‘Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement‘, to quote Jackson Pollock. Rather, it refers to the way in which the pixels of the digital photograph are manipulated. Once you have the luminosity information, you could theoretically construct your whole image starting from a plain grey background. Therefore, I can always go back to iteration 1 or iteration zero, which is represented by the original color file that only contains selections (masks). The best workflow is the one that suits your needs the best. Judge their work, that’s what photography and art are about. When you make changes to a photograph as part of a digital editing process that is destructive, you actually make permanent changes to the pixels. a Smart Object as Smart Filters. Because nondestructive editing doesn’t remove data from an image, the image quality doesn’t degrade when you make edits. Just experiment, be inspired, but stop the rigid adherence to suggestions if another way leads to more subtle results and suits your needs better. A good place to start is by literally quoting what Adobe says about nondestructive editing on their Adobe website: Nondestructive editing allows you to make changes to an image without overwriting the original image data, which remains available in case you want to revert to it. When you select The Crop Tool in Photoshop, the first thing you see are handles on each corner and side of the cropped area. Change one adjustment layer and its change will cascade throughout all subsequent layers, affecting each layer. But sometimes I do some changes in the raw-converter afterwards with the smart-object to adjust the color-temperature or the exposure of the image. Online Privacy Policy. What, if you can get a better and more subtle result by using a sequence of small subtle changes with 10 layers (I for one know that some effects, if you go for subtlety that is, and subtlety is always important to me, cannot be obtained with just one curve-setting, no matter how sophisticated the curve setting, so this isn’t hypothetical at all) and then merge it down to one layer, just like the curve-adjustment layer is just one single layer. Photoshop CC has the option to use the Crop Tool nondestructively, so you have the ability to revert back to your original size. One of the benefits of using layers in Photoshop is to edit pictures in a non-destructive way. The original color 16-bit TIF file with no adjustments and no layers. In fact – the panel will do this already if you manually add a new empty layer with overlay blend mode before each tone adjustment. A by-product of this method is that the increase in file size is much less per layer than with image layers. And you’d be a fool to disqualify the importance of Jackson Pollock’s work simply because he didn’t follow the traditional way of brushing the paint on a canvas on an easel but instead threw and dripped his paint from buckets and added cigarette butts and shards of glass to the mix while standing on the canvas. Opening Camera Raw files in Photoshop First off, the phrase nondestructive workflow is such a misnomer as basically every workflow is non-destructive as soon as you decide to save the original RAW file. The color photo shows the original TIF file in which I save all my hard masks, usually around 10 on average, and off of which I generate the luminosity masks. Usually, if I make a mistake in iteration 41, I would go back to iteration 40 maybe 39, but never all the way back to iteration 25 or 15, let alone to the color file or RAW file. Here are some numbers to illustrate what PS can handle, but looking at the maximum numbers and filesizes, they are very academic – most computers will already significantly slow down between 5 and 10 Gb. Let me illustrate this with an example: replacing skies in an image is quite ‘the thing’ these days. Those alternative ways of post-processing aren’t born out of ignorance, lack of professionalism or plain stubbornness, but are born out of a necessity to match and enable an artistic style or preference that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. You can expand some tools to show hidden tools beneath them. If you edit your images destructively (altering the actual pixels), you cannot go back, and you cannot change your edits individually in case … The only real benefit of working in the traditional way, is the linear and causal effect of an adjustment that impacts all subsequent layers. Quick Tip: Layer Mask vs. the Eraser Tool in Adobe Photoshop And this cannot as easily be achieved, practically and technically with the traditional method […]. To impose a specific way of working onto your artistic intentions is absurd and you’re setting yourself up for missed opportunities only to comply rigidly with that traditional workflow. A small triangle at the lower right of … The ‘grand’ and traditional method, encouraged by Adobe and all its protagonists, that is considered nondestructive, is a way of post-processing where each adjustment is being represented by an adjustment layer. The image shows 50 major iterations representing key-moments in the workflow to fall back to. Anyway, to respond to your suggestion: I think it’s a very interesting idea. re‑edit the masks without losing the pixels they hide. Camera Raw stores adjustment settings on They can be one of the best tools for selective contrast adjustments, intensifying the mood within your photos. warping. Destructive is a permanent change to an image or layer, while non-destructive … Post questions and get answers from experts. A sub-area would then be the top part of the sky or the part with clouds. I want to posit this: even if you’re working the traditional way with adjustment layers, you can still degrade the image quality in a multitude of ways, depending on what you consider ‘degrading image quality’. Let’s go a bit deeper and find out what’s actually meant with a nondestructive and traditional workflow. The traditional workflow does have a few weaknesses. Further edits will call on the newly-changed data, as the original data is no longer available. Each saved iteration typically represents an adjustment to one specific area or sub-area, object or sub-object or detail in an image. That’s your prerogative of course, but to then disqualify other methods as inferior or destructive says more about the person dismissing other methods than about the method. Typical file and workflow management structure for alternative nondestructive editing. at any time, even after you edit the file. Now, let’s learn how to use the Patch tool. An area can be the sky for example. Selecting a region changes the language and/or content on Adobe.com. Learn what are destructive and non-destructive adjustments in Photoshop and about when to use each. This works perfectly and is kind of non-destructive. But an alternative and smart workflow like mine, can easily overcome that ‘disadvantage’ and give far more important advantages in return. to revert to it. the original image data. Perhaps because the Youtube videos on the panel made my workflow more visible to a wider audience. allow for nondestructive filter effects. To come up with another analogy from the world of painting again: who would want to deny the importance and beauty of Marc Chagall‘s famous Fiddler on the Roof painting because it was painted on a checkered table-cloth he got from his beloved Bella, (because he was too poor to buy a traditional linen canvas) and the checkered pattern of that table-cloth is actually visible throughout the painting in such a way it adds to the beauty of the painting? (c) Copyright, Joel Tjintjelaar – ING house Amsterdam. A personal style that puts emphasis on subtlety in tonal ranges, contrasts and especially transitions, in, across, throughout and between, the darkest, the brightest and all midrange tones. Another important phrase in the definition is ‘ the image quality doesn’t degrade when you make edits’. An important technical reason for not working according to the traditional workflow: with the traditional workflow I would end up with anything between 500 to a few thousand layers due to the way I build up a specific result through many small subtle changes instead of one big change. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Nondestructive   |   There are alternative ways of processing that are just as non-destructive and might bring you closer, faster and more accurately to realizing your artistic vision than with the traditional way. There’s no way to get it back unless you keep telling Photoshop to "Undo". An image created with an alternative, non-traditional workflow, called iSGM, a workflow that is considered to be ‘destructive’. The purists, swearing by the traditional ‘non-destructive workflow’ remind me too much of the people who find gear, megapixels, sharpness, and such, more important than just creating and enjoying great art. The RAW file is backed up on various drives. Adjusting variations, shadows, and highlights with Use luminosity masks in the upper layers and these will loose track with the image below when you adjust lower layers. That’s the workflow you get when you don’t back up your raw files and then your computer crashes . A key phrase in Adobe’s definition – and also without knowing their definition, common sense should give you an idea of what nondestructive means – is being able to revert to the original image data at any given moment. Although grouped among the focus tools in Photoshop CS6, the Smudge tool can be used for smoothing. image without permanently changing pixel values. Drag these in any direction to … Very interesting article Joel. As soon as you select the Crop Tool, Photoshop places a cropping border around the image. After I’m finished, and the image is ready to be presented and printed large, and that is always the objective, not just the online image, I would remove iteration 2 to 49 and only keep iteration 1, representing the neutral B&W conversion without any adjustments (indicated by the blue arrow) the final iteration 50 (red arrow) and the color file. ... Photoshop can become a very powerful tool that can provide you with a lot of flexibility. Adjustments to batches of raw, JPEG, or TIFF images preserve And if you've used the Crop Tool on a previous image, the border will be set to that previous size. If I didn’t see the mistake at iteration 41 I should find myself another profession. By the way, that leads to one workaround for this: Select the layers in Photoshop, convert them into a Smart Object, choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter, and use the Spot Removal tool in the Camera Raw Filter. It is very similar to the Frame Tool in Adobe InDesign . Reasons that go beyond ‘destructive’ or ‘nondestructive’ qualifications and demonstrate that other criteria should be more important in the process of creation. The porcelain skin effect is a non-destructive method of facial retouching that is also quite easy to master. And if that doesn’t convince you, then at the very least you have to conclude that it depends on sometimes arbitrary criteria that in turn can also vary depending on the context. So before we go any further, let's reset the Crop Tool to its default settings. No channels (masks) are stored in B&W iterations to ensure unaffected computer performance when working on this B&W iteration. The traditional way with adjustment layers is just one way. Restore the cropped area anytime by choosing Image > Reveal All or by dragging the Crop tool beyond the edge of the image. 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