Digital Darkroom Tools
In this chapter, we'll look at the Camera Raw controls in excruciating detail. Camera Raw can start working as soon as you point Bridge at a folder full of raw images, creating thumbnails and previews. But its real power is in the degree of control and flexibility it offers in converting raw images to RGB.
Bear in mind as you go through this chapter that, while Camera Raw lets you make painstaking edits on each image, it doesn't force you to do so! Unless you're being paid by the hour, you'll want to take advantage of Camera Raw's ability to synchronize edits between multiple images and to save settings and subsets of settings that you can apply to multiple images in Bridge without actually launching Photoshop, or even opening the images in Camera Raw.
But before you can run, you must learn to walk—and before you can batch-process images with Camera Raw, you need to learn how to deal with them one at a time. If raw files are digital negatives, Camera Raw is the digital darkroom that offers all the tools you need to put your own unique interpretation on those digital negatives.
Like negatives, raw files are simply a starting point. The tools in Camera Raw offer much more control over the interpretation of the captured image than any wet darkroom. Camera Raw is a plug-in the way War and Peace is a story and The Beatles were a pop group. At first, the sheer number of its options may seem overwhelming, but they're presented in a logical order, and you can master them in a fraction of the time it takes to learn traditional darkroom skills.