Camera Raw Tutorial – Open Image vs Open Object
This video is available Free for Everyone.
Running Time: 4 minutes
This Photoshop Tutorial teaches you the difference between opening up a raw file from Camera Raw as “Open Image” or as “Open Object”. While the former opens up your image as it is, the latter lets you make changes on your raw files , even after you have started working in Photoshop.
It does this by opening up your images as Smart Objects. Even if you do not fully use the power of Smart Objects, this tutorial will show you how, even in the simplest method possible, it will easily change the way you work on your images in Photoshop.
Opening a Raw File from Camera Raw
When you try to open a raw file, Photoshop will use Camera Raw to open up that image for you. This will give you access to the powerful on-hand tools to help you retouch your photo outright. We’ve discussed all the sliders and adjustments you can play with, but when you’re done, you will want to go into more detail by opening the image into Photoshop.
Notice that at the bottom right part of Camera Raw, you have the option of opening your image into Photoshop with the “Open Image” button. Clicking on this automatically opens up your file into Photoshop, as the standard Background layer. It will convert the Raw 1’s and 0’s into pixels that can be damaged in Photoshop with cloning or painting on that layer.
This is called Destructive Editing. This leson is going to break that bad habit. It’s not your fault. You didn’t know any better.
Once you’re in Photoshop, your image will now be displayed as a background layer, and you can make your changes on your photo as it is. The pixel information of the image has now been defined, and you’re making your adjustments on a solid, pre-pixelated photo. What does this mean?
When you zoom in really close into your photo, you can see the tiny little boxes of pixels in every area of your picture. These pixels make up your whole image, and whatever Camera Raw slider changes you’ve made are now lost at this point. It’s kind of like painting on canvas with acrylics. They dry in minutes to hours. Once the paint dries, you either leave it, or paint over the top of it. You need to work quickly, and accurately.
Let’s open up your raw file into Camera Raw again, shall we? This time, before you click on the “Open Image” button, hold down the SHIFT key. What just happened? The “Open Image” button now changes into the “Open Object” button.
Clicking on this new button opens up your raw file into Photoshop, but you’ll notice that the image layer now bears your file name and not simply “Background”. You also get a little icon in your image layer that tells you it is now a Smart Object.
Double-click on your icon, and amazingly, your image opens up once again into Camera Raw, where all of your previous changes still reside. You can now make all new adjustments on the different sliders that you want. Click “OK”, and you’ll go back into Photoshop. Need more changes? Double-click on your image again, and make your revisions in Camera Raw until you’re fully satisfied. Can your basic pixelized background layer do that? Definitely not.
As with the previous analogy to painting on a canvas, you are now working with oil pant, that takes days to dry. You can take your time, and get it right.
The Big Difference
It may seem like such a simple thing, but this tiny detail makes an extremely huge difference when it comes to editing your photos the right way. Basically, “Open Image” lets you work on your image the way it is, while “Open Object” gives you the freedom to edit your raw file whenever you need to.
Lightroom, another Adobe product, will allow you to select an image, right click, and “Edit in Photoshop as Smart Object”. This means that any changes you make in Lightroom with the Develop module will be passed along to Photoshop as an editable Smart Object. Like above, if you click on the layer, it will open up the image in Camera Raw
Only Camera Raw, amidst other raw processors, has the ability to let you go back and forth between itself and Photoshop in order to make changes on the raw file. This is the ultimate non-destructive workflow. When it comes to retouching professionally, this will mean more than you think.
To learn more about our complete 2 Hour Photoshop Class that this video comes from, simply go to Portraits, Camera Raw, and Smart Objects. Change the way you work on your portraits. It’s Free. Enjoy.
This Adobe Photoshop Tutorial answers the question: What is Open Image vs Open Object in Photoshop? If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer Adobe Photoshop Classes. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users.