In this chapter, we'll look at the Camera Raw controls in detail. Camera Raw starts working as soon as you point Adobe Bridge at a folder full of raw images, creating thumbnails and previews, but its real power is in the degree of control and flexibility it offers in converting raw images to RGB.
Bear in mind as you go through this chapter that, while Camera Raw lets you make painstaking edits on every image, it doesn't force you to do so! Unless you're being paid by the hour, you'll want to take advantage of Camera Raw's ability to synchronize edits between multiple images, and to save settings and subsets of settings that you can apply to multiple images in Bridge without actually launching Photoshop, or even opening them in Camera Raw.
But before you can run, you have to learn to walk, and before you can batch-process images with Camera Raw, you need to learn to deal with them one at a time. If raw files are digital negatives, Camera Raw is the digital darkroom that offers all the tools you need to put your own unique interpretation on those digital negatives.
Like negatives, raw files are simply a starting point. The tools in Camera Raw offer much more control over the interpretation of the raw file than any wet darkroom. Camera Raw is a plug-in the way War and Peace is a story and The Beatles were a pop groupat first, the sheer number of options may seem overwhelming, but they're presented in a logical order, and you can master them in a fraction of the time it takes to learn traditional darkroom skills.