Taking control of ACR

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by paul_cousins|1, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. I've just started to shoot digitally, using ACR in CS2 for raw images.
    I'd prefer not to use the ACR auto settings and have unchecked the Auto settings
    and saved this as my default. But are the settings I'm left with specific to my
    camera or are they general ACR settings?
    I have a Fuji S7000 and the ACR settings after Auto settings are unchecked are:
    Exposure 0; Shadows 5; Brightess 50; Contrast 25; Saturation 0; Sharpness 25;
    Luminance 0; CNR 25

    If I set all values to 0 as my default then all images appear underexposed, so
    how can I find the 'true' raw settings from my camera before editing them in CS2?
    All replies gratefully received ....
  2. Paul, the default settings are specific for your make and model of camera. ACR reads the camera make/model and uses what Adobe determined as the average settings for that make/model of camera.
  3. There really isn't such a thing as "true" raw settings. In ACR there is an all auto settings off
    "template". You access it by clicking on the triangle button to the right of the Settings
    menu and then click on Use Auto Settings option if it is checked. You can then save that as
    your default setting by goign further down the menu and clicking Save New Camera Raw
    Defaults, or , and more optimally in my view, use the "Save Settings" option and name it all
    auto off.

    Tieing Bridge to the process, you could select all of the images in a folder --or just the
    ones you want to process-- and in Bridge, go Edit > Apply Camera Settings and choosing
    the processing instructions of your choice. Bridge will then apply the processing
    instructions to the selected images without opening the Adobe Camera Raw dialog.

    It also really helps to have Adobe Camera Raw hosted by Bridge. To set this up, Click on
    Bridge in the menu bar and go Preferences > Advanced , and check the box next to
    "Double-click edits Camera Raw settings in Bridge". While you have that particular
    Preferences menu window open, also check the "Use Distributed Cache Files When
    Possible" option.
  4. Paul, I disagree with Martin. When you uncheck the five auto squares what you get is a generic setting that is NOT camera specific.

    Using the histogram to balance your photograph is an excellent idea. Use Exposure to define the highlights, and Shadows to define shadow detail. Then use Contrast to taste. There are no "true" raw settings, however by using "as shot" and auto squares checked you get Adobe's version. I prefer to uncheck and adjust individually. White balance can be hand tweaked by using the White Balance Tool and finding a neutral gray in your photo. (The Sampler Tool can also be used). Both of these tools are located in the upper left hand corner next to the Hand Tool. These tools are often ignored because many people simply do not know they exist. Notice also that the magnifying glass will repeatedly zoom into your photo and the Hand Tool will move the photo around.
  5. To follow up on Steve Bingham's excellent advice, If you (on a Mac, I am not sure of how to
    do it on a Windows machine) hold down the option key
    while click-holding the cursor on the arrow on either the exposure or shadow sliders you
    will see in the ACR
    proeview window where your clipping points are for your highlights or blacks
    respectively. Also as you change color space from from say sRGB to Adobe RGB(1998) to Pro
    Photo (and if you choose Pro Photo make sure to switch to 16 bit per channel color depth
    mode, and conversely in sRGB make sure you are in 8 bit mode only ) you will see the
    histogram change along with your clipping points.
  6. "If you (on a Mac, I am not sure of how to do it on a Windows machine) hold down the option key while click-holding the cursor on the arrow on either the exposure or shadow sliders you will see in the ACR proeview window where your clipping points are for your highlights or blacks respectively."

    I believe there are check boxes at the top for those. At least that's how I see Shadow and Highlight clipping ... And I am using XP Pro.
  7. The check boxes turn on (when checked) the clipping warning indications. But if you use the
    sliders in the way I described you see only the areas where clipping is occuring and can
    control the processing adjustment more easily. I talso helps to have the preview
    magnification set to 25%, 50% or 100% .

    One last thing. After making any adjustments with any of the sliders, recheck your white
    balance, especially if you did a custom white balance.
  8. On a windows box if you hold down the ALT key while you use the sliders it shows you what Elis is talking about.

  9. Actually, Paul, I believe the default settings you described are not specific to your camera. Rather, if the "auto" boxes are unchecked, I believe every RAW file from any camera will open with the settings you described (Exposure 0, Shadows 5, Brightness 50, Contrast 25, Saturation 0, etc.). White balance will be the only setting which varies. The reason your images appear underexposed is because you reduced Brightness to "0." I recommend unchecking the auto boxes and using the ACR defaults. You can still toggle between the unchecked defaults and the auto defaults by using Ctrl/Cmd-U.
  10. Thanks for the advice guys. I thought the camera-specific default settings when auto boxes were unchecked were, in fact, generic. I'd seen the values elsewhere and it seemed too much a coincidence.
    I started using Exposure/Shadows/Brightness in ACR once I'd realised that these were effectively the White, Black and Grey points for setting levels, but comparisons showed that I could gain better control over levels in PS, rather than in ACR [where the histogram is smaller]. So once I'd established in ACR that the WB was OK I had planned to complete the rest of the workflow in PS, including setting of levels. Now I realise I can check for white/black clipping in ACR I'll experiment again - setting levels in ACR and re-think the workflow. I certainly plan to have Bridge host ACR.
    So......are there any camera-specific settings in ACR?
  11. So......are there any camera-specific settings in ACR?
    Sharpening. I set the sharpening feature in ACR to Proview Only mode (it's in preferences).

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