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Please help with converting my first lot of RAW files


SGIBBONS 11 56 1 United Kingdom
27 May 2009 3:50PM
Hi, Ive recently changed to digital and im a bit lost as to what to do for the best next. I believe i should convert from the RAW to Tiff with lightroom then work on the image in PS, is this correct ?
Also when converting the image should i select Adobe RGB or Pro Photo RGB ?

Finally should i keep the image at 16 bit RGB or 8 whilst working on it as ive read that keeping the image as 8bit can cause overall image degradation. ?

Any advice/help is really appreciated !

Thankyou Smile
JohnParminter 13 1.3k 14 England
27 May 2009 7:12PM
This what I do Samantha:
Shoot in RAW, camera set to sRGB (whole workflow is sRGB actually).
Minor tweaks to RAW file in NX2 then save as 8bit TIFF.
Open 8bit TIFF in Elements 5 then do minor selected area levels tweaks to contrast/colour here, clean, slight crop as required then save as a Master 8 bit TIFF.

I think most people follow the same sort of route but with their prefered software.
To keep things simple for myself I keep the same colour space throughout, have camera set to max sharpening and leave throughout processing and do it all in 8bit.
Other people will argue this and that for different aspects re quality but its what you are comfortable doing as a routine usually that dictates what you do.

John
Graywolf 13 1.0k United Kingdom
27 May 2009 9:33PM
Hi Samantha
I see you are using a Canon Camera. Although I don't use it, the Canon RAW software DPP (Digital Photo Professional) is very good indeed. Personally I use the RAW converter in PS CS3, but that's just for convenienc.

I tend to work in Adobe RGB throughout the workflow.

In the RAW software, I really only adjust the exposure or the white balance if I think they need it.

Open the software in PS and decide on the crop, if any.

Do whatever I need in curves levels etc.

I save files as both PSD files and Tiff files

Resize the image

Convert to 8 bit

Sharpen

Save as a TIFF in a separate folder for printable files.

I already have the original RAW files, PSD files with any layers intact and Tiff files.

This does generate a lot of files but it makes it very easy to go back and alter things.
GlennH 15 1.9k 1 France
27 May 2009 9:44PM

Quote:I believe i should convert from the RAW to Tiff with lightroom then work on the image in PS, is this correct ?


Ideally you should look to do as much heavyweight editing in LR or other RAW convertor as possible (ie colour and tonal adjustments as a minimum - the editing process is laid out in a logical order in LR). PS is good for minor tweaks, intricate cloning, layer and mask work etc.


Quote:Also when converting the image should i select Adobe RGB or Pro Photo RGB ?


For absolute quality, it's best to use the smallest colour space which encapsulates the colours of any given picture. In practice, this isn't particularly practical, and it's made more difficult in LR because it doesn't show the histogram of your output space (as ACR does, for instance). Adobe RGB is probably a good choice initially. If you want to archive as much data as possible, however, then it'd be wise to swot up on ProPhoto RGB before actually using it - here for instance.


Quote:Finally should i keep the image at 16 bit RGB or 8 whilst working on it as ive read that keeping the image as 8bit can cause overall image degradation. ?


If you get most of the editing done at the RAW stage, it'd be safe to convert straight to 8-bit. However, I habitually convert to a 16-bit tiff - any further editing I then decide to do is done with as much data intact as possible. Storing 8-bit images does no damage to them at all - but any significant editing done to those files may do appreciable damage.
NEWMANP 12 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
28 May 2009 8:47AM
hi. a lot depends upon your final requirements, if you want to print A3 or larger you need the larger colour space (RGB) that your printer will handle to resolve more colour information. you can always reduce from rgb to srgb when you save to web. but it degrades the image significantly if you attempt to do the opposite.
If you are using files exclusivley for web and viewing on a monitor you would be better opting for the smaller colour space SRGB.
I personally find that its better to get as close as possible to the final basics in Lightroom or PS raw converter, then save as rgb 16 bit tif. ok the file is large at this stage, but its best to keep the full information until i then finish processing in Photoshop Cs4 and either save as an 8 bit tif or a best quality j peg.
i then save the raws and tifs to an external hard drive otherwise you would be overrun with huge files.
you will find its near impossible to fully process in raw conversion and the world of opportunity opens when you work on the tif in ps.
worth noting that on vista in cs4 not all the buttons are available at 16 bit and for some things you will have no alternative but to drop to 8 bit.
Hope this helps.
SGIBBONS 11 56 1 United Kingdom
28 May 2009 10:27AM
Thanks so much guys for all your advice. Its shed some light on the path i want to take with processing my RAW files, storing and workflows in general. Theres lots of things to get your head around when you first convert to digital over film. Thank you once again Smile

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