Using the Camera RAW Plug-In

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Photoshop's Camera RAW plug-in is one of the import modules found in the File menu. To open a RAW image in Photoshop CS, just follow these steps:

1. Transfer the RAW images from your camera to your computer's hard drive.

2. In Photoshop, choose Open from the File menu, or use Photoshop's File Browser or Bridge.

3. Select a RAW image file. The Camera RAW plug-in will pop up, showing a preview of the image, like the one shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1. Photoshop's Camera RAW filter provides a wealth of options.

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Figure 3.1. Photoshop's Camera RAW filter provides a wealth of options.

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4. If necessary, rotate the preview image using the Rotate Preview buttons.

5. Zoom in and out using the Zoom tool.

6. Adjust the RGB levels using the Histogram and RGB Levels facilities.

7. Make other adjustments (described in more detail below).

8. Click on OK to load the image into Photoshop using the settings you've made.

Photoshop's Camera RAW plug-in lets you manipulate many of the settings you can control within your camera. I'm using the Nikon D70 as an example here. Your camera probably has similar RAW file settings that can be worked with. Here are some of the most common attributes you can change. This is an overview only. Check your Photoshop Help files for more detailed information on using these controls. I'll also be providing you with information on color correction, exposure compensation, saturation, and other parameters in later chapters of this book. I'll address these topics with respect to Photoshop CS, but the same concepts apply to the manipulations you can make within the Camera RAW plug-in.

• Color Space. It's possible your digital camera lets you choose from among several different color space profiles, such as Adobe RGB or sRGB. The RAW file will be saved by the camera using the camera's native color space. You can change to another color space using the Space drop-down list shown at lower left in Figure 3.1.

• Depth. Here you'll choose 8 bits or 16 bits per color channel. Photoshop CS2 now supports more functions using 16-bit channels through its new High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities, so you might want to preserve the extra detail available with the 16-bit option if you plan on using HDR.

• Pixel Size. Usually, you'll choose to open the image at the same resolution at which it was recorded. If you plan to resample to a larger or smaller size, you might find that carrying out this step on the RAW file yields better results because of the new algorithm incorporated in this version of the plug-in.

• Resolution. This is the resolution that will be used to print the image. You can change the printing resolution to 300 or 600 pixels per inch (or some other value) to match your printer.

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