Photoshop Tutorial – JPG vs. RAW File Formats
This video is available Free for Everyone.
Running Time: 6 minutes
This Adobe Photoshop Tutorial Video compares and contrasts the JPG and RAW File Formats. Now that we’ve spent some time delving into the twists and turns of JPGs and RAWs, it’s time for us to show you some differences of the two formats when it comes to editing an actual picture.
You already know by now that because JPGs have a smaller file size, it also means that they can’t handle the same amount of information on colors as much as the RAW file can. This results to banding whenever you zoom in on a JPG photo.
Choosing RAW over JPG
While it’s not the end of the world, banding isn’t the only way a JPG can “damage” your high-quality photo. Each time you save a picture as a JPG, its compresses the file and further reduces the amount of color info and detail in your picture, thus permanently letting the quality of your photo suffer heavy losses.
But when you take an actual photo in the RAW and JPG format, you’ll soon find out that there is also a humongous difference between the amount of detail that each format retains before you even get the chance to edit your work. Here lies the deep and wide chasm between the quality of a RAW and a JPG file.
Bouncing back from a bad photo
Sometimes, capturing the perfect image relies on a variety of factors: the light, the shadows, and, well, basically the whole environment. This is where the beauty of capturing photos in RAW format comes in. While a really bad shot can often be salvaged by some savvy Photoshop skills, it sometimes takes hours and hours of too many complicated revisions before a picture can be saved, and sometimes, it can’t be saved at all. But with a RAW photo, it just stores so much more information and detail in the photo so that editing it to perfection becomes a cinch.
Take blowouts, for example. Sometimes, the ever-reliable lighting completely ruins a portion of your shot, making an area of your photo look really white and removing all traces of detail that was originally in there. Opening up a JPG photo, you can try to mess with the arsenal of tools that Photoshop arms you with like curves and exposures and masks and all that, but after all that hard work, you end up with a picture that just looks even worse. This is because a JPG file just can’t handle that much detail due to the limited color information stored in its pixels.
With RAW, however, getting rid of white blowouts and adding back original details to a picture is as easy as opening the image in Photoshop’s built-in Camera Raw and adjusting the photo’s highlights or whites. You can see that you can even add back the lost detail on a really dark portion of a photo by simply adjusting the shadows or blacks to your desired effect. It’s that easy.
RAW vs JPG
To summarize all that we’ve learned so far, this simple table gives you a quick overview of the two formats we’ve been comparing.
- Bigger file size
- Difficult to store, share, and send
- Takes up heavy memory
- High quality photos
- Good for big prints
- No compression losses
- Works in 12-bit or 14-bit
- Easy to salvage lost detail in photos
- Opens with a Raw Processor
- Smaller file size
- Easy to store, share, and send
- Good for travelling, transferring, and taking large quantities of photos with less memory space
- Lower quality photos
- Not advisable for big prints
- Creates banding and pixelated photos due to compression
- Works in 8-bit
- May not recover lost detail in photos
- Universally compatible format
Now that you’re an expert in both the RAW and the JPG formats, you’re ready to move on to working with Camera Raw and various RAW processors. Kudos to all the progress you’re making!
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 Are JPGs? 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.