1 2 Previous Next 61 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2008 11:55 PM by Ramón G Castañeda

    Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements

    Level 1
      I am a Photoshop Elements user (6/Windows) and I was wondering if the Camera RAW plugin had different functionality under Photoshop when compared to Photoshop Elements. In several places over the net I have read references to fixing lens chromatic aberration in Camera RAW, however, I cannot see anything like that when I use ACR with Elements.
      So - what am I missing ?

      Thanks
      Tomas
        • 1. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
          JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
          There is a lot more functionality in Camera Raw when running under Photoshop rather than Photoshop Elements. It is that way by design, and there is no way to change that.
          • 2. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
            athegn Level 2
            "..In several places over the net I have read references to fixing lens chromatic aberration in Camera RAW, however, I cannot see anything like that when I use ACR with Elements..."

            I guess that there will always be a lot missing from ACR in Elements e.g curves, lens correction etc at present. I wonder if the local tone & color corrections and other adjustments will be available in Elements ACR.

            After all if you are paying less you should expect less, which I do.

            BTW a cheap way to get lens CA and barrel/pincushion distortion correction in Elements is PTlens:-

            http://epaperpress.com/ptlens/
            • 3. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
              Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
              As the others posters point out, ACR is severely crippled in Elements, by design.

              I got a refund from Adobe for Elements, which you can request during the first 30 days.
              • 4. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                So, Ramon, are you going to move to CS4? I recall some of your comments from a couple of months ago. Like I said in another thread, kicking and screaming all the way, but I'm going to do it.
                • 5. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                  Level 1
                  Thanks everyone, that is what I feared.
                  • 6. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                    Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                    Jim,

                    Whether I ever upgrade to Photoshop 11.x will depend entirely on as-yet-unforeseen advances in ACR that can not be accessed otherwise. Strictly from what I have seen with the various preview videos and comments so far, I'm staying with Photoshop 10.0.1, but a future version of ACR may change that.
                    • 7. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                      Level 1
                      > will depend entirely on as-yet-unforeseen advances in ACR that can not be accessed otherwise

                      Oh, you'll want to upgrade alright...while Lightroom kinda stole some of the glory in terms of functionality, at least the CR 5.x will be a bit more speedy and with local tone/color corrections, which it you shoot raw and wish to minimize the amount of time in Photoshop you'll find useful. To a certain extend, people shooting raw will always want to upgrade if for no other reason to get the latest and greatest from Thomas Knoll & crew (of three). Being able to make local tone/color correction is really very compelling.
                      • 8. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                        Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                        >people shooting raw will always want to upgrade if for no other reason to get the latest and greatest from Thomas Knoll & crew (of three).

                        I can't (and wouldn't) argue with that. :)
                        • 9. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                          Tim Lookingbill Level 1
                          Between getting ACR Elements and ACR Photoshop what's another $100.

                          Oh, upgrade to CS4 and be done with it. it's only $200. You'll never know it's missing.

                          It's not like your spending $800 billion. Huh! Gulp!
                          • 10. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                            Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                            ???

                            I tried Elements on the laptop and I was ultimately successful in getting a full refund for it from Adobe. I would not consider it ever again nor would I recommend it to anybody --well my enemies excepted.

                            If and when I do upgrade to Photoshop 11 it will be because I fully consider ACR worth the upgrade price.
                            • 11. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                              Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                              Sorry. I now realize that Tim was addressing the OP.

                              What threw me off was the figures Tim cited. It is considerably more expensive to upgrade from Elements to full Photoshop, not just $200.

                              EDIT: I just checked. The upgrade gtom Elements to CS4 is $600 . (The nominal price is $599, but Adobe more than makes up for that one buck when they add the shipping.)
                              • 12. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                Tim Lookingbill Level 1
                                You're right, Ramon.

                                I was more joking than being precise about the cost, but thanks for correcting me.

                                I never thought about it that way but you're right. Those that want the power and features of ACR ONLY without the need for full Photoshop but can only afford Elements now have to fork over $600 just to get ACR.

                                Wonder what ACR features are not in LIghtroom which cost less and is it worth the savings.
                                • 13. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                  Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                  >what ACR features are not in LIghtroom which cost less and is it worth the savings.

                                  I understand none. :|
                                  • 14. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                    Level 1
                                    >what ACR features are not in LIghtroom which cost less and is it worth the savings.

                                    Actually, Lightroom doesn't have a points editor, only parametric curves. Lightroom will process point curves if set in Camera Raw, it just has no points editor UI.
                                    • 15. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                      Level 1
                                      So everything else (I am mainly interested in CA correction) should be in Lightroom ? I guess I will check the Lightroom trial then, but it is still quite expensive for an amateur.
                                      • 17. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                        Level 1
                                        I'll consider Lightroom too. Currently I have CS2 in full. I don't want to upgrade the whole bundle, and I don't want to have to pay full price for Photoshop CS4 when I have Photoshop CS2 already, so Lightroom seems to be the least expensive way for me to get the latest ACR.

                                        But I've seen a lot of complaints about Lightroom 2, so I'm wary. Maybe I'll wait to see what sort of a reception 2.1 gets.

                                        All I want, really, is the latest ACR. Apart from that, I'm happy with CS2 and don't feel a need to upgrade any other part of it.
                                        • 18. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                          DawMatt Level 3
                                          Hi,

                                          I'm also interested in the Camera Raw (ACR) capabilities in Elements vs CS4.

                                          I currently own Lightroom (LR) 2.1 and Photoshop Elements (PSE) 6. ACR 5.1 installs in PSE 6 but the only new feature this provides is access to camera calibration (profiles). What I'd really like access to are the other non-destructive features provided in LR2 which I believe are available in ACR 5 when accessed from CS4.

                                          LR2/PSE6 integration is crippled - you must export the file to a TIFF (for example) before loading into PSE. If the non-destructive edits were available in ACR 5.1 then I might be able to work around this limitation.

                                          Does anyone know whether PSE 7 is crippled in the same way? If ACR 5.1 can access non-destructive camera raw edits in ACR then I'll upgrade PSE. Otherwise I'll have to seriously consider whether I bother upgrading at all. CS4 is just too expensive given I'd only want a couple of features beyond those available in my current tools.

                                          PS all of the online PSE 7 documentation refers to ACR 4.6 so I haven't been able to find any documentation that might answer this question.

                                          Thanks,
                                          Matt
                                          • 19. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                            JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                                            In Lightroom, unless you have specified in the preferences to write changes to XMP, that is the way it is supposed to work either in Photoshop Elements or in Photoshop. All changes to your images are stored in the Lightroom database, and the only way those changes can be passed to Photoshop or Elements is to create a new file that includes the Lightroom changes.

                                            In reality, that is the same way it works in Photoshop or Elements. Once you have made any changes in Photoshop you cannot save those changes to the raw image. A new file has to be created. The only difference when using Lightroom is that the file is created BEFORE you start your Photoshop/Elements editing.
                                            • 20. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                              Level 1
                                              I've now tried ACR 5.1 with a free trial of Photoshop CS4, and rather to my surprise I find that it doesn't seem to offer me much more than the ACR 3.7 I already have with my Photoshop CS2. There are some extra facilities that are probably of real value to some people, but as an amateur photographer I think I can get along well enough without the upgrade.
                                              • 21. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                                                Jonathan,

                                                I would suggest that you should take a closer look. I don't have Photoshop CS4, but after using Photoshop CS3 and ACR 4 I would never want to go back to Photoshop CS2. I am using Lightroom 2.1 along with my CS3, so I have pretty much all the functionality of ACR 5.1, and I can tell you that there is much better control and better camera profiles than anything you have in ACR 3.7.
                                                • 22. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                  Level 1
                                                  Hello Jim, thanks for your reply, but you're rather non-specific about the advantages. I have a Nikon D50 camera; has the profile changed? I suppose I could process the same photo with ACR 3.7 and 5.1 and look for differences. Better control? I notice a new vibrance control, which seems nice to have but I can live without it. Probably users more expert than me go wild over the latest software, but I'm afraid I hardly notice the difference.
                                                  • 23. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                    DawMatt Level 3
                                                    Hi Jim,

                                                    Thanks for the response. I guess what I'm most concerned about is inefficient workflow and wasting disk space (etc) when going between the two products.

                                                    I don't want to write a large (non raw) file to disk first and then a derivative file after editing. If Elements 6 can honor all of the settings applied to the raw (including localised adjustments) then maybe I should just stick with my current config.

                                                    Its hard to find information explaining exactly what raw functionality I'd be losing by not upgrading to CS4 and ACR 5.1. All the online product documentation only seems to cover older versions of ACR. I've also heard some reference to Smart Objects (when editing LR2 photos in CS3) so maybe there is more to this than just ACR functionality.

                                                    Thanks,
                                                    Matt
                                                    • 24. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                      Level 1
                                                      Hello Matt, have you considered downloading the software and giving it a free trial? Adobe is helpful in providing that possibility.

                                                      For myself, I have to consider price as well as functionality. Adobe's major programs are expensive, and their upgrades are also expensive. If they were significantly less expensive, I'd buy every upgrade that came along as a matter of course. But, as things are, I have to think about it carefully, and for my particular purposes I can't necessarily justify paying that much money for some extra bells and whistles, when I can manage with what I have.
                                                      • 25. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                        PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional
                                                        Jonathan, there is no legal trial of Photoshop CS4 at time of writing...
                                                        http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=cs4_notify&loc=en_us
                                                        • 26. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                          JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                                                          Well, you don't have the clarity adjustment, the vibrance adjustment, and (new with ACR 5) the graduated filter and local adjustments. Additionally, they have come out with new profiles for virtually every camera. But like you say, if you don't need any of those things why worry about it?
                                                          • 27. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                            Level 1
                                                            Hello PEC, I didn't know that. I bought the Photoshop CS4 upgrade from Amazon, then found that it refused to install as an upgrade to my Photoshop CS2, apparently because I bought Photoshop CS2 as part of the whole Creative Suite.

                                                            Naturally, I sent Photoshop CS4 back to Amazon for a refund. However, Photoshop CS4 consented to be installed as a free trial, so I'm still using it as such.

                                                            Admittedly, this process is more complicated than downloading, but it provides a free trial without apparently breaking any laws. The only snag is that I have to pay for postage to return the stuff to Amazon.

                                                            I would add that I paid for the upgrade in good faith and would have kept it had it worked.
                                                            • 28. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                              Level 1
                                                              Hello Jim, thanks for the more detailed list of extra features in ACR 5.1. Indeed, I don't feel in need of any that you mentioned. I haven't noticed that the profile for my camera is particularly deficient in 3.7, but maybe I'll do a comparison and see if I detect any improvement.
                                                              • 29. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                DawMatt Level 3
                                                                Hi,

                                                                Jim said:
                                                                > Well, you don't have the clarity adjustment, the vibrance adjustment, and (new with ACR 5) the graduated filter and local adjustments. Additionally, they have come out with new profiles for virtually every camera. But like you say, if you don't need any of those things why worry about it?

                                                                Was this comment referring to ACR 3.7, or ACR 5.1 when called from within PSE 7?

                                                                Jonathan said:
                                                                > have you considered downloading the software and giving it a free trial? Adobe is helpful in providing that possibility

                                                                I've downloaded PSE 7 trial but haven't installed yet. I'm a little nervous about how cleanly it will uninstall (and restore PSE 6 and LR2) so will probably try it out in a VM tonight.

                                                                Thanks,
                                                                Matt
                                                                • 30. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                  Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                  Matt,
                                                                  >Was this comment referring to ACR 3.7, or ACR 5.1 when called from within PSE 7?

                                                                  If I understand you correctly, you're asking whether the ACR plug-in behaves differently when hosted by Photoshop Elements compared to the full version of Photoshop. The answer to that is yes, ACR (all versions) is emasculated in all versions of Elements, even though it is the same plug-in.

                                                                  See the following existing threads:

                                                                  Ramón G Castañeda, "RGB values are all 8-bit when editing a 16-bit TIFF" #21, 10 Oct 2008 9:04 pm

                                                                  Jim Hess, "Lightroom Controls Added to Camera Raw?" #17, 1 Aug 2008 5:57 pm
                                                                  • 31. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                    DawMatt Level 3
                                                                    Hi Ramon,

                                                                    Thanks for the response. I'm actually trying to find out whether the level of ACR emasculation changes between PSE 6 and 7, to work out whether I should bother upgrading. e.g. will local adjustments be visible in ACR 5.1 when accessed via PSE 7? I know that they are not accessed via ACR 5.1 and PSE 6.

                                                                    I'm having great difficulty trying to find a definitive answer on this particular detail.

                                                                    Thanks,
                                                                    Matt
                                                                    • 32. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                      >I'm having great difficulty trying to find a definitive answer on this particular detail.

                                                                      Maybe because folks like me can't understand what you're asking?

                                                                      I would expect ACR 5.1 hosted by Elements 6 to be identical to ACR 5.1 hosted by Elements 7, and vice versa.
                                                                      • 33. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                        DawMatt Level 3
                                                                        Hi Ramon,

                                                                        >Maybe because folks like me can't understand what you're asking?

                                                                        I was trying to make the point that no online documentation, articles or blog posts seem to cover using PSE for raw processing in any detail. If they had, I wouldn't have needed to ask the question here.

                                                                        >I would expect ACR 5.1 hosted by Elements 6 to be identical to ACR 5.1 hosted by Elements 7, and vice versa.

                                                                        I suspect you may be right, but feature lists grow with each release so maybe this is something they have improved. Prior to PSE 6 you couldn't open multiple files in camera raw at the same time, which made it much harder to apply the same white balance (for example) to multiple photos. Looks like the only way I can find out how they have improved PSE 7's raw handling is by installing the trial. Thank goodness I broadband not dial up!

                                                                        Thanks,
                                                                        Matt
                                                                        • 34. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                          John Joslin Level 6
                                                                          For anyone wondering about Photoshop CS4 this link is quite interesting:

                                                                          http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/11/cs4_for_photographers.html#more
                                                                          • 35. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                            Level 1
                                                                            Good luck, Matt, I sympathize with your problems. Naturally, it's in the interest of every customer to find maximum functionality at minimum cost; unfortunately, it's in Adobe's interest to make us pay for every drop of useful functionality.

                                                                            I'm willing to pay for the functionality that I find useful; I'm not willing to pay very much for functionality that I find only marginally useful, so I try to avoid doing so.
                                                                            • 36. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                              Level 1
                                                                              Thanks, John, the list of Photoshop CS4 novelties is quite interesting and useful. From my point of view, it's mostly advanced stuff that I don't reckon to get involved with. Adobe is catering for professionals; you'd have to be a pretty ambitious amateur with plenty of time on your hands to learn how to use all this stuff.
                                                                              • 37. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                                JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                                                                                It seems to me that there are two different discussions going on here, looking for a simple answer. First of all, the difference in ACR running under Photoshop vs. running under Photoshop Elements. ACR in Photoshop Elements does not have:
                                                                                curve adjustments
                                                                                HSL adjustments (hue, saturation, luminance)
                                                                                ability to create presets
                                                                                "calibration" panel is missing

                                                                                and there are probably others that I cannot think of because I have never used ACR in Photoshop Elements.

                                                                                The difference between ACR 4 and ACR 5 includes the local adjustments and the graduated filter (not sure if that is the correct term). They don't sound like a lot. But I find I am using them frequently in Lightroom 2.1. Probably one of the biggest timesavers in using Photoshop/ACR is the capability to create actions actions that will process large batches of images. Again, if you have never had to use this feature it might sound rather insignificant. But when I can put the computer to work processing a large number of images while I get a good night's sleep, I wouldn't want to be without that feature.

                                                                                I suppose for the person who identifies themselves as an amateur or as a casual user, Photoshop Elements/ACR probably appears as a reasonable compromise of features. I am not a professional photographer. In fact, I'm really quite limited with my photographic abilities. But I still find the differences in ACR running under the two different programs significant. Significant enough to justify going the Photoshop route.
                                                                                • 38. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                                  DawMatt Level 3
                                                                                  Jonathan, Jim, Thanks for your input.

                                                                                  >"calibration" panel is missing

                                                                                  FYI Jim the calibration panel is included in PSE 6 once you install ACR 5.1. This is an example of why I asked the question - it's very hard to know what is in and out of the feature list.

                                                                                  >I suppose for the person who identifies themselves as an amateur or as a casual user, Photoshop Elements/ACR probably appears as a reasonable compromise of features.

                                                                                  That is the theory I'm working with. As a hobbyist I'd love to have the full Photoshop but its hard to justify the price.

                                                                                  >I sympathize with your problems. Naturally, it's in the interest of every customer to find maximum functionality at minimum cost; unfortunately, it's in Adobe's interest to make us pay for every drop of useful functionality. ... I'm willing to pay for the functionality that I find useful;

                                                                                  I'm in the same boat. I've paid for PSE upgrades a number of times because I've found the added features useful each time. This year I swapped to LR2 and am extremely happy I made the move, but there are still times when you need a "destructive" editor. This whole line of inquiry is to see if it is worth upgrading my "destructive" editor as well.

                                                                                  From my perspective Adobe have gotten their product/feature mix slightly wrong. As a hobbyist it is hard to justify the additional $1000 (or more) to upgrade from PSE to CS4 as my "destructive" editor. But there are a number of features missing from PSE that it is reasonable for a hobbyist to expect or need. Somehow I don't think this imbalance will ever be resolved to my satisfaction.

                                                                                  Interesting debate!

                                                                                  Thanks,
                                                                                  Matt
                                                                                  • 39. Re: Camera RAW functionality in Photoshop and Elements
                                                                                    Level 1
                                                                                    Matt says, "But there are a number of features missing from PSE that it is reasonable for a hobbyist to expect or need. Somehow I don't think this imbalance will ever be resolved to my satisfaction."

                                                                                    I suppose Adobe designs Photoshop Elements for what it considers to be the average amateur, but in practice each amateur has different requirements, so many of them will be in Matt's position, wanting one or two specific extra features, for which the price of Photoshop (with its many expert features) seems too much to pay.

                                                                                    As an untypical example, a few years ago I felt I had to get Photoshop because I needed to deal with CMYK images in my work. I didn't need any advanced editing features, I just needed to do very simple beginner-level editing of CMYK images. Photoshop Elements doesn't handle CMYK. This example is untypical because amateurs don't normally need CMYK, but I'm sure I could have done very well with Elements apart from the CMYK requirement.

                                                                                    Now you know why I have Photoshop... Of course, having bought it, I also use it for my amateur photography. In earlier years I used Paint Shop Pro, which is a good program in most ways. I still use it for some purposes, but I've found it somewhat unreliable for colour conversions.
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