Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface
This is the area that we have that controls what we have installed, as far as Photoshop or Lightroom and Bridge. Now, I did not mention this, but I'm talking a lot about Adobe Camera Raw right now. Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom essentially have the same engine, just a different look. So if you like Lightroom and you want to use Lightroom, I have no qualms with that. I just want you to know that pretty much everything I'm showing you here in Adobe Camera Raw works simultaneously with Lightroom, because they basically just took the shell, the engine, of Lightroom and shoved it into Photoshop. Just to give you a little bit of history on this. One of the main reasons why I don't really use Lightroom too much is that I've been using Photoshop since 1998. Lightroom came out somewhere around 2004, 2005, somewhere around there. And when it came out, it was the answer to the RAW editing. But if you know anything about Photoshop, any time something comes out for another one of their different p...
roducts, they tend to somehow incorporate that into Photoshop. So they had this Lightroom thing, but you can't let Photoshop just fall, so they kinda take, this is my assumption, they take Lightroom and say, okay, let's put it into Photoshop but make it basically like a plug-in or an extension or something like that. So that's kinda the history behind Camera Raw. Now here, you'll see Camera Raw right here, and it tells me that it's up to date. You definitely want to keep Camera Raw up to date, especially if you buy new cameras. So when the Sony a7R III came out, I rushed, got the a7R III, and then I had to wait for the Camera Raw to update, because when Camera Raw updates, it comes in with the new profiles, so I could see the things that happened in my RAW files. So any time there's new features that come into Lightroom, they simultaneously come into Adobe Camera Raw as well. So every once in a while, just pop in to this Creative Cloud thing here and make sure that your Camera Raw is up to date. Now you'll notice that, unlike Bridge and Photoshop here, we have the open and we also have a little drop-down next to it. There is no open next to Camera Raw, because Camera Raw doesn't open through Creative Cloud. Camera Raw by itself doesn't really stand anyway. It needs something to open it up, in order for you to use it, which is typically prompted by things like RAW files, or if you were to go into Bridge, and click on any image, you could right-click and say, open in Camera Raw. If it's a RAW file, it'll automatically open into Photoshop. If it's a JPG, it won't automatically open into Photoshop unless you right-click, tell it to open into Photoshop, or we go into those preferences. So what I'm gonna do is, I'm just gonna go ahead and grab all three, or all six, of these RAW files and just press enter. And that will open up all of them into Adobe Camera Raw. Adobe Camera Raw knows that they are RAW files, so it opens all of them for me automatically. Before we get in and start dissecting Adobe Camera Raw, we're gonna dissect this thing, we're gonna break it down in a parade of graphs. But before we do that, let's go ahead and go into, right here where it says, open the preferences dialog box. You're gonna see here, it says, save image settings in sidecar XMP sidecar files. XMP sidecar files are basically a little piece of, it's like a little data script that goes next to a RAW file. Now if it's a DNG file, which is that Adobe proprietary RAW file, that will be saved in the DNG. If it's an ARW, like my Sony RAW files, it will be saved as a XMP sidecar file. And that's just off to the side. I like to keep those as those XMP sidecar files. You can set it to Camera Raw database. I don't necessarily trust that. That's just my personal opinion. So I do save them as XMP sidecar files. And XMP sidecar files are kinda cool. You can actually open up those XMP sidecar files in a type of scripting program and see exactly what's happening there. It's basically just a little piece of data that's pointing to Adobe Camera Raw that says, put the brightness up to 20, put the exposure up to this, use this curve. And it lists it out, I'll show you. It's just a piece of gee whiz information, if you like to be like me and get into all the dorkiness about it. You see this here, it says, apply sharpening to all images or preview images only. Again, that's up to you, if you want it to sharpen automatically, I did say that, when we are processing RAW files, sharpening is something that we want to do, because they're not gonna come in quite as sharp as a JPG would. Again, remember, a JPG is coming in from your camera with a little bit of sharpening happening to it, so it looks good, right out of the camera. So I'll just change that to preview images only. Let's change that to all images, because once we do our processing on them, we are gonna want them to come into Photoshop as a little bit sharpened. But then you have some default image settings here, apply auto tone and color adjustments. I'm gonna tell you right now, in years past, auto tone and color was, like, horrible. You'd press it and it was like, it would just slam up your brightness. You know, that really didn't help. But now, it actually assesses the dynamic range that's in that RAW file, and it makes really informed decisions. So much so that I may have checked that box. No shame, okay? Why, because it just sets me up with a good baseline image. And what I'm trying, if you see my workflow, which we'll show at the very end of this whole thing, I'm gonna wrap it all up with workflow in a nice little bow, I like to start from Adobe Camera Raw with it, a baseline image, before I bring that into Photoshop. Then you have, make default specific to camera serial number, don't really choose any of that stuff. You have your Camera Raw cache, again, caching is based on how much space you actually have on your computer, so you can set that based on your needs. And then the one I really want to point out down here is right down here, this JPG and TIF handling. You can make it so that Adobe Camera Raw doesn't just automatically open RAW files, but it also automatically opens either JPGs or TIF files as well. So if I have this set to JPG, it'll automatically open JPGs with settings, or automatically open all supported JPGs. A JPG with settings would be a JPG that was previously opened in Adobe Camera Raw, edited in Adobe Camera Raw, and then has Adobe Camera Raw information in that JPG. That's a JPG with settings, or automatically open all supported JPGs, would be any JPG, period. So if you want all of your JPGs to come in to Adobe Camera Raw, you can check that. I usually just say, if they have settings, for that one. Now my TIF files on the other hand, I generally do say, open all supported TIF files, here. And that's the basics for getting your Camera Raw set up. Down here along the bottom, you're gonna see this thing right here that says Adobe RGB 8-bit. That's my color space, and it's telling me that, when this hands off to Photoshop, it's gonna be 8-bit, which is not what I want. So if I click on that, this gives me another set of options here, these are the workflow options. I tend to work in the Adobe RGB color space. I know that there's better color spaces out there, and everyone has lectured me about it. (laughs) But for me, for my purposes, Adobe works great for me. But the depth, I'm gonna change that depth to 16-bit. So that way, when it does get handed over to Photoshop, it's handing over a 16-bit version of that image, rather than an 8-bit version of that image, because it's gonna be more data for Photoshop to play with.