Photoshop CS2 RAW: Using Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge, and Photoshop to Get the Most out of Your Digital Camera Paperback – 28 Feb 2006
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The RAW file format is the uncompressed data file captured by a digital camera's electronic sensor. When your camera saves an image in RAW format, settings like white balance, sharpening, contrast and saturation are not applied to the image but are saved instead in a separate header. Because RAW files remain virtually untouched by in-camera processing, they are essentially the digital equivalent to exposed but undeveloped film. This makes RAW an increasingly popular format with amateur and professional digital photographers, because it affords greater flexibility and control during the editing process-if you know how to work with RAW files. Most digital camera manufacturers supply their own software for converting RAW data, as do some third party vendors. Increasingly, however, the RAW converter of choice is a plug-in included in the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, the most popular and widely-used digital image editing tool in the world. Adobe Photoshop CS2 is emerging as the best place to edit RAW images, and the best way to master this new format is with "Photoshop RAW".An important book dedicated to working with RAW in Photoshop, this comprehensive guide features a unique design that helps readers grasp the subject through visual instruction and prompts. The entire RAW process is explored, from shooting to using the Adobe plug-in converter and new Bridge navigation software. The primary focus of "Photoshop RAW" is, as the title suggests, Photoshop editing technique: automating RAW workflow, correcting exposures, extending exposure range, manipulating grayscale and working with the new DNG (Digital Negative) open standard that Adobe supports. Presented by photographer Mikkel Aaland, a pioneer of digital photography and author of eight books, including "O'Reilly's Photoshop for the Web" and the award-winning "Shooting Digital", "Photoshop RAW" investigates and instructs in an accessible visual style. This is required reading for professionals and dedicated photo hobbyists alike.
From the Publisher
The RAW file format is the uncompressed data file captured by a digital camera's electronic sensor. Because RAW files remain virtually untouched by in-camera processing, working with them brings greater flexibility and control to the editing process-if you know how to use them. Adobe Photoshop CS2 has emerged as the best way to edit RAW images, and Photoshop CS2 RAW is dedicated to working with RAW in Photoshop. This comprehensive guide explores the entire RAW process, focusing extensively on Photoshop editing techniques targeted to professionals and photo hobbyists alike.See all Product description
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Aaland's book is clear and understandable and provides the information that people need to use ACR, particularly if they can't get a handle on Adobe's rather bare-boned and non-linear instructions contained with Photoshop. After a brief discussion of RAW as a format, Aaland starts with a discussion of Adobe Bridge, which is a picture management program provided with Photoshop, the knowledgeable use of which will contribute to effective processing in ACR. He then discusses each of the tools available in ACR and tells you how they work. Where there are similar tools available in both ACR and the main Photoshop program, such as sharpening and noise correction, the author compares them and presents arguments as to when each of the similar tools is best used. He discusses using RAW for generating black and white pictures (although he did not convince me that this was a better approach then creating them in the channel mixer facility of the main Photoshop program) and using the Adobe DNG file format. He finishes up with a brief tour of multiple picture processing and automated functions like actions, contact sheets and web gallery creation.
Other than as mentioned above, there is no discussion of processing in the main Photoshop program.
There are other books that deal with the ACR function. Like Aaland's book, John Canfield's "Raw 101" is aimed at the beginning ACR user. It seemed a little skimpier, and didn't cover all of the non-ACR functions that Aaland covered, but it also addressed Photoshop Elements, although not in
elements' latest iteration. Rob Sheppard's "Adobe Camera Raw for Digital Photographers Only" is limited to ACR in Photoshop only, is much more detailed then either Canfield or Aaland, emphasizes the artistic use of ACR, and might prove just a little daunting for newcomers to Photoshop.
My own feeling is that no one who realizes the capability of Photoshop and wants to employ that capability will feel content reading just one Photoshop book. Each additional book will show how to get more out of the software. Aaland's book will be a good start, but it shouldn't be the end of the educational process.
Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed king-of-the-hill in digital image editing software and has spawned an entire industry of "how-to" books. The subject is so vast and so technical it's nearly impossible to put it all in one book that is actually readable, though many have tried.
In this case I believe the author tried to accomplish too much in too little space. To thoroughly cover the topic of digital RAW would require many more pages, and would be better served, in my view, by taking a more narrowly focused, more studious approach to presenting the information. The target audience is questionable too: too much complexity for beginners; too little real meat for advanced users.
I also found the layout of the book disconcerting. It's bright and colorful with lots of white space, and is visually attractive from a graphic artist's perspective, but primary topics are presented as snippets of information followed by a host of screen shots and illustrations and sidebars with explanations. This disrupted the continuity of the ideas and I had to keep backtracking to pick up the main thread.
There's no doubt that the author knows his stuff, but the book left me unsatisfied. If you're really looking to understand and use Adobe Camera Raw to its fullest capability, there are better texts available.