Which Program Is Right for You? • PhotoTraces


Which program is finest, Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom? And which must you use to your pictures workflow?

In this text, I’m going to share a radical comparability of those two packages. I’ll talk about all the important thing options, from modifying capabilities and file varieties to digital asset administration and integration.

By the time you’re achieved, you’ll know which program is best for you – and I’ll even clarify how one can successfully combine each packages into your modifying workflow.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom

Let’s get began.

What Is Adobe Camera Raw?

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is a RAW file converter. It turns a RAW file right into a extra versatile file kind, comparable to a TIFF, JPEG, or perhaps a PSD – so that you could simply preview, share, or edit your work.

ACR started as a Photoshop plugin, permitting photographers to open RAW information, convert them in Camera Raw, then proceed with modifying in Photoshop. But it quickly grew to become a everlasting fixture of the Photoshop surroundings (method again in 2003, when Adobe first launched Photoshop CS).

Since then, Camera Raw has gone by means of loads of iterations. Today, it affords a whole lot of modifying choices, together with fundamental publicity changes, fundamental shade changes, and focused (native) changes through brushes and filters. While ACR can’t match the expansiveness and depth of Photoshop, and whereas it’s technically nonetheless a Photoshop plugin, it now packs the facility of a standalone editor.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Which Program Is Right for You? 1
Adobe Camera RAW.

What Is Lightroom?

Lightroom is a picture modifying and digital asset administration (DAM) program supplied by Adobe.

Unlike Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom is cut up into a number of modules, every with a chosen perform. For occasion, you get a picture library (for importing and organizing photographs), a Develop module (for making edits), a Print module (for getting ready photographs for print), and extra.

Lightroom was initially labeled “Photoshop Lightroom,” with the objective of high-volume picture processing that simply wasn’t potential in Photoshop. Note that Lightroom’s builders took the (already present) Adobe Camera Raw and caught it into Lightroom’s Develop module – so the modifying options in each packages are functionally an identical, with the identical sliders, the identical adjustment instruments, and as of the newest main replace, an analogous modifying format.

In different phrases:

When it involves modifying, ACR and Lightroom are basically the identical program.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Which Program Is Right for You? 2
As you may see the Basic Panels in each packages are an identical in performance (Camera RAW on the left, Lightroom on the best)

That mentioned, there are some essential variations, particularly with regards to workflow and digital asset administration (and I talk about these in depth under).

The Advantage of Nondestructive RAW Editing

Both Camera Raw and Lightroom are nondestructive RAW editors, which suggests they alter RAW information with out overwriting the unique picture.

So should you improve the publicity in ACR or Lightroom, you’re not truly brightening the unique pixels; as an alternative, you’re writing the adjustments to a picture catalog (Lightroom) or to a sidecar file (ACR).

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Adobe sidecar XMP file
Sony RAW picture with the XMP sidecar file the place modifying directions are saved.
The unique RAW picture all the time stays untouched.

Why is that this essential?

It means which you can make as many adjustments as you wish to your information, but you’ll by no means destroy the unique. Everything is reversible. If your tastes change otherwise you make a mistake, you may all the time reset the edits and begin over.

Also, ACR and Lightroom (together with Lightroom Classic, Lightroom, and Lightroom Mobile) all acknowledge each other’s catalogs and sidecar information – so you may edit in a single program, change to a different, and head into a 3rd with full continuity.

And as a result of ACR and Lightroom presets are the identical, you may import any Lightroom presets into ACR and vice versa.

What Are the Advantages of Lightroom?

As I defined above, Lightroom and ACR provide an identical modifying packages.

But Lightroom affords a degree of performance on high of its modifying:

Digital asset administration.

In Lightroom, you may import information of all sorts (together with each RAWs and JPEGs), then you may set up them into totally different collections, give them key phrases, scores, flags, and far, far more. And after organizing, you may transfer into the Develop module to make edits, then again into the Library module for additional group, and so forth.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Which Program Is Right for You? 3
Library module of Lightroom is the guts of digital asset administration (DAM)

This is a big deal. It’s a option to preserve your complete photographic workflow – from group to modifying to exporting – in a single place, and that is invaluable for newbies, lovers, and professionals. Plus, Lightroom isn’t simply a digital asset administration program, it’s the digital asset administration program, one which outperforms a lot of the different choices in the marketplace and is utilized by loads of world-class professionals.

Compare this to Adobe Camera Raw, which incorporates zero group capabilities. You click on to open a file, you edit the file in ACR, and also you reserve it, export it, or proceed on to Photoshop. There’s no organizing photographs into folders or collections or anything. (You can add a star ranking, nevertheless it’s not particularly helpful until you utilize Adobe Bridge, mentioned under.)

What Are the Advantages of Adobe Camera Raw?

As you’re now conscious, Adobe Camera Raw is usually only a portion of Lightroom that converts information for Photoshop.

But this does include some advantages.

For one, ACR doesn’t use a catalog; picture edits are saved alongside the unique RAW file. This may be helpful if you wish to share RAW information with one other laptop – as an alternative of sending your RAW file plus the entire Lightroom catalog, you may simply ship the RAW file and the sidecar file (which is conveniently situated proper subsequent to the unique RAW).

(You can make Lightroom do that, nevertheless it takes some setup, plus it takes up further cupboard space.)

And two:

Adobe Camera Raw is made for Photoshop, so it’s extremely simple to start out in ACR, do some modifying in Photoshop, after which (through Adobe’s Camera Raw filter) make further adjustments in Camera Raw.

Yes, Lightroom does provide Photoshop integration. But it’s not almost as handy because the ACR-Photoshop workflow, so for many who plan to spend plenty of time in Photoshop, ACR is very interesting.

Camera RAW + Bridge vs Lightroom

For these of you who like Adobe Camera Raw however are pissed off by the shortage of DAM capabilities, there’s a answer:

Adobe Bridge.

Bridge was launched again in 2005, and it’s simply a picture organizer – so it could act because the DAM companion to ACR’s modifying.

For photographers preferring to not use Lightroom, Adobe Bridge is a lifesaver. You can set up photographs in Bridge, then do RAW conversions and fundamental edits in Adobe Camera Raw earlier than making main changes in Photoshop.

Plus, Adobe Bridge is a picture organizing program that’s utterly free.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Which Program Is Right for You? 4
From Adobe Bridge you may open RAW information straight in Camera RAW.

How to Use Lightroom and Camera Raw Effectively

Adobe Bridge is nice – however what if you wish to stick to Lightroom for picture group, however you additionally need to have the ability to entry Adobe Camera Raw? What do you do?

You can mix ACR and Lightroom by means of a helpful little workflow:

First, you import and set up your photographs in Lightroom.

Then, you can also make fundamental changes within the Lightroom Develop module.

Once you’re able to do higher-level changes, you may right-click on a picture and choose Edit In > Open as Smart Object in Photoshop.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Which Program Is Right for You? 5

Your file will open in Photoshop. You could make any Photoshop changes you want. And you may additionally use the Camera Raw filter, which helps you to entry ACR inside the Photoshop interface.

Adobe Camera Raw vs Lightroom: Conclusion

Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom are each glorious packages. The secret is to find out which one works for you.

If you spend most of your time in Photoshop, ACR (plus Bridge) is perhaps the higher selection. But should you want Lightroom’s modifying and group capabilities, you may all the time work successfully with Lightroom and Photoshop – and, if you want it, the Camera Raw filter!

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