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MULTIMEDIA

Fine Tuning RAW Images

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Access the true color and sharpness of your image in Aperture

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time needed: 5 minutes

When you import RAW images, Aperture tries to make the image look good quickly, and makes automatic adjustments based on the camera you used. This can be fine for many images, but it can make the image look too colorful. If you do additional image editing it can lead to fake-looking photos. The solution is to use the RAW Fine Tuning controls to remove the automatic adjustments. At first, your image will look flat and dark, but with a few quick tweaks you’ll soon bring out its best look.

When you import RAW images, Aperture tries to make the image look good quickly, and makes automatic adjustments based on the camera you used.

When you import RAW images, Aperture tries to make the image look good quickly, and makes automatic adjustments based on the camera you used.

In the example shown here, the automatic adjustments make the skin look garish, the nose shines, the walls look too bright and the window appears too white. By using RAW Fine Tuning, you get natural skin colors and a much richer image.

Step-by-step: Aperture Fine tuning the RAW controls

1.    RAW Fine Tuning

Import the RAW Model image and go to Adjustment>RAW Fine Tuning. Drag the Boost, Hue Boost and Sharpening sliders to 0.

2.    Expose and Enhance

Under Exposure, drag the Recovery slider up to 1.5. Under Enhance drag the Vibrancy slider to about 0.7, until some color returns to the image.

Expose and Enhance

3.    Highlights & Shadows

Under Highlights & Shadows, drag the Highlights slider all the way to 100. Drag Shadows to 70 and Mid Contrast to 40 to give balanced color and contrast.

4.    Sharpen and noise

Go to Add Adjustment>Edge Sharpen and Add Adjustment>Noise Reduction. The default settings should work well, but you can make slight adjustments.

Sharpen and noise

The RAW details

Comparing your new image to the original shows how effective your technique is, while using effects gives you complete control.

1.    Compare images

When you’ve made your adjustments, hit M to see the original image. Hit M again to see the end result. If your new version looks dull, wait a bit to get used to the more subtle tones.

2.    Brush in effects

With Edge Sharpen selected, click the tiny cogwheel and choose Brush Edge Sharpness in. You now paint the effect onto the image only where it’s required. This is far more accurate than applying it to the whole image.

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