Image Settings

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The Image Settings selection box (see Figure 8-4) lets you view different versions of the image as you make adjustments. Choosing Image Settings, for example, shows you the image as it was before you made adjustments. Choosing Camera Raw Defaults restores the default image settings in Camera Raw. And choosing Previous Conversion applies the Camera Raw settings from the last image you worked on in Camera Raw. The Custom selection shows how the image looks after applying the adjustments you've made.

Image Settings

V

Image Settings

Camera Raw Defaults

Previous Conversion

Custom

Figure 8-4: The Image Settings selection box in Camera Raw.

Camera Raw Menu

For some reason, they almost hid the Camera Raw menu! If you look hard enough, next to the Image Settings selection, there's that little triangle thingie button, that's the Camera Raw menu shown in Figure 8-5. The menu includes commands to load, save, or delete settings or subsets of settings.

It's an impressive list of alternatives for applying settings, including some really helpful timesaving commands to use on your raw images. I describe each Camera Raw menu setting in this list:

^ Load Settings: This command Figure 8-5: The Camera Raw menu. makes a lot more sense when you've reviewed the other menu options in this list. When you choose Load Settings, you can choose from saved Camera Raw settings you made in previous images.

If you have a slew of images to convert and not much time, saving the settings from one image and loading them into another can not only save you time but also give the converted raw images some overall visual consistency.

^ Save Settings: This command saves the settings you've made to an image in Camera Raw with the intention of reusing those settings in other (similar) images. When you've finished making the Camera Raw adjustments, choose the Save Settings command and name the settings, or leave their default name (that of the image filename) in place.

^ Save Settings Subset: If you don't want to save all of an image's settings, you can save subsets of the adjustments you make in Camera Raw. You choose those adjustments in the Subset window (see Figure 8-6) when you choose Save Settings Subset.

^ Export Settings: This is an especially useful command when you're copying images to a CD or sending a batch of images via e-mail to an agency (or to others to work on your images), and you want to retain the adjustments you've made in Camera Raw. The Export Settings command lets you create a sidecar XMP file that can be copied with the image so it can be loaded with the image later. Export Settings will create sidecar files only if none exists, as in the case of the raw file being in DNG format.

Figure 8-6: Using Save Settings Subset to save selected adjustments.

^ Use Auto Adjustments: With the improvements in CS2 including a new Camera Raw, one of the nice additions is Auto Adjustments. By default, Camera Raw applies auto adjustments to an image when it's first loaded. Auto adjustments works pretty well; sometimes I don't even have to do any tweaking at all!

I suggest leaving Use Auto Adjustments turned on, but if you want, you can turn Auto Adjustments off by pressing Ctrl+U (^+U on a Mac), or toggling it on or off in the Camera Raw menu.

^ Save New Camera Raw Defaults: Camera Raw bases its default settings on the model of digital camera that's producing your raw images. For each different digital camera that Camera Raw supports, it uses a specific set of adjustments tailored for each. When you open a raw file produced by a Canon EOS 350D, for example (or a Nikon N70s, or any other digital camera supported), Camera Raw applies the corresponding adjustments. If you want to use your own set of defaults, just make whatever adjustments you want in your new default set, and then choose Save New Camera Raw Defaults from the Camera Raw menu.

^ Reset Camera Raw Defaults: Although you can save new Camera Raw default settings for your specific model of digital camera, you can always switch back to the original defaults by choosing Reset Camera Raw Defaults from the Camera Raw menu.

^ Preferences: Thankfully, there aren't a lot of settings to change in the Camera Raw Preferences window (shown in Figure 8-7), but some of the changes you can make in Preferences are very important.

Preferences lets you specify where to save Camera Raw adjustments (to a sidecar file or a database) and apply sharpening adjustments made in Camera Raw (to the raw image or for preview only), as well as tweak the Camera Raw cache and choose how sidecar files are stored. Here's the list:

Figure 8-7: The Camera Raw Preferences window.

Save Image Settings In:

In this selection, you can indicate whether you want to save Camera Raw settings for images in the Camera Raw database or sidecar (XMP) files. The default setting is XMP, which allows you to copy raw settings along with files.

Camera Raw doesn't make any physical changes to your raw images, it saves any adjustments you make to sidecar files (which can later be copied with the raw images). If you change Save Image Settings In so your changes are saved to the Camera Raw database, you can still view your changes but you can't copy those changes to other computers, CDs, or DVDs later on.

Apply Sharpening To: This is actually the only change to preferences I make. I make sure that I set this preference to apply sharpening to preview images only. If you set sharpening to preview images only, you can preview in Camera Raw what the image will look like sharpened, but not apply sharpening before opening the image in Photoshop.

Sharpening images is a workflow step best saved for last. To maximize the quality of a final image, do your sharpening after you've done your editing and re-sizing in Photoshop. (I cover sharpening in Chapter 12.)

Camera Raw Cache: Cache is a term used to describe storage space (in this case, storage on your hard drive) where image data for recently viewed and adjusted images is stored for fast retrieval. The default cache is 1GB — and one gigabyte is sufficient for most image processing needs — but if you work with hundreds of raw files at one time, you may want to increase the Camera Raw Cache setting.

DNG File Handling: Settings for ignoring XMP sidecar files and updating image previews can be turned on in this section by clicking on the respective selection boxes. If you're working with DNG files, there really isn't any advantage to ignoring previous XMP sidecar files, so I'd leave that defaulted to not selected. I also leave the Update Embedded JPEG Previews option unchecked, as I usually don't have a need to update raw file JPEG preview images (after all, they are just previews!).

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