Photoshop is the go-to image editing and manipulation software used by almost everyone in the industry. Photoshop excels in working with raster (bitmap) graphics and is capable of producing highly detailed compositions.
While originally intended to be a photo manipulation program, Photoshop has been taken up by digital painters and design professionals in both the classroom and workplace.
Recent versions have brought in functionality for working with 3D designs, though the program still primarily garnishes the most respect for its photo manipulation and post-production ability.
Bridge handles asset management. Or in other words, it is an organizer for photos and designs within the Adobe Creative Suite. It also comes with the standalone version of Photoshop. Bridge is used for batch file utility functions, such as renaming files or editing other metadata on the raw camera IPTC and XMP level.
Bridge isn’t necessarily a program used for creating or making visual edits to actual content. Rather, think of it as a handy assistant for all other Adobe software.
RAW files are untouched by the camera’s built-in processor — which means if you only convert a RAW file to JPEG without making a single change, your photo could look worse than if you had just shot a JPEG in the first place. While the editing possibilities are even wider with RAW, there are a few edits you won’t want to skip out on.
JPEGS are automatically sharpened in-camera. If you shoot RAW, there’s no sharpening applied. A simple slider fixes this and gives you control over just how much you want to sharpen.
RAW files are great for fixing exposure errors, but sometimes a good exposure could use some darkening or brightening up to more accurately capture the mood you are going for.
Boosting contrast to a RAW file is much easier and a big perk. To add in some contrast, brighten the highlights and whites slider and darken the shadows and darks or blacks slider. Alternately, if you are going for more of a matte look, you can do the opposite and darken the lights and brighten the darks.
Correcting white balance, or simply adding a warming or cooling effect, is easy to do with the white balance slider in Adobe® Camera RAW or Lightroom®. Color can also be enhanced with vibrance and saturation sliders.
Shooting in RAW is a simple change inside your camera’s menu — but that simple change opens up a much wider range of possibilities in post processing. If you absolutely need the most speed possible, have limited memory on the SD card (or your hard drive) or don’t plan on editing any of the shots, then shoot in JPEG. But, to get the most flex from your images and the most creative control, head into the camera menu and make that simple switch.
When you import your files, double check to make sure your program isn’t axing half your color data. If you use Photoshop®, Adobe® Camera RAW will list the bit size the file imports underneath the photo — if it says 8-bit, click on the blue link and change that back to a 16-bit file (unless you’re really short on hard drive space).
.crw .cr2 .cr3 (Canon) raw file format
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