Deke’s Techniques: Creating filter effects with Camera Raw

Published by | Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The first time you try them out, Photoshop filters can be sort of fun, turning your images into a pastel drawing or giving them a chrome effect. But as Deke points out in this week’s free technique, you’ll soon realize that many of these built-in filters are nothing you’d actually want to use. So instead, Deke has used a familiar tool to a surprising purpose this week, by using Adobe Camera Raw to create some filter-like recipes that result in usable effects. And you don’t need to use raw-format photos to make it work, either.

He begins with this image (shot by‘s own Jacob Cunningham), which does happen to be a raw image to which Deke applies conventional Camera Raw processing in order to set his starting point:

For his first effect, Deke uses a negative Clarity value to reduce the edge contrast and a negative Vibrance setting to leach out the most vivid colors in the image. He then adds back some saturation to return the glow of the model’s skin tone.

Next, Deke takes the same image, and applies a bleached effect that’s centered around the application of a drastic temperature reduction. Who needs Instagram when you have ACR?

The third effect emulates old school cross-processing (as if you were developing one kind of film with a process designed for another) by adjusting the temperature and tone, then setting vibrance and saturation at odds. The result is this interesting effect:

The next recipe applies an etched effect, which gives our good-natured model an almost other-worldly look. This part of the technique involves tweaking the Recovery, Fill, Blacks, Contrast, and Clarity values.

Finally, because you’ve undoubtedly come to expect extremes from Deke, he’ll show you how he used the Tone Curve to set the different levels inside the image at extremes with one another, resulting in this stark treatment:

Five photo-processing filters in under nine minutes. And all along, you’re applying your effect to duplicates of an original smart object, so everything is non-destructive and you can riff off of Deke’s ideas without harming your original image.

And if that’s not enough, members of the Online Training Library® can view another new movie in which Deke shares his sixth and most outrageous filter effect inside Adobe Camera Raw. It’s Deke—you can occasionally question his taste but never his talent. And you never know what the inspirational effects of going over the edge might be.

Every week, there’s a free techniques from Deke!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
• courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

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