Camera Raw Processing


Filters and Smart Objects


Lesson Info

Camera Raw Processing

Alright, we're gonna move onto something that's near and dear to my heart and can be incredibly expansive and I just want to talk about this for a second. We're now going to the filter called Camera Raw. I love the Camera Raw filter. Now, as many of you know, you can open objects from Bridge and in Lightroom in Camera Raw on its own. This is actually the filter of Camera Raw. And what that means is you don't have to open a DNG file, you don't have to open a Camera Raw file. You can actually use any file in Photoshop and apply a Camera Raw filter to it. Okay? So one of the very easy uses it has is for shadow detail it's really quite fantastic if you ask me, I love this filter. Did someone ask me, someone must of asked me if I love this filter. I'm sure they did. And this is definitely one of my go-to (two second-pause) uses for Camera Raw and as providing shadow detail. On this ballerina shot, one of the things you'll notice on the commands here is that I've simply brightened up the sha...

dows. So there's the original, and I just simply started bringing up the blacks and the shadows. That's all. It's nothing. I think I might have bumped up the clarity a little bit. (clicks and drags cursor) And, I have to say I am often shocked how much detail there are left in photos that you may or may not have seen before, and you just put a Camera Raw filter on it, and it's like, Oh look. Dark. There. This is a stock shot so I did not have access to any kind of Camera Raw data. It's just the Camera Raw filter. So, let me show you where it is. It's right up here on the top. Camera Raw. I generally put this on the Smart Object. Alright, because I want to have access to it, to go back and forth. The old school method, I'm going to throw this away, The old school method for doing this was often going to Shadow and Highlights under Adjustment. And you bring up the Shadows that way. But then there's contrasting issues, it's not quite as flexible, and, well frankly it just doesn't do as good of a job. So if you use to be a Shadow and Highlights person, I'm gonna go ahead and suggest you start investigating Camera Raw. Now we're gonna look at some more Camera Raw, cause it's all about Camera Raw right now. Alright. So, I'm gonna show some work here. This is a photographer I work with, Dana Hursey, and imma talk a little bit about Camera Raw, and then imma talk a little bit about our process and why we use Camera Raw. And someone in the room was discussing about Lightroom versus Photoshop, and I'm going to use your analogy, that it's kinda like the Bloods and the Crips, like there's these schools, there are some folks who, some folks love their Lightroom, and don't wanna deal with Photoshop. And there's Photoshop folks who don't wanna deal with Lightroom. I'm of the latter persuasion, I'm a slow convert to Lightroom, it is a lovely program, but, I'm a little slow to get there. So, I have a photographer, who I work with, who well, he's a Lightroom guy. I'm not sure who would the Bloods be, and who would the Crips be, but you guys can sort that out yourself. I'm going to open up his site real quick, (punches keys) And we can take a look at this. And I wanna show you his stuff because it posed some problems for both of us for retouching and you might find this useful. So, Dana's style is very illustrative. He's got this very contrasty, colorful illustrated style that he likes to do when he shoots. It's ubiquitous, he really likes to use this style. You know, it's got some HDR to it. And where it posed problems was for retouching. So, I've actually retouched a bunch of these. Let me see, this was a campaign for a home repair company kind of thing. And do you see how it's got a very illustrative kind of style to it? Well, this is basically the original look for his work, and we're gonna talk about how we get there and what we do about it. So, Camera Raw. When I open a file, and it comes from Camera Raw, do y'all remember we talked about Smart Objects and it can be a file that you bring in and it already is Camera Raw? This is an example about this. Take a look. I've got a file here, it's called DH43, it's a frame number. If I double-click on that, that takes me right to Camera Raw and that's because this was opened up as a Camera Raw file. And we have done whatever settings, and when I work with this particular photographer, what will happen is I will get this file like this. He will have gone through and done his settings. But, he wants to do other settings later and change it. That will do a different kind of look. So, he wants me to retouch it, before he puts his illustration look on it because he may change his mind. So what will happen is he will give me the Camera Raw file, I will do my retouching. So I'm gonna talk about Java Float for just a second. What I do is I copy the layer, I retouch it on a flat layer, and then I proceed and then I put his illustration look on it. Why would I do that? Why would I go through all that trouble? Why I would do that, let me go back to his, Alright. Why I do that is, when you look at his particular style of work, it's very contrasty. And when you have files like this that are done for companies that are going to print them, there's issues with printing and there's issues with the contrasting. So, we can't deliver one file. We have to deliver a file that is malleable. So what happens is we do the retouching we apply his look, let's say that's the look, after we've done the retouching, and then, we give the client both files. We give them just the retouched look and then the retouched look with the illustration. And they can control the amount they do. How do we do that? Once you've done your retouching, you make your retouched layer a Smart Object, you make your retouched layer a Smart Object. Right there. I'm holding the control key. And now I go to Camera Raw. And I load some settings. What settings do I load? I load settings that he has figured out that he wants in Lightroom. So he sends me his XMP from Lightroom. Okay? And then I load those up. And that will give me the look he likes. And then I say, okay, well we're cool. I can now give you two files. Now, what happens often is he will give me the settings and I'll go oh my God, this is too crunchy, or this line is showing up, or this looks dirty, I need to re-retouch that. I throw it away, I do additional retouching. I then reapply his settings and now I can see what he's gonna see and I have a flexible file. Okay, so hopefully that is clear. It's a little convoluted but it's amazing when you deliver files to clients and you don't know what they need it for you need to be able to be flexible. And how do you be flexible? And what used to happen is he used to only deliver the illustrated files and the clients were complaining cause they needed to change it and they couldn't change it. So, through Camera Raw we were able to make it more flexible. Now I'm gonna spend a minute now and go through just some basic Camera Raw functions in here. And I love Camera Raw. I'm gonna go ahead and go through the illustrative one. (two-second pause) Alright, so in Camera Raw you can change all sorts of things. You can change your exposure. In fact, you know what, I think I'm gonna do, just make this a little easier. I'm gonna just go through original Camera Raw. So you're not looking at a correction on a correction. So you can change your exposure. You can change contrast. More contrasty, less contrasty. You can change your highlights. And again as we said before, that's shadow detail, that's shadow detail, and black is just fantastic! You can change the clarity. I mean imma tell you this is a six hour conversation in here. Now, the Sharpening, you can change the Sharpening. You gotta be careful here, and this is one of the reasons I like having Camera Raw as a filter and/or as a flexible file cause you can go back in because sometimes, How many of you have clients where you're looking at a file and they're looking at a phone or they're looking at something small and it looks amazing and it's great, and then look at it, print resolution, and then you're like, oh sweet God, that is so crunchy, or so yucky, and you gotta go back and fix it. So Camera Raw, if it's still a flexible filter, will allow you to go in and change. The other thing I love, right here, is the hue saturation. You can change, either just the hue, which changes the actual color that you're getting, or you can change the saturation of the colors. And so what that means is in the reds, minus that a little bit, you can say okay, I want the reds to be darker. Look at his lips. Or what was I thinking, I want the oranges to be darker. Or I want the yellows to be darker. This is one of the things I wish that the hue saturation in Photoshop, the adjustment layer, actually had orange. Had orange in there, wouldn't that be amazing? You could actually change that. And then in addition to that you can change the luminance. So how bright is it? Look at her shirt. You see that? So there's just so much you can do in here. It's just, again, it's a little like the toothpaste aisle, right? A little bit too much you can do. But just go slow, investigate. You've got this split toning, you've got lense correction. You've got effects. So, right now, do you see that frame I have on there? That's a post-vignette cropping. There's a color priority. There's paint overlay. So I actually put that on there. That's us. Us doing that. Cool? And there's so much you can do now. Do you remember I looked at, I'm gonna set this to normal for just a second. When I loaded his files, his presets, I went to a folder that I keep. This is a workflow conversation. Let me cancel, actually I'm not going to cancel out of that, I'm going to leave that right here. When I loaded his settings I went here to load settings because in my job folder, I save XMPs. Okay? In my job folder, I save XMPs. And why I do that is for me, the presets, I could save em in presets. But look it, okay, well Blue Dawn. Okay well which job was that, I was doing that? Oh, wait, well that was cross-processing. Oh wait, was that Dana's job for the kids or which job? And it can get really confusing which settings you see so I don't like to save presets in Camera Raw, it makes me crazy. I wanna save em in a job folder where I can load em. That's just my personal preference. Some people like to save em here. I don't. So I'm gonna cancel outta that. And now, I want to talk about something else. Seriously, Camera Raw is amazing. I wanna show you one more thing. With Camera Raw, because it is a filter, right, filter, Camera Raw, You have a mask so you can mask in and out. So let's say this look was something you guys were interested in and you thought, oh, this is awesome, we want this look, but what happened to his hair, his hair got all white and funny. You can mask it out. So with Camera, with Smart filters, you have masks that you can use to block out an area. Do you see that? So now everything's being affected but the hair. So they're also really flexible. You can mask em in and out which is kinda handy. And you can change them. You can load them. You can save em out as presets. So let's say you made your own Camera Raw filter and you did your own changes. You can save them out. You can save them out. That means if you spent all this time saving out something, We went to load settings. Well, you can also save settings. Right there. So, cool. Have some fun with Camera Raw. It's its own massive tool. In the handout that you guys have, you have a whole link to Camera Raw. And avail yourself of it. It's seriously, Camera Raw is its own thing. Also it's a Basic Color Correction, so you can do, let me show it to you this way, Basic Color Corrections. You can do Luminosity Masking. You can fix Perspective. You can Sharpen. You can Custom Vignette And you can do, which is that frame I put on it. I will caution you against Sharpening too much in Camera Raw, okay, it's kinda overdone so be careful. There's so much you can do and there is a link in there so you can go in and study this. As I said, it is its own huge, massive program. I think of Camera Raw as a program. Like a free-standing program, ACR.

Class Description

Learn how filters and smart objects can enhance your images when you incorporate them into your retouching workflow. Make adjustments to your file without overwriting your original image. Professional high-end retoucher Lisa Carney will show you the many tools within filters and how to use them to improve and speed up your post-processing workflow. You’ll learn about:

  • Transforming edit functions
  • Camera Raw Techniques
  • Understanding Liquify
  • Blur and distort techniques
  • Adding textures and stylized looks
  • Incorporating third party plugins into Photoshop® like Alien Skin Software and Nik

Gain more control over your portraits or product retouching by understanding and incorporating filters and smart objects.


Pat Saizan

This is one of the best courses I have taken on Creative Live. Just amazing. This is geared towards intermediate to advanced Photoshop users. So happy to see an advanced class!! Very happy to see Alien Skin being used as a part of this course. Highly recommend this course.

a Creativelive Student

I can't say enough about this class. I am looking forward to watching this again and applying all I have learned at my leisure. Lisa Carney is am amazing instructor and I loved Simon as well, they did an awesome job! Just the handouts alone are well worth the price of the class. Thanks for another class filled with excellent content and lots of laughter. I own all of her classes and will certainly purchase any other's she instructs. Way to go Lisa! Well done and Exceptional!

Jeph DeLorme

Great class presented in a way that keeps your attention. This class is packed full of fun ideas with a ton of great take-aways for your 'bag of tricks! I would recommend this class 100%!