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.psd or .tiff? Advantages and disadvantages

Aaron James , Sep 02, 2004; 09:03 a.m.

Hi folks. What's the advantage of saving photos in photoshop's native .psd vs saving photos in tiff? I would guess perhaps layers, but I could be wrong. Are there other advantages? I'm playing with some free file browsers (because PHotoshop's is painfully slow-- tghere have been a couple of posts recently) and the ones I've tried don't recognize .psd as photos. Thanks for any help.


Edward Ingold , Sep 02, 2004; 09:21 a.m.

Now that TIFF files can be saved with layers, PSD files lose their major advantage. PSD files with layers are somewhat smaller than corresponding TIFF files, but not significantly so. The problem with PSD files is that few browsers recognize them, including NikonView. Layered TIFF files contain a flattened image and thumbnail (when created in Photoshop CS) that has a high degree of compatibility with other programs and viewers.

PSD files may preserve other properties besides layers. If you do a lot of correction, it may be advisable to keep PSD files as masters, and make TIFF or JPEG copies for other uses.

Aaron James , Sep 02, 2004; 11:09 a.m.

What other properties would .psd preserve that .tiff doesn't? I could easily be wrong, but from what I understand .tiff, unlike Jpeg, is a lossless format, which means it shouldn't lose any data at all when saved, even when saved repeatedly. Am I wrong about that?

Rhaytana (Tim Adams) , Sep 02, 2004; 01:24 p.m.

You'll find a long discussion of tif vs. other formats in Real World Photoshop. FWIW, author Fraser writes that he almost always uses .tif.

Brandon Hamilton , Sep 02, 2004; 03:57 p.m.

I always keep my masters saved as .PSD. SInce photoshop is ALWAYS the program I edit with, I keep the masters in this format. It's a no brainer.

If I want to crop and send to print, I simply save a copy to the corresponding "JPGs" or "TIFFs" folder, and print from there. I can print from these and still have my .PSD masters.

I don't see any reason to change from .psd to .tif

Sean De Merchant , Sep 06, 2004; 05:34 p.m.

What other properties would .psd preserve that .tiff doesn't?

I would guess that TIFF's do not store slices, but unless you are generating webpages that should not be a major issue. The second issue is compatability, I find most image browsers perform poorly with exotic TIFF formats (i.e., layers, compression, ...) and do okay with PSDs.

That said, I use the file browser in PS as my file browser as it is the best performing browser I have run into once it has generated the thumbnails. Just ensure that you turn off background processing for the File Browser in Preferences in PS to reduce the performance issues.

Beyond that, do TIFFs support Layer Masks? I know I only use them in working files and not completed images (flat TIFFs without compression sharpened at print resolution). But outside of sending files to the lab I cannot see any good reason (photographic workflow or software engineering) to use TIFFs.

That said, most mature (in terms of software engineering) image browsers support PSDs without issue.

just some thoughts,


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