A RAW Look at iPhoto 5
Subject:   A few comments on a fine preview
Date:   2005-01-20 17:51:43
From:   jimheid
Very nice overview, Derrick! A few comments:

I was disappointed, however, with the Levels control slider. It has black and white point adjustments but no middle gamma control. Hmmm, maybe there's another way to achieve gamma adjustment, and I just missed it.

The Exposure slider effectively performs a gamma adjustment.

iPhoto generates a JPEG from the RAW data. This is convenient

It's more than convenient -- it's essential for the other iLife apps. iPhoto creates a JPEG so that it has something to hand off to iMovie or iDVD, should you need to do that.

It's also worth noting that if your camera takes a JPEG along with a RAW, iPhoto imports both, and they'll appear next to each other in the library. You'll need to watch the Info pane to make sure you're working with the right one for the task at hand.

If you double-click on an imported RAW file in iPhoto to work on it in an external image editor, you'll actually be working on the JPEG generated by iPhoto, not on the original RAW data. Use the Export command instead, as explained above.

There's a much easier workaround: just drag and drop the thumbnail to the Photoshop icon in your dock. When I do either, iPhoto hands off the raw version, as you'd expect.

(This workaround doesn't work if you've already edited the image in iPhoto. At that point, yup, you're working with the JPEG unless you export original or revert to original.)

There are definitely workflow subtleties to working with raw images in iPhoto, but it's great to even have the option!

Jim Heid
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  • Derrick Story photo RE: A few comments on a fine preview
    2005-01-20 18:40:48  Derrick Story | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    Hi Jim, thanks for your comments!

    I particularly like the tip about dragging the RAW file on to the Photoshop icon to launch Camera RAW. That speeds up the process of getting the image into Photoshop. Too bad it's still a little weird getting the edited version back into iPhoto 5.
    • Adam Engst photo RE: A few comments on a fine preview
      2005-01-28 12:19:47  Adam Engst | O'Reilly Author [View]

      Hey Derrick,

      It seems to me that the process of dealing with RAW files is exactly the same process necessary to deal with images that you want to edit in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements with layers. In those cases, you have to save as a .psd file to maintain the layers, and since iPhoto "knows" the file is a .jpg, you must save outside of iPhoto and import back in (it handles .psd fine for import), after which you can initiate edits from within iPhoto to Photoshop.

      cheers... -Adam