Photoshop: Make Camera Raw features available as an adjustment layer

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  • Updated 8 months ago
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I know this has been raised in the past and marked as "not planned", but I'd really like to add my vote to the idea of having Camera Raw, or at least some of the features within ACR/LR available within Photoshop as an adjustment layer.

Right now, I can blend a bunch of exposures using layer masks, flatten the image and then do ACR adjustments on that. The trouble is, if I then want to go back and change the blend somehow, I need to discard my flattened layer and ACR adjustments, and then re-do it again. Another option is to do the exposure blend, then import back into Lightroom and do adjustments in there, and then create a new PSD/TIFF to do further PS work.

The trouble with both these options is they are not fully non-destructive. At some point you have to bake your adjustments into a new layer or file. Given that ACR/LR adjustments are just XML instructions on top of an underlying file, why can't we apply these adjustments as an adjustment layer along with curves, colour balance and all the rest?

If it is not possible to do this for some technical reason, it would be great to have ACR's basic sliders available as a global adjustment and the ability to do gradient, radial and brush local adjustments, plus the range masking feature. I'm less bothered about the other Develop panels as PS has enough features to do those functions.
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Mark Hazeldine

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  • hopeful

Posted 8 months ago

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Ellis Vener

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In Photoshop CC 2018  and I think in earlier versions of Photoshop CC as well and maybe even in earlier versions,  Camera Raw Filter is the fourth item. Click on it and it opens a version of the image you are working on in Adobe Camera Raw. 
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Jaroslav Bereza

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There would be problem with adjustmen layer because camera RAW also contains lens correction which deforms shape of image. And if you would have layer smaller then document and you would move this layer... how deformation would work?

Anyway this could be good as smart filter of smart object.
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Ellis Vener

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Lens correction controls in the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop CC are different from the controls in Adobe Camera Raw as illustrated in the attached image.
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Greg Porter

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I believe You can simulate this by creating two image files. Save file #1 before you flatten. After Flattening, save it as File #2. You could always re-work File #1, then replace the bottom layer of File #2 with the flattened new File #1.

Also, instead of flattening, make the top layer a Visible stamp.Then PLACE this layer as the base layer in the new file. Or keep working the original file, 

If you do not do a lot of destructive editing, your re-work time will be minimal.

I know you can't truly make the base layer a smart layer from camera RAW, but the workaround should be tolerable.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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What Mr. Bereza says... You can make all of your existing layers into one smart object, then run the "Camera RAW Filter..." and it will work as a smart filter that you can change like an adjustment layer.
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Jaroslav Bereza

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I think it's not currently supported as smart filter. Or is it?
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Max Johnson, Champion

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It is. Just tested.
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Stephen Newport

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ACR is supported for smart objects as a smart filter, but not with live sliders (without opening ACR) as the other adjustment layers are.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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True. When I think about what an ACR adjustment layer would look like and how many calculations it would be making on the fly, though, I think it makes sense from a technical and performance perspective to keep it in an editable smart filter, rather than a live adjustment layer...