Monday, February 11, 2008

If Adobe Camera Raw is so great, why use Photoshop?

An interesting question arrived in my mail box over the weekend. I'll paraphrase it for you here, "if Adobe Camera Raw is so great, and we can now work on JPEGs and Tiffs, why not use it for all of our work and skip Photoshop altogether?"

Great question. Here's a multi-part answer:
  1. Adobe Camera Raw only works at the global level. If you need to work on colour and light at the local level, you'll need to move the image into Photoshop. Once there, you can take advantage of adjustment layers and masks to perform your clarifications.
  2. Unlike Lightroom, ACR and Bridge do not ship as separate products. You get them with your purchase of Photoshop, so why not use all three together - Bridge to visually manage your assets and ACR to perform some initial corrections and set up your image for entry into Photoshop (16bpc / ProPhotoRGB).
By all means, use ACR in your workflow. Use it to help get your images ready for Photoshop. Use it to help get as much data into Photoshop as possible. When you are finished with ACR, move into Photoshop to finish working with your images.

Once again, an interesting question. Keep them coming.



Fred said...

What's your take on Lightroom then? Oh, and out of curiosity, what do you use as a DAM solution? :)

Jim Hoerricks said...

I don't use Lightroom at the LAPD. That doesn't mean that I won't use it in the future, only that it takes time to evaluate a piece of software vs. policy and case law (and we're faster than the Feds on this one). As far as other uses, I like it. I like that Adobe's thinking about asset management. I just hope that users remember to back-up the database file to a separate and secure location on a regular basis.

Asset management is set forth in the dept's manual as part of its overall retention policy for all evidence. My Division is looking at a enterprise management system for all science disciplines, not just photos and audio/video.

Right now, we're burning individual cases to evidence grade media (Adams Magnetic) and storing them in our vault (half a million pieces and counting ... ). Tracking is handled by a database that we wrote a few years ago.