Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Processing The RAW

Photographers in the digital age are inundated with software so Digital Photo Pro talked to the experts to get the ins and outs on two of the most popular RAW processing packages on the market


To achieve optimal detail in the converted image, you can apply sharpening through the Focus tab. This provides nearly the same degree of control as the Unsharp Mask filter in Photoshop and, therefore, is a good tool for applying a small degree of sharpening to compensate for the natural loss of sharpness that results from digitizing an image.

The Amount slider determines the strength of the sharpening to be applied while the Threshold slider allows you to specify how much edge contrast must exist before sharpening will be applied to an area. Use the preview image at 100% scale to evaluate detail within the image as you adjust the Amount and Threshold sliders. When in doubt, use a lower Amount setting than you think you need, as you can apply additional sharpening as part of your workflow in Photoshop. The Threshold slider can be thought of as a way to preserve smooth textures within your image, so evaluate those areas as you determine the best setting.


The first step in finalizing the processing of your image is to establish your output settings on the Process tab. In general, this means confirming the Scaling is set to 100%, the output resolution is set as desired (typically, 300 dpi) in a TIFF file format and at a bit depth of 16-bit (to take maximum advantage of the benefits of RAW capture).

You have two basic options from which to choose for the final RAW conversion. If you click the first button in the Batch Editor section, the image is processed immediately. This is performed as a background process, so you can continue working on other images during the development of the image being processed.

This background process is done very efficiently, so there's no noticeable slowdown of the computer. If you prefer to maximize performance by not allowing any background processing, however, click the second button in the Batch Editor section to simply add the currently selected image to the development queue. Then, when you click the Process button, all images in the queue will be developed.

After the images in the queue are processed, they're saved based on the output settings you've established. You also can check the box at the bottom of the Process tab to have the images automatically opened when processing is complete. With the image converted using Phase One Capture One Pro, you can be confident that you're starting your postprocessing workflow with an image of the very best quality possible, taking full advantage of the many benefits of RAW capture.

Contact: Phase One, www.phaseone.com.

Tim Grey prefers his steak medium, but his digital captures raw. He has authored several books related to digital imaging for photographers and publishes the almost-daily Digital Darkroom Questions (DDQ) e-mail where he answers questions related to digital imaging. Grey leads digital workshops and presents lectures on digital imaging. Visit his website at www.timgrey.com.




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