Updates Update: New Camera Raw 8.4 Includes Before/After View
Yet more Update: I want to thank deke.com members Rbarba23 and Jjohnny for pointing out an oversight I made in this post originally: the new previews in Camera Raw 8.4 do not work for Photoshop CS6, only in the Creative Cloud version. (Camera profile updates are still available for CS6.)
To get some clarity on why Adobe made this choice, we consulted our trusty friend (Adobe's Chief Customer Advocate and solid human being Jeff Tranberry) who explained that they can't ship new features to an already launched product without deferring revenue back to the quarter the product (in this case CS6) launched. If you're like me, reading about revenue recognition policies makes you want to take a nap. It's especially frustrating when the news affects me adversely.
I think Jeff understood this when he alternately pointed me to this concise statement from ACR/Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty (written back in May of 2013):
Today’s Photoshop CC announcement requires a modest change in our camera raw support policy. Because Adobe is still selling Photoshop CS6, those customers will continue to receive updated camera raw file format compatibility via Adobe Camera Raw 8. When we update ACR8 with new camera support, Photoshop CS6 customers can work with the new version of the Camera Raw plug-in. No new features or functionality will be available in ACR to Photoshop CS6 customers as part of those updates. (No Upright, advanced healing brush or radial filter, etc.) I don’t have a timeline for how long this camera raw support will continue for Photoshop CS6 but I want to be consistent with our past policy of providing raw support for currently shipping products.
So while the news is disappointing for CS6 users, at least I've been able to edit the post below accordingly, and again I want to thank J and R for bringing this to my attention.
Here'e the original, but revised, post:
For those of you who use Camera Raw (and last week's Deke's Techniques on its Exposure power would be one good reason to do so), you're used to the "update announcement" that basically consists of a whole bunch of new camera and lens profiles.
But Adobe has made a release candidate version of Camera Raw 8.4 for Photoshop , available via Adobe Labs, that has a feature that might make it worth downloading the "almost ready" version before it comes out via the regular CC update. Yes, my dekePhoto friends, Camera Raw now has a Before/After view.
Where once you had to toggle the Preview checkbox on and off, now you can see where you started your digital developing and where you've arrived in one view. There's a side-by-side view, an above-below view and my favorite for visual impact if not precise comparison, the split.
Now, my guess would be that purists would correctly point out that the split doesn't really give you a before/after of the same pixels, but how visually satisfying is this? It looks like Camera Raw is lifting a layer of cloudy film off the image.
If you'd like to try the new Camera Raw for yourself, you can download the CC version here. (As noted above and below, you can download the CS6 version here, but it doesn't include the new features). Follow the installation instructions and be sure to let Adobe know how it's working for you.