Thursday, May 3, 2012


 As promised in the last entry, here I have a direct comparison picture between a photo edited using normal bitmap tools and one that I used RAW tools in editing. All I did here was darkened an overexposed photo.
As you can see, there was a horrible loss of detail in the JPEG. Overbright areas are not a problem when editing in RAW, though. All the detail is preserved, and so I can edit freely. Same goes for too dark photos, even if its completely black, youll be able to pull out lots of invisible detail when brightening a raw, whereas brightening such a JPEG would produce horrible, horrible artifacts. 

Below is the original overexposed photo. Its simply flowing water beneath a bridge, shot with long shuttertime, about half a sec I wager (RAW also saves all this info automatically, I just cant be arsed checking the exact value.), rest of the settings as dark as the camera could go. Taking a photo like this with the gear I have and getting the result above would not be possible if not for the RAW editing tools, the camera simply cant interpret such bright values on its own. Of course, you can save it as a JPEG, and darken it that way, but as we see above, RAW offers way better options. Originally I had intended to take the photo with an even longer shuttertime, to really accentuate the movement, and to better show the patterns formed by the flowing water. 
Now now, dont be fooled by my simple examples, the plugin, Camera RAW, can do much more than this. It offers a complete suite for photoediting, its quick, its simple, its intuitive. It takes about 2 minutes, tops, to figure out the GUI. Most of the tools work using sliders, and all the options are neatly grouped into tabs, which makes it really easy and fun to use.

I Camera RAW was first introduced in Photoshop CS2, and is one of the preinstalled plugins for CS3 and above. All you have to do is, go out, take a photo, set camera to save as RAW, and open it in PS. The plugin will open automatically. Its just that easy. It may not be necessary for your party photos, but when were talking about real photographing, RAW can make all the difference in the world.

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