Workflow

By Rich Harrington — Follow Rich on Twitter

At the bottom of the Camera Raw window is an often overlooked bit of text.  Look closely and you’ll see some blue hyperlinked text that declares the color space, bit depth, and resolution settings for the image. Click this bit of text to open up the Workflow Options dialog box and take control of how the image will be opened into Photoshop.

  • Space. Adobe RGB (1998) is the most common choice, but many are using ProPhoto RGB for its broader gamut which can recreate more natural color.
  • Depth. Always work in 16-bit mode in Photoshop for as long as possible! Do the math. An 8-bit image offers 256 possible values per pixel. 16-bit images offer 24 million values per pixel. In other words, you start with more information in 16-bit mode and that ensures smoother prints. This reduces banding, and allows multiple edits without quality loss.
  • Size. Is your camera’s native size not quite right for your needs? Click the size pop-up to change the megapixel count when opening.  You can even upsample in Adobe Camera Raw mode. Just select the next larger pair of values in the Size pop- up menu; the first set with a (+) after them. You can make the image larger and retain the sharp edges. In our tests, the results are a bit better in RAW than in Photoshop. Mathematically, upsampling in Adobe Camera Raw is a better technique than any other available with Photoshop.
  • Resolution. This option specifies how the pixels in an image are displayed.  The number of pixels per printed inch is referred to as resolution.  For use in print, it’s common to set this between 150 and 450 pixels per inch.
  • Sharpen For. Photoshop controls how the images are sharpened when opening from Camera Raw.  Choose the desired target including Screen, Glossy Paper, or Matte Paper    
Upsample

Sizes with a plus symbol (+) next to them indicate the image will be upsizes when its opened. While upsampling is not ideal, Photoshop does an effective job at it ,

Take advantage of the Workflow Options dialog to specify how the raw file should open.

This post is a sneak peak of our new Photoshop book which will be released this Spring.

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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

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