Photoshop Elements Is Not So Elemental, My Dear Watson

I like to think of myself as a fairly sophisticated guy when it comes to computer stuff. Hardware? Check. Software? Check. I mean, I’m not an expert or anything like that, but I am clearly head and shoulders above the average computer-using consumer. Built my own computer. Love to dive right in to new software. You get the picture (pun TOTALLY intended) (hold it…..I need to pat myself on the back for a tick)

Well, last night I decided to do something new, exciting, brave and adventurous; I opened up my Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 software and intended to play around with my .CR2 (Canon-speak for RAW image files) files. (insert sounds of trumpets blaring, hands clapping and lots of “Hooray! Hooray!” being shouted to and fro) Sure, I’ve had the camera for about 3.5 months and I have been shooting RAW almost all the time (along with .jpg), but I hadn’t yet felt secure enough to take the plunge into RGB, white balance, temperature, tint, exposure, brightness, contrast, clarity, vibrance, saturation, sharpening, noise reduction, layering, sponge tools, blur tools, clone stamping, straightening, magnetic lasso tool (magnetic lasso tool? what the fuck?), unsharp mask, filters…..and it goes on and on and on.

Can you see why someone, someone who isn’t usually timid about software, might be apprehensive about taking the plunge?

So, there I was with the Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 open. I selected File (can you feel the tension mounting?), then Open (nail biting stuff, eh?), then I worked my way through to the requisite folder which held my lovely CR2 files (on the edge of your seat, aren’t you?) and I double-clicked upon one at random (Ewww! Clean that off your computer before it dries you perv.)

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 clicked and whirled away on the hard drive and in the RAM and after a few seconds a message popped up that said something like “Hey asshole. Your fucking file isn’t recognized by this ace software. Are you fucking stupid or something? Now piss off.”

Hum. Not exactly the auspicious start which I had been anticipating. But at least now I could say that I had been justified about being timid and insecure and such!

I tried a few other of the .CR2 files and it was the same response each time. Damn. Now what? Well, what does any good computer-oriented person do? They go online and search for other poor sods who have had the same problem and have hopefully found an answer and wish to share it with the world. And so it was Google-time.

I eventually found a blurb on an Adobe support webpage that spoke about the need for a more up-to-date RAW plug-in file for those of us using cameras such as the Canon 40D, amongst others. I read the directions and it all seemed very straight-forward and simple. Simple enough for me. But it was late and I didn’t feel like getting involved in moving files, downloading stuff, moving things around, etc., so I bookmarked the page and left it for today.

However, there was something of a bonus to this stupid situation. While searching for help with this issue I came across a webpage (not on Adobe’s site) that talked about a bit of software from Microsoft that can be installed to Windows XP that will allow a user to view thumbnail images of RAW files as well as to view them in Windows Explorer. Aces! I bookmarked that page with the intent of downloading that little gem the next day as well.

So here we are today and the download and installation of the more recent plug-in file has been completed. Excited about the prospect of seeing what sort of mayhem I could cause with Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 I immediately opened it and selected a .CR2 file. When it finally opened it was simply a white screen. “What?” thought I. Must be a mistake of some sort; a glitch. I elected to try the next .CR2 file and the same exact thing occurred again. “Huh? This can’t be right. Oh fucking shit.” I thought. One more go, eh? I tried a .CR2 file from another folder and THIS one opened right up in all it’s glory. You would think I’d be thrilled, but instead I was busy seeing the glass half empty. “Well what the fuck is up with the other files then?”

I closed Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 and opened the folder containing the .CR2 files that were giving me a headache. I also opened the companion folder, which contains the .jpg versions of the .CR2 files. It was here that I noticed there were no .jpg files that had the same file name as the questionable .CR2 files. “What???” thought I as it was becoming certain that my brain was going to explode within my head. And then it hit me.

Yep. Smacked me like a batter aiming for six at Lords. (can you really believe I’m an American?) In this group of photos were about five that were so completely overexposed that they appeared completely white and I had deleted the .jpg version of these files when I first saw them at home on the computer, but I hadn’t done the same to the .CR2 versions. ASSHOLE!! Complete and utter asshole. I shouldn’t be allowed to have either a nice camera or a computer. They should be taken out into the street and run over by a large UPS delivery truck. I am completely unworthy. Shameful.

I’m not going to regale you with the story about the installation of that bit of Microsoft software. But that’s because I haven’t yet installed it. Hells bells……there’s a white paper published along with the downloadable file and I’m not about to install ANY software that comes with a white paper without having read the white paper first. Especially not after this entire fiasco with Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 6.0


6 thoughts on “Photoshop Elements Is Not So Elemental, My Dear Watson

  1. Well, congratulations on venturing into the wonderful world of RAW. And I’m really pleased to hear it was as straightforward for you as it was for me.

    And yep… your happy tale had me chomping my fingernails with anticipation.

    However, take heart from the thought that it can only get better. Umm… maybe!

  2. Heh heh… I’ve just spotted some of your rather more specialised tags… “doesn’t work”, “frustration”, “kill myself” etc. Thank I’m gonna have to adopt some of those myself.

  3. As long as you give me props for my clever work! Hell, I’m thinking of sticking to shooting only .jpg and using Microsoft Photo Tool!

  4. Ah, I know the feeling only too well.

    For ages you know who was badgering me to shoot RAW; first time I tried it I had a load of fun and games when it came to the processing (not dissimilar to your own experiences, but with the added bonus of having the machine freeze on me cos, ambitious sod that I am, I’d tried to load a huge batch into Lightroom all at once and my poor little RAM just couldn’t cope).

    So having wasted a few hours I gave up in disgust, and reverted to shooting in JPEG.
    Well, more badgering followed, plus links to various “informative” articles explaining in detail why RAW’s preferable, so in the spirit of sheer bloody-mindedness I thought I’d give it another bash.
    That must have been quite a few months ago, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t now go back to JPEGs of choice. In fact, I don’t even shoot RAW + JPEG anymore, just RAW on its own.

    Curiously, Canon’s proprietary version of RAW is, as you’ve discovered, .CR2 whereas the Samsung produces .DNG (the default Adobe format as I understand). Even more curiously the .DNG files seems significantly larger than the .CR2 ones, encouraging me to think that Canon employs some form of in-camera compression.
    I’d be interested to know what sort of average size you’re getting with yours (mine come out at an average of about 10/11Mb compared to the average 16/17Mb from the GX10)?

  5. The way I look at it as I have plenty of room on my media cards (SanDisk 4GB Extreme III and a 2GB version and my just-ordered 8GB Extreme III arrived today!) and I find it easier and quicker to go through the images in jpg format (I don’t have my copy of Photoshop on my laptop (where I often like to go through the pics). Plus I like to share my better photos with my parents (via e-mail) and it’s so much simpler forwarding .jpgs or, if there are too many, burning a CD of the images. And, of course, uploading the .jpg images to Picasa is quick and simple versus working with the RAW first. I find it to be just to convenient not to shoot in both formats.

    Regarding your image file size issue I don’t know what to tell you. I went through three different folders of CR2 files totaling 171 files with an average of 13.94337MB per file. So I’m not certain my information is helping at all. I seem to recall reading that some folks who reviewed the Canon 40D thought it had the same sensor as that found in the Canon Rebel XTi (your camera if memory serves). Maybe it has something to do wtih the fact that the Canons use CMOS chips while the Samsung (really a rebadged Pentax) uses a CCD chip? Maybe it has something to do with compression algorithms used by the camera manufacturers.

    I didn’t look long or hard, but I found this bit that speaks a bit about DNG versus CR2 (page down a bit and you’ll see some guy’s repsonse):

    I also found this link whereby one poster states that Canon uses lossless compression for CR2 files and that they may be smaller if your DNG files are not compressed (if that’s even an option for your Samsung).

    Ultimately I have no idea what is the answer, but I hope I found something that might help point the way for you.

  6. Hmm… the size difference isn’t a major issue for me. The only real impact it makes on my workflow is when batch importing into Lightroom (bearing in mind my RAM limitation… 512Mb) I can only comfortably import about 30-odd .DNG files at a time if I want to avoid the machine slowing down to an unacceptable extent.

    But I’m intrigued by the size difference and wondered whether the obviously additional data in the .DNG files was of any real relevance.
    Unfortunately the links you provided (and thanks for tracking them down for me) have not really shed much light at all on it.
    Given a choice I think I’d sooner work with the larger file sizes than find I’m losing data through some sort of compression over which I have no control.

    It looks as though the average file sizes you’re getting are slightly larger than mine (from the Canon) and I think you’re right… I’m sure that I too have read somewhere that the sensor used in the 40D is the same as that in the 400D. Odd!

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