convert RAW file

Talk about Pixelmator Pro, share tips & tricks, tutorials, and other resources.
User avatar

2018-06-07 13:46:14

I need some help understanding the RAW side of editing, please.

After opening a RAW file and selecting the repair tool, I am immediately asked to "Convert RAW layers to regular layers to edit. All additional RAW data will be discarded."

Does this mean then, that I will no longer have access to the RAW information within the PM file, and that basically, it IS destructive?

So, if I compare to Affinity Photo, for example, I always have the RAW data saved within the file and can at any time revert to the develop mode for further editing/processing.

Thanks
-Bill
User avatar

2018-06-07 14:37:22

Hey Bill,

As far as I know, there are currently no image editors that allow you to change the essential pixel structure of RAW images while keeping the RAW data accessible, Affinity included. By changing the essential pixel structure, I mean doing things like repairing, cloning, erasing and so on. One fairly simple reason for this is RAW images have to be demosaiced from the color samples in the RAW file to 'develop the image'. If you change the structure of the image around and want to back to editing the colors, it wouldn't really be obvious where to take sample data from because there are new pixels in the image which aren't in the original RAW image. Certain things (lightening, darkening, etc.) are possible with the help of masks and that's something we could add in the future. Going back to Affinity, once you develop your image, the extended-range RAW data is discarded, and going back to Develop opens up a processed image without the extended data.

With that in mind, the standard workflow for RAW images in most apps is to do all your color adjusting and then move on to modifying the photo in other ways. In Pixelmator Pro, you have a little more flexibility — you can do things like apply effects, add additional layers, nondestructively resize and rotate your RAW layers without having to discard the RAW data. In fact, you can also add an empty layer above your current RAW layer, turn on the Sample All Layers option and repair nondestructively on the empty layer, keeping all your RAW image data as well. Hope that sheds some light on this!
User avatar

2018-06-07 14:53:37

Not an expert here but like Lightroom, On1, Photoshop, etc, that RAW data (and its adjustments) are (or can be) kept separate from other edits...I guess with layers and masks. As mentioned, with Affinity Photo I can at any time go back the Develop Mode and continue to edit the RAW file or reset back to the original if I choose. Of course, the original RAW file is untouched as a copy will become part of the file be it PSD, .afphoto, a sidecar file, etc.

Am I not understating how it all works?
User avatar

2018-06-08 08:05:48

by TekART As mentioned, with Affinity Photo I can at any time go back the Develop Mode and continue to edit the RAW file or reset back to the original if I choose. Of course, the original RAW file is untouched as a copy will become part of the file be it PSD, .afphoto, a sidecar file, etc.

Am I not understating how it all works?
Not quite, but it is a bit of a confusing topic!

In Affinity, once you click the Develop button, the RAW data is discarded. For one, the RAW icon in the toolbar turns into an RGB icon and the info bar also updates to say it's changed from a RAW file to an RGB file. In addition, you can look at the histogram while moving the Black Point and Exposure sliders before and after developing. Before developing, you can see out of range brightness values coming back into the histogram. After developing, when moving the sliders, you'll see very clearly in the histogram that there are no pixels that are out of range and there's a vertical drop at the edge.

In Photoshop, once you develop a RAW image using the Camera RAW filter, all the additional RAW data is discarded as well. Again, this is obvious if you open up the Camera RAW filter a second time, the camera information is no longer displayed, certain options disappear (for example, Lens Profile Corrections) and, most importantly, there is no extended range RAW data for you to take advantage of. However, Photoshop also has an option to import RAW images as Smart Objects, thus keeping the RAW data accessible when going back to the Camera RAW filter by double-clicking the layer thumbnail. However, if you try to use practically any tool (Healing Brush, Clone Stamp, Paint tool, etc.) on a Smart Object like this, you'll get a prompt telling you to rasterise it, which will make its "Edit Contents" no longer available. Oh, and there's a Spot Healing tool in the Camera RAW filter itself, but it is more limited than the tools available in the full Photoshop app.

In apps which have adjustments (or brushed adjustments) only, there is no need to rasterise RAW images, but when you start getting into tools like Repair or Clone, it gets much more tricky.
User avatar

2018-06-08 13:01:58

Thank you for the explanation Andrius. It is much clearer now but still much to learn.
User avatar

2018-06-08 19:35:16

by TekART 2018-06-08 13:01:58 Thank you for the explanation Andrius. It is much clearer now but still much to learn.
Totally! This stuff can definitely be confusing at first, but once you wrap your head the fundamental concepts, it really becomes a lot easier. For repairing RAW images while keeping the RAW data, my advice would be this:

1. Add a completely empty layer above your RAW layer
2. Choose the Repair tool and select the Sample All Layers option in the Tool Options pane
3. Paint over any areas you'd like to repair

This way, your original RAW will remain intact and any troublesome areas in the image will also be repaired. After doing this, feel free to group the RAW layer and the 'repaired' layer together to make managing them a little easier.