Most digital cameras save a digital snapshot in the JPEG format. Saved settings like smoothing, sharpening, or white balance are controlled by the camera and then are fixed when it is saved to the JPEG file format.
However, more and more of today’s digital cameras can encode image files into a file format that’s known as RAW. This file format records everything that the digital camera can throw at it and doesn’t lock the settings making the image editable in Photoshop’s Camera Raw dialog box.
The Camera Raw dialog box is akin to the darkroom, where photographers can manipulate the printing of the film. Before the image window is opened in Photoshop, the Camera Raw dialog box opens up allowing you to make modifications to the image.
When you are finished, Photoshop inputs your corrections and opens the image to prepare it for digital editing.
1. To bring up the Camera Raw dialog box, first save the RAW digital files onto your hard drive. These files have the .crw file extension.
2. Select File -> Open, select an image, and click Open to display the Camera Raw dialog box.
3. Below the preview window you’ll find a variety of options, including the Zoom drop-down menu, Preview checkbox, RGB value indicators, and buttons to rotate the image. To zoom in and out of the window, select a new percentage value in the drop-down menu. The RGB value indicators display the values of red, green, and blue if you move the cursor over the preview window. If the Preview checkbox is marked, changes made in other areas of the Camera Raw dialog box are reflected dynamically in the preview window.
4. At the bottom of the dialog box are options to change the color space, image size, color depth, and resolution of the image.
5. To the right side of the dialog box and below the histogram of the image, under Settings, you can adjust the settings for the Selected (or current) Image, Camera Default, and Previous Conversion, or create a blend of Custom settings.
6. If you click the Basic option in the upper righthand corner of the dialog box, you can manipulate the settings for Adjust and Detail. The Adjust Settings subset enables you to pick new values for the White Balance, Exposure, Shadows, and Brightness.
7. To edit the Sharpness, Luminance Smoothing, and Color Noise Reduction, click the Detail Settings Subset tab.
8. If you click the Advanced option, you can edit the subsettings for Lens and Calibrate. Clicking the Calibrate Subsettings tab enables you to edit the Shadow Tint as well as the hue and saturation for red, green, and blue. The Lens Subsettings tab enables you to edit Chromatic Aberration and Vignetting.
9. When finished, click OK. The file will then be processed and opened into a new image window, ready for digital imaging.