I am trying to better understand a post processed RAW file vs. a JPEG.
I am a real novice in this area but
as I understand, RAW files are just basically numbers, that until processed with special pp software, can not be viewed through the normal process of viewing an image on a computer.
This is not true. When I upload RAW images from the camera into LightRoom, and they are also automatically placed in a file on my hard drive, those RAW images are completely viewable without LR. Many people will transfer images directly from the camera to their hard drive, sort through them, before ever sending them to LR [or any other pp program}.
[quote=paver]I beleive, after the pp, the pp software has the ability to convert the said image to a GIFF, or TIFF, etc.
Question is since JPEGs are heavily compressed files, with a lot of lost info. aren't the pp converted JPEGs, lossy as well, throwing away information?[/quote]
I suspect you are speaking of the difference between a camera-generated .jpg and one made after pp a RAW file. Yes, information is "thrown away" during the compression that occurs when converting to .jpg. BUT with more information available for pp, you can make more effective edits to the RAW which in turn can produce a better rendering when converted to .jpg.
I understand that post processing an image,
gives us the ability to not only edit an image to our liking, but the great ability to save an image, that would be terrible without pp.
What happens to the quality of an image viewed in pp software, vs. a post processed JPEG?
Once again, a true beginner trying to learn.
If you start with RAW, you can save in a lossless format [.tiff is my preference, .psd is another], which preserves all the data in an image. From that file, you can, in turn, produce a .jpg that despite losing some information, will look just like the .tiff or .psd file. For many of us, the lossless format has another advantage - we can go back and change our edits without compromising the quality, and we can also create new versions without losing the original edit. For instance - color to black and white, experimenting with a newly learned editing technique, trying different levels of saturation, contrast, etc., and many other features.
You have invested in a digital camera, which can be used as though it is a point-and-shoot. But since you did not purchase a point-and-shoot, why not explore the camera's capabilities? Keep an open mind about which features you will use, try them all! There is a learning curve, but worth the effort - this refers to the camera and lenses, and also to the editing programs.
There are many sources of information to explore, some free [YouTube, CreativeLive, Photography websites, forums, etc.] and some that will charge a fee [Photographers will have websites and/or Facebook pages where they charge membership fees or rely on selling video tutorials.] And of course there are forums such as this one, DP Review, Cambridge in Colour, etc.