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RAW workflow "Save As" question

Posted on 2007-04-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
PS CS,  Windows2000, Canon 10D

I am new to RAW file processing, and have a question about how to keep an original RAW file, and create a copy using "Save As" or some other way to keep the original RAW file original.

I copy all the RAW files from the memory card to a computer folder. When I browse to the folder within PhotoShop CS, I see all the RAW files (CRW extension) as thumbnails. I doubleclick a thumbnail, and I'm on the RAW adjustment screen. I make adjustments, then click "OK", and the file comes up in the regular PhotoShop screen. However, the changes I applied to the RAW file are now embedded in the original RAW file. I want to keep a copy of the RAW file in it's original "raw" state, as well as have a working copy that has the adjustments applied. I can "Apply Camera RAW Settings > Remove All Settings" to get back to the original state of the RAW file, but then I lose those changes I have applied. I am surprised that there is no "Save As" menu option, to create a new RAW file while retaining the original. Maybe I'm missing something?

Probably seems like a dumb question, but is the only way to keep an original set of RAW files:
make copies of all the original RAW files first, and archive them, keeping one set of files original and another set as working RAW files?

Thanks in advance!

Dennis
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Question by:dtleahy
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David Brugge earned 1200 total points
ID: 18880008
Any professional workflow entails making a backup copy of the original RAW file to a storage device different from the device that will store the working copies of RAW files. This is a double backup as it were.
So that, if I were to upload my flash disk to my hard drive, I would then download from my hard drive to a CD or to another hard drive before I began file manipulations.
I'm curious as to why you need the copy of the RAW file with its camera settings separate from the adjusted file, when you can go back to the original settings at any time. Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially since it forces you to make a backup that many of us fail to do. But, other than the safety backup, it seems like extra duplication.

David B.
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Author Comment

by:dtleahy
ID: 18880127
Hi David, and thanks for the reply.

>I'm curious as to why you need the copy of the RAW file with its camera settings separate from the adjusted file, when you can go back to the original settings at any time.

Probably just my nervousness with a new (to me) technology, and unfamiliar workflow. When I say unfamiliar workflow, I mean that I never use "Save" always "Save As" with every file. It is really rare that I ever need to go back more than 1 file, but there have been a few times that having evolutionary versions of files (not just image files) has saved my butt. So, I see the RAW file, and I think I "know" it can be re-set back to its original RAW state anytime, but was unsure.

So, it sounds like archiving a copy, on and off the hard drive, of the original RAW files should be SOP. Further, it seems that the working RAW files must permanently hold a pair of data for each attribute: the original, and the current modified setting.

I have a bunch of photos I just took of material surfaces, some of which are difficult to distinguish as RAW thumbnails. So, I will probably make 2 working copies of each RAW file, one renamed to show a "friendly" name, and one left at the camera's relatively "unfriendly" names, like CRW_2732.CRW.

Your advice will be taken, and I'll burn a CD of the original RAW files before going further. Thanks again for your time and expertise.

Dennis
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Expert Comment

by:David Brugge
ID: 18886757
I'm right there with you on the "save as" method. I have gigabytes of ver23, ver23b, ver24's appended to my file names, I do a system wide backup every evening and an off premise backup once a month, and I still loose or overwrite files. (not very often, but it still hurts)

I would greatly appreciate the ability to save "states" in RAW files. There have been many times when I go back to a previous version of an image, decide that I need to export it again from the RAW, but can't for the life of me remember the setting that I used to get that particular version.

Maybe, someday...

Best of luck and thanks for the points.

David B.
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