Open Multiple Versions of RAW Image

Open Multiple Versions of RAW Image

Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Open Multiple Versions of a Single RAW Image in Photoshop



RAW images contain data beyond the standard histogram. In other words, you can open in Camera RAW and the shadows or highlights can appear to be missing. By adjusting the sliders the missing data is brought back to life.

The purpose of this technique is to show you how to bring multiple versions of a RAW image into Photoshop for optimal compositing.


Step One

Open a RAW image in Photoshop (File > Open).

Step Two

Make sure the Preview checkbox is selected and click the Basic icon.

Step Three

By adjusting the sliders, you find that one setting works for the foreground and a second exposure is necessary for the sky and the mountain in the background.

Set the sliders for the foreground, then press Shift and click Open Object. Holding the Shift key changes the button from Open Image to Open Object.

Step Four

In the Layers panel, right-click the name of your new Smart Object layer and choose New Smart Object via Copy. A new totally independent Smart Object layer is created.

Step Five

Name the upper layer Foreground and the lower layer Sky.

Step Six

Double-click the Sky icon to open the Camera Raw settings. Adjust the Exposure slider in the dialog box to darken the sky. Press OK to return to Photoshop.

Step Seven

Add a Layer Mask to the Foreground layer. Using a low opacity black brush, paint in the Layer Mask to expose the Sky layer below.

Adding a Black Layer Mask

By default Layer Masks are always white. This means that all the contents of the attached layer are visible. If you want to start with a black Layer Mask, press the Option key (PC - Alt key) as you click the Layer Mask icon.