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When is the best time to enhance when making composites ?

Community Beginner ,
Jul 16, 2023 Jul 16, 2023

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When making composites, should each component file be enhanced before pasting, or is it better to enhance the complete finished composite ?  Thanks

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Community Expert ,
Jul 16, 2023 Jul 16, 2023

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What do you mean by "enhance"?

 

If you mean the special Enhance functions in Camera Raw / Lightroom, they only work on mosaic raw files directly from a camera, so there you don't have a choice.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 16, 2023 Jul 16, 2023

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If by “enhance” you meant correcting color/tones/contrast, it’s often best to do that to the component before combining, so that if you end up using the component in more than one composite, you only had to correct it once.

 

If you mean matching one component to the other components, that’s better done in the composite document, because each composite might have a different look. You can clip adjustment layers to a component layer so that you can easily continue to adjust each component as you work, to make them more consistent as a whole.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 18, 2023 Jul 18, 2023

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Hi Conrad.  I should've been more specific:  I was referring to applying Super Resolution in Camera Raw (which I've been doing by choosing "Enhance".)

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Community Expert ,
Jul 18, 2023 Jul 18, 2023

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Oh, in that case D Fosse’s reply is on the right track: The Enhance command and its Super Resolution feature are not available when using Adobe Camera Raw on a layer in a Photoshop document, only when having Adobe Camera Raw independently open an image file directly. So the way you would build the composite is:

 

1. Using the File > Open command in Photoshop, open one or more of your component images into Photoshop through Adobe Camera Raw. If the photo is TIFF or JPEG, use the settings in the picture below. (Camera Raw only opens photos that are actually camera raw data, or in TIFF or JPEG format.)

Photoshop-Open-as-Camera-Raw.jpg

 

2. Apply Enhance/Super Resolution. This saves the higher resolution version as a new DNG version of the file.

 

3. Click Open. This converts the DNG version into a new, unsaved Photoshop document.

 

4. Either save the new Photoshop document, or drag or copy/paste its contents to your composite and then close it. (If you don’t need to keep the new DNG file, you can delete it after the enhanced content is added to your composite.)

 

If you mosty work with JPEG/TIFF files and not camera raw files, Step 1 can also be done by setting Camera Raw Preferences/File Handling to open JPEG and TIFF files, and that would let you open them into Camera Raw straight from Adobe Bridge. Going through Adobe Bridge would also be an easier way to apply Super Resolution to many images as a batch (select multiple images before choosing File > Open in Camera Raw).

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Community Expert ,
Jul 16, 2023 Jul 16, 2023

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The best workflow IMO is to add the new image element to the composite, and match it if necessary.  You are only guessing if you do this before adding it, but when set against the new background you are going to make better decisions.  You can do this by clipping adjustment layers, but also make the comosited image element a Smart Object so you can do things like sharpening, blurring etc. non destructively.  Tr nopt to overdo any sharpening, because it usually pays to add some degree of sharpening to the final composite.  I often do this by adding a copy merged layer to the top of the stack (Shift Ctrl Alt E) and using Highpass sharpening with the new copy merged layer.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 18, 2023 Jul 18, 2023

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Hi Trevor.  I seem to have created some misunderstanding by saying "enhance".  I was referring to applying Super Resolution in Camera Raw.  I appreciate your suggestions and will try using them.

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