September 30, 2023


How Art Works

Rawsie Assessment: A Highly effective, Storage-Saving Program

17 min read
Rawsie review: a powerful, storage-saving program

There’s a longstanding trade-off in digital images: If you need the liberty and adaptability of capturing in RAW, you need to deal with giant, unwieldy file sizes that take up plenty of house. A typical RAW file is usually dozens of megabytes, which implies that photographers who shoot in RAW have to spend extra money on reminiscence playing cards, to not point out space for storing and backup plans.

After all, you possibly can at all times use the a lot smaller JPEG file format as a substitute, however the decreased file sizes typically aren’t well worth the lack of modifying flexibility. So if you wish to save on storage with out considerably lowering your picture high quality, what are you able to do?

That’s the place Rawsie is available in. It’s a program that goals to offer the very best of each worlds: The flexibleness of RAW information with the dimensions of JPEG (and with no information misplaced alongside the way in which). However can Rawsie reside as much as these lofty targets? Let’s discover out.

Decreasing RAW file measurement

Rawsie review. Crescent moon Christmas ornament hanging on a tree.

I’ve shot in RAW for over ten years each personally and professionally, and I respect the various benefits the format presents for each me and my purchasers. The flexibility to govern colours with pixel-perfect precision, carry particulars from the shadows, get well overexposed highlights, and edit each attainable component of every picture is effectively past what I might do with a JPEG. Nevertheless, the storage calls for of RAW do current an issue, particularly when you might have tons of of 1000’s of photos to handle.

Rawsie solves this through the use of complicated algorithms to scale back the file measurement of RAW information for particular cameras based mostly on processes which can be designed to reap the benefits of the distinctive traits of every digicam sensor. It’s not the one-size-fits-all compression course of; as a substitute, Rawsie employs a extra delicate, nuanced method the place the compression is utilized in another way for every digicam mannequin. (Rawsie creates a mannequin of the picture based mostly on the properties of sunshine and the digicam sensor; this system detects data and noise, then compresses the knowledge losslessly and the noise lossily.)

In consequence, not each digicam is supported, however in case you do use a number of of the 50 cameras that Rawsie does work with, you possibly can achieve unbelievable advantages on your total post-processing workflow and storage answer.

Rawsie review. Diagram of how the Rawsie compression algorithm works.
This diagram, offered by Rawsie, provides an summary of how this system’s compression algorithm capabilities. And in my assessments, it really works very effectively.

Rawsie’s promise is easy: It’ll considerably scale back the dimensions of RAW information with none loss in high quality. This system follows the outdated adage of “Do one factor and do it effectively,” and in my expertise, it fulfills that promise fairly properly. Whereas it’s not possible to check a program like Rawsie with each kind of picture created in each single digicam it helps, the outcomes I bought had been spectacular. I shot and edited many photos in quite a lot of difficult conditions, and in each state of affairs, the information processed in Rawsie confirmed just about no variations from their authentic counterparts.

Rawsie claims that it applies as much as 5:1 compression, and whereas I by no means bought fairly that degree of measurement discount in my photos, I did see an enormous enchancment over the unique RAW information. (In response to Rawsie, the bigger the unique file, the better the compression; the Sony a1, for instance, creates 100 MB information, and Rawsie compresses them to round 20 MB).

Rawsie review. File sizes compared.
Rawsie decreased the dimensions of 127 RAW information by greater than half. In case your library accommodates 1000’s or tons of of 1000’s of RAW information, your storage financial savings shall be large.

The Rawsie workflow

I had a handful of reservations once I began utilizing Rawsie, principally as a result of I’m extremely resistant to vary in my images workflow. I exploit a course of I’ve refined over a few years, and I don’t like introducing new and unknown components, particularly when these components contain altering my authentic RAW information.

Fortunately, most of my fears had been unfounded. Rawsie doesn’t delete any of your information; it merely strikes the unique RAWs to a different listing that you just specify after the compression course of is full. It additionally backs up your Lightroom catalog so you possibly can revert all the pieces to its authentic state any time you need.

Rawsie review. Rawsie interface.
You have got a number of choices at your disposal when performing the Rawsie compression operation. None of your authentic RAW information shall be deleted, so you possibly can determine what to do with them (and delete them manually later in case you select).

Whereas Rawsie’s compression algorithm is proprietary, the outcomes usually are not. All of your compressed RAW information are saved in DNG format and might be opened, edited, copied, and shared with none extra software program. There aren’t any limitations in your newly-reduced RAW information, and even in case you uninstall Rawsie, you possibly can nonetheless entry the compressed information with none worries or limitations.

Utilizing Rawsie is pretty easy, however upon launching this system for the primary time, you’ll be prompted to put in the Adobe DNG converter (in case you don’t have already got it in your pc). The DNG converter is used to transform proprietary RAW information into DNGs earlier than Rawsie applies its distinctive set of compression algorithms. Rawsie handles the complete course of and it gained’t have an effect on your regular images workflow in any respect, but it surely would possibly throw you for a little bit of a loop in case you aren’t anticipating it. I promise that nothing nefarious is occurring; Rawsie is just ensuring your pc has the software program wanted to correctly carry out its conversion course of.

Rawsie review. Install Adobe DNG Converter.
Rawsie requires a selected model of the Adobe DNG converter, which have to be put in previous to compressing your photos. It’s a reasonably easy, easy course of and solely occurs the primary time you utilize Rawsie.

After you end putting in the Adobe DNG Converter, you will note the conventional Rawsie interface. You’ll be able to both have this system compress particular Lightroom catalogs, or you possibly can convert information manually by dragging and dropping particular person information or folders.

Rawsie review. Image previews.
Rawsie permits you to determine what to do along with your Lightroom catalog, the place to retailer your compressed photos, and the place to place the unique RAW information. Nothing is deleted, and you may revert again to your authentic photos any time you need.

In case you’re a bit nervous on the considered handing your entire rigorously culled RAW information over to Rawsie, you possibly can at all times take issues sluggish and put the software program by means of its paces earlier than pulling the rip twine and compressing tens of 1000’s of photos. Simply keep in mind that nothing is destroyed or deleted if you run Rawsie. All of your authentic photos are stored intact; they’re simply moved to a different location so that you can delete or preserve backed up at your leisure.

The precise compression course of occurs pretty shortly. Rawsie dealt with a number of hundred RAW information on my M1 iMac in beneath a minute, although if you’re compressing a whole Lightroom catalog with 1000’s of photos, you would possibly need to get your self a espresso and discover one thing else to do whilst you wait. (That mentioned, you possibly can pace issues alongside by choosing the “medium-size previews” possibility!)

Rawsie review. Files not compressed error.
Rawsie doesn’t work with all cameras, however this system helps greater than 50 fashions. Additionally, it solely works with RAW information which can be uncompressed or compressed in a lossless format. Some cameras have have an choice to report lossy-compressed RAW photos, and these information won’t work with Rawsie. If Rawsie doesn’t compress your photos, test your digicam for compatibility and ensure you usually are not utilizing a lossy-compressed RAW format.

Enhancing the pictures

Rawsie’s compression claims are admirable, however the modifying course of is the place the rubber meets the highway. It’s not till you load your photos into Lightroom, Luminar, Photoshop, or one other modifying program that you may study if Rawsie is really as efficient because it sounds or if it is just too good to be true.

I took plenty of pictures to see how Rawsie carried out in three particular modifying duties the place the RAW format is very helpful, and I got here away impressed. Despite the fact that the Rawsie-compressed RAW information had been about 1/2 to 1/3 the dimensions of their uncompressed Nikon RAW counterparts, the outcomes had been fairly good. No matter secret sauce the Rawsie imaging specialists and builders are utilizing, it certain appears to work.

Texture element

First, let’s check out how Rawsie handles a conventional modifying operation. For this instance, I took an image of a crimson hat sitting on a desk, then I seemed carefully on the wonderful texture element within the material to see how Rawsie-compressed information would fare after present process delicate edits that carefully resemble what most photographers do on a standard foundation.

The unique picture was wonderful however wanted a little bit of cleanup, and if Rawsie’s algorithm softened the textures within the material or misplaced essential shade data from the white and crimson folds, it is likely to be a deal-breaker.

Rawsie review. Santa hat on a table.
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/11 | 2s | ISO 100
The unique picture, shot in RAW and compressed by Rawsie.

Thankfully, Rawsie fared very effectively. The unique Nikon RAW file was 21.9 megabytes, whereas its compressed counterpart clocked in at 9 megabytes (an area financial savings of greater than 50%). Regardless of such an excessive discount in file measurement, I didn’t detect any lack of information that interfered with my edits.

Rawsie review. Santa hat on a table, edited.
Edits included white stability, highlights/shadows, saturation, vibrance, and tone-curve changes. The Rawsie file retained all of the element I wanted.

A more in-depth take a look at the unique Nikon RAW file and the compressed Rawsie file, with the identical edits utilized to every one, reveals two photos which can be just about indistinguishable from each other:

Rawsie review. Close-up of two images of a Santa hat side-by-side.
Left: Edited Nikon RAW file. Proper: Edited Rawsie.
The Rawsie model contained all the identical texture element as the unique.

I carried out related assessments with different photos and got here away with the identical outcomes every time. In truth, I by no means encountered a scenario through which the Rawsie compression affected the feel element in any important approach – or not less than in any approach that I might detect. Texture element is important, particularly when capturing for purchasers, and if Rawsie is tossing out information that degraded the pictures, it wasn’t something that I might discover.

Coloration grading

One of the vital sensible causes for capturing RAW is that it permits for practically infinite flexibility when working with the colours of a picture. Since RAW provides you entry to actually all of the colour information captured by your digicam’s picture sensor, you possibly can edit and manipulate that information as a lot as you need. To check Rawsie’s effectiveness, I took a number of photos of a primary panorama scene, edited the unique Nikon RAW information, copied the identical edits to the compressed Rawsie information, and in contrast the outcomes.

The unique picture is ok however wants quite a lot of processing earlier than posting, sharing, or printing:

Rawsie review. Nature picture with a cloudy sky and grass in the foreground.
Nikon D750 | 100mm | f/16 | 1/180s | ISO 640
Authentic picture, shot in RAW and compressed by Rawsie.

I used Lightroom to masks the sky and utilized a number of edits to the compressed Rawsie file, together with publicity and white stability changes. Then I inverted the masks to carry out extra edits on the foreground. I adjusted highlights and shadows, used the colour grading instruments to vary the colour stability of the midtones and shadows, adjusted the tone curve for a bit extra distinction, and elevated the saturation of the complete shot. That is the form of modifying most photographers do each day (versus elevating the publicity by +5), and the outcomes had been precisely what I might count on with any RAW file.

Rawsie review. Nature picture with a cloudy sky and grass in the foreground.
The identical picture, however after modifying in Lightroom.

I then copied the edits to the unique Nikon RAW file and in contrast the 2. They seemed just about equivalent in a side-by-side comparability:

Rawsie review. Two nature images compared side-by-side.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie file.
I didn’t see any variations in any respect.

To look at the pictures extra carefully, I zoomed in to 300% and in contrast a number of areas of each photographs. Even at this intense degree of comparability, I didn’t discover any cases the place the edits produced totally different outcomes. So far as I might inform, all the pieces was precisely the identical.

Rawsie review. Close-up of two nature pictures side-by-side.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie file.
Zoomed in to 300% in Lightroom.

I didn’t see any compression artifacts, and these nature photographs are consultant of the form of modifying I – and most photographers – seemingly do each day. On this regard, Rawsie basically carried out flawlessly.

I did need to see how effectively Rawsie dealt with one other modifying scenario that concerned quite a lot of shade. I took a close-up shot of an eye fixed with the intention to see how effectively the Rawsie file held up subsequent to its authentic Nikon counterpart when performing some intense shade grading.

Rawsie review. Close-up picture of an eye.
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/11 | 1/180s | ISO 640
Authentic Rawsie file with a +1 publicity adjustment however no shade edits.

I used the Brush in Lightroom to create a masks for the iris, after which I used a Hue adjustment to vary the iris from brown and hazel to an intense inexperienced. I additionally adjusted the sharpening, distinction, and texture to provide the attention a extra visceral and impactful look.

Rawsie review. Close-up picture of an eye, with some color edits.
There was loads of information within the Rawsie file to carry out some sturdy edits to the iris.

As with the panorama scene, Rawsie’s compression algorithm left loads of room for modifying. At no level did I really feel just like the integrity of the picture had been compromised, and I used to be very happy with the sheer quantity of modifying headroom I had out there. After I copy/pasted my edits over to the unique Nikon RAW file, the outcomes had been mainly equivalent.

Rawsie review. Two pictures of an eye, compared side-by-side.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie.
The 2 photographs are basically equivalent, and I couldn’t discover any approach through which the Rawsie file was missing in comparison with its Nikon RAW counterpart.

As earlier than, I zoomed in to see if I might detect any variations between the 2 information. If variations had been current, I actually couldn’t inform. Even upon very shut inspection, I discovered no points with the compressed Rawsie picture. Colours had been clear, eyelashes had been sharp, and the mirrored sky was clear with no seen compression artifacts.

Rawsie Review: A Powerful, Storage-Saving Program
Left: Edited Nikon RAW file. Proper: Edited Rawsie file.
The Rawsie file had simply as a lot data for modifying because the Nikon file, not less than so far as I’m involved.

My assessments with shade grading the Rawsie photos had been extraordinarily promising. At no level did I really feel as if the Rawsie information gave me much less modifying freedom than the conventional Nikon RAW information – regardless of their smaller measurement.

Recovering shadows

One of the vital difficult duties when modifying photos is recovering shadow element. It’s the kind of operation that makes JPEG photos cry, and it’s the place you possibly can actually see what the RAW format has to supply. It’s additionally the place you can begin to see the cracks within the basis of some compression algorithms, which are inclined to toss out shadow element with the intention to save file house.

To learn the way Rawsie fares in these conditions, I shot quite a lot of photos with -5 EV publicity compensation, transformed them in Rawsie, and introduced them into Lightroom together with the unique RAW information. I then edited the unique RAW photos, synced the edits to the Rawsie variations, and in contrast the outcomes.

My first check concerned a Christmas decoration, photographed with my Nikon D750 and 105mm macro lens. The unique picture was so darkish it was practically unusable, however that is the place RAW information actually shine.

Rawsie review. Shadow recovery example.
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/4 | 1/125s | ISO 100
The unique picture, shot in RAW and compressed by Rawsie.

I adjusted the publicity of the compressed Rawsie file in Lightroom and was pleasantly shocked to see the outcomes. The picture was clear and retained loads of usable information within the shadows. I’m unsure I might print this and cling it on the wall, however it will work simply wonderful to share on-line.

Rawsie review. Two figurines standing among some white Christmas garland.
The identical picture, however with the publicity lifted by +5 in Lightroom.

Evaluating each the unique Nikon RAW file and the compressed Rawsie file facet by facet confirmed very related outcomes. Clearly, the Rawsie algorithm did a terrific job and didn’t toss out any information wanted for this sort of excessive modifying scenario.

Rawsie review. Rawsie and original Nikon RAW compared.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie file.
The identical +5 publicity adjustment was utilized to each photos.

It wasn’t till I examined each photos at 400% magnification that I seen something totally different concerning the Rawsie file. In some areas, clean shade gradations had been changed with extra uniform swaths of pixels, comparable to on the cheek of the figurine (as you possibly can see within the comparability under). I additionally exported each photos simply in case this was a problem with how Lightroom was rendering the picture previews, however the shade artifacts had been equivalent within the exported photos, too. It’d seem to be a deal-breaker, however bear in mind: That is an excessive modifying scenario, one that almost all photographers usually are not prone to encounter regularly.

Rawsie review. Close-up of two images of figurines.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie file.
The cheek shade was a bit extra patchy and splotchy within the Rawsie picture.

One other comparability yielded related outcomes and reveals a number of the limitations of the algorithm utilized by Rawsie to shrink file sizes. For this shot, I used a jar of pencils shot at -5 EV, then lifted the publicity in Lightroom. Once more, the unique picture is nearly completely black, however due to the magic of RAW, there may be really a superbly good picture. It simply takes a bit of labor to seek out it!

Rawsie review. Nearly all-black image underexposed by 5 stops.
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/11 | 1/15s | ISO 100
The unique picture, shot in RAW and compressed by Rawsie.

Consider it or not, the picture under is similar file because the apparently detailless picture above. I adjusted the publicity by +5 in Lightroom, and – lo and behold! – the jar of pencils appeared. This illustrates simply how a lot information the RAW format information and why it’s so helpful for photographers who require essentially the most from their photos. The image under is the Rawsie compressed file, so the algorithm clearly retained an enormous quantity of information for modifying.

Rawsie review. Pencils in a jar.
The identical picture, however with the publicity lifted by +5 in Lightroom.

Evaluating the edited Rawsie file and the edited Nikon RAW facet by facet reveals how effectively Rawsie can maintain its personal when pitted in opposition to the unique uncompressed information. Each photographs, with the publicity lifted by +5, are practically equivalent. No matter information Rawsie is discarding, it’s clearly not sufficient to have an effect on the end result. Nearly.

Rawsie review. Two images of pencils in a jar side-by-side.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie file.
I utilized the identical +5 publicity adjustment to each photos.

Issues begin to look just a little totally different when zoomed in to 400%, nevertheless. The finer element is current in each photos, however you possibly can see some compression points the place the crimson transitions to purple and grey. As a substitute of a clean gradient, the colours are a bit mottled and washed out, which signifies that some information has been misplaced within the Rawsie conversion. As soon as once more, I in contrast the exported photos simply to verify this was not a problem with the Lightroom previews, however the outcomes had been the identical.

Rawsie review. Close-up of two images of pencils in a jar.
Left: Authentic Nikon RAW. Proper: Rawsie file.
The colours of the pencil had been wonderful, however there may be some banding within the blue and purple subsequent to it. As a substitute of a clean gradient, the colours are extra patchy.

Earlier than anybody decides to ditch Rawsie based mostly on this comparability, I believe it’s essential to take a step again and actually contemplate the state of affairs at play. Most individuals won’t ever have to push the publicity by 5 stops to get usable photos. Even in case you did want to do that to salvage some shadow element in your photographs, you’d nonetheless have to look actually laborious to seek out any points with the Rawsie compression course of. And within the meantime, the storage financial savings supplied by Rawsie’s course of are unbelievable, which could make the trade-off value it for you.

Rawsie disadvantages

Whereas there may be a lot to love about Rawsie, there are a few caveats to bear in mind earlier than you rush to put in it. First – and maybe most significantly – Rawsie solely works on Macintosh computer systems. A Home windows model is being developed, however for photographers who need to reap the benefits of Rawsie’s options proper now, the Mac-only nature of this system is actually one thing to think about.

Moreover, Rawsie doesn’t have cellular assist. There is no such thing as a telephone or pill app, and none are at present deliberate for launch. This seemingly gained’t matter to most photographers who use DSLR or mirrorless cameras with a conventional desktop-based workflow, however it’s one thing to think about for these fascinated by what Rawsie has to supply.

Rawsie Review: A Powerful, Storage-Saving Program
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/4.8 | 1/180s | ISO 250

Verdict: Who ought to use Rawsie?

Rawsie is an unbelievable piece of software program. It does an incredible job of considerably lowering the dimensions of RAW information whereas retaining practically all the information required for all however essentially the most demanding modifying conditions. It’s easy, simple to make use of, and performs its compression operation shortly and effectively.

In nearly each testing state of affairs I carried out, I couldn’t detect any notable variations between the Rawsie information and my authentic Nikon RAW information. Even when examined facet by facet at very excessive magnification, the Rawsie photos held their very own in opposition to their uncompressed counterparts very effectively.

Rawsie Review: A Powerful, Storage-Saving Program
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/11 | 2s | ISO 100
Authentic Nikon RAW file transformed to Rawsie with none edits.

Nevertheless, for photographers who ceaselessly shoot in excessive situations and who commonly carry out very demanding edits to their photos, Rawsie may not be the very best answer. Additionally, Home windows customers must wait till a appropriate model of the software program is obtainable, and that you must make certain your digicam is among the many 50+ cameras that Rawsie helps (you possibly can see the full list here!).

Regardless of these limitations, Rawsie is effectively value investigating, particularly for the worth. The free version accommodates no useful limitations in any respect however is proscribed to 30 RAW conversions a day. That’s lots for informal photographers or those that simply need to check out this system to see what it might probably do. The full version is available for a $79/year subscription and contains limitless RAW conversions together with free updates and assist for brand new cameras as they turn out to be out there.

Rawsie Review: A Powerful, Storage-Saving Program
Rawsie file with edits utilized to the publicity, shadows, highlights, white stability, and extra. The file measurement was a lot smaller, however there was greater than sufficient information for quite a lot of modifying.

I can simply advocate Rawsie to informal and hobbyist photographers in addition to lovers and even some professionals, too. Cupboard space is cheaper than ever, however each laborious drive, SSD, and cloud storage plan will replenish ultimately; due to this fact, successfully growing your storage capability by as much as 5x is an enormous deal. This makes Rawsie a sensible and cost-effective answer to a quite common drawback – an answer that I believe is well-suited to most photographers.

Rawsie is a paid companion of dPS.

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