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Thread: Adobe Camera Raw

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    Adobe Camera Raw

    Hey Guys and Girls,
    Can somebody explain the hierarchy of the Adobe editing suites. We are using CC, which gives access to LR and PS, but where does ACR fit in? And Bridge, what's that? I guess they're all interconnected in some way but I don't get how.
    regards

    Harry

    D500, Nikkor 18 - 55 and 50mm f1.8 Prime lens

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    Hi Harry

    When I purchased Photoshop around 2001, all I had was Bridge, ACR and PS and the workflow was:
    Bridge -> ACR -> PS.

    Bridge: is a File Browser so you could browse your images and select the one(s) you would like to bring into PS via ACR. In Bridge, you get to see thumbnails and a larger image so you can inspect the photo in reasonable detail before you decide to open it in ACR.

    ACR: When you opened an image from Bridge, in ACR you could apply global settings, such as Camera and Lens specific corrections as well as make many other global adjustments to either a single photo or a series of similar photos. When you “open” a photo from within ACR it applies those settings and then launches PS.

    PS: Here you can make global as well as local adjustments plus make use of Layers, Masks, Selections, etc. which allow you to operate on a single photo.

    I’m still on CS6 so I don’t quite know how CC works, but I now use LR6 as a replacement for Bridge and ACR before opening my photos in CS6.

    Effectively, LR6 is my Browser where I browse thumbnails, medium sized and full sized images before applying global settings such as camera & lens profiles and Colour Correction & White Balance before I open in CS6 and do the local stuff using Layers, Masks, Selections, etc.

    Cheers

    Dennis

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Adobe Camera Raw is Adobe's version of a raw converter for heaps of different raw formats.
    Presumably it gets the raw file specs from the manufacturers and makes them available through
    this ?plug-in for Photoshop, CC, etc. (although I think it's also standalone).

    Adobe Bridge is Adobe's version of the likes of Faststone Image Viewer, ACDSee, etc. It's a file
    organiser with some editing capabilities.

    Now the burning Q: Do I use either one?
    I'll douse it with this answer: No, because I prefer the propriety raw conversion software: Canon
    Digital Photo Professional (DPP), Nikon Capture/ViewNX, Sigma Photo Pro, of the ones I have used
    over the years.

    AND

    I like Faststone IV for organising files.

    --Just a quick reply. Others may give more info...
    Last edited by ameerat42; 30-03-2017 at 2:30pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Thanks muchly for the detailed replies. Half the battle with learning new software is figuring out what aspects of it are relevant in respect to what you want to achieve. I'm using LR out the CC suite and slowly getting the hang of it with acceptable results.

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    Member formerly known as : Lplates Glenda's Avatar
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    If you are a member of your local library, you can access Lynda.com through the Qld state library free of charge. They have lots of tutorials on Lr and Ps.

    The develop module in Lr and ACR are the same, just set out differently.
    Glenda



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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonoff View Post
    ... Half the battle with learning new software is figuring out what aspects of it are relevant in respect to what you want to achieve...
    And it's all bandied about as if the lack thereof makes you out at best to be severely at a loss if you don't have it,
    and at worst, an idiot if you don't get it

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    Don't under-estimate the power of Bridge. Denis' explanation is very good, and it resembles my own workflow, but I still use Bridge in preference to Lightroom. There's not a lot that LR can do that Bridge won't do. Ask Damien... <-- That's a little joke for those in the know.

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    Ausphotography Regular Hawthy's Avatar
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    Bridge is useful to download images from my camera and organise them into files. You get a nice series of thumbnail pictures that you can individually enlarge to decide if it is a keeper or not. I have Bridge configured to open my selected images directly in Photoshop and I have PS configured to open in Camera Raw. In ACR, I adjust white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. and then open it in Photoshop for the finishing effects - sharpening, noise reduction, cropping, etc. I have Lightroom but never use it. I just can't find a use for it and I am used to ACR and PS. Plus I like being able to use layers - but that is a whole other subject.

    If you shoot in Raw, ACR allows a large range of adjustments. JPEG files are not as malleable in ACR.
    Andrew




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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I have settled on the following workflow as it suits my needs.

    I initially put my card in a card reader and plug it into a USB port. This brings up a folder with all the NEF (RAW) files on the card.

    I then right click on the desktop, open a new folder, and give it an appropriate name (date, subjects or whatever) and have it sitting alongside the folder with the RAW files.

    Next I right click on a NEF file and select 'Open with ViewNX-2' which brings up all the files in the RAW folder. Then click on an image, go up to the menu bar, click 'View' then 'Full Screen' and you can then scroll through your shots and give them a 1-5 Star rating if desired. At this point you can zoom in for a better view and delete if desired. I then drag the files I want to edit into the new folder.

    If you want to keep all your RAW files, including 'Whoopsies', just copy everything to your new folder then open another folder with an ad-on like '30-3-2017 - Birds - EDIT' and use this file to view the shots in ViewNX-2. This last folder will contain the shots that you want to work on.

    In the new folder I then right-click on a file, scroll down to 'Open with' and select 'Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5' or Lightroom or whatever. My set-up then defaults to Camera Raw 9.6.1 where I prefer to do my initial adjustments as I find the various tools fairly subtle. I then click 'Open' and the image then opens in CS6 and I do any further adjustments, re-sizing, saving etc. I prefer to leave any sharpening till this point and use 'Unsharp Mask' for that.

    There is probably easier ways to do this but as I said it works for me.
    Cheers
    Kev

    Nikon D810: D600 (Astro Modded): D7200 and 'stuff', lots of 'stuff'

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warbler View Post
    Don't under-estimate the power of Bridge...
    You're right. It's what you're used to. I disliked Bridge from the outset, and in the "ole days", settled
    for ACDSee. After that it was Faststone. Another "pet dislike" was Canon's "Zoombrowser". I don't know
    about the later versions, but back then it was QUITE CUMBERBUND!! - er, cumberSOME.

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    WOW! There are a few ways to skin this cat (apologies to the feline lovers). I really appreciate the input, and I can tell that most if not all apps have enough flexibility and overlap to achieve a satisfactory result. When you first start using this stuff you stand back and think, "I just don't know what I should be using let alone how to use it." It's quite intimidating.
    For a living I use a design program called Solidworks, it's huge, and I thought nothing paralleled it's complexity. I can say with some confidence that the Adobe suites can hold their own with Solidworks in terms of complexity and functionality.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Basically what you need is firstly a program to view your RAW images, and maybe rate them, and then a compatible program to edit them.

    Simples!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    Basically what you need is firstly a program to view your RAW images, and maybe rate them, and then a compatible program to edit them.

    Simples!
    Thanks Cage, currently LR is my 'go to' for this step. It's embedded work flow function is structured specifically at import, indexing and rating.
    While surfing today I happened across a tutorial from Laura Shoe regarding ACR and it's simplified functionality which was was the impetus for the initial question - where does ACR fit in? I have LR and PS on a subscription basis, what else do I need? Much Like Ameerat said, if you don't have this (whatever this is?) then you're a social pariah and can easily be led to believe that, "we are not worthy."

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Glad you started this thread.

    Went looking for why ViewNX-2 was so flaky and discovered that it doesn't support my D7200.

    Then found that my CC updates were not active.

    Now updating CS6, Lightroom, Bridge and Camera Raw.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I've had a look at Bridge and Capture NX-D and think at this stage I'll continue to use ViewNX-2 as my initial viewer, not for any PP but solely to select my keepers for editing.

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    Ausphotography Regular Hawthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonoff View Post
    the initial question - where does ACR fit in? I have LR and PS on a subscription basis, what else do I need?
    Forgive me if I am telling you something that you already know, but Camera Raw is included within Photoshop under Filters. Just go to Filter >> Camera Raw Filter.

    Have a play around in there and you will get the hang of it.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonoff View Post
    Hey Guys and Girls,
    Can somebody explain the hierarchy of the Adobe editing suites. We are using CC, which gives access to LR and PS, but where does ACR fit in? And Bridge, what's that? I guess they're all interconnected in some way but I don't get how.
    At the technical level, where ACR fits in is that you need it if you want to open a raw(ie. in your situation, the NEF files) in Photoshop.

    Lightroom can view and open NEF files without ACR, and I think this is because it's basically a hot rodded version of ACR anyhow.
    Photoshop itself can't see raw files, so they have to be translated into an acceptable format before you can open them in photoshop.

    So in a sense, ACR is similar to LR in the sense that: if you want to use photoshop, you first need to open the NEF file in ACR/LR it will convert it(I think into a psd file, or something like that) and then you get it in Ps to work on.
    You can obviously save the edited image in various formats, and I think Ps's strength is in saving it as a psd file, but you can't really save it as a raw file again.

    I haven't used Bridge all that much, but I don't think it can actually do the conversion from camera manufacturer raw formats into a format for use in Ps. If you open with photoshop via bridge, it sends it to ACR, then you send it to Ps.
    I remember having a lot of trouble with ACR via Bridge .. dunno what happened, but I got error messgages saying ACR wasn't installed(???). I opened ACR directly and then the NEF file and all was OK.
    But this did only happen after I updated ACR(only) to a later version of some type, but not Ps or Bridge.

    So in a sense, there is a kind of heirarchy, but it's not really a heirarchy as such.

    So if you choose to use LR, you don't really need anything else. It's a browser(ie. like Bridge), it's a converter(ie. like ACR), and it's an editor(ie. like Ps).

    **Note that while ACR can edit, it's not really 'editing' in the sense that you can do localised adjustments. So in this situation it's really a 'converter' .. whereas Ps and LR are 'editors'(ie. the ability to do localised adjustments as well).


    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    I've had a look at Bridge and Capture NX-D and think at this stage I'll continue to use ViewNX-2 as my initial viewer, not for any PP but solely to select my keepers for editing.
    On this Tangential but still related note ... Kev, have you tried ViewNX-i ?
    This is the ViewNX2 update for you to see your D7200 NEF files in their glorious completeness.
    If you choose to use ViewNX2(btw, I still prefer too as well), then you can only do so at the jpg level, so you can't really do anything much with them that way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonoff View Post
    .... When you first start using this stuff you stand back and think, "I just don't know what I should be using let alone how to use it." It's quite intimidating.
    .....
    I didn't find Adobe products 'intimidating' so much as they were(are!) frustrating.
    Ps is just a case of seriously sticky BS!! .. So many idiotic(ie, frustrating) edit steps made non intuitive by standard procedures used by most(if not all) other editing programs.
    And LR is just plain annoying if you just want to open and edit a file you want to get onto your computer ... with it's stupid import/catalog silliness!
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC

    {Yongnuo}; -> YN35/2N : YN50/1.8N


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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthy View Post
    Forgive me if I am telling you something that you already know, but Camera Raw is included within Photoshop under Filters. Just go to Filter >> Camera Raw Filter.

    Have a play around in there and you will get the hang of it.
    Thanks for chiming in Hawthy, I didn't know that ACR is included in PS, that's a bonus

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    At the technical level, where ACR fits in is that you need it if you want to open a raw(ie. in your situation, the NEF files) in Photoshop.

    Lightroom can view and open NEF files without ACR, and I think this is because it's basically a hot rodded version of ACR anyhow.
    Photoshop itself can't see raw files, so they have to be translated into an acceptable format before you can open them in photoshop.

    So in a sense, ACR is similar to LR in the sense that: if you want to use photoshop, you first need to open the NEF file in ACR/LR it will convert it(I think into a psd file, or something like that) and then you get it in Ps to work on.
    You can obviously save the edited image in various formats, and I think Ps's strength is in saving it as a psd file, but you can't really save it as a raw file again.

    I haven't used Bridge all that much, but I don't think it can actually do the conversion from camera manufacturer raw formats into a format for use in Ps. If you open with photoshop via bridge, it sends it to ACR, then you send it to Ps.
    I remember having a lot of trouble with ACR via Bridge .. dunno what happened, but I got error messgages saying ACR wasn't installed(???). I opened ACR directly and then the NEF file and all was OK.
    But this did only happen after I updated ACR(only) to a later version of some type, but not Ps or Bridge.

    So in a sense, there is a kind of heirarchy, but it's not really a heirarchy as such.

    So if you choose to use LR, you don't really need anything else. It's a browser(ie. like Bridge), it's a converter(ie. like ACR), and it's an editor(ie. like Ps).

    **Note that while ACR can edit, it's not really 'editing' in the sense that you can do localised adjustments. So in this situation it's really a 'converter' .. whereas Ps and LR are 'editors'(ie. the ability to do localised adjustments as well).


    I didn't find Adobe products 'intimidating' so much as they were(are!) frustrating.
    Ps is just a case of seriously sticky BS!! .. So many idiotic(ie, frustrating) edit steps made non intuitive by standard procedures used by most(if not all) other editing programs.
    And LR is just plain annoying if you just want to open and edit a file you want to get onto your computer ... with it's stupid import/catalog silliness!

    Thanks Arthur, really appreciate the time you've (and everyone else) taken to dumb it down. I get it now.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    @ Uncle Arthur ....

    All I've ever used ViewNX-2 for is to sort the wheat from the chaff. In full screen mode I can quickly decide if a shot is worth some PP. I'm sure Bridge has it's uses in cataloguing and group file adjustments but for now my filing system (?) is doing it's job, just.

    @ Harry ....

    Sorry Mate, I got caught up in my own dilemma and overlooked your query on how ACR comes into the equation. Thanks to Hawthy for chiming in. When I open a NEF file in Photoshop it first defaults to ACR but I can't remember whether I set it up that way or if it's the standard default.

    One habit I've got into is to make a copy of the RAW file to use for PP so I have a clean copy of the original in case of stuff-ups. Another thing I do is to save a .tif file of the finished job before resizing and compressing in case I want to have it printed. I also have most of my files on a separate drive, or two if you count the back-up, and am thinking about using the cloud storage as well
    Last edited by Cage; 31-03-2017 at 11:30am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    @ Uncle Arthur ....

    .....

    One habit I've got into is to make a copy of the RAW file to use for PP so I have a clean copy of the original in case of stuff-ups. ....
    You don't NEED to do that with most software, as the raw file is untouched in the editing process.
    Of course it's good practise to have backups of files that are important, but there is no need to make a copy in case you stuff up in any way.
    All edits are:
    1/. written to external edit files that describe the edit steps, as opposed to rendered on the actual raw file being worked on.
    2/. a temporary file is created by the software itself, sent to the cache area and that file is used to render the edit steps being described in the external edit step files. I think I recall that adobe uses the .xmp file type for those edit steps files.

    So while you think you're working on the raw file, in fact you aren't .. your working with the raw file in a disconnected manner. It's all done in the background.

    A scenario: say you're working on the raw file, and your PC crashes. The software has already made another temporary file that it's physically working on. That is the file that could be at stake if you 'stuff anything up'. But those saves aren't actually saved to the temporary file either. The software translates the edit steps in the other external (eg. .xmp) file that tells the software to render the temporary file in a specific way.
    At all times, the raw file is not being worked on, is neither in memory in any way, so if the PC crashes, the only file 'at stake' here will be the (.xmp) edit step file. You could lose your edit steps, but you won't harm the raw file in any way.

    Other causes could harm the original raw file, but these aren't related to the editing software, or opening process.
    You have backups of files just to insure against those 'other causes'.

    Note with Nikon's ViewNX2 and CNX2 if you've ever used them. They basically work the same way, with one slight difference. Those two softwares do actually finalise the saved raw(NEF) file by writing the edit steps into an area of the NEF file reserved for edit steps.
    So you do irrevocably edit the raw file using ViewNX2 if you play with the raw file.
    In the PC crashing scenario above, if the timing was such that the file was being written too at the exact nanosecond that the PC crashed, you could have a corrupted raw file in some way. Never seen it, never heard of it .. just a possibility if you were totally out of luck!
    Nikon changed all that(to my dismay!!) and now save all edits the same way as other software .. externally.


    Note for Kev again. As a test, open up a raw file and make edits .. crazy edits to highlight this point. Make a black image white, or white image black.
    Save the image. The saved edit is only known as such via that .xmp file that Adobe uses. No other software can read this file, and the raw file is 'untouched'.
    Open that (now crazy edited) raw file in any other raw capable software(if you have the raw codec, just use Windows Explorer!), and it remains as you originally captured. Reason is, other software can't relate the raw file to the xmp edit file, and can't read the edit instructions anyhow.
    If you're really curious, you can open the xmp files with something like notepad to read their contents too. But of course, that's a really geeky thing to do, and I highly recommend discourage it!

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