Adobe Camera Raw

Editing Highlights and Shadows in Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw — CreativePro.com article

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw have two sets of controls for making tone and contrast adjustments: The Basic panel Tone sliders and the Tone Curve. Because the slider names in these two sets of tools are almost the same, some believe that both sets of sliders do the same thing, while others believe the newer Basic Tone sliders are better and there is no longer a need for the Tone Curve. But neither statement is true: A closer look reveals that each set of controls affects your images in subtle but important ways.

Want the whole story? Click the link below to read my article at CreativePro.com:
Editing Highlights and Shadows in Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw

Editing Highlights and Shadows in Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw article on CreativePro.com

Lightroom Mobile, Lightroom 5.4, Adobe Camera Raw 8.4 released

Photoshop CC iconAdobe Lightroom 5 iconAdobe Creative Cloud icon

Adobe recently released a Lightroom companion app for iPad called Lightroom Mobile, along with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.4 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.4 (now 8.4.1) and a corresponding DNG Converter 8.4 update. All are free updates for current licenses of the software; update links are at the end of this article. The updates also include the usual bug fixes and add support for new cameras including the Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D4S, and the DJI Phantom for you quadcopter jockeys. As usual, the updates also add more Camera Matching color profiles and Lens Profiles, and fix a number of bugs. For more details, go to:

I talk about the new features in Camera Raw 8.4 below. The only new feature in Lightroom 5.4 is support for syncing with Lightroom Mobile.

Lightroom Mobile for iPad

Stealing the show from the Lightroom 5.4 and Camera Raw 8.4 updates is the introduction of Lightroom Mobile. The feature list has been publicized widely, but digging a little deeper reveals certain benefits and limitations of the real world Lightroom Mobile workflow. I’m writing an article about those, but until that gets done here’s a brief overview.

Lightroom Mobile

The initial release of Lightroom Mobile works best as a way to let you use an iPad to apply Pick/Reject flags and make basic edits to images synced over the Internet from a collection in Lightroom 5.4 or later on your computer. The ability to edit at the raw stage sets Lightroom Mobile apart from most iPad image editors. Lightroom Mobile doesn’t sync raw files to your iPad; it syncs Smart Previews which is a very good thing because Smart Previews use less storage space on your iPad and take less time to sync images over the Internet while still enabling raw edits.

At this time, Lightroom Mobile is not set up to import raw images directly from a camera to an iPad, even though that’s what many would expect. Also, you can’t currently use star ratings or apply keywords or other metadata. Tom Hogarty of Adobe explains the app’s initial feature set in the Lightroom Journal blog post The Field Triage Opportunity for Lightroom Mobile. It’s clear that we are to think of Lightroom Mobile as version 1.0, and to expect more in the future. If you account for that, what Lightroom Mobile does do right now is a good start.

As an introduction, I like Richard Curtis’s Lightroom Mobile Deep Dive. This is the article where I learned that when you sync through Lightroom Mobile, you can view and present all of those images in your web browser by signing into Creative Cloud at lightroom.adobe.com. Having all synced images viewable over the Web has workflow advantages and security implications that are worth reflecting on.

Lightroom Mobile is free to download and install, but to sync with Lightroom on the desktop you need a Creative Cloud subscription and an Internet connection (you can’t sync locally). Also, for now it’s available only for iPad on iOS 7 (iPhone is next). These requirements have disappointed some users. Personally, I’m relieved that Lightroom Mobile runs great on my old iPad 2.

Update: You can now read my review of Lightroom Mobile on CreativePro.com.

New features in Camera Raw 8.4

The Adobe Camera Raw 8.4 blog post I linked above describes new features for Camera Raw including:

  • Before/After preview feature. This replaces the Preview checkbox, and works sort of like the Before/After feature in Lightroom. If you’re used to pressing the P key to toggle the old Preview checkbox, pressing P now swaps the Before and After views.
    Before/after view in Camera Raw
  • Pet-Eye Correction. No joke…when the eyes of dogs, cats, and other animals are blown out in flash photos, they require different correction than red-eye in humans. This new feature lets you quickly simulate dark animal eyes, and includes an option for creating movable catchlights in the eyes.
    Pet-eye removal, new in Camera Raw 8.4
  • Shortcuts for resetting Develop sliders. And new options for selecting all or no checkboxes when synchronizing settings.
  • Fill Image option for the Radial Filter. This makes the Radial Filter area cover the entire image area, which is useful if you prefer to create image vignettes with the Radial Filter instead of using Post Crop Vignetting.
  • Shortcut for aspect ratio toggle between horizontal and vertical for the Crop Tool or Straighten tool. Simply press the X key, as in Lightroom.
  • Built-in lens profile indicator. If Camera Raw automatically applies a built-in lens profile (also called “metadata-based” by Adobe) to the image, the Profile panel now indicates this.
    Metadata (built-in) lens profile in Adobe Camera Raw 8.4

A metadata-based or built-in lens profile is not the same as the lens profiles you can choose in Camera Raw and Lightroom. It’s applied automatically when necessary, with no user controls. You may see the built-in lens profile indicator appear for raw files from some compact cameras, because it is so difficult to built a compact lens that is fast, sharp, and undistorted while remaining affordable. Some camera makers have realized that if they allow for more lens distortion and chromatic aberration, they can push harder toward the other lens design goals while reducing size and cost. You don’t normally see the extreme distortion because the camera automatically compensates internally when you shoot JPEG, and if the camera comes with raw conversion software its software applies the correction too. But this means a truly raw image from such a lens would look severely distorted compared to a JPEG from the camera. For this reason, when Camera Raw detects one of those lenses in the image metadata, a built-in profile is always applied. If you then apply a lens profile in the Lens Correction tab, that is a different lens profile and an additional stage of lens correction.

Camera Raw vs. Lightroom feature parity

Should Lightroom users be concerned that Lightroom 5.4 doesn’t also have new features other than sync to LIghtroom Mobile? No, because some of the new features in Camera Raw 8.4 appeared in Lightroom first, such as the Before/After view and pressing the X key to swap the crop aspect ratio. Adobe continues to add features to Camera Raw to bring it closer to Lightroom, as I wrote about in my article Camera Raw 8.2 vs Lightroom 5.2: Latest Releases Shift the Balance.

But Camera Raw 8.4 adds a few features Lightroom doesn’t have yet, such as the metadata-based lens profile indicator, the Fill Image option for the Radial Fill filter, and pet-eye correction.

These differences aren’t just academic. Many people ask whether they should build their workflow around Lightroom or Camera Raw, and knowing the differences helps clarify the decision.

Compatibility

Important: At the time this article was published there was a problem with Camera Raw 8.4 and Bridge CS6. If you run into this, manually install the build of Camera Raw 8.4 provided by the link in the Adobe tech note Camera Raw 8.4: no metadata or Camera Raw edit in Bridge CS6.

Camera Raw 8.4 is available for both Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6 (as well as Adobe Bridge CS6 and CC). Consistent with current Adobe policy, Photoshop and Bridge CS6 get Camera Raw 8.4 bug fixes and support for new cameras, but not the new features.

Creative Cloud updater showing Camera Raw 8.3 update

As announced earlier, Camera Raw and DNG Converter now require OS X 10.7 or Windows 7. If you have an earlier operating system you can go only as high as Camera Raw 8.3.

If you’ve been using the Release Candidate (RC) versions of Camera Raw that were released by Adobe Labs earlier for public testing, you should install these final versions because there have been some changes from the RC versions.

How to get the updates

To update Camera Raw from Photoshop, start Photoshop and choose Help > Updates.

To update Lightroom, start Lightroom, choose Help > Updates, download the installer, and run the installer.

or:

To update both Camera Raw and Lightroom through Adobe Creative Cloud: Start Adobe Creative Cloud if it isn’t running, and it should indicate that an update is available for Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom.

You can also download standalone installers for Lightroom 5.4 and DNG Converter 7.4 from the Adobe Product Updates page.

Lightroom updater

Lightroom 5.3 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.3 released

Photoshop CC iconAdobe Lightroom 5 iconAdobe Creative Cloud icon

Adobe has released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.3 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.3 with the same raw processing updates for both, and with a corresponding DNG Converter 8.3 update. All are free updates for current licenses of the software. The updates also include the usual bug fixes, adds support for new cameras including the Nikon Df, Pentax K-3, Sony A7/A7r, and the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone; and also add new lens correction profiles including one for the iPhone 5s. For more details, go to:

If you’ve been using the Release Candidate (RC) versions that were released by Adobe Labs earlier for public testing, you should install these final versions because there have been some changes from the RC versions.

New features in Camera Raw

The Adobe Camera Raw 8.3 blog post I linked above describes new features for Camera Raw including:

  • Auto-straighten with the Straighten tool.
  • Apply auto-levels-like adjustment for the Whites and Blacks sliders (Shift-double-click).
  • Apply Auto Temperature and Auto Tint separately (Shift-double-click). Previously, you could only choose Auto white balance which always adjusted both sliders.
  • Control background color of work area and toggle the border around the image.
  • In the dialog boxes for synchronizing settings and creating presets, Option/Alt-clicking a checkbox is a shortcut for selecting that checkbox only, and toggling back to the previous set of selected checkboxes.

Should Lightroom users be concerned that Lightroom 5.3 doesn’t have new features? No, because some of those features appeared in Lightroom first. Adobe continues to add features to Camera Raw to bring it closer to Lightroom, as I wrote about in my article “Camera Raw 8.2 vs Lightroom 5.2: Latest releases shift the balance.” But the border toggle and sync checkbox features are unique to Camera Raw.

As you can see in the updater screen shot below, Camera Raw 8.3 is available for both Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6 (as well as Adobe Bridge CS6 and CC). Consistent with current Adobe policy, Photoshop and Bridge CS6 get Camera Raw 8.3 bug fixes and support for new cameras, but not the new features.

Creative Cloud updater showing Camera Raw 8.3 update

End of the line for older OSs (Camera Raw and DNG Converter)

If you’re using Photoshop CS6 with an older Mac or Windows operating system, you’ll want to understand this excerpt from the Camera Raw 8.3 blog post I linked earlier:

Please note that this is the final version of Camera Raw 8 and DNG Converter 8 that will be available for Photoshop CS6 customers on Windows XP, Windows Vista or Mac OSX 10.6. Impacted customers can continue either update to compatible operating system (sic) or continue to use Camera Raw 8.3 for Photoshop CS6.

The Adobe note goes on to say that newer OS versions will keep getting updates.

How to get the updates

To update Camera Raw from Photoshop, start Photoshop and choose Help > Updates.

To update Lighroom, start Lightroom, choose Help > Updates, download the installer, and run the installer.

or:

To update both Camera Raw and Lightroom through Adobe Creative Cloud: Start Adobe Creative Cloud if it isn’t running, and it should indicate that an update is available for Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom.

You can also download standalone installers for Lightroom 5.3 and DNG Converter 7.3 from the Adobe Product Updates page.

Lightroom updater

Camera Raw 8.2 vs Lightroom 5.2: Latest releases shift the balance

Photoshop CC iconAdobe Lightroom 5 iconAdobe Creative Cloud icon

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has traditionally had a few more productivity features than Adobe Camera Raw, but the improvements in the September 2013 release of Adobe Camera Raw 8.2 bring Camera Raw closer to parity with Lightroom. (Version 5.2 of Lightroom was released at the same time.) Both have been available as public release candidates (test versions), but these are now the final versions.

ACR catches up to Lightroom

Adobe keeps ACR and LR in sync for format compatibility, but Lightroom has historically had more efficiency and workflow features than Camera Raw. This time it looks like Adobe wanted to sync up the feature sets more tightly. The features below add to those in the June release of Camera Raw 8.1 and were already part of Lightroom, such as soft-proofing and making the crop aspect ratio independent of output dimensions.

Interactive histogram. You can drag ranges of the Camera Raw histogram left or right, and each range corresponds to a slider in the Basic panel. For example, dragging the far left side of the histogram (the darkest tones) adjusts the Blacks slider. You can now do this in Camera Raw 8.2. When you drag in the histogram, the corresponding slider moves and a readout below the histogram tells you what’s being changed. In the example below, the second zone from the left is dragged and the readout shows that zone affects the Shadows value.

Interactive histogram

By the way, if you’re new to Camera Raw 8, notice that when you select a printer profile in Workflow Options the usual highlight and shadow clipping icons at the top left and top right corners of the histogram are replaced by a single Gamut Warning icon in the top right corner (the one that looks like a printer) . This is consistent with the new soft-proofing capability. Note that this icon does not necessarily mean a CMYK profile is selected, because it will appear if the printer profile you’ve selected is RGB-based.

Workflow presets. Up until now it has been a bit of a hassle to use Camera Raw for direct output to different media because it could remember only the last settings you used. If you wanted to output more images using the settings from an export before the most recent one, you would have to enter those settings all over again. And hopefully you wrote them down. Lightroom users have had it much easier, because if you saved a Lightroom export preset you could reproduce the settings of a previous export instantly and exactly. Now Camera Raw has a similar capability in the form of workflow presets.

To choose a workflow preset in the main Camera Raw window, right-click the blue linked workflow text at the bottom of the window.

Choosing workflow options

To set up workflow option presets, click the blue linked workflow text at the bottom of the Camera Raw window, customize the options in the Workflow Options dialog box that opens, and at the top of the dialog box use the commands in the Preset menu to create or update workflow presets.

Workflow options dialog box

Save options presets. You can also create presets for the settings in the Save Options dialog box. To make this practical, Adobe added the Color Space, Image Sizing, and Output Sharpening options to the Save Options dialog box. This makes it possible to use Save options that are different than the Workflow options. (A Save preset applies when you save to a finished image file directly from Camera Raw, while a Workflow preset applies when you convert an image from Camera Raw into a new Photoshop document.) This distinction is important because the requirements of saving vs Photoshop conversion are very different. When you convert raw to Photoshop you usually want to preserve maximum image quality for further Photoshop editing, but when you save a finished file from Camera Raw you usually want to downsample it, compress it, apply output sharpening to it, and convert it to sRGB color, especially if it’s for a web site or for final presentation on a display.

Save options presets

New features for both Camera Raw and Lightroom

Some features are new to both Camera Raw 8.2 and Lightroom 5.2.

Color noise reduction smoothing. Applying color noise reduction can reduce the effect of fine color noise, but larger splotchy areas could still exist. In the past, the only way to address the splotchiness was to turn up the Color noise reduction value even more, but that could reduce color detail that you wanted to preserve. Now you can leave the Color setting the same and increase Color Smoothness instead.

Color Smoothness option

In the example below, the left image is set for a Color Smoothness value of 0, and the right image is set to a value of 70. Notice how the large areas of color noise become much less visible.

Color Smoothness example

In other words, use the Color noise reduction option to reduce high frequency color noise, and use the Color Smoothness option to reduce low frequency color noise.

Duplicate an Adjustment Brush pin. When a local adjustment is already maxed out, a popular workaround is to add another adjustment pin and paint over the same area again. LR 5.2 and ACR 8.2 now let you accomplish the same thing by quickly duplicating the adjustment pin. You can duplicate or remove a pin by right-clicking it and choosing the command you want from the context menu that pops up.

There are keyboard shortcuts for these actions. To duplicate an Adjustment Brush pin, Command-Option-drag it (Mac) or Control-Alt-drag it (Windows).  To remove an Adjustment Brush pin with a shortcut, Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click (Windows) the pin.

Unfortunately, you can’t move the duplicate pin. It will appear exactly on top of the original pin, so it might look like nothing happened. You can avoid confusion by confirming that the duplicate was created by looking in the History panel; hopefully Adobe will clarify this user experience in the future.

Spot Removal feathering. You can now use the new Feather slider to control the softness of the edge of the area you paint when you use the Spot Removal tool.

Spot removal feathering option

Fixed: Export resizing bug. If you exported an image to pixel dimensions less than 1/3 of the original, output sharpening and noise reduction weren’t applied. This was pretty nasty for anyone producing images for web sites or low-resolution device output, but it’s fixed in Lightroom 5.2 and Camera Raw 8.2

Camera Raw gets a few features first

Surprisingly, Camera Raw now has a couple of features that Lightroom doesn’t have.

White balance Eyedropper tool rectangle mode. Instead of setting white balance by clicking in one place with the Eyedropper tool, you can now drag the tool to sample any region in the image. This feature bucks the trend because it’s a new feature that appeared in Camera Raw first—Lightroom 5.2 doesn’t have it.

CMYK soft-proofing. This was introduced in Camera Raw 8.1, but is worth mentioning here in case you missed it. While not as full-featured as the soft-proofing in Lightroom, it has one feature Lightroom does not: You can choose a CMYK profile. (In Lightroom you can choose only an RGB profile.) You also have the option of having Camera Raw send the image to Photoshop as a CMYK Smart Object. In a PDF update to his book Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers, Martin Evening describes a scenario in which a Camera Raw Smart Object is set to CMYK, saved as part of a Photoshop TIFF, and then placed into an Adobe InDesign layout for CMYK final output. Lots of people hope Lightroom will add support for soft-proofing with a CMYK profile.

Along with everything I’ve talked about above, these Lightroom and Camera Raw updates include the usual additions that you see each version including new cameras supported for tethered shooting, new camera raw formats supported for editing, and new lens correction profiles.

What happened to Lightroom 5.1?

There was no Lightroom 5.1, so you didn’t miss anything. Adobe wanted to keep the 0.x version numbers in sync, so Lightroom was numbered 5.2 to keep pace with the Camera Raw release with comparable features which is version 8.2.

Reminder: CS6 gets new cameras but not new features

If you’re using Photoshop CS6, remember that while Adobe is maintaining backward compatibility of Camera Raw 8 for CS6 by adding support for new camera raw formats, CS6 does not get the new features listed above. Those are enabled for Photoshop CC only.

Photography Program now in effect

After being announced at Photoshop World in the first week of September, the Adobe Photography Program went live on September 17. Like a mini version of Creative Cloud, you get access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, along with 20GB of online file storage and a Behance ProSite (high-quality photography portfolio website). What most other sources don’t mention is that you also can also download Adobe Bridge CC as part of the Photography Program or Creative Cloud.

There is some confusion about the monthly US$9.99 price that Adobe calls “not an introductory price.” To get that price you must sign up by December 21. 2013. According to John Nack in his blog post Photoshop Photography Program Now Available, what Adobe means is that the price will remain the same after a year if you sign up by then.

Full release notes

There are even more changes in this release than I’ve listed. Read about them in the Adobe posts Lightroom 5.2 now available and Camera Raw 8.2 and DNG Converter 8.2 Now Available on the Lightroom Journal blog.

How to get the updates

To update Camera Raw from Photoshop, start Photoshop CC and choose Help > Updates.

To update Lighroom, start Lightroom, choose Help > Updates, download the installer, and run the installer.

or:

To update both Camera Raw and Lightroom through Adobe Creative Cloud: Start Adobe Creative Cloud if it isn’t running, and it should indicate that an update is available for Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom.

How to Digitize a Film Archive with Adobe Lightroom or Camera Raw — CreativePro.com article

How to Digitize a Film Archive with Adobe Lightroom or Camera Raw on CreativePro.com

Digitizing an archive of film images can be a time-consuming process. In my latest article for CreativePro.com, I tell you how to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (or Adobe Camera Raw with Adobe Bridge) to accelerate importing, editing, and organizing incoming film scans. You’ll get through hundreds of scans much faster and more efficiently than editing each image individually in Photoshop.

Click the link below to read the article at CreativePro.com:
How to Digitize a Film Archive with Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw