Lightroom: Support cataloging PNG files in Lightroom

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LEGEND ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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Lightroom should support png and psd files - Adobe's own file type creations - I find this inexcusable. Many of us serious photographers that have lived through all the permutations and advancement of Photoshop with tens of thousands of files only to find that they are not supported by the latest otherwise beautiful Catalog program: Lightshop
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Adobe Employee , Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011
Hi Ken, As Lee Jay points out, PSD is a supported file format as long as files are saved with "Maximum Compatibility" option on. There's already a topic for Lightroom: support for un-maximized PSDs. Right or wrong, this was a conscious decision by the Lightroom team to require PSDs be saved with the "Maximum Compatibility" option. You can see the arguments for and against this in the topic and add your vote there.

We should probably make this topic a request for cataloging support for PNG files...

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Mentor ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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Lightroom is primarily targeted at processing raw images from dSLRs. There are no dSLRs that produce either image type.

That said, LR does support PSDs assuming they are saved with maximum compatibility. This is required because, without it, LR would basically have to have all of PS's rendering engine embedded to process all those layers into a usable image, and that would make it enormous.

It also partially supports PNGs in certain areas of the program, just not for cataloging.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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I've spotted the problem... you're using a different program called Lightshop! Sorry, just kidding. 😉 It's been a long day!

I do understand your frustration. PNG isn't a format suited to photographs, so I'm not sure you'll get any joy on that one, however the request is at least here for voting.

Did you realise that your PSD files can be imported into Lightroom - you just have to resave them with the maximize compatibility turned on. That is a process that could be batch processed, which may help a little.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of the Lightroom Missing FAQ & Edit Like a Pro books.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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With more interest in panos and the resulting large file sizes, I would appreciate very much Adobe's incorporating psb as a supported file format in a future version of Lightroom.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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Hi Ken, As Lee Jay points out, PSD is a supported file format as long as files are saved with "Maximum Compatibility" option on. There's already a topic for Lightroom: support for un-maximized PSDs. Right or wrong, this was a conscious decision by the Lightroom team to require PSDs be saved with the "Maximum Compatibility" option. You can see the arguments for and against this in the topic and add your vote there.

We should probably make this topic a request for cataloging support for PNG files.

Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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New Here ,
Jul 19, 2011 Jul 19, 2011

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Hi,

I've already got a plugin for loading JPEG2000 files into Lightroom (Windows only, I'm afraid). If there's enough interest I could do a PNG version too - let me know.

Cheers,
Jim

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Participant ,
Aug 12, 2011 Aug 12, 2011

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A lot of open source, or shareware programs generate PNG files because libpng is a convenient way to output losslessly compressed files without some of the issues of TIFF. I know lightroom is targeted at DSLR files, but some of us merge our DSLR images with other graphics, and want to have the two in the same catalog.

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New Here ,
Aug 16, 2011 Aug 16, 2011

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Hi,

OK, I'll stick this on the list of stuff to do. I'm pretty much swamped right now but I'll get round to it at some point. Maybe Adobe will add it to LR natively in the meantime ;)

Cheers,
Jim

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 16, 2011 Aug 16, 2011

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There's already a plug-in called AnyFile that adds any type of file to a catalogue.

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New Here ,
Aug 16, 2011 Aug 16, 2011

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That might be enough, it depends on your needs. If you just want to catalogue things, that's fine, but if you don't want to store a JPEG copy of each image or if you want to use them in the Develop module, something more is needed. Mine translates images on the fly at the filesystem level, so LR believes it's reading a TIFF.

Anyway, if cataloging is enough then that's grand, problem solved 🙂

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 16, 2011 Aug 16, 2011

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I must say that I found Lightroom's lack of support for png files remarkable. I am using LR as my primary cataloging program, and I generated literally thousands of pngs as stand-in files to allow key-word indexing of unscanned slides. (How do you catalog your unscanned slides?)

Anyway, it was easy enough to switch to jpegs for my needs, but since code to read and write pngs is so available, and it is one of the file types that supports xmp metadata internally, the decision to not support them in LR seems absurd.

That said, the lack of support for png's does not get in the way of my use of the program, and one can always convert png's to tiff's without loss if one needs to catalog or edit a particular image. So I hesitate to vote for adding pngs if doing it would distract Adobe from working on more important improvements to LR.

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Enthusiast ,
Aug 16, 2011 Aug 16, 2011

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Just a personal opinion here, but if Lightroom recognizes it (e.g. Panel End Marks and Identity Plates (specifically PNG,GIF, and BMP files are legal)), consideration should be given to managing these. The watermark editor also recognizes PNG. It seems a pity not to be able to manage watermark graphical files as well.

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Explorer ,
Sep 28, 2011 Sep 28, 2011

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I am putting together some web pages in LR's web module. When importing sources in PSD format, 1 layer with transparency, LR treats the transparent edge as opaque - it makes it white.

I thought I could get around that by saving the file as PNG (as I'd had no problem with a transparent identity plate in PNG format) but was shocked to see LR wouldn't import those.

I shoot RAW and don't generate things in PNG except for the web, but I would like to see both support in LR for transparent edges in PSD files and PNG. In the web module in particular, having the ability to deal with transparency (so things merge easily with the page background color) is important.

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Mentor ,
Sep 28, 2011 Sep 28, 2011

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"I am putting together some web pages in LR's web module. When importing sources in PSD format, 1 layer with transparency, LR treats the transparent edge as opaque - it makes it white"

I think all LR imports from the PSD is the flattened rendered image the PS generated when you have "maximize compatibility" on. So isn't this a PS issue?

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Explorer ,
Sep 28, 2011 Sep 28, 2011

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Part of the reason that it's good to have two products from one company working together is to avoid the "it's the other guy's fault" finger pointing. I really don't see why LR can't read the layer that's in the PSD, but if Photoshop needs to change the flattened image to something else, that's fine with me. I would just like to be able to get to the end result somehow, and right now PNG doesn't work, PSD doesn't work...

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Mentor ,
Sep 28, 2011 Sep 28, 2011

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"I really don't see why LR can't read the layer that's in the PSD..."

Because Lightroom would have to contain the entire rendering engine from PS, which is huge because of all the things Layers can contain and do.

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Explorer ,
Sep 28, 2011 Sep 28, 2011

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There has got to be some way to compromise to get transparency - nothing else, no layer effects or smart objects or anything else. Pixels with transparency not white background. So layers would have to be merged and/or rasterized for this to work. Or change PS's notion of a flattened image to allow for a second type of flat - a single layer not merged with the background.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 28, 2011 Sep 28, 2011

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If you're dealing with transparent graphics, that's a job for Dreamweaver, not Lightroom which is a streamlined design for photographs.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2011 Nov 21, 2011

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Another vote for PNG support. PNG is basically like TIFF, only:

a) it's extensible
b) it's patent unencumbered
c) it's standardized
d) it supports all of the major things you'd think a common format should support, in a normal, sane, standardized way (metadata storage, alpha channel, color spaces, 48-bit color, etc)

PNG is a better TIFF, though unfortunately bad habits are hard to break - and people haven't really picked up PNG. I have thousands of negatives/slides that I scanned directly to PNGs that I'm now bringing into my LR flow, only to find out they're not supported.

If you google "Lightroom PNG support" you'll see that we're not alone!

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LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2011 Nov 21, 2011

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You might want to learn more about TIFF and the PNG formats. Most of what you just claimed is wrong.

a) TIFF is more exensible than PNG, by far
b) TIFF is unencumbered as far as anyone knows
c) Last I checked, PNG wasn't standardized anymore than TIFF
d) TIFF supports that and a lot more, in a more optimal and flexible way

All PNG has going for it is simplicity because it is not as extensible.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2011 Nov 21, 2011

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|> Mine translates images on the fly at the filesystem level, so LR believes it's reading a TIFF.

Wow - that's pretty amazing - I'd like to know how you accomplish that - sounds like a perfect solution for PNG too.

I don't *think* Adobe is planning to support PNG in Lr4 - based on various comments here and there plus gut feeling...

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LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2011 Nov 21, 2011

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a) If by extensible you mean "add an extension of your choosing" -- then yes I guess they're the same. But if you ever hope to have your extension included in the standard, then good luck! The TIFF standard hasn't been updated since 1992. In fact, if you go read the standard (p.9), it says that you can get information about TIFF extensions by checking CompuServe!

b) Wrong - TIFF most commonly utilizes LZW compression which was patented until 2003 when the patent expired. Unisys was suing people left and right back in the day (mainly for implementing GIF) which thus spawned PNG as an alternative unencumbered format.

c) PNG is ISO/IEC standard 15948:2004, also IETF RFC 2083.

There is no ISO/ANSI/IETF standard for what we commonly use as TIFF in image manipulation programs. There are some standards for atypical TIFF files (ex: FAX images), but I assume that's not what your average person means when they think of a TIFF. Also, Adobe holds the copyright to the TIFF standard and has not updated the standard since 1992.

The result is lots of oddball extensions and incompatibility between applications since these extensions are not documented really anywhere! They're certainly not being championed by the maintainers of the format. To give some perspective, TIFF baseline supporting applications, for example, are not even required to understand the most common compression used in TIFF images! That's why TIFF quickly got the nickname "Thousands of Incompatible File Formats."

d) Please point to the spot in the (latest) TIFF 6.0 specification where it includes those things. Since Adobe is the registrar of extensions, where is its list of common extensions and what they mean? Where is the documentation on, for example, how to include an ICC color profile? For PNG it's simple, just go to libpng.org. Limited metadata is built-in, Alpha is built in, ICC color spaces are built-in, 16bpp color is built in.

-----------

That said, it's really irrelevant; these days your average Joe doesn't care about lossless compression, and for those that do TIFF has become the defacto standard. Big name apps generally support most of the TIFF quirks. In Adobe's absence of leadership, the libtiff community and others have stepped in and done the legwork of figuring out and documenting what exactly a common TIFF is (i.e. which extensions are common and what they mean), and 3rd party software now just uses that. Ultimately that makes TIFF "more or less" work, and the graphics community continues using it because that's what they've always done.

It's a shame, too, because PNG is a much better format on so many levels (see above) and it's actively maintained by a community that actually cares about it. We are seeing PNG come up in the web world though (browsers, Android -- heck even the IP phone on my desk supports PNG); so maybe this story isn't over yet.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2011 Nov 21, 2011

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In my case I had thousands of negatives/slides to scan; I look towards PNG not TIFF - because I know that my PNG will be read correctly everywhere that supports the format. The TIFF will be larger and probably work when I open it in some app down the road, but is that the level of compatibility I should aspire to when archiving old photographs?

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LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2011 Nov 21, 2011

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You really, really should learn more about a topic before trying to argue it.

a) Incorrect. TIFF has been updated through tech notes 3 times (I know, because I wrote one of them). And people are actively requesting, receiving, and using custom tags.

b) Incorrect. When TIFF was created, that patent was not known. And that patent expired several years ago. It was unencumbered when created, and is now as far as anyone can tell.

c) Sort of correct, but off base. TIFF itself is not an ISO standard, but is a basis for many ISO standards. Again, TIFF has been updated, even if the master document has not.
And there really isn't that much incompatibility. The worst I know of are some video apps that don't understand transparency versus arbitrary alpha channels.

d) Incorrect. TIFF 6.0 included all you claimed except ICC profiles - they didn't exist at the time it was written. The technotes cover JPEG compression, ICC profiles, extensions for LAB, floating point, and predictors for floating point (which PNG does not have). The BIGTIFF extension isn't an official technote yet, waiting on more implementations to test against.

Um, not paying attention to LibTIFF are you? I've been working with them to extend TIFF for about 12 years now.

PNG is simple. It has that going for it. It doesn't support many color modes, or bit depths, or compression schemes, or metadata standards, or multi-page extensions, or pyramidal (not interlaced) storage, or exabyte sized files, etc.

TIFF does support a lot more, which can make it more complex. But TIFF is still more widely supported, and can do a lot more than PNG.

Oh, and archivists prefer TIFF.

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2011 Nov 22, 2011

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Hmm - looks like a bit of a tiff developing here...

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LEGEND ,
Nov 22, 2011 Nov 22, 2011

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Or is it a png emulating a tiff?

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