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Thread: Best way to edit and save raw images

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    jacsul's Avatar
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    Best way to edit and save raw images

    What are some of the best ways to handle raw images; convert to jpeg, tiff, psd, or png then edit or edit first.
    Please excuse my ignorance I've nevered worked with raw files before.
    Jack

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by jacsul View Post
    What are some of the best ways to handle raw images; convert to jpeg, tiff, psd, or png then edit or edit first.
    Please excuse my ignorance I've nevered worked with raw files before.
    Jack
    When I've opened the image in Photoshop I always save it as a PSD (smaller than a TIFF). All depends on what you need to do; JPEG are fine as a final output format (and are relatively small) - they just struggle big time if you have to do heavy edits on them.

    Make sure you ALWAYS keep your RAW files (in Native or DNG format) - as RAW converts improve you can then go back and re-develop them if need be.

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by jacsul View Post
    What are some of the best ways to handle raw images; convert to jpeg, tiff, psd, or png then edit or edit first.
    Please excuse my ignorance I've nevered worked with raw files before.
    Jack

    And if space is an issue, you can use the sRAW options (if you camera has it) and save the lower resolution files.

    It is very hard I have to say to force yourself to use the lower resolution version and I am myself guilty of saving superlarge files even when I am sure I do not need that much resolution.

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post

    It is very hard I have to say to force yourself to use the lower resolution version and I am myself guilty of saving superlarge files even when I am sure I do not need that much resolution.
    I always tell people that it's a lot easier to reduce a high res file than it is to replace the missing information from a low res one. Had a case in point a few weeks ago when I had to print a medium size canvas photo of a chap who passed away suddenly - unfortunately the last photo was taken on a camera that was set to the lowest quality mode, and I had about 1% of the ideal information to work with (about 240 x 600 pixels after cropping )

    These days storage is cheap, with hundreds of images fitting on a DVD costing less than a dollar. If you need more than that then perhaps people should stop trying to shoot videos with an SLR camera!

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    Re: raw images

    I import my RAW files directly into Lightroom (and back them up) then do all my processing in the RAW format. I print using Lightroom directly from the RAW files(which converts them in the print process) and only convert to JPEG for export.

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    Re: raw images

    Bill44 - After you edit the raw file, how do you save your work? Do you have two files (the original + edited version)?

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by bricynt View Post
    Bill44 - After you edit the raw file, how do you save your work? Do you have two files (the original + edited version)?
    Keep in mind that no programs "alter" RAW images (conversion is a one way process); some programs write data back to the RAW image FILE (as opposed to the RAW image data itself) to indicate how that file has been changed, but these "changes" are always completely reversable.

    Once you get the image into the likes of Photoshop "proper" (ie "past the RAW converter") then you have to save changes in a format like PSD / TIFF / JPG (all of which have advantages and disadvantages).

    Hope this helps

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    Re: raw images

    I mostly work on the RAW file in Helicon Filter then save as 100% jpeg. But it is easier to use the Canon software to change balance and exposure so then I save as TIFF and work on that.

    There are different types of TIFF and maybe I should find out what the differences are but just use default at the moment.

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by bricynt View Post
    After you edit the raw file, how do you save your work? Do you have two files (the original + edited version)?
    You should end up with (at least) two files, yes - 1) never delete the original RAW and then 2) the jpg or whatever to post here.

    Plus, if you've done a lot of cloning work on it, also save the psd or tif - although personally I rarely do this, preferring to go back and work from RAW again if need be.

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    Re: raw images

    I always keep my origional raw (.cr2), plus the photoshoped version (.psd). When I process the image for output I put it into .jpg or .tif depending on its destionation (I use tif's for printing, jpg for the web).

    I am a massive fan of the PNG file format, but it is not really appropriate for photos. Use tif instead of png for photos (Screenshots / graphic design, always use the PNG format).

    If you are saving the image from your raw processor before you open it up into a photo program (such as photoshop), do not use jpeg, as there is compression and loss of information.

    Make sure you ALWAYS keep your RAW files (in Native or DNG format) - as RAW converts improve you can then go back and re-develop them if need be.
    It's worth being repeated - always keep your origionals!

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    Re: raw images

    after a discussion at our photoclub, my understanding that if you save in PSD, any editing you do can be "stacked" and you preserve the original photo.
    Is this correct??
    Howard

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by Happyjack View Post
    after a discussion at our photoclub, my understanding that if you save in PSD, any editing you do can be "stacked" and you preserve the original photo.
    Is this correct??
    Howard
    Yes and no

    The original RAW file doesn't get changed anyway, but a RAW opened into a PSD may or may not, depending on what you do and how you do it;

    - Layers don't change the original (until you flatten the image)

    - Operations done on the base image WILL change the image in the PSD file.

    One of the advantages of layers is that you can setup several alternatives and then just switch them off or on as you wish

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by Happyjack View Post
    after a discussion at our photoclub, my understanding that if you save in PSD, any editing you do can be "stacked" and you preserve the original photo.
    Is this correct??
    Howard
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern
    Yes and no
    It all come down to the techniques you use -- so as Colin said, Yes and no. It sounds like you know at least basically the difference between destructive and non-destructive editing. Photoshop is capable of both. It's worth spending a little time to be able to tell the techniques apart, and/or how to accomplish the same thing that is a destructive edit in a new, non-destructive way.

    "Stacking" works a little different. A lot of people like to use techniques such as "Select All. Copy merged. Paste into a new layer" and then continue developing/retouching from there. Although this is technically not a destructive edit (you can always go back!) -- you have lost stacking abilities. If you wanted to change something at the bottom of the stack (lower layers) it would no longer be refelected in the final image because there is a fully opaque layer blocking it. This also can effectively double (or significantly add to) the file size -- you are now storing pixel data instead of a command.

    With time and practice you'll learn what techniques fall into which categories, and how to accomplish the same things destructivly, non-destructivly, and with stacking compatibility. It's pretty simple

    Few tips to get you started:
    - Adjustment layers are your friend - use them
    - Do not duplicate a layer to apply a blending mode onto itsself (Common technique is to duplicate [merged] and apply a soft light blend mode, then bring the opacity down to add some contrast). Instead - create an adjustment layer (any of them), and set the blend mode on that, and adjust the opacity.
    - Keep the "Background" layer as the origional and never modify it
    - Never "paint" directly onto the pixels, create a new layer and paint onto it.
    - If you run an effect that modifies the pixels, try one of two things: 1. Run it as a smart filter. 2. Create a new layer and run the filter on that new layer.

    Edit: If you have ADD, like me, then stacking is definatly your friend since you never have to really commit to something!

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by bricynt View Post
    Bill44 - After you edit the raw file, how do you save your work? Do you have two files (the original + edited version)?
    Any of my files are still in the RAW format, even after editing. If at any time I wish to do a different processing I simply create a virtual copy by right click, left click on Virtual Copy, hit Reset in the Develop module of Lightroom, and I'm back to the original RAW file.

    This is one of the advantages of Lightroom, you can have as many PP'd versions of a shot as you like, without ever having to move out of RAW. You can even print from RAW or save to a JPEG file without ever having to actually create a JPEG copy, the program does the conversion during the process without cluttering up your hard drive with unnecessary files.

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    It all come down to the techniques you use -- so as Colin said, Yes and no.
    The other thing worth mentioning is that if you drag an image layer to the new layer icon then it creates a duplicate -- call it something like "backup of original image" - deselect it - and "hey presto" instant & untouched original available if required

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    Re: raw images

    I think "stacking" may have been the wrong terminology.
    But I think what I was refering to is as Colin says, If you don't flatten the image (or maybe merge down) the you can save as PSD without altering the original. Am I right in saying it wont let you save in jpeg unless you flatten anyway?
    You guys are the experts so correct me if i'm wrong - and it's too late for me to check it out in practice.

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by Happyjack View Post
    Am I right in saying it wont let you save in jpeg unless you flatten anyway?
    Hi Howard,

    It makes you save it as a "copy".

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    Re: raw images

    I would be prefectly happy if Adobe decided to remove the 'Flatten Image' command from Photoshop

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    I would be prefectly happy if Adobe decided to remove the 'Flatten Image' command from Photoshop
    Could make it difficult to have TIFFs printed

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    Re: raw images

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Could make it difficult to have TIFFs printed
    File->Save As... is all we need

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