Well, I just finished Bruce Fraser’s new book “Real World Camera Raw” and feel it warrants some comments on this forum with regards to if or where it might fit into Peter’s DAM workflow.
The answer to that I believe is a yes. Not only does the book compliment the DAM workflow, but it also supplements it. However, it in no way replaces it. I think the two books together provide a complete picture of the workflow from image ingestion through pre-production and on into the beginning stages of final master production in Photoshop.
I believe that Bruce’s book compliments the DAM workflow primarily at the point of performing the ACR adjustments. I will be using Bruce’s adjustment techniques for making ACR adjustments to my star-rated images after having made the bulk adjustments using Peter’s RapidFixer plug-in. After having read Bruce’s book, I now have a much better understanding of how to make proper adjustments to my higher rated images prior to DNG conversion or before opening in Photoshop for master file creation. Bruce makes it very clear how an image sensor captures photons linearly; whereas, our eyes perceive light logarithmically. Because of this, as Bruce says, you must turn the old rule upside down and expose for the highlights, while developing for the shadows. I know now to err on the side of overexposure, and pull out the details in the shadows through ACR adjustments. Doing this should add that much more detail and less posterization to my full-sized JPEG previews (not to mention my master files). Bruce takes you through a number of different image scenarios showing you how to accomplish this using all the adjustment sliders (with hotkeys) as well as the ACR Tone Curve. In the end you come off with a much better understanding of how to make the histogram work to your favor with proven techniques for how to handle whatever type of image is thrown your way. For example, I now know when to back off on the contrast slider, or drop down the brightness slider to achieve the proper result; as well as when it’s best to overlay two different ACR adjustments of the same image in Photoshop, and how best to do that for better dynamic range. I have been made aware of the true power of Camera Raw and realize now that I have been under-utilizing its capabilities. I can certainly understand now why Thomas For (I believe it was Thomas) jokingly stated that Photoshop should be a plug-in for Camera Raw.
I think the book supplements DAM in the area of batch automation described in the final chapter. It takes up where the DAM workflow leaves off, showing you how to automate the preparation of your chosen DNG’s for final Photoshop production. Bruce goes into the use and explanation of the Bridge Batch command and its powerful automation capabilities that should help to quicken your master file creations. I know now to keep an eye out for repetitive operations when beginning my final production and to make an effort to automate them.
There were a couple of minor differences I noticed in the viewpoints, but for the most part I felt Bruce’s workflow perspective fell in line surprisingly well with Peter’s. I believe if Bruce decided to adopt Peter’s DAM workflow, he may change his opinion on the use of colored labels for ratings as well as resort to using the DNG full-sized previews. But without knowledge of Peter’s DAM, I can certainly understand how this may not be immediately apparent.
All in all, this book is well worth reading; especially if you’ve already completed “The DAM Book”. I think the two books together are a must for any serious digital photographer’s library.
On a final note, I want to say that I feel it may take some time for the professional digital photography world to realize the true impact and importance of DAM and the groundwork that Peter’s book has laid in this area. But none-the-less, I’m convinced that time will come; and I would like to say I feel fortunate to have been able to play a role (no matter how small) in it’s early stages of release here at the forum, and am really looking forward to seeing it catch on more and more as time goes by.
Thanks again Peter for your continued support, dedication, and most of all… patience.
Best Regards and good luck to every DAM member of this forum. (Sorry, couldn’t resist