TIFF vs PSD

New Here ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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Hi,

I am new to Photoshop. Can you please tell me what is better to use nowadays - TIFF or PSD?

I read lots of (relatively old) discussions and somebody tells PSD can store lots of Photoshop actions data than TIFF. But others say TIFF can do the same and is cross-platform.

So what to choose:

a) for photos - without layers

b) for web graphics - with layers

Thanks a lot,

Jiri

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017
HiI use PSD. See attached link which states "To preserve all Photoshop features (layers, effects, masks, and so on), save a copy of your image in Photoshop format (PSD)."https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/file-formats.htmlThat said, I not heard anyone who uses TIFF have an issue with itDave

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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Hi Jiri,

The main difference between a psd and a tiff is based on the size limit.
PSD size limit is 2GB,

Tiff can handle more than 2GB.

You can use both files for both web graphics and photos but it depends on the size document on which format you should use.

Regards,

Sahil

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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You can't use native PSD or TIFF on web pages, only JPG, PNG or GIF.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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You may get various answers to this!

I suggest you work in PSD in RGB color mode, and keep your layered file in case you have to do more work on it subsequently (i.e. don't flatten it).

Safe the PSD as a JPG and make copies for use in other applications – vary the size and resolution depending on the image use, e.g. whether it's for printing or for the web.

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New Here ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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I'm sorry, I know about exports to .jpg, .png etc.

But I need to save original file too, for later changes. And I don't know which is better for this purpose - TIFF or PSD. I read that TIFF doesn't support some Photoshop stuff, but lots of people say that doesn't matter. So do you thing I lose something when I save image made in Photoshop, with layers, in TIFF?

By the way, Photoshop automatically save as .tif and not .tiff - is it OK?

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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As mentioned, save as native Photoshop file – PSD. You can place these in InDesign and round-trip.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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Photoshop will save tiff files with the .tif extension. Usually some prefer layered PSD as the Master file and and  a flattened tiff when handing off files to others for print or use in non-Adobe applications.

PSD vs Tiff is repeatedly brought up in the forums. Here is an informative thread:

Should I Use Tiff or PSD

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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Hi

I use PSD. See attached link which states "To preserve all Photoshop features (layers, effects, masks, and so on), save a copy of your image in Photoshop format (PSD)."

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/file-formats.html

That said, I not heard anyone who uses TIFF have an issue with it

Dave

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New Here ,
Apr 25, 2021 Apr 25, 2021

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If I use PSD I don't get previews in Explorer. I do get previews with TIFF files.

What exactly do I lose by using TIF instead of PSD.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 25, 2021 Apr 25, 2021

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Well, that's a valid argument. I use Bridge, not Explorer, so that doesn't apply to me.

 

No, you won't lose anything with TIFF.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 25, 2021 Apr 25, 2021

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Mac Finder also shows the previews for PSDs. I agree with @D Fosse that it's a valid argument if you don't use Bridge or Finder.

 

~ Jane

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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I think it's probably a toss-up. I settled on PSD at some point and just continued.

More important than file type, is the distinction between archive master files and targeted copies for specific purposes. Keep the former, discard the latter when done. Make new copies as needed from the master files.

It's always a good idea to keep your master files as open and future-editable as possible, which means keep layers, masks, high bit-depth, sufficiently large color space - any property you might or might not need later on. You never know. Within reason, of course. It's no crime to flatten files if you're confident you won't lose anything.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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This comes up a couple of times a year in this forum, and we have had input from the likes of Chris Cox and Jeff Schewe.  IIRC Chris came down on the side of PSD, but Jeff is a strong advocate for TIFF in this Luminous Landscape thread.  Personally I prefer PSD, but I have no specific reason other than it being a native Adobe format.  PSD also works with Displacement Maps (so long as you have backward compatibility set to Always in Preferences).  TIFF is not mentioned in that respect in Preferences, so I assume it is not relevant.

Other threads on the subject from one year ago

PSD/PSB vs TIFF

Three years

Saving as tiff vs psd?

Seven Years

.TIFF vs. .PSD for archiving

I can't find the thread with Chris Cox and Jeff Schewe, but if anyone else can track it down I'd appreciate it.

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New Here ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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2020 Update opinion. 

  1. The https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/file-formats.html still offers great info from Adobe. If you read the TIFF section it'll tell you that Tiff does store and layer/adjustment info.
  2. Second as of now Lightroom not just defaults to TIFF but when setting up export preferences recommends the TIFF format within the program.

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New Here ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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I can’t find a definitive answer as to how to choose between TIFF and PSD file formats and I am definitely no expert, however, these are my thoughts –

Both TIFF and PSD files can store layers and therefore allow historical layer edits/adjustments to be re-visited.

I get the impression that there is little difference between the information in TIFF and PSD files. The PSD format may have some benefits when transferring data between Adobe programs/apps.

TIFF is a universal format. PSD is a propriety format used by Adobe apps - it is accessible by only Adobe apps and a few other apps such as Coral Draw and Gimp. For me this is quite important because it is possible that the freestanding, permanent licence versions of Adobe Photoshop/Premier/Organizer Elements might become unavailable/unusable at a future date. Also, for me, the subscription version of the Adobe apps may become unaffordable in the future.

Windows Explorer/View and the Windows Photos app can display previews of JPEG, RAW and TIFF file content, but cannot display previews of PSD file content. Other apps are needed for this, Adobe Organizer, for example. If you import media into Adobe Organizer’s “Catalog”, Organizer displays previews of JPEG, RAW, TIFF and PSD files allowing you to choose files by content, and to direct those files into the Adobe editing apps.

Catalogues seem to be popular, these days, to tag photos with locations, names, faces etc. They are used by Windows Photos, Nero Media, Panasonic PhotoFunStudio, etc. - it’s not something I have ever felt the need for. By default, Windows Photos tags everything. I was surprised the first time I used Photos - OCP usage went off the scale, disc utilisation shot up and cooling fans went into overdrive ….. I switched off the tagging. I was pleasantly surprised when Adobe Organizer quickly and silently catalogued my media …….. then the trouble started - the laptop went wild when Organizer’s tagging kicked in ….. I switched off tagging. Organizer then asked if I wanted to back-up the “Catalog”. This seemed a good idea except that it wasn’t only the “Catalog” Organizer wanted to backup, it was every bit of media too. This was duplicating my existing backup procedures ….. I switched off backup too. So, for me, Organizer was only useful for previewing PSD files and directing them to my Adobe editors. Much as I like the Organizer display, Organizer is something I can work without.

I have used the Adobe Elements apps for years using the same group of editor commands. Recently I viewed some tutorials on editing with layers which highlighted the advantages of being able to revisit the edits at a later date. This required saving the files and edit/adjustment layers to TIFF or PSD files and this is what got me thinking about the differences between the two file formats.

I have saved to PSD files in the past but I have never used layer edits/adjustments. I suspect this rules out revisiting my edits on these files.  

For standardisation and future support I am inclined to save to TIFF files.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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You'll be fine with TIFF.

 

Explorer thumbnails is a good argument if you want that. It's also true that TIFF is widely supported, but PSD not so much. My own thinking is that if Adobe goes out of business, it won't happen overnight. We''ll have plenty time to resave all files. I have a lot of worries, but this isn't really one of them - 😉

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 28, 2021 Apr 28, 2021

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Here's one more thing to think about. When my most wonderful Aunt passed away at the age of 93, I emailed my cousins to say I would be happy to convert the thousands of PSDs she had of family photos and never heard back from them. It still worries me!

 

~ Jane

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