Basic Edits in the Camera RAW Editor

Photoshop® Elements

In this video, I  show you how to use the Basic panel in the Camera RAW Editor in Photoshop Elements.

The Basic Panel is where you will make the bulk of edits to a photo. It takes the place of many dialog boxes or adjustment panels in the Photoshop Elements editor. You can make multiple changes all on one panel.

This video is part of a series on the Camera RAW Editor in Photoshop Elements. If you missed the other videos, you can visit my YouTube channel to watch them.  

Using the Basic Panel

In this lesson, we edit this photo of Crusher, the ice crusher boat in Perkins Cove, Maine. 

 

Let’s take a look at the Basic Panel. The edits we make in this panel will apply to the whole photo. If you want to target changes to specific areas, you will need to make general changes here, then open the file in the Photoshop Elements Editor to work on a smaller area, like the sky. 

Histogram 

Shows the distribution of dark and light pixels in the image. 

Dark pixels on the left, bright pixels on the right.

Profile

Select a profile to set some initial sharpness, color, contrast and saturation as a base for your edits.

White Balance

Removes color casts in a photo so that white objects really look white.

  • Drop-down listSelect a preset
  • Sliders Adjust individually. Temperature = blue or gold. Tint – green or magenta
  • White Balance ToolSelect a gray area

AutoA starting place

Exposure – Overall brightness

Check for clipping on the histogram.

  • Highlight clipping warning = Red on white
  • Shadow clipping warning = Blue on black

Contrast – Difference in brightness between the dark and light areas of the image. 

  • High contrast = colors pop. 
  • Low contrast = colors look flat.

Highlights – Affects only the lightest pixels. Brings back detail in light areas.

Shadows – Affects only the darkest pixels. Brings back detail in dark areas. 

Whites – Sets the white point. Determines the brightest point without clipping, or losing detail.

  • Press Alt and drag to make Red disappear.

Blacks – Sets the black point. Determines the brightest point without clipping, or losing detail.

  • Press Alt and drag to make Red disappear.

Clarity – Increase the contrast in the midtones.

  • Brings out detail.
  • Darkens the image.
  • Makes colors pop.

Vibrance – Increases the saturation of pixels that are not already saturated.

  • Leaves saturated pixels alone. Preserves skin tones.

Saturation – Increases the saturation of all pixels.

Preview Your Image

To see before and after versions of your edits, you can use the Preview tools at the bottom right of the image.

Keyboard shortcuts make previews quick and easy.

Press P to toggle between before and after views of an image in Single View.

Press Q to show before and after views in a variety of ways. Save the Image

Save or Open Your Image

Save Image…

Opens up a dialog box to convert a proprietary RAW image to a Digital Negative (DNG) file and save it. A DNG file is a special archiving version of Camera RAW from Adobe. When you create the DNG file, your edits are saved in the DNG file and your original RAW file remains unchanged. 

Done

If you press Done, your edits are saved in a special sidecar file with a file extension of XMP. The next time you open your original RAW file, the Camera RAW Editor will also open the XMP file and show your edits. 

If you are editing a DNG file, the changes are saved in the DNG file and no XMP file is created.

Open Image

Press Open Image to save your edits and open the image in the Photoshop Elements Editor.

Press Alt + Open Image to open a copy of your image in the Photoshop Elements Editor without saving your changes.

 

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