RAW questions

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by crawdaddio, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    I am trying to figure out how to use RAW well. I am using adobe raw converter/camera raw. Should I:

    1)Keep original raw pics (essentially my digital negative, right?) in one folder and use copies for editing in adobe raw? Or just go ahead and edit the original or change to jpeg or tiff? (there are too many ways to edit, I'm confused as to which is best).:x

    2)Use adobe raw to edit pics, then use photoshop, or just change straight to jpeg or tiff and use photoshop?

    3)Does the adobe raw converter editing do better, worse, or about the same thing to the actual image? (VS. PS) I'm going for top quality prints, BTW

    4)Which format is best for printing (somewhere around 8.5x11)?

    5)Essentially, what is the best way to keep raw pics organized, edited, changed to great quality, printable format?

    Alot of questions, I know, please bear with me and thank you for any and all help you can give.

    Thanks
    ~DC
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've used the EOS Viewer Utility and Adobe Camera Raw to process my RAW files...I don't find much of a difference...except that it's very convenient to just open the RAW files with Photoshop.

    Most people have their own work flow...you will have to find out what works best for you.

    Keeping your RAW files as 'digital negatives' is a good idea. Some people backup their RAW files right after uploading, by burning to CD/DVD or saving to a network/backup hard drive.

    Anyway, I think that when you process a RAW file, you have to save it in another format...like TIFF, JPEG or PSD etc.

    I end up with 4 or 5 copies of a lot of my files. First the RAW file, then a processed working copy with layers intact...so either a TIFF or PSD. Then I make a JPEG for printing (to send out) and a JPEG for web viewing. If I'm printing at home I might print from a PSD file rather than a JPG. I may even save multiple print files...4x6, 5x7, 8x10 etc.

    You do end up with a lot of files, that take up a lot of space. Storage is getting cheaper all the time though. I have gone back and deleted working copies and print files...but I never get rid of the original RAW or JPEG files.
     
  3. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, it's been very helpful.

    Do you resize your file to these sizes to correspond to print sizes? If so, does that help the final print(quality, clarity, etc........)? Anything else I should know on resizing? I have never really printed from a digital file, so it's all new to me. I will be sending these files out to Kodak for printing. Anything else I should do to help print quality?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help, I REALLY DO appreciate it:D

    ~DC
     
  4. duncanp

    duncanp TPF Noob!

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  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When I'm going to print, I use the crop tool (in Photoshop) to get the size & resolution right.

    You can set the size & resolution (or pick standard sizes from the drop down). For example, I'll pick 5x7 @ 300 PPI for the crop tool...then when you drag the crop outline, the ratio is fixed and when you hit enter to apply the crop, the image is resized/resampled to get the resolution.

    Then I 'save as' a JPEG file at maximum quality. I usually call it filename-5x7.jpg

    For some stupid reason, the common print sizes don't have the same ratio. My camera outputs the right ratio for 4x6 photos (same ratio as 35mm film)...but 5x7 is different and 8x10 is different etc. So if you just sent the files as is...the printer operator would have to crop it for you...and wouldn't you rather be the one who decides where the crop should be?

    Another way to get the print ratio and resolution is to make a new canvas (pick one from the presets) like 8x10 @ 300 PPI. Then go back to your image file, select all / copy. Then paste the image into the blank canvas...resize and move it around until the crop looks good to you.

    Either way, when I send a file for printing...it's at 300 PPI and the aspect ratio is correct.
     
  6. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    Cool, thank you.

    Do you bump up the res. even if the original image is at, say, 260ppi? Does that make it grainy? Also, how do I ensure the aspect ratio is correct?

    Thanks again, this forum rocks:hail:

    ~DC
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Bumping up the resolution comes into play when your file is not big enough to get the print size & DPI.

    When using the crop tool as described, photoshop will increase or decrease the file as needs. If it needs more pixels than what the file has...it has to interpolate. You can interpolate or "up size" your image a fair bit...but the bigger you go...the more pixels the software has to make up...so you loose quality. This is where having a higher Mega Pixel camera comes in handy...becuase you don't have to interpolate as much or at all.

    Another way to make your image file into a bigger print is to lower your output resolution (your printer DPI). Some people only print at 240 DPI rather than 300 DPI. So you only have to resize your images to 240 PPI...which means less interpolation.

    Getting the aspect ratio right, can be done with the crop tool as mentioned. If you want to print a 4x6 then pick "4X6 @ 300"...your file will then be 1200 pixels by 1800 pixels.

    If you want a 5x7 print, then your file should be 1500 x 2100. and so on.

    If your ratio is off (say 1500 x 1800) then it won't fit a standard photo size. That doesn't mean you can't print it...just that it wont fit a standard frame.
     
  8. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    Gotchya! Thanks for your help, I'm gonna give it a try later this evening.

    ~DC
     
  9. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Regardless of what raw software you use, you do not need to make copies of your raw files. The thing that seperates "digital negatives" from traditional ones, (among many) is that any editing you do to them is non destructive, and you can always click a button to return to "shot settings". Backing them up is however a good idea, but I would backup the files you have edited, preserving any changes you have made.

    I use C1 LE for my raw workflow, and after I edit the raw file to my liking, I export it as an 8bit tiff. This tiff file is saved in a subfolder of the raw file folder marked "Develops". When I back up, I back up the original folder, and the develops folder, which contains tiffs with any additional layers and editing that I've done in photoshop.

    Print files are made from the tiffs and scaled to the proper dimensions at 300dpi, and saved elsewhere in a print folder.

    Raw shooter essentials is a good program, as is the adobe raw converter, and C1 LE is also good. You can download raw shooter essentials for free, so it is worth your while to at least try it. You can also download a trial version of C1, and if you find you like it, it's $99. I find it to be the best in terms of final output quality, and overall control and ease of use.
     
  10. afghanjohn

    afghanjohn TPF Noob!

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    A few months back someone told me that jpgs degrade by a few pixels every time you open them. I have no idea if he's right or not, but it scared me into converting all my jpgs into tiffs.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think they degrade when you open them...but I'm sure they do whenever you save them.
     
  12. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Only when you save them, because they use heavy compression, which chips away pixels that are deemed non-essential to the image. In other words, it takes out a few pixels that it thinks you can't see anyway, and won't miss.

    Tiffs use a lossless compression, and can be saved and re-saved and never damage the file.
     

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