Adobe Camera Raw CC for MacOS

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Adobe Camera Raw CC for MacOS

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The Photoshop Camera Raw plugin became the latest must-have tool for professional photographers when it was released in February 2003. Applications that support it include Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, After Effects, and Bridge. Additionally, Adobe Lightroom is built upon the same powerful raw image processing technology that powers Adobe Camera Raw.

In addition, Adobe Camera Raw CC is not meant to be exclusively used with highly professional digital cameras, as it can also process the shots taken with midrange ones.

It comes with a downside, and it cannot be integrated into any version of Adobe Photoshop one might choose – it can only install each version onto a specific Photoshop edition. Hence, users need to check the compatibility before downloading and installing this graphic plugin.

Camera Raw (2.3 or later) supports raw files in the Digital Negative (DNG), a raw file format made available to the public by Adobe.

Overview of Adobe Camera Raw CC for MacOS Features

  • One-step HDR Panorama merge
  • Depth range masking
  • Process Version 5
  • Support for new cameras and lenses

About camera raw files

camera raw file contains unprocessed, uncompressed grayscale picture data from a digital camera’s image sensor, along with information about how the image was captured (metadata). Photoshop® Camera Raw software interprets the camera raw file, using information about the camera and the image’s metadata to construct and process a color image.

Think of a camera raw file as your photo negative. You can reprocess the file at any time, achieving the results that you want by making adjustments for white balance, tonal range, contrast, color saturation, and sharpening. When you adjust a camera raw image, the original camera raw data is preserved. Adjustments are stored as metadata in an accompanying sidecar file, in a database, or in the file itself (in the case of DNG format).

When you shoot JPEG files with your camera, the camera automatically processes the JPEG file to enhance and compress the image. You generally have little control over how this processing occurs. Shooting camera raw images with your camera gives you greater control than shooting JPEG images, because camera raw does not lock you into processing done by your camera. You can still edit JPEG and TIFF images in Camera Raw, but you will be editing pixels that were already processed by the camera. Camera raw files always contain the original, unprocessed pixels from the camera.

To shoot camera raw images, you must set your camera to save files in its own camera raw file format.

You must have Photoshop or After Effects installed to open files in the Camera Raw dialog box from Adobe Bridge. However, if Photoshop or After Effects is not installed, you can still preview the images and see their metadata in Adobe Bridge. If another application is associated with the image file type, it’s possible to open the file in that application from Adobe Bridge.

Using Adobe Bridge, you can apply, copy, and clear image settings, and you can see previews and metadata for camera raw files without opening them in the Camera Raw dialog box. The preview in Adobe Bridge is a JPEG image generated using the current image settings; the preview is not the raw camera data itself, which would appear as a very dark grayscale image.

Note: A caution icon  appears in the thumbnails and preview image in the Camera Raw dialog box while the preview is generated from the camera raw image.

You can modify the default settings that Camera Raw uses for a particular model of camera. For each camera model, you can also modify the defaults for a particular ISO setting or a particular camera (by serial number). You can modify and save image settings as presets for use with other images.

When you use Camera Raw to make adjustments (including straightening and cropping) to a camera raw image, the image’s original camera raw data is preserved. The adjustments are stored in either the Camera Raw database, as metadata embedded in the image file, or in a sidecar XMP file (a metadata file that accompanies a camera raw file). For more information.

After you process and edit a camera raw file using the Camera Raw plug-in, an icon  appears in the image thumbnail in Adobe Bridge.

If you open a camera raw file in Photoshop, you can save the image in other image formats, such as PSD, JPEG, Large Document Format (PSB), TIFF, Cineon, Photoshop Raw, PNG, or PBM. From the Camera Raw dialog box in Photoshop, you can save the processed files in Digital Negative (DNG), JPEG, TIFF, or Photoshop (PSD) formats. Although Adobe Camera Raw software can open and edit a camera raw image file, it cannot save an image in a camera raw format.

As new versions of Camera Raw become available, you can update this software by installing a new version of the plug-in. You can check for updates to Adobe software by choosing Help > Updates.

Different camera models save camera raw images in many different formats, and the data must be interpreted differently for these formats. Camera Raw includes support for many camera models, and it can interpret many camera raw formats.

About the Digital Negative (DNG) format

The Digital Negative (DNG) format is a non-proprietary, publicly documented, and widely supported format for storing raw camera data. Hardware and software developers use DNG because it results in a flexible workflow for processing and archiving camera raw data. You may also use DNG as an intermediate format for storing images that were originally captured using a proprietary camera raw format.

Because DNG metadata is publicly documented, software readers such as Camera Raw do not need camera-specific knowledge to decode and process files created by a camera that supports DNG. If support for a proprietary format is discontinued, users may not be able to access images stored in that format, and the images may be lost forever. Because DNG is publicly documented, it is far more likely that raw images stored as DNG files will be readable by software in the distant future, making DNG a safer choice for archival storage.

Metadata for adjustments made to images stored as DNG files can be embedded in the DNG file itself instead of in a sidecar XMP file or in the Camera Raw database. You can check supported cameras

Process images with Camera Raw

Copy camera raw files to your hard disk, organize them, and (optionally) convert them to DNG.

Before you do any work on the images that your camera raw files represent, transfer them from the camera’s memory card, organize them, give them useful names, and otherwise prepare them for use. Use the Get Photos From Camera command in Adobe Bridge to accomplish these tasks automatically.

Open the image files in Camera Raw.

You can open camera raw files in Camera Raw from Adobe Bridge, After Effects, or Photoshop. You can also open JPEG and TIFF files in Camera Raw from Adobe Bridge.

Adjust color.

Color adjustments include white balance, tone, and saturation. You can make most adjustments on the Basic tab, and then use controls on the other tabs to fine-tune the results. If you want Camera Raw to analyze your image and apply approximate tonal adjustments, click Auto on the Basic tab.

To apply the settings used for the previous image, or to apply the default settings for the camera model, camera, or ISO settings, choose the appropriate command from the Camera Raw Settings menu.

Make other adjustments and image corrections.

Use other tools and controls in the Camera Raw dialog box to perform such tasks as sharpening the image, reducing noise, correcting for lens defects, and retouching.

(Optional) Save image settings as a preset or as default image settings.

To apply the same adjustments to other images later, save the settings as a preset. To save the adjustments as the defaults to be applied to all images from a specific camera model, a specific camera, or a specific ISO setting, save the image settings as the new Camera Raw defaults. 

Set workflow options for Photoshop.

Set options to specify how images are saved from Camera Raw and how Photoshop should open them. You can access the Workflow Options settings by clicking the link beneath the image preview in the Camera Raw dialog box.

Save the image, or open it in Photoshop or After Effects.

When you finish adjusting the image in Camera Raw, you can apply the adjustments to the camera raw file, open the adjusted image in Photoshop or After Effects, save the adjusted image to another format, or cancel and discard adjustments. If you open the Camera Raw dialog box from After Effects, the Save Image and Done buttons are unavailable.

  • Save Image Applies the Camera Raw settings to the images and saves copies of them in JPEG, PSD, TIFF, or DNG format. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to suppress the Camera Raw Save Options dialog box and save the files using the last set of save options. 
  • Open Image or OK Opens copies of the camera raw image files (with the Camera Raw settings applied) in Photoshop or After Effects. The original camera raw image file remains unaltered. Press Shift while clicking Open Image to open the raw file in Photoshop as a Smart Object. At any time, you can double-click the Smart Object layer that contains the raw file to adjust the Camera Raw settings.
  • Done Closes the Camera Raw dialog box and stores file settings either in the camera raw database file, in the sidecar XMP file, or in the DNG file.
  • Cancel Cancels the adjustments specified in the Camera Raw dialog box.

Camera Raw plug-in overview

Adobe Camera Raw workspace

The Camera Raw workspace in Photoshop

Ribbon Histogram in Adobe Camera Raw

Use the Shadow and Highlight Clipping Indicators, on the upper-left and upper-right corner, respectively to view the areas of shadows and highlights in your image. Shadows are shown with a blue mask and highlights are shown in red.



Access Edit panels on the right side of the dialog box.

In Adobe Bridge, these options are also available from Edit > Develop Settings.

Open or collapse the panels as you need. Once you make adjustments in a panel, long-press the eye icon to hide that panel’s adjustments in the preview. You can also select a profile from the Profile drop-down menu. Once you’re made your desired adjustments, click Done.

Here are more details on the Edit panels:

  • Basic Adjust White Balance, Temperature, Tint, Exposure, Highlight, Shadows, and more using the sliders
  • Curve Fine-tune the tonal scale using curves. Select among Parametric Curve, Point Curve, Red Channel, Green channel, and Blue Channel
  • Detail Adjust Sharpening, Noise Reduction, and Color Noise Reduction using the sliders
  • Color Mixer Select between HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) and Color to adjust different hues in your image
  • Color Grading Precisely adjust hues in Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights using the color wheels. You can also adjust the Blending and Balance of these hues
  • Optics Remove chromatic aberration or Distortion and Vignette. You can also use Defringe to sample purple or green hues in your image and correct them.
  • Geometry Adjust different types of perspective and level corrections. Select Constrain crop to quickly remove the white border after applying Geometry adjustments
  • Effects Add Grain or a vignette using the sliders
  • Calibration Select the Process Version from the Process drop-down menu and adjust the sliders for Shadows, Red Primary, Green Primary, and Blue Primary

Crop and Rotate

Adjust Aspect Ratio and Angle. You can also rotate and flip your images.

Spot Removal

Heal or clone specific areas of your image.

Adjustment Brush

Make edits to specific areas of your image using the Brush tool.

Graduated Filter 

Makes a selection using parallel lines. Adjust various controls based on the selected area.

Radial Filter

Makes a selection using an ellipse. Adjust various controls based on the selected areas.

Red Eye

Easily remove red eye or pet eye in images. Adjust Pupil Size or Darken.


Create and save different edited versions of your image.


Access and browse through Premium presets for Portraits for different skin tones, Cinematic, Travel, Vintage, and more. You can also find your User Presets here. Simply hover over a preset to preview and click to apply it.


The selected image on the left displays a preview of the applied edits. You can cycle between the Before and After views by clicking the icon in the bottom-right corner. You can toggle between settings and parallely view an image with before and after edits. You can also temporarily hide edits from a panel when you long-press the eye icon of that panel.