1 2 Previous Next 77 Replies Latest reply on Aug 21, 2009 12:08 PM by hillrg

    Where is ACR going???

    Level 1
      Where is ACR going?

      OK, lets theorize a bit here, and try to see what is on the horizon (and maybe get some feedback and hints from the big boys)... ACR is getting so dang powerful that Photoshop REALLY is becoming a plug in for it. So what is going to happen in the next 2-5 years (I wonder)?

      Is ACR going to get so powerful and versatile that it completely replaces PS, and literally has a plug in, in it, called "Photoshop Legacy" to which there are a few remainder (minor like artistic filters or something) things that can be done to your image there, if you so choose?

      Just want to throw the question out there to help prepare more for the future.

      Your thoughts and in-sites welcome!
        • 1. Re: Where is ACR going???
          Level 1
          >Where is ACR going?

          Pretty sure Camera Raw wants to be the best raw image processor out there...that's what I see in the efforts of the Camera Raw team. Some of it is competitive but a lot of it is because of personal interest. All the guys that work on Camera Raw also shoot and they want the tools they work on to be the best for personal reasons, which happens to trickle down as a benefit to other users.

          In terms of "replacing" Photoshop. . .I really wouldn't worry about that. Camera Raw/Lightroom is designed specifically to deal with digital captures. Photoshop is designed for pixel level edits and a broad range of functionality that may or may not be super critical for photographers. Only a small subset of Photoshop users are photographers (regardless of the name Photoshop it never was designed for photographers).

          The fact that Camera Raw and Lightroom is increasing the photo controls really doesn't have a direct impact on Photoshop (other than a friendly competition between the engineers). Photoshop's toolset continues to grow and CS4 is an example. So, it's not like Camera Raw (which requires Photoshop or Elements) is gonna replace Photoshop nor is Photoshop gonna be incidental if you need substantial retouching or image compositing (something I doubt Camera Raw will be aimed at).

          So, while it may be interesting to speculate, the fact is the coauthor of Photoshop (Thomas Knoll) is also the primary engineer on Camera Raw...which if anything gives me a good idea that both Photoshop and Camera Raw will both go forward and we'll continue to reap the benefits.
          • 2. Re: Where is ACR going???
            MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
            I obviously can't get into specifics but in general I would highlight 3 areas we focus really hard on: (1) image processing features, (2) image processing fundamentals, and (3) workflow/interface improvements.

            For #1, I mean development of new features, things that you couldn't do with earlier versions; example from CR 5 (part of Photoshop CS4) is local adjustments.

            For #2, I mean things that existed in earlier version, but we're making better; examples from CR 4 are improved capture sharpening and improved color profiles.

            #3 is pretty self-explanatory.

            Obviously there are other things like new camera support, bug fixes, etc.

            (And no, my numbering above has no connection whatsoever to priority level.)
            • 3. Re: Where is ACR going???
              ArrrBee Level 1
              My opinion is that Adobe will keep adding features that allow you to improve
              your raw images before they are converted to bitmap. Because of this I
              really don't see ACR competing with Photoshop. Photoshop can't work with raw
              data nativly only raw data converted to bitmap data, that is a very big
              difference.

              A more important question to me at least is... Why hasn't adobe done away
              with ACR and just fixed it so that Photoshop and all of its features works
              with the raw data nativly? Why do you have to convert it to bitmap first?
              Since it is clear that at least for photography raw and jpeg are where it is
              at and I don't see this changing anytime soon I see no point in having ACR
              anymore. Photoshop should be able to open the raw files just like a jpeg and
              keep the data raw while you do your work with it.

              Now of course this would mean some changes. For one DNG would have to be the
              format you save as if you wanted to keep you data raw and that means it
              would have to be able to at least in some way or another keep track of
              things like layers, layer masks, layer effects, adjustment layers, etc.

              I suspect the reason this hasn't happened is because it would require a
              massive amount of work to retool Photoshop and DNG to handle this. My
              suggestion would be don't do it. Instead Adobe should start development of a
              new Photoshop (Photoshop RAW) that does this from the start. Photoshop as we
              have it now is not just for photographers any more and it would be unfair to
              take it away from the others that need it. But, a Photoshop Raw program that
              was Photoshop designed from the ground up for raw data processing with
              layers, etc. etc. etc. would be very cool.

              No Lightroom isn't this, Lightroom is basically ACR standalone with Bridge
              built-in. Not even close to a raw data handling Photoshop.

              Robert
              • 4. Re: Where is ACR going???
                Level 1
                >and keep the data raw while you do your work with it.

                Then you clearly don't understand the basics of "raw". Raw, or un-demosaiced data is pretty useless. A raster file COULD be linear, but by definition, it's no longer raw because it's been demosiaced.

                Look, Camera Raw and Lightroom are parametric editors (editing the metadata), Photoshop is a pixel editor. That's a line drawn in the sand. Why should Photoshop mess around with parametric editing? It does pixel editing really well. And there's no reason that CR/LR needs massive pixel editing like heavy duty retouching and compositing. That's above CR/LR pay grade.

                I'm pretty confident that the Camera Raw team know what they are doing...they'll work to extend and expand the toolset and functionality that makes sense to be done during the demosiacing process, and not much more...
                • 5. Re: Where is ACR going???
                  Mathias Vejerslev Level 2
                  You could open your RAW as a smart object...
                  • 6. Re: Where is ACR going???
                    Level 1
                    >You could open your RAW as a smart object...

                    Yeah, but that's the point...it's STILL a raw file and embedded in the tiff raster files as a non-demosiaced raw file. It's a hybrid, yes...but the raw is still raw and requires the SO version of Camera Raw to work on & process out when flattening.
                    • 7. Re: Where is ACR going???
                      Mathias Vejerslev Level 2
                      My response was to Bobs

                      >Photoshop should be able to open the raw files just like a jpeg and
                      keep the data raw while you do your work with it.

                      That, to me is a SO RAW file. But yes, you are right, you still need CR.
                      • 8. Re: Where is ACR going???
                        MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                        The main issue is that PS wasn't really designed to deal with non-destructive editing for raw files. There are a lot of technical and architectural issues involved, dealing with differences between parametric vs. pixel-based edits, how they're represented, etc.; really not worth going there.
                        • 9. Re: Where is ACR going???
                          ArrrBee Level 1
                          But a raw version of Photoshop doesn't have to be a pixel editor. That was
                          the point. Sure it would take a new program to do this and it would take a
                          probably a new file format to support it. But this is do able (any data raw
                          or other wise can be edited, you just have to write the software to do it.)
                          and that is the point. I understand raw just fine. This is also why I didn't
                          think it would be right to take the current version of Photoshop and do this
                          to it. There are other people with other needs. But, a raw editor with most
                          of the features of Photoshop that doesn't require the conversion of the raw
                          data, that stores all editing in metadata and is non-destructive is where
                          Adobe should be going.

                          Robert
                          • 10. Re: Where is ACR going???
                            ArrrBee Level 1
                            And Eric that is why I said a new version of Photoshop should be created
                            from the ground up for this. As well as I am sure a new file format to
                            handle all of this. Something like DNG2. This is something Adobe at the very
                            least should be working on in the lab at least as an experimental project
                            for a future release (5 to 6 years down the road).

                            Robert
                            • 11. Re: Where is ACR going???
                              dorin_nicolaescu Level 5
                              > But a raw version of Photoshop doesn't have to be a pixel editor. That was the point. Sure it would take a new program to do this ...

                              There is one. It's called Lightroom.
                              • 12. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                ArrrBee Level 1
                                Lightroom isn't even close to Photoshop. No layers, none of that kind of
                                stuff. Lightroom is a standalone version of ACR with Bridge Built-in that is
                                a far cry from Photoshop.

                                Robert
                                • 13. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                  Level 1
                                  Robert, why the current set up bothers you so much? I, actually, like it from the workflow perspective. I kinda settled on global adjustments I do in CR, and it goes very quickly. Then I do pixel tweaking if needed, B&W conversion , resizing etc in PS. I find it a nice functional segregation. The only thing that bothers me in CR is sharpening, because I shoot a lot in low light and use a plug-in in PS to do noise reduction first. Why can't they allow plug-ins in CR?
                                  • 14. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                    ArrrBee Level 1
                                    The question was where is it going.

                                    As for my comments and why I don't care for the current set. Well, there are
                                    far more advantages to keeping your data raw then converting to bitmap. One
                                    would think that one would want as little data loss as possible. Having to
                                    convert to bitmap simply to create a new layer or what-not just isn't a good
                                    thing in my book. Adobe seems to be heading this way at least in part with
                                    all of the non-destructive editing. Now they just need Photoshop for raw
                                    data and forget the going to bitmap unless you are outputting for web or
                                    video or something like that.

                                    Adobe is the one that caused thoughts like this. If the advantages of
                                    keeping data raw and non-destructive editing weren't pushed by Adobe so much
                                    one probably wouldn't care, but with something of the things they added to
                                    ACR 5 and LR 2 it makes it very clear that Adobe indeed feels that there are
                                    major advantages. That being the case I see no reason why one should have to
                                    convert to bitmap except for those times when bitmap is required for web or
                                    video, etc.

                                    If ACR can work with raw data and do what it does in 5 and LR 2 I see no
                                    reason (with a fair amount of work mind you) that a Photoshop Raw isn't
                                    possible and is the way things need to go. Where is ACR going? ACR needs to
                                    be going away and being replaced by Photoshop RAW.

                                    Now do I think this will happen quickly (5 to 6 years) or at all. No I don't
                                    think it will happen quickly maybe never. The fact that Adobe couldn't seem
                                    to get LR 2.0 out the door with major bugs that weren't in the public beta
                                    and then be unable to fix the issues with the 2.1 update speaks volumes. I
                                    also have my doubts the Bridge will ever be a stable reliable way of working
                                    either. So I don't see them starting over with something like Photoshop Raw.
                                    But, I do see someone doing something like that.

                                    Robert
                                    • 15. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                      It's absurd even to mention Lightbroom in the same sentence as Photoshop. :/
                                      • 16. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                        Level 1
                                        >ACR needs to be going away and being replaced by Photoshop RAW.

                                        Yeah, that'll get ya a lot of traction with the Camera Raw team dooode...you keep posting stuff like that.
                                        • 17. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                          Level 1
                                          > ACR needs to be going away and being replaced by Photoshop RAW.

                                          Not gonna happen. I can see Lr taking on some Ps-type features (layerz plz?) but
                                          nothing more than that.

                                          -X
                                          • 18. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                            dorin_nicolaescu Level 5
                                            > Lightroom isn't even close to Photoshop. No layers, none of that kind of stuff.

                                            Wait a minute... Photoshop, as it is today, is not even near to be a photographer's tool. Look at CS4 now you can paint on a dinosaur - huh! It is a powerful
                                            b graphics design
                                            program.

                                            And if you start from the idea of working on RAWs in a non-destructive manner, I see you talking from a
                                            b photographer's
                                            perspective.

                                            Now, why would a designer care about your photograph? It's just raw material for him. Why would a photographer want to paint on dinosaurs?

                                            > It's absurd even to mention Lightroom in the same sentence as Photoshop.

                                            That sounds a little arrogant.
                                            • 19. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                              John Joslin Level 6
                                              > That sounds a little arrogant.

                                              Dorin, may I introduce Ramón?
                                              • 20. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                dorin_nicolaescu Level 5
                                                > Dorin, may I introduce Ramón?

                                                Sure. Please, do. :)
                                                • 21. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                  John Joslin Level 6
                                                  He is strong on knowledge but short on diplomacy.
                                                  • 22. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                    JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                                                    Dorin,

                                                    I agree with you that there is a lot in Photoshop for graphic designers. I have been using Photoshop since version 4, and I know that I only use just a small portion of the program's capabilities. But according to Jeff Shewe there are a lot of photographer-specific features that have been added to Photoshop CS4. Again, I probably won't use all of them. But I do want all of the features of Camera Raw, so Photoshop Elements is not an option. And, personally, I don't care for the Lightroom workflow. Don't misunderstand, I think Lightroom is a marvelous program for photographers. It's just that I have been using Photoshop for so long that I just prefer using it. So, kicking and fighting all the way, I guess I'm going to upgrade to CS4.
                                                    • 23. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                      Level 1
                                                      Why isn't it possible to make a merge with CS and LR where you get only what photographer needs to a cheaper price than the combo to day? Then Adobe could make function by function non destructive over time and tightly integrated.

                                                      I find it very frustrating that Adobe push me to either buy a expencive package where I don't need 90% and with a complex interface OR continue living with the hurdles they put in Elements "by design". Like no masks, no integration with LR, no....
                                                      • 24. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                        Level 1
                                                        find it very frustrating that Adobe push me to either buy a expencive package where I don't need 90% and with a complex interface

                                                        That's how they make money
                                                        • 25. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                          Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                          Dorin,
                                                          >That sounds a little arrogant.

                                                          So what?

                                                          [EDIT: the truth often hurts.]
                                                          • 26. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                            Level 1
                                                            >Why isn't it possible to make a merge with CS and LR where you get only what photographer needs to a cheaper price than the combo to day?

                                                            I suspect you really don't have a real good handle on the fundamental differences between pixel editing and parametric editing...if you have to ask the question, you prolly wouldn't understand the question... there's a lot of reasons why Camera Raw will stand alone to process raw files and why Photoshop really doesn't want to go there....(can't really, given today's software technology).
                                                            • 27. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                              Bill_Janes Level 2
                                                              >...there's a lot of reasons why Camera Raw will stand alone to process raw files and why Photoshop really doesn't want to go there....(can't really, given today's software technology).

                                                              Aside from what is possible, we should also consider what is desirable. Sometimes, we want Camera Raw to be hosted by Bridge rather than PS and this would not be possible if ACR were incorporated into PS. Also, ACR is updated much more frequently than PS. It is easier to upgrade the plugin rather than the whole application. Finally, some people don't use ACR (heaven forbid1!) and they could remove the plugin from their system and simplify things.
                                                              • 28. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                ArrrBee Level 1
                                                                Well, I never said ACR would go away. As for updates well Adobe can update
                                                                Photoshop just fine. The frequency of updates is unimportant.

                                                                Robert
                                                                • 29. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                  MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                                                                  I'm assuming you'd rather have camera updates roughly once every 3 months compared to once every 9 to 12 months.
                                                                  • 30. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                    ArrrBee Level 1
                                                                    Again if Adobe can put out bug patches for Photoshop they can also update
                                                                    any bult-in raw processing. Especially if the program was designed that way.

                                                                    Robert
                                                                    • 31. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                      > if Adobe can put out bug patches for Photoshop

                                                                      They may be able to, but they sure don't. :( At least not as often as they ought to
                                                                      • 32. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                        ArrrBee Level 1
                                                                        Well, I can't argue with that. Updates to fix even small things should be
                                                                        something Adobe strives for.

                                                                        Robert
                                                                        • 33. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                          Tim Lookingbill Level 1
                                                                          I'm surprised Adobe has been taking the initiative in coming up with features that seem to more and more ensconce them in catering to efficiency workflows rather than wiz bang imaging effects. They seem to be morphing in this direction with each added feature and new digital imaging application like Lightroom, Bridge, the Creative Suite Expanded and going by the long list of .exe scripts that show up control clicking any jpeg on the desktop in OS X.

                                                                          I was under the impression from reading their EULA and responses by engineers and Adobe guru's here in Adobe Forums in the past that workflow integration was not their problem or concern and if their software didn't work for a user's particular setup then tough. From this I gathered their stance has always been that they just create the tool and it's up to the user to get Adobe's software to work in their own workflow.

                                                                          Photographers currently seem to have benefited more in this area than prepress guys who've had to rely mostly on the Creative Suite working with mass integration of tons of legacy files that have to be organized and adapted with newer technologies, RIP's and output devices.

                                                                          I wonder if Adobe wants to just stick with addressing the individual user's needs over getting into helping huge networked corporate workflow operations. Or do they have a separate division for that.
                                                                          • 34. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                            Level 1
                                                                            >I was under the impression from reading their EULA and responses by engineers and Adobe guru's here in Adobe Forums in the past that workflow integration was not their problem or concern and if their software didn't work for a user's particular setup then tough.

                                                                            Well, I don't know what YOU'VE been reading (or where), but if this is your impression, you are all wet. Seriously...Creative Suite 4 is all about performance and workflow and the Photoshop, Lightroom and Camera Raw team are all about image quality and workflow. If you think Adobe engineers don't care, you need to clean your ears (or your glasses) and pay more attention. Seriously dooode, you have it all wrong. Oh, they all like the WOW features too, but you don't build an efficient workflow from wow.
                                                                            • 35. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                              Tim Lookingbill Level 1
                                                                              Hey Doode,

                                                                              Then what's Mike Ornelias been blathering about for some six odd years?

                                                                              I never said Adobe engineers didn't care. I got the impression they are having to limit the depths that they will go in how they get into the daily workflow lives of individual users.

                                                                              If you'ld stop being such a pit bull for Adobe maybe you wouldn't come off sounding so damn gruff, DOOOODE!
                                                                              • 36. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                                Level 1
                                                                                >Then what's Mike Ornelias been blathering about for some six odd years?

                                                                                MO has his own set of problems and his are centered in the prepress world, not photography. MO doesn't know squat about a photo-centric working environment, he ends up with messes other people create because they don't know what THEY are doing...he also has some pretty, uh, radical ides what Adobe should do to fix HIS world, which ain't my world.

                                                                                >If you'ld stop being such a pit bull for Adobe maybe you wouldn't come off sounding so damn gruff, DOOOODE!

                                                                                If people didn't have such backwards and ill informed views and opinions, maybe I could be less of a pit bull...but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
                                                                                • 37. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                                  Level 1
                                                                                  Actually Tim since you said in another thread that you are using Photoshop CS2, not CS3, you are even further out of the loop than I realized...one of the things that were worked on for Photoshop CS3, Bridge CS3 and Camera Raw 4.x WAS workflow. This is also something that is being touted about Photoshop CS4 (and Camera Raw 5).

                                                                                  Hard to be a real critic if you are 1 and shortly 2 versions of Photoshop behind...the world has changed a lot since Photoshop CS2 bud.
                                                                                  • 38. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                                    MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                                                                                    Regarding imaging and workflow, see post #2 again.
                                                                                    • 39. Re: Where is ACR going???
                                                                                      Mathias Vejerslev Level 2
                                                                                      I tend to agree that CS4 is a milestone in workflow optmization and cross software efficiency. New Bridge is way faster and better! Try before whine.
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