Raw Jpeg and TIFF Processing

Capture image sensor data

Compress to mini JPEG and save as RAW file

Download image files to computer, rename and tag

Interpolate color + resample with new white balance

Exposure correction

Aberration and noise reduction

Improve contrast

Optimize saturation

Optimize shadows and highlights

Sharpening

Compress + save as JPEG/TIFF file

Optimize in Photoshop

JPEG or TIFF

Capture image sensor data

Interpolate color + resample with new white balance

Aberration and noise reduction

Improve contrast

Optimize saturation

Reduce to 8-bit color depth and convert color space

Compress + save as JPEG/TIFF file

Optimize in Photoshop

Compress + save as JPEG/TIFF file

Download image files to computer, renaming + tagging

Figure 2-6: Comparison of a RAW and a JPEG/TIFF workflow. The RAW workflow generally comprises fewer Photoshop optimization steps than the illustration infers, but the borders between the two processing areas are flexible.

We described the advantages of the RAW shooting format in section 1.3. Here is a schematic comparison of RAW, JPEG, and TIFF and the differences (and similarities) between the two types of workflow. Image processing takes place in one of three places:

1. In the camera with few user-controlled settings

2. In a RAW editor or all-in-one imaging program

3. In an image processing program such as Photoshop

Some download tools also allow you to rename, back up, rotate, or make simple corrections to image files from your memory card. We don't recommend use of these simple image correction tools as the results are often of poor quality.

The functions we use in all five phases often overlap. Some cameras have built-in anti-vignetting functionality, while some RAW editors include many of the functions (cropping, rotating, tonal value adjustments, sharpening, and even some selective retouching) that used to be the exclusive preserve of high-end image processors such as Photoshop. The latest generation of photo workflow tools, such as Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom, or Bibble 5, further blurs the borders between RAW conversion and image processing and allows you to process TIFF and JPEG images non-destructively using the same tools as you would to process RAW images.

Figure 2-6 shows the basic differences between working with RAW and JPEG/TIFF image files. The RAW workflow has much more scope for swapping and overlapping functionality between your RAW editor and Photoshop.

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