Using TIF as regular Photoshop Output

Contributor ,
Feb 26, 2021 Feb 26, 2021

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I found some older (2019) discussions of using TIF files as output from Photoshop.  And in a couple webinars it's been said that we should switch to using TIFs because they can have layers and don't have to turn on Maximize Compatibility and yada yada...  So I did a little testing to see how great the space savings would be 'cause storage may be "cheap" but it ain't free and if I can save some hundreds of GB it's worth it...

 

Ordinary PC, i7-5820 @ 4.1 GHz, 32GB memory, Everything on SSD, AMD 5700XT GPU, PS 22.2.0

I’m hoping I’m missing something simple and dumb…

 

D500 image 5568x3712, 29MB

Basic edits in Lightroom then the RAW into Photoshop. Single hue/sat adjustment layer added.  “Max” is maximize compatibility.

Configuration

Create Time

Size in MB

PSD flattened/comp/max

1

165

PSD 2 layers/comp/max

7

265

TIF flattened/None

1

166

TIF flattened ZIP

31

112

TIF 2 layers/ZIP/ZIP

36

212

 

Since I can’t use PSD files without having maximize compatibility, and turning compression off seemed silly, there wasn’t much point in getting sizes for either of those.  If I’m understanding what I see,

  • A flattened TIF and a flattened PSD are about the same size. 166,165.  And about the same time to save.
  • A flattened TIF with ZIP compression is about 1/3 smaller but takes an extra THIRTY SECONDS to compress.  And I don’t save flattened files.
  • A layered PSD with a second layer is about 265 MB and a layered TIF with 2 layers is about 20% smaller but takes an extra THIRTY SECONDS to compress.

 

Added a 2nd layer with a layer mask, overlay mode, 50% gray fill and 25 px gaussian blur – it’s not actually going to do much but it’ll be handy later…

Configuration

Create Time

Size in MB

PSD 3 layers/comp/max

8

267

TIF 3 layers/ZIP/ZIP

38

214

 

Nothing much changes.  A little larger for the second layer I’m guessing.

 

A more real-world situation:  Convert to Smart Object, get rid of layer with the gaussian blur, create Smart Filter on the Smart Object for blur.  Basically take the blur layer and put it in the Smart Object.

Configuration

Create Time

Size in MB

PSD/comp/max

11

527

TIF None/RLE

2

803

TIF ZIP/RLE

32

749

TIF ZIP/ZIP

36

580

 

The Smart Object makes the PSD size almost double (97% increase).

The TIF file, even BEST case using ZIP for the file and the layers, appears to be about 10% larger than the PSD file.

 

I did a test with a D850 image (8256x5504 px):  Did some content aware fill for cleanup, convert to smart object, do a round trip to ACR, then take the cleanup layers and smart object and combine into a group.  Do a Hue/Saturation layer on the group.

Configuration

Create Time

Size in MB

TIF ZIP/ZIP

25

1382

PSD/comp/max

25

1177

 

The TIF and PSD generate in about the same time (the TIF is FASTER then with a much simpler image - why?), but the TIF, even with ZIP on the layers and the file, is about 20% larger than the equivalent PSD.

And if I make the processing more complex – take the group and make it a Smart Object, then add layers, do a Shadows/Highlights in the new Smart Object and maybe a Stamp Visible, it gets worse…  The TIF is still larger, but it’ll process in about 48 seconds where the PSD got up to 90 seconds and needs a PSB file.  But the TIF is right about 3GB and the PSB is about 2.5 GB.

 

I’ve got to be missing something significant ‘cause at the moment I don’t see a big upside to using a TIF as my regular Photoshop output.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 27, 2021 Feb 27, 2021

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The first and most important rule in any kind of serious Photoshop work:

 

Stop worrying about file sizes. 

 

It's a lost battle from the start. Your files will be big, you will have a lot of them, and your disks will fill up.

 

When your disks fill up, get more and bigger ones. It's the cheapest, simplest and safest solution. I haven't had a disk failure in twelve years. I replace them before they fail.

 

Not only that, but you should have complete backup of everything. That's all of the above, all over again.

 

I'm getting close to 50 terabytes of total disk space by now, including three copies of every file, most of it duplicated over two desktop machines, plus several external drives.

 

Aside from that PSD or TIFF is basically your choice. They both support the full extent of Photoshop functions and features.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 27, 2021 Feb 27, 2021

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Also … converting Layers to Smart Objects will create psb, so that would compress like psd anyway. 

And it increases filesize by virtue of being (basically) threefold: 

• the actual SO 

• the SO’s preview (if it is not flattened) at full size

• the instance(s) as displayed in the Layers Panel (with the tranformations and filter applied)

 

Comparing different image compression methods is difficult to say the least; the resulting size reductions can vary considerably based on the image content. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 27, 2021 Feb 27, 2021

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"..........and turning compression off seemed silly"

 

That is exactly what I do. Turning off compression gives a faster save and load time (the file does not need to be compressed and decompressed).  You are right in that disk space is not free, but neither is time. I agree with D.Fosse -  provide your system with the resources it needs to run efficiently.

 

Dave

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 27, 2021 Feb 27, 2021

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And in a couple webinars it's been said that we should switch to using TIFs because they can have layers

 

PSDs also have an advantage in a page layout, InDesign lets you hide and show a PSD’s layers without editing the original. And you don’t have to explicitly set transparency in a save dialog—transparency is always true.

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Contributor ,
Feb 27, 2021 Feb 27, 2021

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Thanks for the replies.  They’re all great, but don’t answer the question I asked…

 

I’m seeing discussions and broadcasts that tell us to stop saving Photoshop files as PSD because TIFs are SMALLER and FASTER and more widely usable, and not proprietary.  Except I tried the smallest file I have with only ONE adjustment layer – so about the simplest possible layered image, and yes, it’s a little smaller, but it takes FOREVER to get the TIF saved.

And I tried a couple files doing real processing, with Smart Objects and layers, and there’s not even any SPACE savings with the TIF to help offset the huge amount of time to save it.

SO, if it’s not massively smaller, and at least as fast to save as a PSD, why the recommendation to save Photoshop output as TIF files?

Is there some preference or something that enables Photoshop to generate layered TIFs a WHOLE LOT faster?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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The fastest save/open is uncompressed files, whether PSD or TIFF. What takes time is the compression/decompression, and any differences are down to different compression algorithms.

 

Like Dave, I keep the master file archive as uncompressed PSDs. Master files don't need compatibility, only you will handle them.

 

When I send out full size files, I send TIFF copies, becuase they can be used anywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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»SO, if it’s not massively smaller, and at least as fast to save as a PSD, why the recommendation to save Photoshop output as TIF files?«

That leads to another question: Who made those recommendations? 

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Contributor ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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I first heard the idea in a webinar.  Unfortunately, being trapped in the basement for a year I've watched so many I'm not sure what was talked about in which.  But, I also was in a photo club Photoshop class, and in that session the instructor suggested using TIF instead of PSD for reasons of size and wider usage.  Those various comments led me to do an Internet search and find a number of discussions about it...

If I recall correctly, even Tim Grey in one of his recent topics or webinars commented that he now uses TIF instead of PSD for Photoshop output...

So, there wasn't some OFFICIAL edict from on high, it's more a product of different sources.  My problem continues to be that while in SOME situations the TIF may be smaller, the compression cost in time is massive.  Decompressing, whether TIF of PSD seems negligible in my timing of both, and compressing the PSD is pretty cheap until you get complex, but saving as TIF using ZIP compression is brutal... 

So, two questions - why the push if it's so expensive in time, and am I missing something simple that needs to be set in Photoshop or on the system so it ISN'T so expensive in time?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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People say a lot of things, much of it based on misunderstandings.

 

The "wider support" argument would have been valid if you sent your master files directly to output externally. But who does that? Obviously, you send specially purposed copies. Your master files are your own.

 

If, like me, you turn off all compression, the other arguments are moot.

 

While there is no particular reason to not use TIFF, there is no particular reason to do it either. I started using PSD (or PSB for big files), just because it's the native Photoshop format, and I've seen no reason to change that.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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»he now uses TIF instead of PSD for Photoshop output«

For output.  

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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Tiff is a standard and therefore does not change but Psd is Adobes file system and it does change

 

If I send you a Psd file you will be able to open it but what you actually see will depend on which build of Photoshop \ 3rd party software you used

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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No. A PSD will not change according to your Photoshop version. What do you base that on?

 

Obviously, a file made in a new Photoshop version may not be handled correctly in an old one, if it has properties that didn't exist in the older one. But that is irrespective of file format, that would happen to TIFFs as well as PSDs.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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Adobe has switched Photoshop over to metal drivers which means a 3D model made today will not look good in older builds and it also means all your old Fuse models stored in your personal creative library files need repair now but even if we can take that out of the mix and just say I'm sending you (my client) a new design and I know you have the same build as me, it's still better to send you a Tiff, Png or Jpg because that gives you the rendored image you are paying for... The Psd is effectively my working out and it doesn't include all the files because they are in my temporary folder where Photoshop likes to work from

 

This forum has people learning so some of us get used to giving them more than just the answer but in a hire / client senario I don't give up the files normally

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2021 Feb 28, 2021

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But all these arguments assume that you are sending out your master files. My argument is that you never do that, master files never leave your machine. You send out specially purposed copies, and these copies are usually TIFFs for compatibility and wider support. Or jpeg if bandwidth is restricted.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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Contributor ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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OK...  So, the short answer I was looking for is - No.

In normal circumstances, there's no overwhelming reason to save Photoshop output as a TIF.  Normal people are not going to turn off psd compression because they want to conserve space.  Just like when the capture the images in their cameras, they don't turn off the lossless compression.  I'm sure there are some, but everyone with whom I'm familiar doesn't store D850, uncompressed RAW images, nor do they store uncompressed psd files. 

There's nothing wrong with storing as compressed TIF files, but they're extremely slow to create, and I never got a response to the question about tools, settings or preferences that would significantly speed up that process.

So until Adobe massively speeds up Photoshop TIF compression, probably "No".

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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"doesn't store D850, uncompressed RAW images, nor do they store uncompressed psd files". 

 

Well, again, I do, and I don't think I'm that unusual. Not D850, but Sony a7riii about the same size.

 

To me, spending 45 seconds to save a big file is not an option, not when I can do it in 5. I don't have time for that. I gladly turn off compression and don't care about the extra space. With all those terabytes I need to manage, it's moot. A little less doesn't really matter - I've used that up in three days anyway.

 

And compressing raw files is completely out of the question. I don't want anything or anyone messing with my sensor data.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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A lot of people make their reputation by suggesting they know better and we should all change how we work. Sometimes they are right, sometimes the change is not worthwhile, and sometimes they don't know what they are talking about...

 

I would never use TIFF instead of PSD. Why? Because PSD (or PSB) is the proprietary format. It is designed to keep all my choices and work, and accuracy. Any other kind of container may lose design stuff. Have the people who recommended this ever tested every possible Photoshop thing?

 

I like the idea of a second copy on TIFF. Why? Because then if Photoshop isn't available to me, I still have my work. 

 

I like the idea of lots of copies on many disks, of course.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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If ever the day comes that Adobe is about to go bankrupt and I have to shop for all new software - that day I'll be willing to consider TIFF.

 

For now, TIFF is my preferred delivery format; PSD/PSB my preferred master format.

 

Let's all keep one thing in mind: a file format is just a storage and delivery package. It's not part of the data as such. When you have a file open, it doesn't even have a file format.

 

A file format is a bit like IKEA: it's packaged flat just so you can get it into your car (do you have IKEA in the US?)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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I hope it's not like IKEA - it would take me all day to reconstruct a file !! 🙂

 

Dave

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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😄

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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@D Fosse wrote:

(do you have IKEA in the US?)


 

Of course we do!

 

D271DAED-893F-497E-BE3A-0A6D1B2E8E5B.jpeg

 

~ Jane

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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Then the concept of jpeg compression should be familiar to everybody 😉

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Contributor ,
Mar 08, 2021 Mar 08, 2021

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Update...  I've continued fiddling as I'm doing stuff.  Unfortunately, even on my desktop, generating the tif files is unusably slow when I'm working on D850 images.  The TIFs ARE generally smaller, but the time to create a TIF from an ordinary D850 image with 2 or 3 adjustment layers - NO Smart Objects, NO pixel-bearing layers, just a couple adjustment layers (Levels, Curves...) is well over a minute most of the time.  Sometimes it's so long I forget it's still processing.

This isn't big deal for folks who turn off all compression (in-camera and on-computer), have massive resources, and don't mind the huge file sizes that result, but it's disappointing for ordinary users for whom disk space is valuable and who take advantage of any compression available to efficiently use storage.

Until Photoshop is able to generate a compressed TIF with nearly the same speed it saves a .psd using TIFs isn't very practical.

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