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Author Topic: Why Use Tiff?  (Read 48264 times)
Goodlistener
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« on: August 19, 2007, 09:14:15 PM »
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I notice that a number of experience photographers convert to TIFF somewhere early in their workflow.  I'm new to this and trying to put together a practical work-flow sofware suite.  Can I please ask: "Why use TIFF??"

It seems like keeping master iles in RAW and convering to JPG if needed for some particular output would avoid a step in the process and use less storage space.  Despit the fact that I can't see the wisdom of it, the people who do use TIFF are generally very highly qualified and I'm sure there is a good reason. But what is it?

Thanks for pointing me the right way!

By way of backgound, I'm using Canon equipment, DPP RAW converter and Canon image viewing  software now when I shoot RAW - which is most of the time. If I shoot JPG, then I like iPhoto.
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Gregory
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2007, 11:05:08 PM »
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I'm not a professional and I'm not one of those 'very highly qualified people' you referred to but here's my situation.

While RAW contains all of the colour information in the original camera image, most (all?) programs on the market at this time cannot save back to a RAW format so RAW is not an available format to save in.

If like me you use one of the RAW Management/Processing apps such as Aperture, iPhoto, Lightroom and Capture, then you might not need to think about an output format at all. Aperture works from the original RAW file every time an adjustment is made. What is viewed on screen is a JPG screen preview created from that RAW file.

If however you need to make edits outside of your management software; eg in Photoshop; then you need to save in a format other than RAW. Jpeg is not an option because it loses data during the compression process and anyone working in RAW is unlikely to want to lose data before their edits. JPEG2000 would work (it has a lossless 'wavelet' compression mode) but many programs don't yet fully support it. Aperture doesn't support it. Photoshop might support it but I'm not sure how well (there are various levels of JPEG2000 support; SilverFast fully supports it). For most people, the only other option is TIFF because it saves all of the colour information in your image and does so without loss.

If you're exporting your images as a final product from which you'll print, then you can probably save to JPG, just as long as you don't plan any more edits in that file.

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If I shoot JPG, then I like iPhoto.
you haven't seen iPhoto '08 yet, have you ;-)   it's pretty amazing and has features that make me want to give up Aperture and move 'back' to iPhoto. iPhoto '06 and '08 both have full support for RAW images so with the new features available in '08, most people have very little reason to need Aperture in preference to iPhoto.

regards,
Gregory
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2007, 11:13:09 PM »
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Tiff is 16 bit and supports layers.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 01:34:32 AM »
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You can't save edits like sharpening, local contrast enhancement, cloning (dust spot removal), multi-image blends (HDR, stitching, etc), or anything involving third-party plug-ins to a RAW file. Actually, you can't save any edits to a RAW file, all you can save is conversion settings. So once you've edited the converted RAW, you need to save in a format that supports 16-bit and whatever image or adjustment layers and layer masks you've added to the image. Your main options are PSD and TIFF. I use PSD, but TIFF works, too.

You wouldn't want to save back to your RAW anyway, that's your original negative, and shouldn't be altered.
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Goodlistener
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 04:45:08 PM »
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Thanks Dark Penguin, Jonathan and all, good stuff as usual.  Given that PSG and TIFF both support layers, is there any advantage for one over the other?  It looks like sucesful photographers are as likely to use one as the other, and I don't need to worry about it too much. But, just curious: does a TIFF or a PSG file take up much more space than the other, all else being equal?
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 08:30:45 PM »
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One good reason to choose TIFF over PSD is that the latter is specifically a Photoshop format, while the former is a very general-purpose file format that most people can read with many types of software.

Lisa

P.S.  Someone might very well point out that some other image-manipulation programs may be able to read PSD files, but it's still primarily a Photoshop format, and much less general-purpose (and much less common among the "general public") than TIFF.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 08:31:28 PM by nniko » Logged

DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 09:16:45 PM »
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Somewhere on these forums Schewe (did I spell that right?) explains the difference.

The net of it is that .psd is more limiting.  Use tiff.
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Goodlistener
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 01:34:10 PM »
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Somewhere on these forums Schewe (did I spell that right?) explains the difference.

The net of it is that .psd is more limiting.  Use tiff.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134438\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



OK. I'm convinced, if I need layers, use TIFF.  It looks like if I don't need the layers, then I can use RAW up until the point where I need output and then convert to whateve format is required for the output device / media. Some of the image management programs can print from RAW, so I may avoid conversions and the associated overhead for versioning and storage in at least some cases.

OK:  Its off Topic time in lL Land.  Does anybody like Reggae music?  Check out Israel Vibrations, "Cool and Calm" track.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 02:08:57 PM »
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OK. I'm convinced, if I need layers, use TIFF.  It looks like if I don't need the layers, then I can use RAW up until the point where I need output and then convert to whateve format is required for the output device / media. Some of the image management programs can print from RAW, so I may avoid conversions and the associated overhead for versioning and storage in at least some cases.

OK:  Its off Topic time in lL Land.  Does anybody like Reggae music?  Check out Israel Vibrations, "Cool and Calm" track.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134581\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This is what Schewe said:

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Layered Tiffs (since Photoshop CS at least) using the TIFF-6 spec can save -EVERYTHING- a PSD file can save including layers, channels, paths, transparecy, etc. The only limitation to TIFF-6 is a max file size of 4 gigs/file...but it can save out images larger than the 30,000 limits of PSD files.

For larger images, the only format is PSB files that can store up to 300,000 pixels.

Layered Tiffs may not be supported by -ALL- tiff readers (although recent ones should) and some of the compression options such as zip compression may not be compatible with 3rd part tiff readers (such as ImagePrint) but -THEY- should be encouraged to fix that!
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Andrew Rodney
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peterhandley
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2007, 11:27:44 PM »
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My own personal workflow -

1) RAW for exposure/colour corrections and such using Lightroom

2) PSD (as intermediate file if layers are needed for compositing, radical manipulation, repair and the like)

3) flattened TIF file for final product for client/printing - sometimes delivered as RGB, sometimes as CMYK - depending on end use of the image... often low res jpgs are produced from this tif file as well for client quick reference.

Flat TIF files (no layers) are readable by any page layout application being used. Layered TIF files are also readable now by most. PSD files are readable more and more by design/layout applications (I'm not talking about MS Word - that's not a layout app - that's a virus) like Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress. When sending files to offset print, you're best to replace the PSD files with flat TIFs so your output service provider/print house won't hate you for clogging up their RIP with massive files. A flat LZW compressed TIF file will save you a whole lot of ftp bandwidth and time.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2007, 09:37:31 AM »
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I'm curious: Why used PSDs at all? Why not just layered TIFFs, flattened when needed?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2007, 09:42:15 AM »
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I'm curious: Why used PSDs at all? Why not just layered TIFFs, flattened when needed?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134791\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There is no reason. TIFF has all the necessary features and is a tad smaller using compression.
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Andrew Rodney
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mistybreeze
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2007, 10:11:40 AM »
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Adobe-credited Photoshop teachers in NYC insist that PSD's are the most efficient way to accommodate increased file sizes, making them perfect for retouching. In other words, PSD files remain slightly smaller than TIFFs as you build layers. TIFF is the preferred print file and I was taught to convert to TIFF just prior to printing. Retouching on TIFF, which is perfectly doable, is not the most efficient method. Has something changed or is this thinking myth?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 10:56:04 AM »
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Adobe-credited Photoshop teachers in NYC insist that PSD's are the most efficient way to accommodate increased file sizes, making them perfect for retouching. In other words, PSD files remain slightly smaller than TIFFs as you build layers.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134804\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Adobe-credited Photoshop teachers in NYC are going to have to argue with, among others, Jeff Schewe about this! They don't want to go there.

A Layered TIFF will actually be a tad smaller than a PSD. This is using the backwards compatibility option which is a must in either format IF you share files with others.
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Andrew Rodney
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madmanchan
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 11:04:27 AM »
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There is no reason that a TIFF would be preferred over a PSD (or the other way around) for the purposes of printing. The information contained in both is exactly the same, so the printed result would be exactly the same.

For similar reasons, there is no advantage -- in terms of capability -- for retouching/editing for one format over the other.

There may be some differences in file sizes, but frankly I don't see it as a big deal given today's storage options.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 11:58:17 AM »
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There is no reason. TIFF has all the necessary features and is a tad smaller using compression.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134794\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Thanks, Andrew. That confirms what I had vaguely understood. TIFF just seems like such a nice, almost all-purpose format once you convert from RAW.
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Schewe
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2007, 11:59:41 AM »
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There is no reason that a TIFF would be preferred over a PSD (or the other way around)...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=134816\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Wrong...PSD is now a bastardized file format that is NOT a good idea to use. Even the Photoshop engineers will tell you that PSD is no longer the Photoshop "native" file format. It has no advantages and many disadvantages over TIFF.

TIFF is publicly documented, PSD is not. That makes TIFF a preferred file format for the long term conservation of digital files.

TIFF uses ZIP compression for max compression, PSD uses RLE which if you save without the Max compatibility will be a bit smaller, but at the risk of not being able to be used by apps, like Lightroom.

TIFF can save EVERYTHING a PSD can save including layers, paths, channels, transparency, annotations and can go up to 4 GIGS in file size. TIFF can save all the color spaces PSD can. The ONLY thing I can think of that PSD can save that currently TIFF can't save is if you Save out of Camera Raw a cropped PSD, you can uncrop the PSD in Photoshop CS, CS2 or 3. That's one tiny obscure thing that PSD can do that TIFF currently doesn't. How many people even knew that let alone use it?

PSD used to be the preferred file format back before Adobe bastardized it for the Creative Suite. The moment that happened, PSD ceased to be a Photoshop "native" file format. PSB is the new Photoshop "native" file format for images beyond 30,000 pixels. And , at the moment, only Photoshop can open a PSB.

Getting back to the fist point, Adobe can do anything including stopping support for PSD because it's a proprietary  file format. TIFF is public, even if it's owned by Adobe (by virtue of the Aldus purchase). Even if Adobe went belly up tomorrow, TIFF would continue.

And, let me be blunt, anybody who thinks PSD is "better" than TIFF is ignorant of the facts. If Adobe would let them, the Photoshop engineers would tell you to quit using PSD. Lightroom for the first beta did NOT support PSD and Hamburg fought tooth and nail to prevent having to accept PSD. He blinked, but you still can't import a PSD without Max compat enabled-which basically makes it a TIFF with a PSD extension.

Look, I'll make it REAL simple...

TIFF = Good
PSD = Bad


Ok?
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mbridgers
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 12:24:26 PM »
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So, BMP's are out?
 
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mistybreeze
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 01:50:52 PM »
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PSD used to be the preferred file format back before Adobe bastardized it for the Creative Suite.
And in all fairness to my NYC teachers, I haven't been in a classroom since CS entered the scene.

Thank you, Jeff, for taking the time to offer clear perspective, as always. I realize repeating yourself a million times can be a pain but it's difficult for many of us to stay current on every detail, especially if one is busy working and living life. The changes, they are aplenty.

I'm delighted to change my workflow, thanks to your post. I always thought saving PSD and TIFF files of the same image was a waste of storage space. I'll be retouching in TIFF from now on.  
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peterhandley
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2007, 04:00:49 PM »
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Well, I hate to disagree with most everyone here, but there's more than one really good reason to use the PSD format.

If you're doing layout work with an application like Adobe InDesign... the application will see TRANSPARENCY that you have included in the PSD file... but not in a TIF file.

For example... if you've close cut an image on a plain background and want a graduated shadow that will fade out over a background colour or another image in your layout... you can do that with a PSD file, but not with a TIF. You would need to compose the entire page in Photoshop if you wanted to use TIF files. Not so with InDesign and the PSD format.

You are also able to turn layers in a PSD file on and off from within InDesign, allowing you to use one file that may have many variations, in the same layout. A very useful function and a major time saver.

Now if those Adobe engineers were able to add this functionality to TIF format, then sure, I'd stick with just one, but for now, PSD is a regular and important part of my image and design work.. if it wasn't the same for others, I think Adobe would have dropped it a long time ago. The flow of file types between the various applications is one of the strongest features of the Adobe Creative Suite. The time saving that it creates is amazing.

It all depends on what you're doing with your imagery... that's how you can decide to use PSD or layered TIFS... they each have their advantages. If you're in a closed loop where you're not doing anything with your images but printing from Photoshop or some other imaging app, then there's no need for PSD... use TIFs all you want and you'll be perfectly content.

There's no right or wrong.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 04:05:59 PM by peterhandley » Logged
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