15/50 – Using Adobe Camera Raw as a Smart Filter in Photoshop CC to Create a High Dynamic Range ( HDR) Image

Adobe Camera Raw and DNGAdobe Photoshop

In the video below, we’re going to discover how easy it is to take multiple, bracketed exposures of the same scene and combine them into a single 32-bit HDR image that can then be edited nondestructively using Adobe Camera Raw as a Smart Filter in Photoshop CC. In addition, we’ll discover how powerful Camera Raw can be when applied to multiple layers as a Smart Object.

And just in case I wasn’t clear in the video, I want to point out why Adobe would include Camera Raw as a filter in Photoshop CC. Well, here are the first three reasons that I can think of, but I’m sure that there are more!
• First of all, not everyone had the luxury of working with raw files so it can be a huge benefit to be able to apply options like clarity and perspective correction to non raw images (a Photoshop layer for example).
• Sometimes we forget to do things in the right order and we don’t have time to go back to the beginning and fix them when on deadline. Yes, this might not be optimal, and yes, we would be better off making changes earlier in our workflow (processing our raw files directly in Camera Raw before opening them in Photoshop), but Camera Raw as a filter can help to make corrections or add creative effects to layers later in your workflow and/or with legacy files.
• Camera Raw as a filter can be applied to multiple layers at one time (by selecting multiple layers in the Layers panel and converting them to a single Smart Object). Plus, working with Camera Raw as a Smart Filter enables blend mode and opacity options as well as a Smart Filter mask to selectively show and hide the filter.
Additional information can be found in this post.
Note: The following features are not available when using Camera Raw as a Smart Filter (that are normally available in Camera Raw), primarily because they don’t make sense in the filter context: Workflow options and preferences, crop and straighten tools, rotation tools (rotate left/right buttons), snapshots, camera and lens profile corrections.

Adobe Camera Raw and DNG, Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 08-01-2014


  • By Christopher - 8:57 AM on August 1, 2014  

    Julieanne, I think I’ll be using smart filters much more often now that you’ve open my eyes to them. Thanks for a enlightening training video! ….Christopher

  • By Vic Krawciw - 2:28 PM on August 2, 2014  

    This is great except for one big gotcha! When you save the image as a psd file lightroom cannot display it! Saved as a tiff and LR could display it however it does not look like your edit.

    • By Jeffrey Tranberry - 8:55 AM on August 4, 2014  

      Hmm. If you save as PSD the edits should be baked into it. Do you have a source raw file and subsequent PSD/Tiff renditions you can share (creative cloud or dropbox) that exhibit the issue you describe?

  • By Uwe - 5:19 PM on August 2, 2014  

    Hola! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give
    you a shout out from Dallas Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!