Photoshop Elements 2019 opens HEIC files in Raw editor

Community Beginner ,
Jul 22, 2019

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I just bought Photoshop Elements 2019 because I want to be able to edit HEIC files (shot on an iPhone 7). The program does support HEIC files, sort of: it always opens HEIC files in the RAW editor, not in the main workspace. It doesn't matter how I open the file - File > Open..., drag the file in Finder onto the Elements Editor's app icon: always, RAW editor. All other file formats - JPEG, TIFF, etc. work as they always have (I've been using PS Elements for a decade or more), opening in the main workspace. It's only HEIC files that have this problem.

I'm hoping for a workaround, a setting, something....I just want to be able to edit HEIC files the same way I edit everything else. That's why I bought it. If I can't do this, I"d say I just wasted my money.

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 22, 2019

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dmitch57  wrote

I'm hoping for a workaround, a setting, something....I just want to be able to edit HEIC files the same way I edit everything else. That's why I bought it. If I can't do this, I"d say I just wasted my money.

If you can't do this, maybe you wasted your money.

Or maybe not.

First, there is are many compelling reasons why other advanced users insist on opening jpegs, tiffs, pse and png files in the ACR module of Elements. Much better quality, faster workflow, batch editing, parametric editing saving edits settings...

Then, I really don't see the point of bothering with yet a new and niche format like HEIC. I'd really would like to learn what is so important for you in this format. The best format I can imagine is the raw format, and the best tool to manage raw files in the same way as jpegs, tiffs, pdd and png is the ACR plugin. Same tools for all. It seems that is important for you?

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dmitch57 AUTHOR
Community Beginner ,
Jul 22, 2019

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Then, I really don't see the point of bothering with yet a new and niche format like HEIC. I'd really would like to learn what is so important for you in this format

HEIC is the default format for new iOS devices. It's the preferred format in the Apple ecosystem. It's no longer a niche format. 🙂

I just bought an iPhone 7. I took a bunch of photos. I dumped them to my Mac. I tried to edit them with PS Elements 14. It couldn't do it, because they are in HEIC format. So I bought Elements 2019. It can't really edit those photos either, not without dropping into an older format. Adobe claims that Elements 2019 supports HEIC, that's why I bought it.

I can (and have) switched my iPhone to use JPEG. But, HEIC is a better format, and I'd like to use it, but PS Elements appears to not quite be ready for it. This surprised me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 22, 2019

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dmitch57  wrote

Then, I really don't see the point of bothering with yet a new and niche format like HEIC. I'd really would like to learn what is so important for you in this format

HEIC is the default format for new iOS devices. It's the preferred format in the Apple ecosystem.

I do know. Even if it's the preferred format in the Apple ecosystem, which I doubt, it's still a niche format in the photography field.

Do you really think that more than 1% of the billions of photos shot everyday are in HEIC?

However, my question still stand: what advantages do you expect from this format? I have read about them, they do exist, but are they decisive? None of my friends or familiy members do use it. And yes, even if Macs and iPhones are far behind Win and Android in this part of the world, a number of those friends are using them. I must say that if they offered to send me HEIC files, I'd recommend them to be more 'standard' if they want to be shared.

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dmitch57 AUTHOR
Community Beginner ,
Jul 22, 2019

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Well Adobe must think there is something to this format or they would not have added the support for it that they did to PS Elements.

Honestly it sounds to me like you are not interested in using a new format no matter what the reasons. Suit yourself.  We're done here. Thanks.

If anyone has anything constructive to add here, about opening HEIC files in the normal PS editor, I'm all ears.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 22, 2019

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If the files open in ACR, can't you simply click the Open Image button and open the file in your desired PSE Editor?

Snap10_2019.07.22_14h34m36s_009_.png

I have a Windows machine which does not currently support HEIC so don't know whether this is a solution for you.  I'd be interested if it isn't.

As for HEIC files, I do have an IPhone and shoot High Efficiency formats for both photos and videos.  But the only advantage I see is the compression factor on my phone which allows more files to be stored there.  In theory, the HEIC compression produces a lower quality image but in practice it probably does not for the average user.  I certainly haven't seen any demonstration that HEIC has a better quality.  Under Windows, my HEIC files are automatically converted to jpeg (via a setting on my phone) when I import them.  If HEIC support ever becomes available for Windows, I doubt whether I will use it since the file size is not very important on my desktop machine.

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dmitch57 AUTHOR
Community Beginner ,
Jul 22, 2019

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If the files open in ACR, can't you simply click the Open Image button and open the file in your desired PSE Editor?

Indeed, I have been doing that. There are two problems, however:

1) When you do that, a new file gets created in parallel to the .heic file: a .xmp file containing XML data. In normal (standard) HEIC format, this XML data is contained in the HEIC file proper. Photoshop appears to maintain it as a sidecar, I have no idea why. I suspect this may be problem when exchanging HEIC files with other programs (it certainly isn't compatible with iOS's or macOS's native file handling).

2) You can't open multiple HEIC files at once - either by dragging a bunch of files onto the dock icon, or selecting files in Finder and ctl-click > Open With. Looks like RAW files get one unique RAW editor which can't handle multiple open files.

Both of these are hindrances to some work flows (mine for example 🙂 .

But as a quick workaround, yes this works great - thanks!

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dmitch57 AUTHOR
Community Beginner ,
Jul 22, 2019

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In theory, the HEIC compression produces a lower quality image but in practice it probably does not for the average user.

It works one of two ways: you get smaller file size for the same image quality, OR you get better image quality for the same file size. According to some reports, you get 2x the image quality for HEIC as for JPEG, given the same file size. AFAIK, HEIC never produces lower image quality for anywhere near the same file size as JPEG.

Also: HEIC provides for >8 bit color; JPEG is locked forever to 8 bit. Not a big deal today, but I'd bet a week's salary it will matter in a year or two. All of my video gear is already 10 bit.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 23, 2019

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It is possible to open a batch of HEIC. Start from expert mode and from the menu choose:

File >> Open in Camera Raw

You can then select all and apply the same slider settings. The open image button changes to Open Images. Clicking that will send all of the photos into the regular editor. See image below.

HEICmulti.jpg

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dmitch57 AUTHOR
Community Beginner ,
Jul 23, 2019

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Yep, that's a good workaround. Thanks!

Unfortunately now that I've gotten this far, I see that PS Elements 2019 cannot *write* an HEIC File. Ah well.

Thanks again.

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99jon LATEST
LEGEND ,
Jul 23, 2019

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Elements will always leave a HEIC file untouched. It stores the raw edits in a side car; the same as editing in the Apple photos app which produces a (.AAE sidecar) file. That’s the only way you can revert to original by leaving the HEIC file untouched. Obviously Elements can’t read an Apple sidecar file and any pixel editing must be saved as jpeg, PSD etc.

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