RAW 13.1 just landed

One aspect of having a subscription to PhotoShop with Adobe is sometimes some updates just suddenly occur, such as today when I opened the above image in Bridge; there it was and now I was using Raw 13.1 (which I recall being stated as a 2020 version). A pop-up screen also alerted me to the changes, one of which appeared intriguing, the refined Color Grading menu. There are a few other changes, some bug figs and camera/lens updates, but this Color Grading appeared to be worth investigating. So a little bit more about this new tool.

First, I am getting to be a power user of the RAW tool for making global changes to my images, which can be used on both JPEGs or RAW camera capture (my default for my DSLR). For my current Quantum Elements series, I am making a lot of color tonality adjustments to my digital files and I am open to any tools that allow me to fine tune the RAW actions.

The Color Grading is still for global image changes but has some refinements; you can make subtle color changes to the highlight, mid-tones or to the shadows as well as mix how these interact. You can find the Color Grading adjustment panel on the right hand menus in RAW 13.1, located just below the Color Mixer. When this panel is open, you will see the three round color wheels that allow you adjust the three at once, or you can select one (which enlarges the control) to fine tune just that one actions for a specific tonal region, e.g. shadows (lately where I start).

For the image above, and what seems to be applicable for most of the images in this series, I am concerned about the shadows and highlights and to a much lesser degree the mid-tones. There are three sliders with each color wheel; Luminance, Blending and Balance. You can shift the color by picking the center part of the color wheel and then move it incrementally towards the hue you want to adjust. Previously, I would make these color shifts as an adjustment layer, but these were global, not as localized. It appears that the further you move the color pick away from the center towards an edge, the greater the resulting color effect. At the extreme, this can mask all of the color for a region with the color chosen.

It appears that Luminance effects the “brightness” of the image, slide one direction and the vales go lighter and in the opposite direction, these darken. Sort of like the a refinement of the shadow slider in the basic RAW menu. What makes sense, since in Photoshop there always seems to be two or three ways to achieve the same effect, but with this you can play with the three tonal regions and this appears to offer more color control.

The Blending and Balance appear to control the effects of all the color wheel changes. Still some more poking to do with these two sliders as the resulting changes can appear subtle.

The Color Grading appears to be more refined methodology than performing a global change using the temperature and tint sliders. Which could mean that I might have to go back now and re-examine all of the images from the Quantum Elements series. This does appear to offer some exciting creative controls and I am already looking forward how to use this new tool to my creative advantage.

For the image above, there are some color and tonality subtleties that I wanted to retain. Due to how I captured the image in conjunction with the dielectric medium available for this set of experiments, the softer edges seemed to need the subtle colors. This looks really nice on the Rag Metallic that I am using for this series.




Featured artwork, above; LSTa092455-01 (Quantum Elements) copyright 2020 Douglas Stockdale


Exhibition, Portfolio Reviews & Workshops

January 21 – 24th, 2021; Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP), EXPOSURE WEEKEND, a series of virtual portfolio reviews, and I will be on the team of available portfolio reviewers available that weekend. Sign-ups start December 1st. More information here.

Update: February 20th – March 20th 2021; Photographs’s Eye gallery, Escondido, CA, a solo exhibition of my Memory Pods series (lens-based photography). Exhibition reception February 20th, 3-7pm.

March 2021; Developing Your Creative Photo Book, a workshop that I am leading again in collaboration with Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP). (update) March 13 – 14th, and 20-21st from 9am – noon PST. Four days, two consecutive weekends, a virtual workshop on Zoom, with time between sessions to develop your book dummy. Sign-up here.


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