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Working in Camera Raw

This chapter is from the book

Choosing default workflow options

Via the Workflow Options dialog, you can resize or sharpen a photo, or change its color space or bit depth, before opening it into Photoshop — the original raw or JPEG file isn’t altered. Note that the choices that you make in this dialog become the new default settings, so they apply not only to the current photo, but also to subsequent photos that you open into Camera Raw. The dialog contains new Color Space and Preset options (see this page and the next), as well as Image Sizing options (see page 58).

To choose settings in the Workflow Options dialog:

  1. Open a photo into Camera Raw, then below the large image preview, click the underlined link. The Workflow Options dialog opens (A, next page).


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    A Via the Workflow Options dialog, you can choose Preset, Color Space, Image Sizing, and Output Sharpening settings for the current and future photos.

  2. If you want to apply a user-saved preset, choose it from the Preset menu (B, next page). Next, either click OK to exit the dialog, or choose custom options, as in the remaining steps.


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    B From the Preset menu in the Workflow Options dialog, you can choose a user-saved workflow preset.

  3. From the Space menu, choose a color profile to be used for converting the raw file to RGB: Adobe RGB (1998), ColorMatch RGB, ProPhoto RGB, or sRGB IEC61966-2.1 (or “sRGB,” for short). The menu also lists preset RGB and CMYK output profiles for printers and displays, as well as any other profiles that you have installed in your system. In Chapter 1, you assigned Adobe RGB (1998) as the default color space for color management, so for optimal color consistency, we recommend also choosing that option here.
  4. The Intent options control how colors will change in a photo when it is converted to the chosen profile. If you chose any profile from the Space menu except one of the first five, from the Intent menu, choose Perceptual or Relative. If your photos tend to contain many colors that are outside the gamut of the chosen color space, Perceptual is the best choice because it attempts to preserve the appearance of colors as it shifts them into gamut. If your photos contain few colors that are out of gamut, Relative is the best choice, as it preserves more of the original colors. Your photo will display as a soft proof (a simulation of print output from your target device).
  5. To control the amount of color and tonal information in your photos, from the Depth menu, choose 8 Bits/Channel or 16 Bits/Channel. If you choose 16 Bits/Channel, more of the original capture information will be preserved in your photos as you edit them in Photoshop, but they will also have a larger file size and will require a large hard disk and a fast system with a lot of RAM for processing (see page 17).
  6. If you chose a printer profile, check Simulate Paper & Ink to preview the photo using the range of black values that can be produced by that printer, on a simulation of white printing paper.
  7. In a standard workflow, you can keep Resize to Fit unchecked. If, on the other hand, you need to resize the current photo and other photos that you open into Camera Raw, keep the dialog open after step 12, and follow the task on page 58.
  8. Camera Raw applies a Resolution of 300 ppi to all photos as they are opened into Photoshop. If needed, you can choose a different value here.
  9. Optional: Use options under Output Sharpening to apply predefined sharpening. Check Sharpen For, then from the Sharpen For menu, choose an output medium of Screen, Glossy Paper, or Matte Paper; and from the Amount menu, choose the desired level of sharpening (Standard is a good all-purpose choice).

    • The sharpening values that Camera Raw applies via this dialog aren’t listed anywhere. If you want to control specific values when sharpening, uncheck Sharpen For and use the sliders in the Detail tab (see pages 68–69).
  10. The Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects option converts the Open Image button in the main Camera Raw dialog to an Open Object button, which opens your photo into Photoshop as a Smart Object.

    • If you leave this workflow option unchecked, you can convert the Open Image button to Open Object in the main Camera Raw dialog (for any photo) by holding down Shift. Learn about Smart Objects on pages 272–283.
  11. Optional: To save your current, custom Workflow Options settings as a preset that can be applied to any photo, from the Preset menu, choose New Workflow Preset. Enter a descriptive name for the preset, then click OK.
  12. Optional: If you chose a preset and then changed any of the settings in the dialog, the word “(edited)” is now listed in the preset name. If you want to permanently update the current preset with your new custom settings, from the Preset menu, choose Update [preset name].
  13. Click OK. Your chosen workflow settings will be applied to the current photo and to all photos that you subsequently open into Camera Raw.
  • To rename a user-saved Workflow Options preset, from the Preset menu in the dialog, choose the preset to be renamed, choose Rename [preset name], type the desired name, then click OK.

If you need to resize multiple photos according to a specific criterion, such as the dimension of a long or short side of one of the photos, use the Resize to Fit feature in the Workflow Options dialog. If you don’t require the original high-megapixel count of your photos for image editing or output, shrinking them is an acceptable option. Enlarging photos, on the other hand, should be done only when necessary, as it diminishes their quality (preferably, don’t enlarge your photos by more than 25% or 30%).

Note: To resize or change the resolution of an individual photo for a particular output medium, instead of using the options dialog in Camera Raw, we recommend using the Image Size dialog in Photoshop after you exit Camera Raw (see pages 138–141). The latter offers many image resizing options, including choices for resampling, with a document preview.

To resize images via the Workflow Options dialog:

  1. Open one or more photos into Camera Raw, then click the Workflow Options link. Under Image Sizing, check Resize to Fit.
  2. Optional: Check Don’t Enlarge if you want to prevent your photos from being enlarged.
  3. Under Image Sizing, from the Resize to Fit menu,A do one of the following (Camera Raw will resize all your photos proportionately, whether or not you enter proportionate values):


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    A From the Resize to Fit menu in the Workflow Options dialog, choose a criterion for resizing your photos.

    Choose Width & Height, then enter the desired maximum W and H values within which the current and future photos will be resized. For resizing to occur, both of these values must be either larger or smaller than the original dimensions of the current photo.

    Choose Dimensions,B then enter the desired maximum values in the two fields within which Camera Raw will resize your photos. Camera Raw will fit the longer dimension of each photo to the larger of the two values (regardless of the orientation of the photo). You could use this option to resize a series of horizontal or vertical photos to the same long dimension.


    Click to view larger image

    B If you choose Dimensions as the Resize to Fit option, you must then enter pixel values in the two fields below the menu.

    • If the Width & Height or Dimensions option produces unexpected resizing results in your photos, try entering the same value in both fields, thereby providing a larger resizing area, or use the Long Side or Short Side option instead (see the next option).

    Choose Long Side or Short Side, then enter the desired value for that dimension.

    Choose Megapixels, then enter the desired total pixel count value. All photos will be resized to that value.

    Choose Percentage, then enter a percentage by which you want your photos to be resized (preferably, less than 130%, and not more).

    • When you use the Resize to Fit option, the new dimensions and megapixel (MP) count are listed in the right side of the Image Sizing area. If you want to learn the original dimensions of the current photo, uncheck Resize to Fit; the original dimensions will display in the dimmed W and H fields; now recheck the box.
  4. Click OK. Note: Because the current settings in the Workflow Options dialog are applied to all photos that you open into Camera Raw, after using the dialog to resize the desired photos, exit Camera Raw. Upon reopening Camera Raw, be sure to open the Workflow Options dialog and uncheck Resize to Fit.

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