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Getting Started with Camera Raw: How to make better pictures using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Second Edition by Ben Long

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Digital Negative

After all that, you should understand now that a raw file does not actually contain any finished, viewable image data. As you’ve seen, when you shoot in JPEG mode, your camera processes your camera’s raw sensor data to produce a file that contains a grid of differently colored pixels. By comparison, a raw file contains only a grid of strange grayscale data (strange because each pixel has been filtered using a different color) as well as some other utility data. Before you can see this image as a normal color image, it must be decoded and processed by a raw conversion program.

When this processing occurs, though, the new, processed data is not written back into the raw file. Instead, the finished image is saved out as a new file ...

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