Using the SpyderCube with Photoshop CS6 & Camera Raw 7.1

Once Lightroom 4 directions were completed, next on the list was a matching list of directions for using with Photoshop CS6 and its mate, Adobe Camera Raw 7.1. I’ll post those directions here, so that anyone using the SpyderCube who has upgraded to  CS6 can give this a try, and can send me comments if desired. I will include the annotated illustration for Photoshop CS6; I created a similar illustration for Lightroom, but did not include it with the previous post, since it was focussed on sample before and after images.

Adobe Photoshop CS6/ACR 7.1 introduces improved adjustment controls, and requires a new method of adjusting images using the SpyderCube.

1. Trigger ACR 7.1, by opening a RAW file that includes the SpyderCube, in Photoshop CS6. Set the White Balance by using the eyedropper to sample from the center of the lighter of the two gray faces, which represents the primary light source’s color temperature and tint.

2. View RGB values in the Histogram Section. Set the Exposure control so that the lighter gray face has RGB values of 128, or your preferred card gray value.

3. Set the Whites control so that the lighter white face has RGB values of 230, or your preferred card white value.

4. Turn on White Clipping Indicator. Check that Specular Highlights in Chrome Ball reach 255 and trigger White Clipping Indicator. If not, increase Whites level to achieve Specular Highlights, and adjust white face back to 230 using Highlights control. Optimize relation between Specular Highlights and Card Whites with Whites and Highlights controls.

5. Turn on the Black Clipping Warning. Adjust the Blacks control until the SpyderCube’s black trap is mostly or entirely to the Black Warning color; RGB values of 3 or less.

6. Adjust the Shadows control until the black face shows RGB values of 13 to 26, depending on the amount of “bounce light” illuminating the black face. Turn Black Clipping off for visual check that black trap can be easily distinguished from black face.

7. Recheck the card white and card gray RGB values again, as each adjustment can effect the adjustments made before it. Retune until optimal.

8. Apply this set of adjustments to all other images shot under these lighting conditions by saving a Preset from the Settings Menu, and applying to each image, or apply to an entire group of images using Adobe Bridge.

This method now has five controls, instead of the three used in earlier Processes, offering finer control of shadow-to-black ratios and black clipping, and highlight-to-whites ratios and white clipping.

Adobe CameraRaw 7.1 interface, with the key elements noted.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

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3 responses to “Using the SpyderCube with Photoshop CS6 & Camera Raw 7.1

    • > Optimize relation between Specular Highlights and Card Whites with Whites and Highlights controls.

      I would appreciate having you elaborate on this.

      The article is fairly specific about working with the Black and Shadow sliders, but less so for the Highlights and Shadows.

      BTW, I’ve wondered if it might be possible to get reasonable starting points for dynamic range by having a SpyderCube next to a Styrofoam cup. You’d expose so the chrome ball and brightest part of the cup were blown out.

      Or not?

    • Personally, I don’t want my styrofoam cups (or any other white surfaces) blown out. I only want my chrome cups (or balls) blown out, along with moist eye catchlights. So I would claim that primary light source white, secondary light source white, and a chrome reflection of all light sources, is sufficient information to set (or “zone”) your highlights.

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