia or cyanotype (blue) shades. The Lens Corrections tab has sliders to adjust for chromatic aberrations and vignetting. The Camera Calibration tab provides a way for calibrating the color corrections made in the Camera Raw plug-in. The Presets tab (not shown) is used to load settings you've stored for reuse.

Figure 8.19 More controls are available within the additional tabbed dialog boxes in Adobe Camera Raw.

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