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Access Raw Image Files from Within Photoshop

Adobe's new plug-in aids workflow

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Rushing to address the growing interest among digital photographers to be able to manipulate the raw data captured by their digital cameras, Adobe Systems has come out with the Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop.

Without the plug-in, photographers must let the camera software convert an image to JPEG or TIFF format before opening it in Photoshop, or use the camera's proprietary software to manipulate the raw image.

Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in, which works with Photoshop 7.01, enables Photoshop-using photographers to preview raw files in Photoshop's File Browser and directly manipulate settings such as white balance, exposure, contrast, color saturation, and smoothness. The result is that the photograph retains more of its tonal range and detail than the camera's automated conversion might otherwise allow.

The functionality will likely be built into Photoshop in the future, says Adobe, but the plug-in was brought to market quickly to meet the increasing demand. It works with cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, and Olympus. The full list of supported cameras is available on Adobe's website. The Camera Raw plug-in, bundled with another plug-in that provides support for the new JPEG 2000 file format, costs $99 and can be downloaded from Adobe's website. (Adobe Systems, Inc.: www.adobe.com)

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