Lesson 2

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Raw VS Jpeg

Shooting RAW vs JPEG is a question that every photographer, amateur or professional will need to ask themselves.  It has been generally thought that only professional with SLR use RAW.   Today, almost all higher end camera can shot both RAW and JPG, but most point-and-shoot cameras shoot only in JPG.  There are pros and cons on each of these formats as the video below will explain.

Pros & Cons of RAW

Pros Cons
Higher Dynamic Range – 14 bit compared to only 8 bit for JPeg Large file size
Higher level of brightness 4,096 and 16, 348 vs 256 Requires post-processing software – ie Lightroom or Photoshop
 Non-destructive editing workflow Higher learning curve
Easily correctly exposure and white balance Proprietary format – software support required
 Sharpening can be done in post Requires more expensive camera
 Loss-less compression format
10 Reasons Why You Should Be Shooting RAW

Image File Format

The main advantage of JPG is the ability to be compressed to a very small size without seeing any visible loss in quality especially when it is displayed on a webpage.

I talk about this on my WordPress lesson:  Media

 Raw & JPG Workflow in Elements 12 +

Sharpening in Camera Raw

A huge advantage of the RAW workflow is the ability to do non-destructive sharpening.   Watch for noise, artifacts, and halos when using the Camera Raw Sharpening menu.   Don’t confuse the Clarity slider on the opening menu for Sharpening.  Adding a bit of clarity will give your image a little more pop.

There are 4 sliders: AmountRadiusDetail and Masking. Like the Unsharp-mask filter, the radius determines how far from the edge to sharpen while the  Detail slider, which determines how much of the edge areas are affected by sharpening.   The masking slider protects edge area not being sharpened thus reducing the effects of artifacts.

Hint: While moving the slider, hold down the Alt or Option on a Mac to see the mask.  The mask area is represented by the color black.Camera Raw Sharpening Tab

Get sample files to practice with (ZIP, 13 MB)

Play with Camera Raw

Download More Camera Raw

Make it Pop in Camera Raw

Although this is a PS Tutorial, you can do most of the camera raw editing with features Elements.

Concepts to Learn

  • Camera Raw Edit Workflow
  • Sharpening Mask
  • Save Raw output to JPG
  • Make a Selection
  • Feather a Selection
  • Create a Layer Mask
  • Use the mid-point slider in Levels to darken area
  • Lessen the effect of an adjustment with the Opacity Slider
Camera Raw Editing Tutorial with Jay Malone

Selective Adjustment with Black Layer Mask

Shake reduction is a new feature in Photoshop Elements 14 that allows you to target a specific area to sharpening.  However, applying a mask and be used on any effect in order to target an area in your image.

Black Layer Mask

Alt + Mask Button to create a black mask.  Since white reveals, painting white on the mask will reveal the effects of the filter.

Creating a black mask give you more control in applying an adjustment to a specific area.  As you paint in white the effects of the adjustment slowing appears since “white reveals and black hides”.

Selection Tools

Selection Tools

In order to isolate a portion of an image for editing, you must master all of the selection tools available in Photoshop and PSE.  How well a selection is made will determine if the edit results are realistic.

In a later lesson, we learn that a selection can be made into a Layer-Mask which hide the background of an object so that it can be moved or placed behind a different background.  Layer-Mask can also be used to isolate an area for adjustment.

Eraser Tool

The eraser tool in Elements works similar to the selection brush but instead of selecting performing a deletion afterward, it erases the area you drag immediately.  This tool is mainly used to remove a background such as a sky in the photo.  When the background is erased, it is actually transparent like glass which allows the layer beneath to be visible.

Photoshop Elements has three types of eraser tools: the regular Eraser, the Background Eraser, and the Magic Eraser. The keyboard shortcut is e.  You can then press Shift + e to toggle through the three types.

Review Shortcuts

Remember that most tools in Photoshop are brushes – even the Eraser Tool, so the same shortcuts we learned from Lesson 1 applies:

Alt + spacebar click or Ctrl + : Zoom in
Ctrl  + spacebar click or Ctrl – : Zoom out
Spacebar : Pan Hand
[ : Smaller Brush
] : Larger Brush
Shift + [ : Softer Brush
Shift + ] : Harder BrushEraser Tool

Erasing creates a transparency


  1. Selection with Michael Brown
  2. Quick Selection Tool with Simon Sez
  3. Basic Selection with Simon Sez
  4. Replace Color of Anything


Shortcuts to Remember

Ctrl + D – de-select
Hold down the Alt and drag –
Subtract from a selection
Crtl + Shift + i – Invert a selection
Alt + click on layer mask – view layer mask
Ctrl + click on layer mask – make a selection from layer mask

Macintosh: Ctrl = CMD, Alt = Option

Project – Mr. Melon Head

In this project, you will use all of the selection tools to create the final image on the right.  After the selection is made, you can use Copy & Paste (Ctrl + C or Ctrl + V) to create a new transparent layer which can be moved into any position.  In later lessons, we will learn how to use layer-mask in order to erase the background.


Download all sample images from Lesson 1 – 6

Sample Images