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P: Allow JPEGs to be embedded, to save disk space

Engaged ,
Sep 18, 2019 Sep 18, 2019

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Problem:
Let's say my client sends me a 4Mb JPEG file which needs retouching for a project. I open it in Photoshop, add a couple of simple adjustment layers, and save the image as a psd. The resulting file is now 65Mb. This waste of disk space is totally unnecessary, since all I've added to the image is a couple of adjustment layers. And if I'm working on, say, a magazine containing hundreds of photos, the amount of wasted space really stacks up.

Solution:
Whenever you open a JPEG in Photoshop, it appears as an 'embedded JPEG layer'. This operates a lot like a Smart Layer. You can apply effects to it, but the layer itself is not regarded as editable bitmap data (unless you rasterize it). Then, when you save it, the original JPEG remains embedded in its original JPEG format, so if you haven't added any raster layers, the file size should be only slightly larger than the original JPEG.

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54 Comments
Mentor ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Max, this is why we have linked smart objects and we can work around file save sizes by saving without the preview.

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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@eartho, I did my test again, converting to a linked instead of embedded object and the difference in file size was literally only the size of the original jpeg. Which makes sense.
Saving w/out preview only saved a few Kb... because I suspect that only is a single small preview image of the whole document for OS and bridge to display...

Good idea, but there was no significant file savings there, sorry. 😞

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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There's no such thing as saving layered files out as the original jpgs.
I don't follow you. Microsoft Word can embed JPEGs. InDesign uses linked JPEGs. Why not Photoshop?
What's the actual complaint/request? You're only interested in saving HD space?
Yes, it's purely about space. Sure, a lot of Photoshop documents have layers containing unique raster data, which needs to be saved. However, most of the time my Photoshop documents don't contain unique raster data, they only contain JPEGs that have been duplicated, flipped, etc, with adjustment layers. There's no reason why the Photoshop file needs to be much larger than the JPEGs it contains.
If you're doing this professionally, then it's a requirement of the job to have an abundance of available disk space ... i don't think saving a little bit here and there is worthy of a request.
You might not care, but a lot of people appreciate the importance of making files as small as they can be, for maximum efficiency. It's means:
  1. Faster online transferring of files
  2. Faster backing up (especially to the cloud)
  3. Drives fill up less quickly
  4. Less need to add/replace drives in your computer
  5. Less money spent on storage (and backup)
I have approximately 27 terabytes of hard drive space on my system, and plenty of room. But I am always interested in saving space. If I could free up hundreds of gigs by reducing the size of my Photoshop files, I would be interested.

Google has a vast amount of storage space, but if you offered them a way to make all their files a tenth of the size, they would bite your hand off.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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This is never a problem for me. If I only need simple adjustment layers, I can do much more parametric editing in Lightroom
Not everyone wants to use Lightroom, or has a workflow suited to it. I've been using Photoshop since 1994, long before Lightroom came along. I personally would not want to use a program which denied me the full range of Photoshop abilities, but each to their own.

The "parametric" editing (good word) offered by Lightroom and ACR does sound great. So why not allow it in Photoshop? It's certainly not "beyond the scope" of Photoshop, it simply means files are smaller. That should never be beyond the scope of any program.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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I cannot see how a JPEG would be 4 megs.  I can see how it would grow to a larger file, but a JPEG file is NEVER that large.  It's usually around 4Kb not megs

You must be mistaken. Maybe some web designers work with 4Kb JPEGs, but high-quality online JPEGs are usually a couple of megs, and the original JPEGs from cameras are typically around 4–8 megs.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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If I saved as a JPEG, I'd never be able to edit document again! Most designers retain their psd files so they can make future changes.

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Guest
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Agree.  I have jpegs that are as much as 37 mb.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Thank you Mr Johnson for understanding me and not being as dismissive as the others here. If you think my idea could be worthy of Adobe looking into it then perhaps you could vote for my idea (which no one seems to have done yet).
sounds to me like what they're asking is for being able to save a multi layered psd with SOs and adjustment layers as a jpg?
Eartho, you have misunderstood me. This idea has nothing to do with saving as a JPEG. It's about embedding JPEGs into Photoshop documents. (And for the record, you referred to me as a "they". I'm a he! How many women do you know called Jim?)

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Hmmm, that's an interesting test. Though I'm not sure what it proves, and I don't see the point of using a JPEG for the test? If you open a JPEG in Photoshop and make it into a smart object, Photoshop doesn't know the data originates from a JPEG and doesn't retain any of the compression information?

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Mr Lehman,

The title of this idea is: "Allow JPEGs to be embedded, to save disk space". It has nothing to do with speed. I suppose everyone's different but I don't mind my files opening and closing a little slower if it means the files are many times smaller.

I do have a gripe that newer versions of Photoshop take many times longer to launch than older versions, but it's unrelated to this issue.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Right, the online aspect is what I was thinking of too. Sharing files and backing up. There are currently huge efforts being made to improve compression for online files (video compression etc) in order to minimize data. As an efficient person, I always like things to be as optimized as possible to save file space.

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Guest
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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To the best of my knowledge when you open a jpeg in Photoshop it does not retain the compression in any way.  If you resave the image as a jpeg it recreates the compression and it will be different than the previous jpeg and will generally result in more information being lost in the compression. 

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Re-read my post. I don't use Lightroom, I am using Elements together with its organizer and ACR for my own needs. Contrary to 'pro' users, I don't only work on millions of shots like events and sports reporters. I don't only work on retouching jobs implying hundreds of layers and a multitude of detailed retouches. It's everything when I need to. For those pros, it's easy to tell which tool, parametric or pixel editor is the best. Pixel editors are needed for both photographes and digital painters. Digital painters also need vector tools like Illustrator.
This forum is full of people wanting a single app to be at the same time a pixel, a parametric and a vector editor. All that 'smartly integrated'. And of course, smarly integrated with FB, Google and all social media on the 'cloud'!

I don't believe in 'smart' integration. Better is possible but difficult, especially when the dedicated tools have been developped separately, which is the case with Adobe. The result is a package which requires good understanding from the users and a huge learning effort. Then, the best workflow and choice of tools will be more obvious depending on your type of job.  And I am glad you found my advice about parametric edinting a possible solution to the big waste in diskspace in your original example.

Difficult to advise a given workflow to avoid such waste if you don't know if you are mostlly a retoucher or a wedding photog, if you need very detailed saving of your job for a limited time or forever. In my case, edits needing hours are the exception. Such edits don't need to be kept more than one year, except for a few tutorials. It seems that other champions have understood your challenge as optimizing the size of multilayered files with a lot of 'smart objects'. That's another topic, and my question is: if it's so important to keep the information about each editing detail from all the external sources in a pixel workflow, why bother about disk space? Will all those details be useful in a few years?

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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TIFF file format has a JPEG compression mode. Not sure if that's of any benefit, but you can try it.

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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@Jim, mechanically, there are three different ways (well 4, but with CC libs) to embed an image that originates from a JPEG. Bear with me, I'm not trying to be condescending here...

1. You add the jpeg image as a new layer that is not a smart layer... it's just pixels, then you convert that layer to an embedded smart object
2. You "place" the jpeg directly as a smart object layer either through drag-n-drop (if you have that setting enabled, or through "File->Place Embedded..."
3. You place a jpeg as a linked object then convert to embedded.

In case #1, your smart object is a new .psb file embedded in the document.
In case #2/3, it literally copies the jpeg file and saves it into the document like a secret zip file. If you open the smart object, the title of the new tab has a name like "whateverthing.jpg"

Same if you embed a bitmap or a png directly. So from a purely technical semantic point of view, Photoshop already does exactly what you originally asked for... it's just that it wasn't necessarily the root of the problem you are trying to solve.

Here's a test for you... in your doc, select a smart object layer and do "Layer->Smart Objects-> Export Contents..." and save out the contents. Then you can check the file size of that to see how much room it's taking in your psd. Also whether it's a jpg or psb file.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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this is why we have linked smart objects
Using linked smart objects is a little cumbersome. First you have to first measure the size of the JPEG, then create a new document the same size, then finally "Place" the JPEG into the document as a linked smart object.

I've just tried doing this and it makes no difference to the final file size. It's obviously still being turned into raster data.

But the idea of using linked smart objects is probably the way to go. All Adobe needs to do is:
  1. Make all JPEGs open as linked Smart Objects by default, rather than having to create a "container" document and "Paste" them in.
  2. Don't save copies of the JPEGs inside the document!
  3. Preview files should be of limited resolution, JPEG compressed

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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TIFF file format has a JPEG compression mode. Not sure if that's of any benefit, but you can try it.
Thanks, but that isn't helpful. This would re-compress the image, and create lossy images.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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TIFF file format has a JPEG compression mode. Not sure if that's of any benefit, but you can try it.
Thanks, but that isn't helpful. This would re-compress the images and make them lossy.

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Participant ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Linked objects have their own set of issues, like causing havoc with deliveries when you or a vendor forgets to send those linked files... and in the case of a jpeg or 2, you are not saving any total file size if you are embedding the jpeg directly by placing it as an embedded object. The data has to live somewhere, it's just whether the original is zipped up in the psd or linked from outside... there's still only one copy.
Using linked smart objects is a little cumbersome. First you have to first measure the size of the JPEG, then create a new document the same size, then finally "Place" the JPEG into the document...
That I can help with! Here's a three step workflow to get you there...
1. Create new document preset with 100x100px (+ any other settings you usually have), now you can use that over and over.
2. Place your jpeg directly as an embedded smart object (see optional step 2a for faster way to do this)
  2a . Optionally, change options->General->"Always create smart objects when placing..." so you can just drag-n-drop from your file system onto the canvas.
3. Image->Reveal All

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Very well explained, sir!
it literally copies the jpeg file and saves it into the document like a secret zip file. If you open the smart object, the title of the new tab has a name like "whateverthing.jpg"
Wow, I did not realize this. Because of how big the psd files are, I was assuming that any JPEG compression had been discarded and turned to raster data.

So you're right: Photoshop is already doing what I want it to do. It's already embedding JPEGs! That's half the battle. The only problem remaining, then, is the way that files are saved.

I don't suppose you know of any way I can "retire" this idea, or mark it solved, allowing me to create a new idea that's more specific to the problem?

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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This forum is full of people wanting a single app to be at the same time a pixel, a parametric and a vector editor. All that 'smartly integrated'. And of course, smarly integrated with FB, Google and all social media on the 'cloud'!
Well I haven't mentioned any of those other things. (I hate applications connecting to the internet, and the only thing my firewall allows to connect is my web browser.)

As for there being some kind of incompatibility between pixel and parametric editing - there's no incompatibility. It just means you want to be able to work with images without destroying them. Photoshop has offered this for years in the form of Smart Objects.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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What you want isn't possible. You either have a lossy compressed format or you retain all the editing data and layers and have a large file.

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Engaged ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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Thanks, Mr Johnson 🙂

It's still cumbersome but better than having to measure the JPEG first. Oh and you also need to make sure you have this preference disabled: "Resize image during place" (I assume most of us have it turned off as it's really annoying LOL)

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LEGEND ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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You wrote:
"The "parametric" editing (good word) offered by Lightroom and ACR does sound great. So why not allow it in Photoshop? It's certainly not "beyond the scope" of Photoshop, it simply means files are smaller. 
Which proves my point that there is no incompatibility between Photoshop and ACR or Lightroom or Elements with ACR.  It's up to you to be the 'smart' user of the tools at your disposal. I think most LR users are happy to edit 90% of their files in LR and  100% with additional work in PS. Same for me in PSE plus ACR.
The simple fact that editing jpegs 'parametrically' does not create a new version and only adds a tiny amount to the unchanged original pixels offers the best solution to save disk space. The editing is non destructive. The original is available. The virtual version does not need to be in jpeg to avoid compression losses.
Imagine I have to create a composite 12" x 12" page from a dozen of 4000 x 6000 pixels jpegs from a camera. Those assets have been edited parametrically. Since I am working in Elements, when I drag them from the photobin to my canvas, they appear as smart layers. (embedded with parameters, no linking in PSE).  Most of the time, I can resize, move rotate those assets at will and add adjustment layers to each one. The resulting composite tiff/psd keeps the ability to re-edit everything from scratch without wasting diskspace.  If I only want to allow small ulterior changes (text, a few image replacements), I 'flatten' (rasterize) the smart layers, and the file size shrinks significantly. If the next year I don't see any reason to re-edit, I flatten and save as high quality jpeg.  

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New Here ,
Sep 20, 2019 Sep 20, 2019

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What if Adobe made a new JPEG in 16 bit (for camera files) that auto-converted to 8 bit JPEG (uncompressed) for printing and embedded files this way you would still have a compressed 16 bit in the camera and a "lossless" 8 bit JPEG ("TIFF").  I think this would be the same as a TIFF that converts to a JPEG which nobody liked.  Don't beat me up, it's only a suggestion.  

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