The Best New Photoshop CC Feature

The Adobe Camera Raw plugin, possessing a feature set identical to the Lightroom develop module, can now be deployed in a Photoshop work session as an active layer; visible in the layers palette and toggled on and off with the usual visibility "eyeball" button.

Let's say you have an image open in Photoshop ready to edit. You've been working a lot in Lightroom and your reflexes are tuned to the Lightroom develop module sliders and tools. If you were in Lightroom you would switch to the Develop module, tweak some sliders and watch the image respond, but since you're in Photoshop you have to snap into the context of Photoshop's toolset and work with the tools available in Photoshop's very different world. Not a big deal, but a slight conceptual interruption to your train of thought. Well, now there's a very handy and arguably, revolutionary alternative. Here's how to use it:

Open your Layers Palette

(keyboard shortcut: f 7 or Window > Layers to open the palette if it's not already open)


Duplicate Layer

then right-click the layer you want to edit and choose "Duplicate Layer…" from the contextual menu that appears.

Filter Menu > Camera Raw Filter

From the Filter menu, choose Camera Raw Filter

The Adobe Camera Raw Dialog will open...

with the same adjustment sliders and tools as the Lightroom Develop Module, although with a different placement of the tools across the top left side of the screen.

Camera Raw adjustments

Here I've converted to black & white by sliding the saturation slider all the way to the left, and added a mid-tone contrast and strengthened the blacks with a moderate move to the right on the clarity slider. Click the "OK" button in the bottom right corner.

Result: back in Photoshop's main screen

The layer with your edits floats above the original layers and can be worked with like any other pixel-based layer. If you want to be able to go back and tweak the adjustments you made, there's an extra step you need to take in preparation before invoking the Camera Raw Filter command. That's the subject of my next tutorial.