Fix It In Photoshop | Master Adobe Camera RAW

David Coultham

In this article, we cover some of the most commonly used post-processing techniques that are performed in Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW module.

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Video | Master Adobe Camera RAW

Glossary of main Camera RAW Tools

The Tool Panel in Camera RAW is located at the top-right-hand side of the interface and is illustrated above. When you first open an image, by default, you are presented with the Edit Panel and its associated settings.  Here is a précis of each of the panels functions:

EDIT: Contains all of the most used effects to correct and control image contrast, color, details, & noise. Also accessible with the short-code E.

GEOMETRY: For controlling image size and ratio.

HEALING: For making minor image corrections such as dust spot removal and blemishes. Also accessible with the short-code B.

MASKING: For managing any selective adjustments which you perform, including linear gradient masks, radial masks, and brush masks. Also accessible with the short-code M

RED EYE: A tool specifically for removing red eye and pet eye reflections from your digital images. Also accessible with the short-code SHIFT-E.

PRESETS: If you need some inspiration for your next creative edit, then this area gives you access to factory presets provided by Adobe, as well as being able to manage and create your own presets. Also accessible with the short-code SHIFT-P.

MORE IMAGE SETTINGS: From this panel, you can perform several functions, like directly saving a copy of your image, creating and managing presets, RAW image enhancement, and upscaling.

OPENING Camera RAW from Photoshop

To open an image in Camera RAW from Photoshop, there are a couple of steps, but once you are set up, you can go back and forth from Photoshop to Camera RAW whenever you need.

STEP 1: Make sure you have the image you want to edit inside Camera RAW selected in the Layers Tab of the Panels. Then right-click on the Layer and select ‘Convert To Smart Object’. You can also go via the Application Bar and ‘Layer >Smart Objects > Convert To Smart Object’. This ensures that any changes done in Camera RAW are stored in Photoshop, i.e., your edits are non-destructive.

STEP 2: Head up to the Application Bar and select ‘Filter > Camera RAW Filter’. Camera RAW then opens. When you have finished editing in Camera RAW you select ‘OK’ to commit any changes you have made, and you return to Photoshop. 

Once you are back in Photoshop, you will notice that the Camera RAW Filter is attached to your Layer as a Smart Object (illustrated right). Double-clicking the Layer Icon re-opens Camera RAW again, so that you can make further changes.

How to correct white balance


Working from the Edit Panel, select the Color Tab. There is a pull-down menu at the top labelled White Balance which by default will indicate ‘As Shot’, which means the settings that you used in-camera; when the image was taken.

Putting White Balance to Auto enables Adobe RAW to automatically analyze your image and set the White Balance to the settings it thinks are most appropriate. However, if you can remember what the lighting conditions were when you captured the shot, you can also set the most appropriate balance using the other options in the menu.

Essentially what this does is adjust the color temperature value to align with those in the table illustrated top. For your convenience, the table gives you the Kelvin (K) ranges for different lighting conditions.


STEP 1: Working from the Color panel, select the Pipette (illustrated above).

STEP 2: Select a color from your image that you want to be represented as white. When you do this, it works most realistically if you select an area that is not pure white, but instead just slightly off-white as illustrated below.

NOTE: For even greater control over White Balance, you can use the Temperature Slider. If you are working with a RAW file, the values in the slider display represent the color temperature range; see the table of Kelvin values illustrated in ‘Automatically Fix White Balance’.

How to correct tonal range


Working from the very top of the Edit Panel, there is a button labeled ‘Auto’. Pressing this enables Adobe RAW to analyze your image and set the most appropriate settings for Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks & Color.

It has to be said that Adobe RAW has gotten quite good at this over the years, but, you always have the option of fine-tuning any of the adjustments yourself. 

TOP TIP: Try this automated technique versus correcting the contrast sliders yourself. It’s a great way of seeing what works well or not, and will gradually build your confidence to make manual corrections. 

Like A Pro:

STEP 1: From the Light Tab, set the Highlights Slider to the left to minus 100. This setting is temporary so don’t worry about what your image looks like yet!

STEP 2: Similar to Step 1, set the Shadows Slider to the right; plus 100.

STEP 3: Hold down the Option key down (on a Mac) or Alt key (on a PC) whilst moving the Blacks Slider. This temporarily replaces your image with a white mask (illustrated below). Move the slider until you roughly have about 5-10% overall black pixels showing through the mask. 

STEP 4: Now do the same thing with the Whites Slider. Hold down the Option key (on a Mac) or the Alt key (on a PC) whilst adjusting the Whites Slider. This temporarily replaces your image with a black mask. This time though, adjust the slider until white pixels are just peeking through the mask, and then scale that back just slightly so you can’t see them. This technique avoids having pure white pixels in your image, which can make it look blown out to the eye.

STEP 5: Now go back to the Highlights Slider and increase the Highlights until it looks balanced. Unfortunately, there is no precise way to do this as you did with Blacks & Whites, it is very much down to your visual preference.

STEP 6: Now go back to the Shadows Slider and decrease the Shadows until they look balanced. Work in the same way as you did with Step 5, as this is also down to visual preference.

TOP TIP: The Histogram is a good visual assistant to help correct tonal balance. When correcting Blacks and Whites you want to avoid clipping warnings indicated by the blue and  red indicators illustrated below:


Whilst there is no perfect histogram, you want to try and get a well balanced curve like the one indicated below; where there are no clipped pixels at the left or right ends of the histogram, and in-between there is a roughly bell-curved shape.

Dealing With Clipped Highlights

Adobe Camera RAW tells you when you have clipped highlights using a yellow paint blob at the top right on the Histogram (illustrated above).  If you click on that paint blob Camera RAW gives you a visual representation of where the clipping is occurring, shown in the image above as a red overlay. 

STEP 1: Working from the basic panel, move the Highlights Slider to the left until the clipping disappears. If you have to move the slider too far then try bringing the slider back up to avoid over-processing; in which case:

STEP 2: Try moving the Whites slider to the left until the clipping disappears. Once again, if you end up moving the slider too far, then:

STEP 3: Try reducing the Exposure Slider slightly by half a stop, then go back and adjust Highlights and Whites.

Brightening Or Darkening An Image

If your image is looking too dull, then head to the Basic Panel and the Exposure Slider, and increase the Exposure value. Conversely, if you want to darken an image that is too bright, then move the Exposure Slider to the left.

The Exposure Slider isn’t in the true sense increasing the overall exposure as it is a selective adjustment as opposed to a global adjustment. What this does, is target the mid-tone elements of the image and give them a boost, whilst leaving the darks and whites intact.

TOP TIP: It’s a good idea to balance the contrast first before touching the Exposure Slider. The reason is that these individual contrast sliders tend to be less harsh than the Exposure Slider.

How to enhance and boost color

To add more color to your images, head to the Color Panel, and the Vibrance Slider. Moving the slider to the right adds color, and you can reduce it by moving the slider to the left.

What the Vibrance Slider does, is target areas that are unsaturated by giving them a boost, but leaves alone areas which are already saturated. For this reason, it is the best way to add more color saturation to your images.

You can get a similar effect with the Saturation Slider, but this affects all pixels globally and can lead to some pretty radioactive-looking images. For this reason, I tend to never touch the Saturation Slider; except for when I am completely desaturating an image.

How to enhance texture (feathers, fur, stone)

To enhance the grainy feel of architecture and stone work, try increasing the Texture slider accessible from the Basic Panel. It works by adding a dark-edge contrast to any edges that Camera RAW detects in your image. The technique also works great on animals with defined feathers or fur.

Be careful not to overdo the Texture effect as the additional edge contrast will start to look unnatural. As a rule of thumb RAW images can take more of this effect than say JPEGs due to their higher resolution.  

Fix A Flat Looking Image

The simplest way to fix a flat-looking photo is to head into the Basic Panel and boost the Contrast Slider. This darkens the shadows and brightens the highlights as illustrated in the image above. The effect also gives the impression of additional sharpness, so it is a great alternative (or addition) to any sharpening that you have performed.

Generally, I find that the Contrast Slider gives enough control over the contrast effect, but with curves, you can fine-tune how it is applied across the histogram using an S-Curve. If you want to take things further with contrast, check out Chapter 5, and “How To Use Curves To Boost Contrast”.

How to use Camera RAW to sharpen images

To sharpen an image, head down to the Detail Panel. Depending on what type of image you are working on will depend on how much sharpening you can apply.

STEP 1: Start by sharpening the complete image using the Sharpening Slider. I generally work within the range of 50 to 80, noting that RAW images can take more sharpening than JPEGs due to the relative resolution between the two file types. I tend to leave the Radius and Detail at their default values of respectively 1 and 25 as these work for most images.

TOP TIP – To get a visual indication of the sharpening effect being applied, press the Option key (on a Mac) or Alt key (on a PC) whilst you are moving the Sharpening Slider, and you will get a grey screen that is easier to visually judge the effect. 

STEP 2: Now adjust the Masking slider. Note that if you click the Option key on a Mac (Alt on a PC) whilst moving the slider. Your display will temporarily turn into a negative style view; as a black and white mask (illustrated right). The principle is that masking is only applied to the white areas of the mask, and not the black areas. You, therefore, adjust the slider until you are only applying focussing to the elements that need sharpening; e.g., you typically don’t want to sharpen the background.

Noise reduction in Camera RAW

To remove noise in your image, head to the Detail Panel and then select the Noise Reduction option underneath the Sharpening Sliders. Noise Reduction in Photoshop works by adding blur to your image, and with blur comes a loss of detail! So, you need to find a good balance between the removal of noise and not removing too much detail. If you take things too far, your image will start to look almost plastic in appearance. 

To remove Luminance Noise (e.g. high ISO noise), use the Noise Reduction slider, and adjust the slider until you get a good balance between noise reduction and details. Generally, I leave the Detail & Contrast Sliders alone, as the default settings work for most images. If you have Color Noise (Blue, Green, or Red) spots of color in your image, then use the Color Noise Reduction Slider. This identifies and blurs the actual pixels of color noise, so you can use this slider without losing detail.

How to use Before/After views

Camera RAW can display a before/after image view so that you can compare the differences in an image from when you opened it, and any edits you have performed. The simplest way to do this is using the short code ‘Q’. Repeated presses; toggle between different configurations of before/after views.

As well as the short-code, there is a Before/After View icon towards the bottom-right of the Document Window which is illustrated/highlighted above.

How to remove fog and UV haze

To remove fog or a UV haze from an image, head into the Effects Panel and move the Dehaze Slider to the right. It not only cuts through the haze but boosts contrast in the highlights and midtones, which can help give washed-out skies a bit more punch; as illustrated in the image above.

Conversely, if you want to add haze to an image to enhance a foggy-looking atmosphere, then you can move the Dehaze slider to the left.

NOTE: Another trick with foggy or hazy images is to use a mask to selectively add the Dehaze slider.

Using Camera RAW to add a vignette

To add an artistic vignette to your images, head right down to nearly the bottom of the Edit  Panel and open up the Effects tab. 

Moving the Vignette slider to the right adds a light vignette around your image and to the left a dark vignette. 

To the right of the slider is an arrow that gives you a set of advanced options, allowing you to change the style of the vignette. My personal favorite customizations in the panel are the  style options, in particular Paint Overlay; which matches the tonality of the image to give a more subtle vignette effect. The other sliders enable you to change the position of the effect, as well as whether it is more round or square, and how feathered the effect is.

How to add film grain and noise

If you are looking for that old-school grainy look to your images, then head to the Edit Panel and open up the Effects Tab. The Grain slider enables you to add a film grain effect, and the advanced options let you tailor the size of the grain particles as well as their roughness.

How to de-fringe an image

Fringing in images occurs in areas of high contrast, most usually between the sky and trees or the sky and building. It appears as colors around the edge of objects; usually in purple or green. To eliminate it using Camera RAW, head down to the Optics Panel and the Defringe section. You can use the sliders to manually target the fringing, but by far the simplest way is with the Sample Fringe Pipette.

Grab the pipette (illustrated above) and use it to make a selection on your image where the fringing occurs. Photoshop will then automatically eliminate the offending color from your image. 

How to fix perspective

Open up the Geometry Section to access the Perspective tools. At the top of this area are some automatic modes which enable Photoshop to correct perspective errors in your image. Further down the panel area is a set of sliders for manual correction.  The automatic modes range from a balanced geometry correction, to correcting base on horizontals or verticals only, or a full geometry correction. It is always worth trying out each to see which gives the effect you desire. My preferred method though is the semi-automatic mode where you place guides on your image to indicate what horizontals or verticals you want Adobe Camera RAW to use for the adjustment.  Simply select the guide tool, and then click and drag at least 2 lines onto your image. 

If the automatic modes don’t work so well on your image, you can always revert to the sliders, which give you full manual creative control of the geometry of your image. There is also nothing stopping you doing a bit of both, i.e., use the automatic mode to get the general effect you want, and then refine that with the sliders.

How to fix dust spots

STEP 1: Head over to the Spot Removal Tool (illustrated above at 1) you can also use the short-code B. This brings up the Spot Removal tool panel.

STEP 2: To remove spots you use a brush, which you can adjust the size of using the Size Slider (illustrated above at 2). 

STEP 3: You can go right ahead and start painting away the dust spots, but, if you want extra help to find them; Camera RAW has an x-ray feature to help you hunt them down! Simply select the Visualize Spots radio button (illustrated above at 3), and then adjust the  slider to make the spots more visible. The slider adjusts the sensitivity of the x-ray effect by changing what Camera RAW displays as a contrast difference. Dust spots are most prevalent in areas of high differences, in contrast, hence you tend to notice them in Landscape photography in the sky portions of an image. Practically speaking though, they can appear anywhere in an image, as they are the result of dust particles sitting on the sensor of your camera.  

In this example, you may have noticed that there were three dust spots in the sky towards the top-left. One remains (illustrated previously page at Step 4), and appears as a hot white pixel against a dark background when using the x-ray. I fixed the other two dust spots, which are indicated by the dotted-circular disks (illustrated previously at Step 5). When removing dust spots, I tend to make the brush just slightly larger than the dust spot I am trying to eliminate. In this way, you can give the dust spot a single dab with your brush without affecting too much of your image.

As you gradually work away around an image and remove dust spots, you will notice that Camera RAW shows two disks. One disk is the source pixels and the other is the destination. Camera RAW generally does a good job, but you can adjust these source selections if you need by simply grabbing them and moving them using your cursor and left-clicking to grab and move them.

TOP TIP: Try zooming in to about 400% when working on dust-spots, and then systematically work around the image.

How to fix washed out skies

STEP 1: Head across to the Masking Tool. If you haven’t previously applied any masks in Camera RAW on the image you are working on, you will be presented with the window illustrated to the right. Select ‘Linear Gradient’ from the menu options.

If you have previously applied any masks, then you need to select ‘Create New Mask’ and then select the ‘Linear Gradient’ option from the Mask Library Panel illustrated below.

STEP 2: From the Linear Gradient tool panel set the Exposure slider to minus 1.00. You sometimes need to increase the contrast slider by about plus 5 as well. However, both these settings depend very much on your particular image. The great thing is, that you can apply a gradient and then fine-tune the settings afterward, so these two settings are essentially just a good starting point.

STEP 3: Drag a line  down from the top of your image all the way to the horizon. If you want a representation of how the effect is being applied, then select the ‘Show Overlay’ radio button.

The effect is as though you had a Graduated Neutral Density Filter on your camera. It is applied at 100% at the top of the image, and then gradually reduces in intensity as you get to the bottom of your gradient.

TOP TIP: You can apply any effect from Camera RAW on a gradient, you are not just limited to exposure and contrast.

Selectively applying effects

To selectively darken or lighten an area in an image, the best tool to use is the Mask Tool (illustrated as item 1 above). There are a few steps to go through, but once you are set up, it is easy to find and adjust your edits at a later date using Camera RAW’s new mask library  management feature.

STEP 1: If you haven’t previously applied any masks in Camera RAW on the image you are working on, you will be presented with the window illustrated to the right. Select ‘Brush’ from the menu of options.

If you have previously applied masks on the image you are currently working on, you will see the Mask Library window (illustrated below). In this case, select the ‘Create New Mask’ option from the menu of options, and then from the Tool Panel select ‘Brush’. In both of the eventualities described here, you can just use the short-code K to get straight to the Brush tool.

TOP TIP: Select the ‘Show Overlay’ option using the radio button illustrated above, if you want to see a representation of where you have been painting on your image whilst you are painting.

STEP 2: When darkening (burning), you generally want to set the Exposure Slider to around minus 0.25 to 0.3, but this depends on your image, you may need slightly more or slightly less. Just bear in mind that too much darkening will start to make your image look unnatural.  

For lightening (dodging) you want to set the Exposure slider to around plus 0.25 to 0.3.

STEP 3: Set a feathered brush (100) and a brush size to suit what you are painting; in this example, I used 7. It’s useful to set the Flow right down to say 10 to 20 which enables you to gradually build the effect up. Once you are set up, you can just go ahead and paint on your image in the areas you want to darken. If you make a mistake, there is an eraser brush in the tool panel (illustrated above) near the top-left of the panel. So you can switch back and forth between brushes whilst you are working. 

TOP TIP: If you are working near edges, and don’t want the burning effect to bleed across the edges, then set the ‘Auto Mask’ radio button on. This makes Camera RAW detect edges automatically, and helps you paint more accurately around e.g. the edges of buildings or subjects.

TOP TIP: In the Mask Library it is a good idea to rename your masks to something more contextual, particularly if you are working with multiple masks within a project. This enables you to get back to them easily later on. To do this, double-click on the text and give the Mask a name of your choice. If you have multiple levels of brush strokes on the same mask, you can also rename individual brush strokes if you want to be super-organized.

TOP TIP: You can apply any effect from Camera RAW on a Brush Stroke, you are not just limited to dodging and burning!

How To Create A Spotlight Effect

STEP 1: Head across to the Masking Tool. If you haven’t previously applied any masks in Camera RAW on the image you are working on, you will be presented with the window illustrated below left. Select ‘Radial Gradient’.

If you have previously applied any masks, then you need to select ‘Create New Mask’ and then select the ‘Radial Gradient’ option from the Mask Library Panel illustrated below-right.

STEP 2: From the tool panel, increase the exposure between +1 and +2 and make sure the radial gradient has a slightly feathered edge by increasing the Feather Slider value to around +30.

STEP 3: Apply a radial gradient around the object to want to be brightened. Make sure that the effect is being applied inside the circle/oval and not outside it. If it is the opposite, then select the ‘Invert’ option in the Tool Panel.

You will notice that the effect brightens the object as well as its background. To correct this, you can use Luminance to refine the mask.

STEP 4: From the Mask Library Panel select ‘Subtract’ illustrated below-left and then select the ‘Luminance Range’ option illustrated right.

STEP 5: Select a point around your subject or object, where you don’t want the spotlight effect to appear. Then repeat Steps 4 and 5 to add more points as needed. The effect is now only applied where you want it.

How To Apply An Effect Just To The Sky

Camera RAW now utilizes Photoshops sky replacement algorithms to automatically detect the sky portions of an image. Once you have a sky selected, you can apply any effect you want to it!

STEP 1: Head across to the Masking Tool. If you haven’t previously applied any masks in Camera RAW on the image you are working on, you will be presented with the window illustrated above-top. Select the ‘Select Sky’ option, and after a few seconds Camera RAW will display the sky mask to you.

If you have previously applied any masks, then you need to select ‘Create New Mask’ and then select the ‘Select Sky’ option from the Mask Library Panel. From here, you can apply any of the effects in Adobe RAWs arsenal, including for example Exposure, Contrast, Temperature, Color Tints, etc.

Applying An Effect Just To A Subject In My Image

Camera RAW utilizes Photoshops superb sky  replacement algorithms to automatically detect subjects in your image. Once you have a subject selected, you can apply any effect you want to  it.

STEP 1: Head across to the Masking Tool. If you haven’t previously applied any masks in Camera RAW on the image you are working on, you will be presented with the window illustrated above-top. Select the ‘Select Subject’ option, and after a few seconds Camera RAW will display the sky mask to you. If you have previously applied any masks, then you need to select ‘Create New Mask’ and then select the ‘Select Subject’ option from the Mask Library Panel.

Note If you have multiple subjects in an image, then Camera RAW is going to try and select all of them as a single mask. This kind of works… sometimes! If you want to select several subjects in an image and apply the same effect then this is great, but chances are you will have  to do some mask refinement with Camera RAWs selection. If on the other hand you just have one subject in an image, then the algorithm normally works pretty well. Again though, don’t be surprised if you have to refine the mask to suit your needs. With your subject selected (and with any refinement done) you are then free to apply any effects that you want from the panel.

Hide Or Show Effects

At the top-right-hand side of each of the tabs in the Edit Panel sits a little eye symbol. If you click and hold that, it temporarily disables any changes you have made in that particular tab and you can see the visual impact of that tabs changes.

 TOP TIP: To determine which effects groups you have applied to an image, take a look at the RAW Tool Panel. If you apply an effect in a particular batch of tools, a visual indicator appears in the panel; as a small dot next to the tool icon.

You obviously can’t tell from this what individual effects you have applied to an image within a group, but it does at least tell you which grouping to look in. So in this example illustrated right, you would know that you had applied effects in both the Edit Tool and the Crop Tool.

Fixing red eye and pet eye

To remove red-eye from an image, head up to the Red Eye tool (illustrated at 1 above), this brings up the Red-Eye tool panel.

Then, using your cursor, click and drag a selection around the subject’s eye, and Camera RAW will do the rest. If you do need to adjust the effect, you get a Pupil Size slider, and a slider to adjust the intensity of the correction effect (illustrated at 2 above). For most images though, the default settings are just fine. 

As well as red eye, you can also correct the green reflective light you sometimes get when photographing animals using a flash gun. In this instance just select Pet-Eye from the pull-down menu in the tool panel, and use the same technique of clicking and dragging across the animal’s pupil with your cursor.

How To Crop An Image

To crop an image in Camera RAW, head to the Crop Tool illustrated above, or use the short-code C. This brings up a grid around your image which you can drag using the 8 drag-handles around the border. Simply drag any one of these to adjust the crop to where you want it. The areas outside of your crop are displayed as a shadow.

If you want to constrain the crop to the same proportions as the original, press and hold the Shift key whilst you are dragging the crop. If you want to reposition the whole crop without adjusting the size, hover and grab from the centre to move it around. 

If you hover outside of the grab handles, a double sides arrow appears. This enables you to rotate the crop should you need to.

Resizing An Image To A Specific Ratio

To resize an image to a specific ratio, firstly head across to the Crop Tool or use the short-code C. This brings up a grid around your image which you can drag using the 8 drag-handles around the border. However, before starting to crop your image, go to the Aspect Ratio option in the Crop Tool panel, and using the pull-down menu select the crop size you want, or create your own using the Custom option.

Once you have selected a crop ratio, the grid around your image adjusts to that and locks the ratio in place. You can then start dragging your crop into position using the grab handles.

To reset your image back to its original proportions, head back to the Aspect Ratio pull-down menu and select ‘As Shot’.

TOP TIP: To crop a Landscape image into a Portrait image or vice-versa, use the rotate icon next to the Aspect Ratio pull-down menu. You can also unlock a crop ratio using the padlock if you need to.

How To Show And Reveal Mask Layers

In Camera RAW v14, Adobe introduced a new Mask Library. Every time you create a mask effect either with a brush or linear/radial gradient, a sky or a subject, Camera RAQ saves them in a stack which you access by selecting the Masking icon, and the Mask Library pops up in your Document Window.

You can elect to hide or reveal all the Masks in the stack using the little eye symbol at the top of the Mask Library panel (illustrated above). You can also hide and reveal each individual mask in the stack using the eye symbol next to each mask icon.

The mask icons are quite small, but you can typically get an idea of which one is from the pattern in the icon. If not, you can click it first, and the properties for that mask are revealed.

How To Edit An Existing Mask Layer

To edit an existing Mask, head up to the Masking Tool, and from the Masking Library Panel, select the mask you want to edit from the stack.

When you select each mask, it displays the mask in your document window, which enables you to edit the mask layer itself. So for example, if you want to change the size and shape of the mask you can go ahead and use the grab handles to edit it. You can also use the ‘Add’ & ‘Subtract’ buttons to respectively add to or deduct from a mask. So for instance you can create a gradient mask, and then use a brush to subtract elements from it.

Note that the panel displays the mask settings, so you can adjust these as well.

How To Delete Layer Masks

To edit an existing Mask, head up to the Masking Tool, and from the Masking Library Panel, select the mask you want to delete from the stack.

When you select a Mask, three little dots appear (illustrated right), simply left-click and you have the option to delete the mask.

Incidentally, as well as deleting individual Masks, you can also delete individual elements of a Mask. So for example, if you have multiple brush strokes making up a Mask, then you can go right ahead and delete any one of these should you need, as they appear labeled as separate brush strokes (Brush 1, Brush 2), etc within each Mask.

Using creative presets

Presets can make a fantastic starting point for any creative edits that you are planning. They also make a good reference source on how different effects are achieved, as you can select a preset; and then interrogate all the slider settings in the Edit Panel.

Presets are accessed by heading towards the bottom of Tools Bar (illustrated below). Camera RAW comes pre-loaded with a bunch of useful presets all organized into photographic styles  and genres. Simply open the tab with the genre/style you are looking for, and select from the list available. 

Unfortunately, some of the names are not really that intuitive, but you can quickly browse through each section to get to what you want. 

There is also quite a useful feature at the top of the Presets tab. It’s a slider that you can use to adjust the intensity of any effect you have applied. So if you are after a quick fix on a particular image without spending too much time messing about with sliders and settings, then this can be a good way to go. 

How To Create A Custom Preset

STEP 1: Firstly, perform the edits to an image which you want to be the basis of a new preset, i.e., set color balance, luminance, curves etcetera.

STEP 2: Head across to the Tool Panel and select the Preset Icon (illustrated left).

STEP 3: At the top-right of the Presets panel are 3 dots ‘…’ (illustrated below-left). Click these and you are presented with a pop-up window, at the top of which is the option ‘Create Preset…’ click that (illustrated below-right).

STEP 4: You are then presented with another pop-up window called ‘Create Preset’. From here, you can give your preset a name, assign it a group, together with a subset. You can also choose which effects to save in the preset, so for instance you probably won’t want to store  changes like geometry or calibration as these are image and camera/lens specific. 

Further, you can choose to include or exclude individual effects within a group of effects by clicking the arrow next to each group to access the lower level effects. Once you have decided on which effects you want to include/exclude, click ‘OK’ to commit the change. Your new preset will be available in the presets menu from now on. See “How To Use Presets” in this Chapter

Export An Image Directly From Camera RAW

Camera RAW’s extensive features for post-processing mean that for many images; you don’t need to go into the main Photoshop interface at all. Recognizing this, Adobe quite handily added the feature to save an image directly from Camera RAW.

To access this feature, head to the Tool Panel. At the bottom of the Tool Icons is an icon with 3 dots (illustrated above-left). Select this and a pop-up window appears, with the option to save your image either in RAW or JPG format.

Upscale An Image In Camera RAW

 If you have either heavily cropped an image, and/or you are intending to create super-large prints from it, then upscaling can help you maintain sufficient resolution.

To access this feature, head to the Tool Panel. At the bottom of the Tool Icons is an icon with 3 dots (illustrated far-left). Select this and a pop-up window appears, with the option to Enhance your image. Note though that this is only available in camera RAW if you are working on a RAW format photo.

A pop-up menu then appears in your document window with a radio button labeled ‘Super Resolution’. Check that button, and Camera RAW will double the resolution of your image.  

Zooming In And Out Of An Image

Because zooming in and out is such a common occurrence when working around an image, Camera RAW gives you multiple ways to achieve it. By default, when using most of the tools in Camera RAW, when you move into the document window a magnifying glass appears allowing you to zoom in to a set level (default is 100%) using a mouse-click. You set this default at the bottom-left of the document window illustrated above. When you click again in the document window you zoom back out. 

Another useful method is to use the short-code Command + and Command – (on a Mac) or Control + and Control – (on a PC). Further, you can select the magnifying  glass near the bottom right of the Camera RAW window (illustrated above). This option is useful if say you are using a brush and want to toggle between the brush and zoom.

Moving Around A Zoomed Image

To move around an image once you have zoomed in, head over to the Hand Tool. It is located towards the bottom-right of the Camera RAW interface (illustrated above).

Once you have the Hand Tool selected, click and drag onto your image to move around as you need.  Once you are happy with your location, just click again on the Hand Tool, and you will toggle back to the tool which you were previously using.

There is another way to grab the hand tool without going through the Tool Bar. Press and hold the Spacebar key on your keyboard as you click and drag on your image! This feature essentially temporarily toggles the Hand Tool on, so can save you a couple of key clicks.

Reset All Changes And Start Again

Sometimes you need to make a fresh start on an image. You can reset any edits you have made without having to go through each individual effect and delete each one. The command is tucked away, assumedly so that you can’t inadvertently reset your latest masterpiece!

There are two separate reset modes in Camera RAW. You can: 

  1. Reset the image to the configuration it was in when you opened it in Camera RAW; this is called ‘Reset to Open’. In other words, this mode only resets any edits you have done in your last session.
  2. Reset the image back to its original configuration unedited configuration; this is called ‘Reset to Default’.

To access this feature, head to the Tool Panel. At the bottom of the tool icons is an icon with 3 dots (illustrated below-left). Select this and a pop-up window appears, The ‘Reset to Open’ & ‘Reset to Default’ options are at the top of this window.

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