Anything Photoshop or Photography

Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script

The blog today is about a really fabulous new way to select separate layers in Photoshop and process them individually in ACR by using smart objects – they can then be edited as much as you want. Dr. Russell Brown, an Adobe Photoshop expert, created a script that allows you to do this – it can be downloaded here along with a video and installation instructions. (Try out some of his other tutorials at the download site – they are always excellent!) Below is a simple example of how to use this technique in an image. It was created using two smart object layers – one for enhancing the sky and the other for the rest of the image. A layer mask was applied to the sky layer to mask out all but the sky. An OnOne PhotoFrame was added to finish. Pretty easy if you like using Camera Raw.

In his download video Dr. Brown tells you what preferences need to be set inside Photoshop to make this script run correctly so be sure to look at this short video. I had no trouble getting this to work in Photoshop so it is pretty easy to install. Dr. Brown is a master at scripts! He discusses using this as a great way to process HDR images that are no longer RAW files, but were converted to a TIFF file. The script allows you to go into ACR and use the Fill Light, Luminance, Clarity, Sharpening and Noise Reduction sliders as if the image were a RAW file. Calvin Hollywood helped Russell Brown create this script and has an excellent video called “Edit a Layer in Adobe Camera Raw” on how to use it on portraits and landscapes. One of the reason he likes this technique is that the Orange Luminance and Saturation sliders can be used to enhance skin tones in portraits.

In the tulip image above, a composite layer (that consisted of a few adjustments layers and the image layer-just create a composite on top by CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was brought into ACR by running the script to add the purplish toning. The tutorial followed is called “Enhancing Black and White Images with Photoshop and Lightroom” by Richard Hale at TipSquirrel and is very informative. I was trying out the split toning in Photoshop’s ACR instead of going back into Lightroom and got this result. The original image before tinting can be seen at my Flickr account here.  It is felt that you can get more accurate corrections using the sliders in ACR than with many of the tools in Photoshop. Basically, by creating a composite layer after running other filters and adjustments in Photoshop, it is very easy to use this script to add ACR effects .

The final image is an HDR shot of Hana Highway in Maui – even though it was processed originally in Lightroom, the ACR script was very useful. First a Nik Color Efex Pro plug-in cross processing effect was applied to the image (but it could easily have been done in Lightroom) along with a Photoshop Photo Filter Adjustment Layer in an Orange Color at 50% (I wanted to get lessen the intensity of the  yellow-green colors).  A composite layer was created on top and then Dr. Brown’s ACR Script was run to add Clarity and Sharpening. which is superior to Photoshop’s tools.

The more I think about it, there seem to be many uses for this script – like using the Noise Reduction Tools or Grain Effect on an image (besides just the Sharpening Effect above or the Soft Tint Effect in the tulip image). This is easier than going into Lightroom every time you need to make a quick adjustment. Definitely a great plug-in! Since it is a free download, I would recommend trying it out and see what you think. Thank you Dr. Brown!

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