Photoshop / ACR Question...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by paulpippin29, May 25, 2009.

  1. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all. I just recently discovered Adobe Camera Raw, which I knew was included with the install of PS Elements 7, but tonight (or this morning rather) is the first time that I've ever played with it, at all. Even though I've been shooting in RAW for a long time now, I've always used DPP to handle the files.

    I'de like a little bit of "clarity" on some of these features I've discovered if you don't mind...

    The "Clarity" slider... seems to apply a skin smoothing effect, which is making me think twice about the images I've edited in the past, as it really improves the overall look of the subject, particularly, people. Now, is that exactly what the clarity effect is for, and if so, would this effect be destructive if I were to have the image printed?

    The "Recovery" slider... hadn't really grasped this one just yet. It seems to brighten or darken the overall image, but not quite the same way as the "brightness" slider does. What is it's purpose?

    The rest of the features are obvious in nature, and I've grasped them quite well, but the two above have me a bit stumped.

    The main reason I'm asking about these things, particularly the "Clarity" feature, is that I joined Shutterfly tonight, and plan on using the 25 free prints that they've given me to have a little something to show to folks who might want to see.

    If skin smoothing is indeed the goal of the "clarity" feature, would this be harmful to apply to images which were intended for print? In fact, speaking of that, should I do anything to those 25 images that I plan on selecting, or just let the ShutterFly folks handle it?

    I have the RAW format, original images to work with here, so I can edit from scratch, or do nothing at all other that convert to JPG.

    Thanks for your help :)
     
  2. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    From what I understand, the clarity slider is sort of a localized contrast adjustment. It's supposed to give more 'punch' to your shots. From what I gather, it works a lot like unsharp mask.

    Anything you do in ACR is non-destructive. You can always go back to where you were. RAW files are just that, RAW data. You can always go back to the original RAW file, no matter what you've done to it. When ACR loads the image into the actual photoshop editor, it converts the RAW to (I think...) a .psd file, the actual RAW file isn't changed.

    If you have some blown out highlights, recovery can be used to bring them back. I believe using it too much can result in added noise, especially in the highlights. Typically, I only use it until the highlights are just at the point of not being clipped anymore, and only if I really need to have the detail in those highlights brought back.

    Like anything else you do, whatever you do to your photos will show up in print. It's hard to say how it would affect the print in the end, however. I've never ordered prints from ShutterFly, so I have no idea how their prints are. The question is, do you really want some random person mucking with your photo, or would you rather do the mucking yourself. Since they are free prints, you could always just use them as a test to see how things will turn out, but then again, that's up to you.

    I think the one thing most people don't understand about RAW is that anything shot in RAW needs to be edited. There's no sharpening, saturation, noise reduction, etc applied to a RAW file by default, whereas all of these things are added to jpeg files in camera. RAW requires additional work to look good, but in the end you have a lot more control over your photos, and can do a lot of things you can't do with jpeg.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Gaerek gave you some good info there.

    The clarity slider adjusts midtone contrast which is why it seems to sharpen images. I routinely use +75 on the Clarity slider.

    As far as the Recovery slider, if the highlights are blown (above an RGB value of about 245) there is no data to recover with the slider.

    There are many books at Amazon.com that explain the ins and outs of ACR.
     
  4. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    I didn't know that. Good thing to know. :)
     
  5. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys... I really appreciate the info, and have a much better understanding of these features now. I've chosen my 25 shots, and am off to start the editing process with ACR. Thanks again for the great info as always :)
     

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