Cookin' with Camera Raw: The Basics and Beyond

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ARC… Noah’s worked and Adobe’s floats my boat.

It is an uncomfortable fact that if you shoot camera-raw you very quickly become aware of your own deficiencies, because the camera does ‘nothing’ to hide them. Overriding all that the camera would otherwise commit to .JPG does costs a lot of file space but the rewards, both in terms of what remains salvageable and making you a better photographer in the first place, are immense. I can only recommend the use of ARC and this article by LouBris in particular to help you understand what’s happening with all that raw data. I personally now only ever shoot JPG in a well-known and calibrated studio situation or if using my motor drive, where the speed limitations of camera-raw restrict the number of shots available. Reject and delete all the bad pictures by all means and if camera-raw storage of the good stuff becomes a ‘real’ problem, you can always delete the DNG files too but only once you have that ‘perfect’ JPG…. I never do.
Many thanks LouBris,
BRB (in the UK)

Accessing ACR in Photoshop

Ed T
There have been times when I have had a JPG open in Photoshop which I want to process with ACR. Is there a shortcut for bringing this up in Photoshop when you are not starting with a raw image?

Uh, a coupla amendments

This question stuck with me. Because I personally wish you could take a Photoshop layer, send it to Camera Raw on-the-fly, and then pass it back to Photoshop as a smart object.

That, unfortunately, isn't currently possible.

But then it stuck me that my last answer (below) relied on my own frustration and therefore wasn't entirely inaccurate. So here are two amendments:

  • First, from the Bridge, you can open a JPEG or TIFF by pressing Cmd-R on the Mac or Ctrl+R on the PC.
  • Second, from inside Photoshop, you can open an image in Camera Raw in one of two ways, depending on your OS: On the Mac, choose File > Open, select the file, choose Camera Raw from the Format pop-up menu, and click Open. Under Windows, choose File > Open As, select the file, set the Open As option to Camera Raw followed by a zillion extensions, and click Open.

I hope I have helped to end any confusion that I might have previously helped to start.

This is such a great question!

And I have such a disappointing answer:


You have to start the JPEG/Camera Raw experience from the Bridge. FWIW, I then recommend you open the image in Photoshop as a smart object.

I have lots of resources for you if you're curious.

But, frankly, life would be a lot easier if you could open an image/layer from Photoshop directly into Camera Raw. The fact that you can't is, frankly, an oversight. Adobe!

ACR from Photoshop

Russell Brown has a script you can download so that you can access ACR from Photoshop. It makes the layer a smart object TIFF and opens ACR with an OK button that returns you to PS.

I don't want to spam so I won't put the link here, but I did a little movie about it a little while ago. The script can be found here : (Scroll down to find CS5 Script: Edit Layers in ACR 1.1.5)

Bit of a Photoshop nut.

Ed T I kinda knew all those

Ed T I kinda knew all those alternatives. What you have confirmed for me is that I CAN'T double click on a JPEG in Bridge (which takes me directly to PS) and from their opt to work on my image using ACR. I'll have to continue what I have been doing for some time which is to process in Bridge by using the Command/control R shortcut.

Wow, Lou, you really went overboard on this one

Very impressed, my friend!