Batch Processed File Delivery
In terms of controlling image appearance and quality, delivering batch processed JPEG or TIFF files has become a reasonable option compared to delivering fully optimized image files.
So much control is now available in PIEware that for many images, additional work in Photoshop is optional or not needed. As a result, we’ve expanded our definition of master file to include raw or DNG files that have been adjusted in PIEware. Once the PIEwork has been done, all that remains is to export the raw or DNG to standard format (TIFF or JPEG), and deliver it. It’s even possible to sharpen for output via PIEware. Although CMYK conversion is not supported yet, this is not really a limitation, as most photographers prefer to deliver RGB files anyway.
|Figure 1 This is the Workflow Options dialogue box in Camera Raw. Camera Raw output sharpening uses similar algorithms to what is used in the capture sharpen controls in Camera Raw and Lightroom. These are based on PhotoKit Sharpener with a little more punch from Thomas Knoll.|
Batching delivery files from DNG offers more options because of the fully adjusted embedded JPEG preview files.
If you convert raw to DNG, you can take advantage of the full size embedded JPEG preview option and copy out the JPEGs with applications such as Media Pro or Photo Mechanic software. These JPEGs are the equivalent of quality 7 Photoshop JPEGs and are tagged with the sRGB profile. Batch processed image files will likely need to be resized by the image receiver, which means that they will need to provide the output sharpening.
|Figure 2 Media Pro (previously Expression Media) can copy out the full size JPEG files embedded in cataloged DNG files. These files can make very high quality batched delivery files.|
Since PIEware can be used to adjust JPEG and TIFF (although not with as much latitude as with raw), camera JPEGs and TIFFs can be adjusted and batch optimized. The caveat is that these files will need to be resaved in order for the adjustments to take effect. This is not a problem for TIFF, but resaving JPEG files does carry a penalty due to recompression. If the resave is done at the minimum compression (maximum quality in Photoshop terms), it is not usually detectable. Best practice is to save a JPEG file as a TIFF, do any image editing necessary, and then resave it (Save As, or Save for Web and Devices) as a JPEG.
Figure 3 The export panel in Lightroom can be used to batch process JPEG or TIFF with PIE adjustments to create delivery files.
Figure 4 Adobe Bridge has a scriptable tool called Image Processor. It can be used to run regular Photoshop actions, but it can also be used to batch process camera original JPEG or TIFF files with PIE adjustments when the Camera Raw preferences are set to automatically open JPEG and TIFF.
|Figure 5 Image Processor (shown here in Abobe Photoshop CS4 – CS5 differs only in aesthetics) automates the processing of raw, DNG, or standard format files such as JPEG and TIFF when Camera Raw preferences are set as shown in Figure 4. It will resize large batches of images automatically and, of course, the work and instructions can be saved and applied to future batches of images.|
Delivering camera capture JPEG or TIFF is the next step down in terms of control, but not necessarily quality. If the camera has been set up correctly and if the exposure and the white balance are accurate, camera generated JPEG or TIFFs can be high quality files. Getting perfect white balance is difficult, however, and while turning camera sharpening off is recommended to keep image destruction to a minimum, it does mean that the images made with cameras using low-pass filters will need to be sharpened and resaved in order to appear sharp when displayed or reproduced.
TripWire When delivering capture JPEG or TIFF files, you will need to verify that the correct color profile tag has been embedded in the image files. Progress has been made, particularly since the DCF 2.0 EXIF specification was released in 2003, which added Adobe RGB (1998) to sRGB as supported camera embedded tags. Newer professional cameras allow the choice of either sRGB or Adobe RGB (1998) and the image files will be appropriately tagged. Older cameras and many point-and-shoot cameras still require the user to assign the correct profile. This can be done in a variety of software although in some applications this requires resaving the file. The best method is to use one of the downloader applications that we mentioned in the Ingestion section that can embed the appropriate profile during ingestion.