ColorPerfect: Introduction to RAW conversions using PerfectRAW

ColorPerfect's PerfectRAW offers a new and superior approach to digital photography. To harness the full potential of our Photoshop Plug-in you will want to read much of what he have on our web pages but most importantly you'll want to get started using it. To help you with that we have recorded this introductory video for you.

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The ColorPerfect PerfectRAW Introductory Video

This is the Introduction to the PerfectRAW mode of ColorPerfect. PerfectRAW is based on new technology that takes digital camera RAW data and produces images with color integrity. That is, the color in the images is visually consistent, which is often not true of other methods.

Dropping a folder of images on MakeTiff

I have started the first step in the PerfectRAW process by dropping a folder of digital camera RAW images onto the MakeTiff window. MakeTiff is downloaded and installed as a part of the PerfectRAW system. It converts the RAW images directly into TIFF files without altering the color. Photoshop makes harmful color adjustments to RAW files when it reads them directly, but it leaves TIFF files alone when it reads them in.

Opening the Tiff files in Photoshop

Now let's read the TIFF files into Photoshop.

Processing the twinleaf blossom image with ColorPerfect's PerfectRAW

Now we bring up ColorPerfect on the first file. We are in ColorPos mode so we will need to check PerfectRAW. This image was taken with an Olympus camera, so first we need to set that and from the list of cameras model E-PL1.

This photo is of a twinleaf blossom and the color looks pretty good. The highlights in the petals are clipped and we will remove some of that with the highlight control. However, as is often the case, this image has more sparkle with a little clipping left in. Now we OK out.

Processing the hibiscus flower image with ColorPerfect's PerfectRAW

The next image is an hibiscus flower, but this image was taken with a Panasonic camera. Instead of going to the Panasonic list, we will use MyCameras, a list of the cameras I use regularly that I have pulled from the master lists. There, the Panasonic GX1. Again, color looks good. "Camera" is showing in the Color Balance area, which means that again we are using white balance recorded by the camera.

Here sunlight is hitting directly on the end of the long pistil-stamen structure and causing some clipping. Lets right click to select the stamen and then zoom in on it. We can regain some of the detail using the highlight control. We could play with this more, but we will OK out.

Processing the dramatic clouds image with ColorPerfect's PerfectRAW

Next we have a photo with dramatic clouds. A different camera again, this time a Canon 850IS. A pocket camera from a few years ago that has a physically large sensor. This camera has a marvelous hack that allows it to save RAW images in DNG format. Select it from MyCameras.

This is an image which looked reasonable over a wide range of color balance. Unlike most RAW conversions, PerfectRAW images are designed to have color integrity so that they are visually consistent and respond particularly well to situations like this. ColorPerfect has what we call "gray-click". Click a point on the image and that point will be made the appropriate shade of gray, with all the colors in the image properly adjusted to follow. First we click on a bright cloud area. Next we click on a white building. But we can get a completely different effect by clicking a dark area in the clouds. Note how even this extreme change has a realistic look. Metal electric poles are normally a good gray, so I will gray-click one of those and now we OK out.

Processing the image of my cat with ColorPerfect's PerfectRAW

Finally we have an image of my cat, Splotch, resting in a sunbeam. Again the camera is the Olympus E-PL1, but here we did not do a white balance and the one the camera chose is off. We gray-click on the white neck and it is better. I'll save the current settings so we can return to them in a minute.

Adding and removing Black

Now I'll adjust the Black control. Adding and removing Black affects the highlights most. Removing Black is the same as increasing the light level on the image see how the highlights clip and lose detail. Adding Black is the same as lowering the illumination on the image. The color tones of the image remain natural, but lighten or darken the same as changing the light level or the f-stop.

Adding and removing White

Now I'll adjust the White control. This is quite different than Black. When we add White to the image it adds fog. So logically, when we remove White from the image we will remove fog. The White control is basic to obtaining a good image, yet in most other systems it is very difficult to do accurately. ColorPerfect provides quite an array of other controls that let the user adjust the image without sacrificing color integrity.

Gamma and Saturation

Gamma and Saturation are nearly as basic as Black and White, and we can see what happens when I adjust those. Now I’ll return to the settings I saved earlier but I like the little extra depth in the shadows from removing some White.

ColorPerfect's Help system

You can always use Help to find out about a control. The first help message also tells you where you can find all of ColorPerfect Help made into the form of a web page. Now to get help on an individual item, just click it. Close the message box when you are finished.

Now we OK out and that concludes the PerfectRAW introduction.