Camera Raw Editing Settings

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by eric-holmes, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a question for those who shoot raw. I seen a tutorial that said to make your defaults all set to "0". Is this a good starting point for most pictures? The tutorial went on to say to do all of your sharpening and noise reduction in Photoshop itself. I was just curious as to see what others do.

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  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If that is the tutorial I have seen than I urge you to remember that with photoshop there are loads of ways to approach editing. The tutorial I saw (and I assume was similar to the one you saw) is advocating a very generalist edit in RAW and then using photoshop and layers (plus layer masks) to apply specific editing to key areas of the shot itself.
    Whereas editing in RAW mode any edits you make are global over the entire shot - this can be good for quick editing but if you have specific needs and controls you want to put in place then one might perfer a more controled editing method.

    Suffice to say both modes can work very well and indded can deliver fantastic results (though remmeber even an adjusted RAW will have editing still done upon it once its not longer a RAW).

    As for sharpening and noise this is the correct approach and is the one that most people use - this is because both modes are "destructive" in their method of application. That is once performed they can limit how much further you can edit the image before you get problems like banding or artifacts - sharpening after allows you to do these edits with the full data and then sharpen the results after. Further noise removal is often not needed on detailed areas and can sap detail from them - so limiting its application just to the noisy areas of the shot is greatly beneficial.
     
  3. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do believe we are talking about the same tutorial. Considering that I only have Elements 8, I am limited in what I can do in Photoshop. I generally shoot all pictures in JPEG and RAW just in case I really love one of the pictures and need to really edit it more indepth. But I never plan to spend as much time as he did just to edit one picture. I know what he was doing was for example though. What kind of defaults do you use?
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I do agree for control his method appears to be a good way forward, but yes for speed RAW can be a lot quicker to globaly adjust.

    As for default settings - I really don't have any at all.

    My typical approach is thus:
    First adjust the temperature and tint to a suitable pleasing appearance. I normally do mose of this with the temperature slide and then work the tint based of those results. I also keep an eye on the histogram to ensure that I am not clipping any of the colour channels or even use the temperature to reduce present clipping in the original shot.
    I also sometimes have a look at the auto suggested settings just to see what the comptuer does (sometimes a second optinion, even if its inpartial to the shot, can be good to see).

    After that I typically hit the recovery slider if needed and play around with it to save any possible highlight or colour clipping - using the brightness slider as well. Contrast and blackness tend to come next and these are very much just set till I find a pleasing look.

    I also use the clarity slider (also called highpass sharpening - its the same thing, but now provided as an auto slider in RAW editing) to then add some "punch" to the shot. Again its done on no fixed amount, but keep an eye on the effects both at 100% and over the whole image as if you take it too far you can get odd halo effects appear on the shot.

    The rest of my editing I tend to do in elements and I don't really use the exposure slider unless there is a clear need to increase or decrease the exposure. However in cases where I have stronger highlight problems I will often double process the RAW - once normally and secondly for the highlights (basically dragging the slider all the way down in order to show up details in the brighter/whiter areas) and then layermask that over the original shot (I do this instead of burning the original and often it tends to work a lot better if a little slower)
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    No, I don't make my defaults all zero's.

    I have presets for each of my cameras and for certain camera and lens combinations.

    However, the Photoshop I use has an expanded version of ACR compared to what is available in Elements.

    As such I can do targeted local edits similar to what can be done in Lightroom.

    I do 'capture sharpening' in ACR. How much sharpening is like my slider presets, done on a camera and/or camera/lens basis.
     
  6. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Is there a certain way you adjust the settings for each camera/lens configuration or do you just eyeball it?
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I don't set every slider.

    Do you know about using the Alt key with some of the ACR sliders?

    How I use ACR varies depending on the type of images I am working on.
     
  8. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No, I do not know about the alt key when using sliders
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would advocate that with sharpening and noise reduction. Multiple passes of these lossy algorithms would lead to problems such as loss of detail or halos in your image.

    That said for the colour / contrast edits, it really comes down to what you're trying to achieve. If you're trying to increase the full image brightness I see no reason why one would do it in photoshop over cameraRAW.

    In some cases I could see cameraRAW being the better option. For instance in photoshop the exposure slider would be the same as cameraRAW, except that when you reduce it in cameraRAW highlight recovery is automatically activated. Reducing the brightness slider does not do this (to my knowledge) and is only done using either recovery or negative exposure compensation.
    If you're applying very specific edits on the other hand photoshop is your only option.

    I tend to get the image to a good state to start off in and then jump into photoshop.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The next time you are using ACR hold down the Alt key, left click on and move the Exposure slider, and see what happens.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    oooh neat!
    Though I do hate how adobe clean up their user interface by hiding controls with the alt key.....
     
  12. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    To be honest, I think that setting to 0 is one way of keeping things simple.

    to set the camera in different settings is to mimic film and the way old film types use to work. Monochrome, grain, size, etc. In one regard, you can mimic Fuji or Kodachrome film types from slide film. (Kodak was notoriously red... Fuji blue). This allowed Fuji to shoot landscapes one way and Kodak another. Kodak 160 speed 120 Med. Format film is fantastic for weddings, and digital can now mimic that effect to a good degree. Canon has individual profiles set up in their newest version of DPP, and you can load and save individual tonality profiles into the camera. Personally, you really need to be careful though, mostly because you can get undesirable effects. So experiment and take your time. Most of all, record the settings.
     

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