Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

  1. #1
    waha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    "up the coast in British Columbia"
    Posts
    152
    Real Name
    Wayne

    Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    I am just beginning to explore the RAW mode on my camera. Having read the Cambridge article on the subject (plus a few others), several nagging uncertainties remain.

    Once I have edited the RAW image in its specific editor, I am invited to "open image." Doing so brings up the image in my familiar PSE editor.

    Question One: Theoretically, I could now readjust the settings I made in the RAW editor. If I did this, would I effectively be undoing the RAW edit, thus losing the RAW advantage?

    Question Two: PSE allows me to do a number of things I cannot perform in the RAW edit, such as adding filters, correcting perspective, etc. I presume I am still free to apply these tools, right?

    Question Three: There is an overlap between the two editors. For instance. I could sharpen the image in the Raw editor, or use Unsharp Mask in PSE. Which approach would be preferable?

    I appreciate your assistance.

    Wayne

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    6,294
    Real Name
    Frank Miller

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by waha View Post
    I am just beginning to explore the RAW mode on my camera. Having read the Cambridge article on the subject (plus a few others), several nagging uncertainties remain.

    Once I have edited the RAW image in its specific editor, I am invited to "open image." Doing so brings up the image in my familiar PSE editor.

    Question One: Theoretically, I could now readjust the settings I made in the RAW editor. If I did this, would I effectively be undoing the RAW edit, thus losing the RAW advantage?

    Question Two: PSE allows me to do a number of things I cannot perform in the RAW edit, such as adding filters, correcting perspective, etc. I presume I am still free to apply these tools, right?

    Question Three: There is an overlap between the two editors. For instance. I could sharpen the image in the Raw editor, or use Unsharp Mask in PSE. Which approach would be preferable?

    I appreciate your assistance.

    Wayne
    Hi Wayne, this can be confusing until you grasp that the RAW file isn't ever changed. The settings you make in the RAW editor are only applied to the 'view' you see of the RAW file (like looking at the world through rose coloured glasses) and not to the RAW file itself.

    1. One of the advantages of the RAW image is that you do not modify the original. You add 'settings' that are applied when you look at the RAW image. If you modify the settings, you modify the look of the image with the changed settings but not the RAW image itself. If you lose (reset) the settings, you still have the unmodified RAW image but without the change setting instructions attached.

    2. You can apply any number of changes in PS or PSE without changing the RAW image, BUT, how do you save the images? Usually as a PSD or Tiff or JPG. You can't save the image as the original RAW file so the file you do save has been changed.

    3. Yes. If you sharpen a RAW image then open it in PSE, you are applying the RAW image settings to the 'view' of the RAW file. When you sharpen the image in PSE, the additional changes are made to a COPY of the RAW image with the RAW edit settings applied.

    Hope this makes sense! You can always undo the RAW file settings but once the file has been saved as something else, the change to the 'something else' is permanent so if you are making changes in PSE you will need to make backup copies as you go along. If you don't, then you could start again from scratch with the RAW plus RAW editor settings, but you can't go back to any intermediary point.

  3. #3
    orlcam88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    277
    Real Name
    Orlando

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    I use lightroom 95% of the time to edit my photo's and it just dawned on me that I've forgotten what happens in PS family. From what I remember, the RAW changes are separately saved once it's out of the raw edit mode. What you do afterwards doesn't affect the RAW file. At the second stage, you'll need to save the file either in the PSE format or Tiff or jpeg etc.
    You could if you wanted to, go back and re-open the raw file but it'll only contain the raw edits.

    Since I use lightroom, I prefer to use the sharp in lightroom first. If the photo requires additional sharpening, then I'll use what's in PS.

  4. #4
    Scott Stephen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    292
    Real Name
    Scott

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Agree. Lightroom first.

  5. #5
    dubaiphil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Northampton
    Posts
    1,851
    Real Name
    Phil Page

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    When I started with DSLR photography, I decided to shoot in RAW + jpg. Previous point and shoots which I never used seriously just shot in jpg, and I never used any photo software before.

    Initially I was using Photoshop Elements and quickly found that out of camera the RAW files were more plain then the jpg file, depending of course on my in camera settings.

    After a couple of months I began to take RAW more seriously and thought of it more as a digital negative. It allows more scope for post processing and contains more data. As you change the processing of the RAW file, those changes are saved but the original is fully recoverable.

    There has always been a pro and anti shooting RAW debate. Shooting RAW + jpg is obviously the best of both worlds, but at the cost of file size, storage space, filling your camera buffer and write speed to the card. I now find myself shooting in purely RAW format.

    If I'm using Lightroom, then I'll process from RAW and either:

    Save as a tif and move into Photoshop for more detailed work
    Save as a jpg if complete for upload to my site
    save as a reduced size jpg for upload to Facebook

    If I'm using Photoshop then I'll use Adobe Camera Raw to process the RAW file and then save my final formats as jpg or psd file (if I want to keep my layers)

    The big advantage for me for RAW has been the ability to go to my first shots from 3 years ago and apply my learning in PP as it has improved over the years.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    18,877

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    The big advantage for me for RAW has been the ability to go to my first shots from 3 years ago and apply my learning in PP as it has improved over the years.
    All of us shooting RAW will also be able to revisit those files years from now when capabilities in post-processing software become available that aren't available now.

  7. #7
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,853
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    RAW has one very major downside, and that is that the format is proprietary to the camera manufacturer and may actually vary from camera model to camera model. If the camera manufacturer or third party software manufacturer that reads the RAW files ever stops supporting the format some time in the future, for your particular camera model, the data stored in a RAW file becomes 100% USELESS, because you won't be able to access it.

    Yes, there are workarounds, but all of them do have limitations, and you need to understand these to come up with a archiving strategy that works for you. The most flexible currently available is converting the RAW files to Adobe's public format DNG, but that involves ACR for opening the RAW file. There have been a number of reports that ACR's processing engine does not do a very accurate job in importing RAW files, so one runs that risk going the Adobe route. I know some professional users that use the camera manufacturer's supplied software to save as 16-bit TIFF files and then store these as their backups. The downside is file size and the fact that your decisions are "baked into" this format leaaving less future flexibility in setting white balance, etc. Others I know back up jpgs, hoping that they will be good enough.

    Bottom line is there is no perfect long term storage / archiving solution today.

  8. #8
    waha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    "up the coast in British Columbia"
    Posts
    152
    Real Name
    Wayne

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Hey Everyone,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question. Your answers have been most helpful.

    Wayne

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,698

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Wayne, let's put it this way. Raw conversion is stage one in my processing. If I didn't use Raw I would still edit in a number of stages. But the Raw part of editing is reversible so I can return to those files at a later time and start all over again.

    So #1, yes I add extra editing after conversion. These edits can add to or undo the Raw edits. They are separate stages in the editing sequence.

    #2, yes similar to question 1; keep on editing and adding to the final outcome.

    #3, and in particular response to sharpening. Add 'capture sharpening' when converting then do a final sharpen as the last editing stage. This process sequence is advisable even when shooting Jpeg. Capture Sharpening is the basic sharpening stage. When converting Raw,I use something around 50% and 0.5 pixels but some people would advise a larger percentage and a smaller radius.

    To simply sum it all up, do as much as possible when converting; then do the rest as part of 'normal editing'.

  10. #10
    ajohnw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    S, B'ham UK
    Posts
    3,274
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Answering your original question you can sharpen in the raw development stage if you wish but I for instance finish shots of in a package that is more into local retouching than the one I use on raw files so invariably concentrate on sharpening in that one. The original raw file always remains untouched.

    What matters in my view is sharpening at final reductions of size. As shots are reduced detail is lost often leaving a near fuzzy/muddy result. Sharpening at that stage crisps things up and also tends to brings the colours and contrast back. The unsharp mask is so effective at this stage I always start too low and work up as I find I'm less likely to over do it. On that basis I would do the sharpening in what ever package you use to do the size reductions in.

    If a full size shot is lacking "sharpness" for one reason or another I might use the raw software sharpening as well but as I export to another package anyway I may as well do it there really. Just to confuse things when that happens I introduce another piece of software into the work flow and then export to the editor that I normally use to finally resize the shot and finish it off.

    I too shoot raw plus best jpg and will use jpg's directly. They still have a reasonable scope for correction. Dare I say it depends how well the shot was taken in the 1st place. One of the main advantage of raw really is an increased exposure range and to a lesser extent different camera curves. Could be that in some cases the manufacturers curve will be better than many can achieve in a reasonable time frame. The problem with jpg's really is that more detail is lost each time it's modified and saved. eg 95% x 95% x 95% = 86% However some packages allow 100% these days and it isn't as straight forwards as that really. It's just that usually info is lost and was much worse when typical save qualities were 80% or so.

    -

  11. #11
    waha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    "up the coast in British Columbia"
    Posts
    152
    Real Name
    Wayne

    Re: Can Wiser Heads Answer My Questions about RAW?

    Geoff and Ajohnw,

    Thank you both for your helpful comments.

    Wayne

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •