IN THIS CHAPTER
The RAW format
The Camera Raw dialog box
Using Camera Raw
In addition to the ubiquitous JPEG format, today's professional digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, as well as many higher-end consumer cameras, are capable of saving a file format known as RAW. In this format, everything that was originally "seen" by the camera at the moment that you took the picture is still available to you when you transfer photos onto your hard drive, giving you more control in your editing process after your shoot.
These high-resolution files require processing before they can be converted to JPEG, TIFF, or other commonly used file formats — that's where software like Adobe's Camera Raw comes into play. As of Photoshop CS, the Camera Raw plug-in has been bundled with Adobe's Creative Suite (you can also access it from Bridge and After Effects,) and it has evolved from its humble beginnings as a $99 add-on for Photoshop 7 into what could almost be a full-fledged, stand-alone application.
Once you've finished processing your RAW images, using the Camera Raw plug-in, they must be saved as a JPEG or TIFF file before you can bring them into Photoshop for more in-depth editing. Adobe Camera Raw can be used to perform top-level image adjustments (color correction, sharpening, and exposure corrections) or trickier image-processing tasks, particularly with the new features introduced in Adobe Camera Raw 5.0. For more in-depth manipulations, such as compositing ...