Some pho­tog­ra­phers con­sid­er work­ing in the Adobe Cam­era Raw (ACR) con­vert­er to be the most impor­tant stage of pro­cess­ing, while oth­ers pre­fer to quick­ly close it in order to move on to the main one — Pho­to­shop.

We fig­ure out why ACR is need­ed, how to use it to speed up retouch­ing, quick­ly over­tone the image and dri­ve it into the desired col­or scheme, “light up” the eye or light source in the frame, and also improve skin tone in a cou­ple of mouse move­ments.

Pho­to: Eliz­a­beth Chechevic / www.instagram.com/chechevic_a

Why you need Camera Raw and what is RAW

Adobe Cam­era Raw is a plug-in built into Pho­to­shop that allows you to edit the “raw” source. It’s like devel­op­ing a film in a dark room — with­out spe­cial manip­u­la­tions and reagents, we will not see the fin­ished pic­ture, which we will then print or receive on a USB flash dri­ve.

ACR is need­ed to work with pho­tos tak­en in RAW for­mat. This is a for­mat that con­tains all the infor­ma­tion from the cam­er­a’s matrix, and this is its main advan­tage over JPEG. For exam­ple, you can great­ly light­en or dark­en cer­tain parts of the pho­to, show details, because the for­mat “remem­bers” what is hid­den in these parts of the pic­ture. RAW uncom­pressed and unprocessed in advance by the cam­era is sharp­er, it does not have the dis­tor­tions that appear dur­ing com­pres­sion, like JPEG.

Raw is trans­lat­ed as “raw”, “unprocessed”. Such files are heav­ier than JPEG, their stor­age requires more space, but it can be processed more rad­i­cal­ly with­out loss of qual­i­ty / Screen­shot of the author

Just like that, RAW can­not be uploaded to social net­works — for this they require pre-pro­cess­ing, con­ver­sion. For this, you need the Adobe Cam­era Raw con­vert­er or its twin broth­ers — Adobe Light­room, Cap­ture One and oth­ers.

You can choose RAW for­mat in the set­tings of your cam­era or even your phone. It appeared on Android in 2014, and on IOS in 2016. Some cam­eras take pic­tures in two for­mats at once. It is con­ve­nient if you need to send a JPEG to a client before pro­cess­ing so that he selects images for retouch­ing.

Don’t be alarmed if you chose to shoot in RAW in the cam­era set­tings, but opened the files on your com­put­er and did­n’t see them. RAW is the com­mon name for all files of this type. It is called dif­fer­ent­ly by dif­fer­ent cam­era man­u­fac­tur­ers. Canon has .cr2 or .cr3, Nikon has .nef, Sony Alpha has .arw, RAW is abbre­vi­at­ed .dng for smart­phones.

Also, do not rush to call the wiz­ard if the com­put­er can­not open RAW. With­out spe­cial pro­grams that read this for­mat, you can see the footage only in con­vert­ers. For Win­dows 10, you can down­load the free Raw Image Exten­sion plu­g­in. Also, this for­mat is read by the free pro­gram Fast­Stone Image View­er. Mac users are luck­i­er — the built-in Apple Pho­tos soft­ware auto­mat­i­cal­ly reads RAW.

Processing secrets in Camera Raw

RAW con­ver­sion sounds like some­thing com­pli­cat­ed that the pros do for obvi­ous rea­sons. But for ACR, there are many sim­ple tricks that will quick­ly fix a pho­to and speed up pro­cess­ing.

How to quickly get trendy toning in complementary colors

Com­ple­men­tary col­ors are col­ors at oppo­site ends of Johannes Itten’s col­or wheel. They cre­ate a strong con­trast that makes the pic­ture catchy and notice­able. For exam­ple, com­ple­men­tary pairs are red and green, vio­let and yel­low.

Screen­shot of the author

1. Go to the Cam­era Cal­i­bra­tion tab.

2. Move the slid­ers Sat­u­ra­tion (Hue) to Red (Red Pri­ma­ry) by +100, and to Blue (Blue Pri­ma­ry) by ‑100. Only blue and orange remain in the pho­to.

3. We final­ize the ratio of col­ors by adjust­ing the para­me­ter Sat­u­ra­tion (Sat­u­ra­tion).

How to remove red spots on the skin and correct its tone

To work with indi­vid­ual col­ors, you need the HSL tab. The prin­ci­ple of its oper­a­tion is that ACR finds pix­els of a cer­tain col­or in a pho­to and allows you to sep­a­rate­ly influ­ence each of its three para­me­ters:

  • tone — red­der or oranger, green­er or yel­low­er pix­els of a cer­tain col­or;
  • light­ness — the col­or will become lighter or dark­er;
  • sat­u­ra­tion — the col­or will be rich­er or clos­er to gray.
Screen­shot of the author

1. Go to HSL and in the tab Col­or tone (Hue) we find the slid­er Reds (Reds). To make the pim­ples, nose and fin­gers red­dened from the cold equal to the rest of the skin, move this slid­er towards orange.

2. As a rule, after that, the for­mer red spots still stand out. Go to the tab Light­ness or Bright­ness (Lumi­nance) and raise the slid­er with red, light­en­ing the prob­lem areas. In the tab Sat­u­ra­tion (Sat­u­ra­tion) shift red towards gray.

3. We refine the skin tone in orange, yel­low, occa­sion­al­ly pur­ple col­ors. Often, if you raise the Light­ness of these slid­ers, the skin becomes fresh­er, some of the imper­fec­tions are hid­den, sim­pli­fy­ing fur­ther retouch­ing. The main thing is not to over­do it and not make your face look like a clay mask.

4. We refine the over­all sat­u­ra­tion of the skin col­or in the Cam­era Cal­i­bra­tion tab by shift­ing Sat­u­ra­tion in the blue chan­nel (Blue Pri­ma­ry).

How to change the color balance and not make a mistake

Col­or bal­ance, or white bal­ance (WB), affects how col­ors appear in an image. In sim­ple terms, now we will check whether the white bal­ance is yel­low, green or red.

Ide­al­ly, if we do not tint the pho­to on pur­pose, the white objects in the pic­ture should be the same as in life. Then the col­ors remain “clean” for per­cep­tion, the view­er con­sid­ers the frame nat­ur­al and pleas­ing to the eye — the brain does not need to digest unnec­es­sary infor­ma­tion and “crush” the par­a­sitic shade.

1. To change the BB and the mood of the frame, take the slid­ers Tem­per­a­ture (Tem­per­a­ture) and Hue (Tint).

2. Go down and move the para­me­ters Sat­u­ra­tion (Sat­u­ra­tion) and Vibrance (Vibrance) to a val­ue of +100.

Pho­to with Sat­u­ra­tion and Vivid­ness turned up to adjust white bal­ance. It turns out a neon apoc­a­lypse, but you can imme­di­ate­ly see which way the col­or is skewed / Screen­shot of the author

1. We cor­rect the white bal­ance by mov­ing the slid­ers from step 1 and imme­di­ate­ly see how this is reflect­ed in the hyper­tro­phied sat­u­rat­ed pho­to. Too much yel­low from warm lamps or pur­ple spots on the face will imme­di­ate­ly become appar­ent.

2. After adjust­ing, remove the Sat­u­ra­tion and Vibrance and get pure nat­ur­al col­ors in a cou­ple of sec­onds.

How to remove unwanted colors from a photo

This tech­nique is often used by Insta­gram blog­gers, cre­at­ing a min­i­mal­is­tic pic­ture in uni­form col­ors. For this tech­nique, you still need the same HSL tab.

1. Go to HSL in the col­umn Sat­u­ra­tion (Sat­u­ra­tion). We remove the sat­u­ra­tion of ‑100 for all col­ors, except for the main ones in the frame.

As a rule, if there is a per­son in the pho­to, all col­ors are removed except for orange, red, yel­low, as well as col­ors that they want to empha­size / Screen­shot of the author

2. Col­ors that are not suit­able for the mood and idea can be ret­int­ed in the Hue tab. Then the num­ber of shades will decrease, but the pho­to will remain bright.

How to “light up” an object in Photoshop and emphasize the expressiveness of the eyes

To do this, we take the tools of man­u­al edit­ing. Adjust­ment Brush and Radi­al Fil­ter, which are in the ACR at the top left. They allow us to work on the areas of the pho­to we have cho­sen with­out chang­ing the entire frame.

1. To “light up” the object, select the Radi­al fil­ter. Raise the val­ues ​​​​of the slid­ers Expo­sure (Expo­sure), Light (Whites), White (High­lights) and Tem­per­a­ture (Tem­per­a­ture). If you need to cre­ate a cold light, then we take the tem­per­a­ture to blue.

There are no spe­cif­ic val­ues ​​​​— it all depends on the pho­to and the light inten­si­ty that you need to get / Screen­shot of the author

2. In the Radi­al fil­ter, change the set­ting Effect (Effect) to Inside (Inside), so that the light is “enclosed” in a cir­cle. The smooth­ness of the impact is adjustable using Feath­er, which is bet­ter to increase for a soft­er effect.

3. Apply the fil­ter to the desired area of ​​the image by drag­ging the cir­cle with the mouse.

In the same way, you can high­light the look, if it is poor­ly lit on the source, or remove bags under the eyes. This will require Adjust­ment brushand from the slid­ers — Expo­sure, Shad­ows, Lights. It is enough to draw a look with a brush with these set­tings. And you can make the iris rich­er by rais­ing the slid­er Sat­u­ra­tion. The main thing is not to over­do it.

How to batch process in Camera Raw

1. Select the nec­es­sary RAW files and move them to Pho­to­shop opened in advance, or go to the File tab and select the Open com­mand. You will open ACR, where the select­ed frames will be on the left.

2. To trans­fer the set­tings from one image to all the oth­ers, select the processed image, and then all the oth­ers using Alt (select frames one at a time) or Shift (click on the first and last files).

3. Click the right mouse but­ton and look for Syn­chro­nize set­tings (Sync Set­tings), or use the Alt + S hotkeys.

4. In the win­dow that opens, select which set­tings you want to trans­fer to anoth­er pho­to, and con­firm the deci­sion.

ACR even trans­fers changes made with hand tools. But this more often hin­ders than helps, as the mod­el moves, and the com­po­si­tion of the frame changes / Screen­shot of the author

How to work with multiple frames at once in Camera Raw

1. Select the desired pic­tures with Alt or Shift.

2. Now, by mov­ing any slid­ers, the effect will be applied imme­di­ate­ly to all select­ed pho­tos.

How to load a preset from Lightroom into Camera Raw

1. Go to Light­room and select the desired pre­set. We click on it with the right mouse but­ton, click Export and save the pre­set in .xmp for­mat.

2. Click on the hor­i­zon­tal bars on the right side of ACR, or click on the tab with three dots Advanced Image Set­tings (depend­ing on the ver­sion of the pro­gram) and select Load Set­tings.

3. We go to where we saved the pre­set from Light­room, select it. It will imme­di­ate­ly apply to the pho­to.

You can down­load RAW set­tings from pre­vi­ous shoots if you have xmp files left / Screen­shot of the author

How to save your presets in Camera Raw

1. Click on the hor­i­zon­tal stripes on the right in any right tab

2. Select Save Set­tings (Save Set­tings) and deter­mine what changes we want to leave in our future pre­set

3. We will be prompt­ed to choose a save path. It’s bet­ter not to change it. But remem­ber it to pick up pre­sets from here if you need to trans­fer them to a new com­put­er, or share them with a col­league

4. Give a name and save. It will imme­di­ate­ly appear in the Pre­sets tab.

Sim­i­lar­ly, you can save any pre­set down­loaded from Light­room.

How to open JPEG in Camera Raw

1. Open a pho­to in jpeg for­mat in Pho­to­shop.

2. At the top of the pro­gram menu, look for the Fil­ter menu and click on the Cam­era Raw Fil­ter (short­cut keys Shift + Ctrl + A).

Screen­shot of the author

What Camera Raw Can’t Do

In ACR, the fol­low­ing tabs and tools are not avail­able for jpeg images, because they sim­ply do not con­tain the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion:

1. A line through which the bit depth, col­or space and res­o­lu­tion of the pho­to are changed;

2. There is no tab Snap­shots (Snap­shots), which allows you to cre­ate mul­ti­ple ver­sions of pro­cess­ing;

3. No auto­mat­ic cor­rec­tion of chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tion and lens dis­tor­tion;

4. The man­u­al edit­ing tools do not have the func­tion of crop­ping, cor­rect­ing the hori­zon, or rotat­ing the image.