Working with RAW....

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sarah23, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    OK...so today my friend welcomed her husband home from Iraq, and I took a LOT of pictures. They are all in RAW format...and now Im not too sure what to do with them. Do I need to sharpen them? I know how to fix the exposure...kinda...sorta....

    OK...I totally dont know what im doing....

    help! :blushing:
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Open them up in Adobe Lightroom, or Adobe CameraRAW for photoshop and leave all the settings per default if you don't.

    Other than that play around with those programs, the various settings will soon make sense.
     
  3. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    Well, think of RAW as a digital negative; you need to develop it. Using the software Garbz mentioned, or Canon's software or whatever you have, you will process them to achieve your desired result.

    Start with the very basics - exposure, WB - and work from there slowly. Sharpen them if you think they need sharpening.

    RAW gives you the ability to argue with your camera; if you don't like the settings it applied to your photos you can change them, from WB and brightness to curves and advanced color correction.

    RAW obviously gives you a lot more flexibility and creative control, also the ability to salvage some photos, but if you find that you are always happy with your default camera processing, consider JPG.

    Don't forget to export the processed photos to JPGs too! :D
     
  4. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    Usually, I use RAW primarily to get the exposure and color balance correct, then I export it as a TIFF and do my normal workflow in CS3. That may seem counter-intuitive to some people, but I find that I have more control in CS3 (it's probably that I'm just more used to CS3). Definitely look at saturation while you're in the RAW program....RAW's tend to be less saturated because the camera hasn't touched em yet. As far as RAW sharpening, it works well, but sometimes it's a little harder for me to see the changes in the RAW edit, so I'll do minimal sharpening in RAW and then get it right in CS3.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I see that I am starting to often use a combination of Capture NX, export to TIFF and touchup in CS3 before exporting to JPG via Noise Ninja.

    In Capture NX I setup a batch job to apply auto D-Lighting and increase sharpening by 50% and export to TIFF. I then go through all the TIFFs in a viewer full screen and note all the TIFFs that I want to touch up in CS3. Then (don't laugh) if I am really lazy, I use noise ninja to batch convert from TIFF to JPG using a special noise profile where NO changes are made, it just converts. If I have taken a series of pictures that I feel need noise reduction, as part of the batch job I tell it to profile EACH picture and remove the noise based on the profile it creates before exporting to full size JPG.

    I've been happy with the results and the time spent on each pic overall is much reduced. For me, at least an easy 50% savings in time nehind the screen. However, if I want the BEST results, its all done in CS3, one picture at a time. I really need to learn about actions in CS3. Oh well, someday.
     
  6. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    About the only thing that I've ever done in RAW is color balance and even that, very little. I'm curious about the exposure adjustments. From my way of thinking, if there wasn't enough light when you took the picture, how much can you really do after the fact? Also, whatever you can do with exposure adjustments can also be done with TIFF and jpg. What's the benefit to RAW for that purpose?
     
  7. confucious

    confucious TPF Noob!

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    You got a disc with software when you bought your camera. It is actually VERY good software for tooling with RAW files (same software you installed to download pics form your camera onto your pc - there are various programs, one of which lets you play with your raw files. Sorry - can't remember the name right now). Open it up, select your folder, double click a photo to get it in a separate full screen window. At the top you'll have the regular selections (File, Edit etc.), but you can pull up your tools by left clicking the mouse.

    ONce you've got your tools up, there are three layered windows. The top/first is ONLY applicable/usable with Raw files. It lets you adjust white balance, settings (standard, portrait etc.), contrast and some others.

    Nobody can tell you what to do from here. It could be your photos were taken perfectly, and any messing will ruin them. It could be you forgot to change the white balance, so all your photos are "off". Play with the tools, understand what they do, and then "fix" anything that needs it.

    It's all about your eye, what you want. Good Luck!
     
  8. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    RAW is more accurate and will give better results when trying to rescue an image. Yes, people WILL say 'well i wouldn't be in that situation because my exosures are never that bad'... well nice, but thats up to you... the fact is its there if you need it.

    This website is good for info and tests, maybe it will help answer yours and the OP's questions.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/jpg-follies.shtml
     
  9. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    Reply to Socrates:
    The whole idea is that you don't lose any info in the processing. You'd be surprised how much data can be salvaged with adjusting exposure. I feel that's one of the primary benefits of using RAW. Some info says it's better to overexpose than underexpose for RAW adjustment. If you touch levels or curves than you ARE essentially adjusting exposure.

    The point is that once you take that picture in TIF or JPG format the camera has already sent it through its own algorithm and applied changes. That data from compression and the algorithm is forever gone. Also, I can take 14-bit RAW pics with my camera, but the JPG will only be 8-bit. That's almost twice the bit depth. That's kinda the whole point of RAW.

    Also, I try to get the picture in RAW editing as close as I can to what the final product will be and then I convert to TIF so the only data I'm losing is data that I didn't want in the first place. From the TIF stage I can further edit without loss and then convert to JPG (which will compress and lose data).
     
  10. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    RAW contains more information, giving you a bit more leeway when doing adjustments. When editing RAW files, within limits, you don't change the original information in the file, you pick what part of it you want to use. With JPGs you are essentially painting over the original.
     
  11. Drake

    Drake TPF Noob!

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    I've been shooting RAW for about a month now and am totally in love with the format. It is impossible to count how many times it has saved my highlights from being blown, pretty useful especially when you are still getting used to a dslr. A little tip for the ones using photoshop to "develop" their RAW files (well, most of advanced users know it already, but still...) - always do your sharpening and noise reduction at 100% magnification or you won't see what you actually are doing with the image.
     
  12. nclester

    nclester TPF Noob!

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    So shooting in RAW is primarily for editing, and offers the ability to correct any mistakes you, or your camera may have made? I occasionally shoot in RAW, just because I heard it gave me more control over my photos, but honestly. I rarely need it, or so I think. Could someone show us an image shot in RAW, and then a JPG or TIFF? Is there a noticeable difference to the naked eye?

    Are there any tips or tutorials on how to edit RAW photos appropriately in Lightroom?

    Shooting with a D80, if that even matters. Haha. Thanks!
     

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