Mathieu asked in another thread...
A lot of people make some nice comments about my shots generally, normally along the lines of how vibrant and 'stand-out' they look. I can assure you, that although I have a very good camera (5D Mk2) most of the success comes from editing in CS5, and most of that comes from RAW editing. I don't think I have ever shot a JPEG, apart from example shots etc. If I had a choice between a Canon 30D and CS5, or a 5D Mk2 and some cheapo editing software, I would always go with the former. I know people will disagree, but you simply can not beat CS5 as an editing tool. There is nothing to touch it.
This was the shot that Mathieu referred to. This is a RAW file, as it came out of the camera, with no edit. You can click on all these images to get a larger view in Lytebox.
Pretty boring. Not much colour, not much dynamic range. I applied the RAW edit changes, and this is what it looked like. The settings are on the right. I was able to push the sliders quite a lot, as i had plenty os scope before I started getting blinkies. I gave it a lot of clarity to make it more gritty, and also more vibrancy to bring out some of the colour.
and this is the tone-curve changes to the same edit.
I then sent the file to CS5. I applied Jiro's luminosity layer by adding a BW layer using Silver Efex Pro 2. I used the 'high structure' pre-set which gives a gritty look. Here's what it looked like at that stage.
And finally, I did some dodging/burning, and sharpening - although it didn't need much.
Before, and after...