May 24, 2005

Arbitrary Resizing in Camera Raw – Top Secret

I’ve heard various complaints about the limited range of output sizes offered by Camera Raw. It’s true that the Size menu in Camera Raw’s workflow options only offers six or seven output sizes, but Camera Raw also has a hidden feature that lets you choose any output size up to 10,000 pixels on the long dimension. It’s hidden in the Crop tool.

Start by choosing Custom from the Crop tool’s menu—see Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

Set the menu to pixels—see Figure 2.

Figure 2

Enter your desired pixel dimensions—you can choose any aspect ratio, the only limitation is the 10,000-pixel size limit. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3

Apply the crop. The area of the image that you crop will be converted to the pixel dimensions you specified—see Figure 4.

Figure 4 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

The last-used Custom Crop setting appears on the Crop tool’s menu for easy recall. There’s no way to save multiple settings, at least at present. See Figure 5.

Figure 5 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

It probably isn’t particularly useful to enlarge a tiny area of an 8MP capture to 10,000 x 10,000 pixels. The point is that you can choose any pixel dimensions up to the 10,000-pixel limit.

For example, let’s say I need a bunch of 600 x 400-pixel images. First I set the Custom Crop to 600 x 400 pixels—see Figure 6.

Figure 6

Then, I open the images in Camera Raw’s filmstrip mode, and apply the crop to the first image—see Figure 7.

Figure 7 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

I click Select All, then Synchronize. In the Synchronize dialog box, I synchronize only the crop—see Figure 8.

Figure 8 – Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

From here, I can:
• Open the images in Photoshop, or
• Save the images out of Camera Raw as JPEG or TIFF, or
• Quit Camera Raw, return to Bridge, and run a Batch action that opens the images (they’ll open at 600 x 400 pixels), does something else useful such as sharpening, and saves the images in whatever format I want.

If you’re processing a lot of images this way, you’ll find that doing the downsampling in Camera Raw is much faster than converting at the smallest size on the Size menu, then downsampling in Photoshop.

Just don’t forget to clear the custom crop when you no longer need it!

Editor’s note: this little nugget of information came from a post that Thomas Knoll made on the Photoshop CS2 beta boards just before Photoshop CS2 shipped. Bruce was the first to notice the importance of this little secret. It came too late for Bruce to include in Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Just in case you were wondering about that 10,000 x 10,000 cropped image of Bruce’s, he sent along this small portion out of the original Camera Raw rendered 10K x 10K processed file. The preview image is from a 3,200 x 3,200 pixel square crop. Click in the image to view the entire 3200 x 3200 crop. (Note, it is a 179KB JPG that will open in a new window) Does anybody know what species of whale this might be? Could it be the Loch Ness monster on a Hawaiian vacation?

UPDATE: subsequent to the posting of this article, Bruce Fraser sent along a better representation of “Nessie”. Bruce feels that this could indeed be Nessie but doubts seriously that Nessie could travel all the way to Hawaii without outside help or intervention.

3 Responses to “Arbitrary Resizing in Camera Raw – Top Secret”

  1. Craig Hayslip Says:

    This is most likely a humpback whale, but difficult to tell from these shots. Their tail usually has an s-shape and bumps on its trailing edge, but probably in this shot the tail is not all the way vertical so that can’t be seen. The other possibilities are blue or fin, but the dorsal fin is rather small for a fin and to large for a blue.

  2. Bruce Fraser Says:

    These guys were playing off the east coast of Kauai in January, so I’m pretty sure that they are indeed humpbacks, but it’s difficult to tell from land with a handheld 300mm lens!

  3. owen Says:

    i am look for ti two.

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