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Saving files as Tiff vs PSD

Saul Zelan , Feb 12, 2004; 12:11 a.m.

Can anyone explain to me the advantages/disadvantages of using tiff vs. psd format for saving files in photoshop? These are very large files that I'll be working with (200-300 meg) and in tiff format they seem to save quite a bit larger than psd. As long as the end image quality is the same, I'd prefer to save as psd for space saving concerns. Any thoughts on the downside of using psd format? Thanks in advance.

Responses

Greg Chappell , Feb 12, 2004; 01:13 a.m.

One could be compatibility.

I cannot save a file as a TIFF and print from my i960 Canon printer. It only recognizes JPEG images. If you plan to print your files or take them to a photo finisher to have real prints made, you better make sure they accept your files or you may have to convert them prior to taking them in. I, for one, am always looking for ways to do no more than what's absolutely necessary to do on digital files, not more.

Eric Perlberg , Feb 12, 2004; 04:37 a.m.

As long as you have software which can use PSD files, and more and more can use native PSD files, then PSD is the preferred option. As you say, TIFF files are considerably larger with no extra advantage other than compatibility with other software, particularly desktop publishing.

Greg, in 20+ years of professional graphics work, I have never heard of a printer which is specific to a file type or which won't accept a file type. JPEGs are a destructive (lossy) file format and hopefully you're not archiving your work in JPEGs.

Bill Jordan , Feb 12, 2004; 09:11 a.m.

To Greg,

I have a Canon i950 printer, and it prints TIFF files without incident. I can't imagine they came out with the i960 upgrade, and took away the ability to print TIFF (wouldn't be much of an upgrade). Either your printer is not working correctly, or something is not set properly, though I have no idea what it might be.

Bill

Scott Eaton , Feb 12, 2004; 09:23 a.m.

Photoshop's proprietary format (PSD) is rapidly becoming standard of file formats for higher end labs because it can save many Photoshop functions in progress along with just the image data. TIFF (non compressed) is still far more common and universal in the general industry though. Unlike past file formats that had no real standard and were implemented differently by each softwar package causing chaos(PCX, EPS TIFF variants) PSD is consistent to Photoshop.

As long as you plan on using Photoshop in the future I see no problem with using .PSD format. Even so, an increasing number of non Adobe software packages are at least providing the capability to read .PSD.

I know a lot of labs that will only accept certain file types.

Greg Chappell , Feb 12, 2004; 09:35 a.m.

Sounds like I need to do some more reading on my printer, although I'd hate to see how long it took TIFF files from scanned slides to pop up in the menu of my (not super fast) Dell laptop computer. 19-32 megabyte JPEG's of Velvia slides scanned at 4000 DPI take a while. I can't imagine how long 8-10 uncompressed TIFF files would take. I have saved in TIFF before and when I tried opening the folder, only JPEG images open up. Tried finding the missing images with no luck. I never really looked into why, just converted the files and they opened up fine after that, using Canon's software for printing on the i960. If I do figure it out, I'll definitely need to buy that 300 GB external hard drive!

Eric Perlberg , Feb 12, 2004; 10:10 a.m.

Just a thought Greg, which I haven't thought through. I wonder if you're printer spooler is running out of memory and choking on the larger Tiff files. .psd might help as they are smaller. Admittedly a slow dell laptop is not the perfect tool for the job.

The problem with JPEGs is that every time you open and save them, you lose information. It's like making photocopys of photocopys. If you're going to the trouble of scanning at 4000dpi JPEGs are not a good solution.

I hearby decree that we're all rich and can afford the kit we want.

Benoît Marchal , Feb 12, 2004; 02:21 p.m.

There's no doubt PSD are more efficient: smaller files and you can save layers and your work in progress. More applications are able to open PSD file natively...

Still I can't help but be slightly concerned over the proprietary nature of PSD files. I have seen so many proprietary format disappear, taking away lots of precious data (anybody remembers when WordPerfect was *the* word processor) that I'm not sure PSD is appropriate for archival of photos.

Also I noticed that some applications (e.g. GraphicConverter) already have problems with some PSD file. They are not able to interpret all the layers and they cannot read the image. What will happen in 20 years?

So for those pictures that have archival value, I also store a TIFF or JPEG (depending whether I want to archive it for the quality of the image or for the fun moment...) on a separate CD.

Igor Titoff , Feb 12, 2004; 09:11 p.m.

The truth is that you only get a size advantage if you save your file with "Maximize Backward Compatibility" unchecked (see attachment), otherwise, is you have multiple layers, even just one adjustment layer, it's going to double the size of your file. With this scenario, you might as well use TIFF with LZW compression. But if backward compatibility is not your concern, then definitely, .PSD is the best option. Photoshop is going to stay around for a while. One thing though: when I save layered .PSD files it says: "turning off maximize compatibility may interfere with the use of PSD files in other applications or WITH FUTURE VERSIONS OF PHOTOSHOP". Why the heck future versions of Photoshop would be unable to handle such files is a mystery to me. I would expect Photoshop, or any normal application for that matter, to be able to open ANY older files, regardless of how old the version is.


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