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Smaller .Tiff Files?

summerseddy

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Jun 23, 2019
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Here's how my workflow might go;

1) Open DNG (Raw file) in LR, do some basic edits (Create Virtual Copy, just in case, for comparison or a way to get back 'quickly'), if it's enough then Export As Jpg.

2) If not then I Edit In > PS

3) In PS I make further changes, applying layers, filters and finally sometimes a bordering (like below);



Shortly after this process is where I need help. If I hit 'Save' then the changes are applied back in LR (cool...) as a Tiff file, and I can again make any last minute changes or simply Export the file as a Jpg. That's awesome, except I'm left with a 29mb DNG file (sometimes a virtual copy as well) and a 130mb Tiff file of essentially the same image. That's quite a lot of data to keep for one shot, but I kinda want to keep them all, the original RAW in case I want to revisit the file again and steer it in another direction, and also the Tiff because it will be different to the edited DNG (filters applied, bordering etc)... it's just... does it need to be so darn big?!

When using LR and 'Edit In' and making further edits in PS, when we click 'Save' is there anyway to tell PS to save it back to LR as something 'lighter' than the typical 100+mb Tiff files I'm left with? It just strikes me as being a bit overkill?

Here's another even more ridiculous example I did today, have a look at the image below;



This is a little bit different from the norm in a sense because I had to use two RAW DNG files to create it this in the first place because it is aperture stacked shot (f2.8 and f4 was used, in the processing part I used the f4 shot for the flower and kept the rest of the frame/background using the f2.8 shot);

1) So I had to first import 2x 39mb DNG files into LR. I made basic adjustments to both.
2) then when I had them semi matched for exposure etc I then I took them off to PS to Align the images as layers and do the masking (as detailed above).
3) once I was satisfied (for now) in PS from the masking job, I 'Saved' and saw my changes applied automatically back into LR. From here I then actually rendered the image, cropped it properly and did more retouching.
4) Finally satisfied with the look I then did one final 'Edit In' PS to generate my bordering and watermark (which I have set up as a macro)
5) Then I hit 'Save' in PS and saw the bordering applied version in LR and could then do an Export as Jpg.

So right now, sitting on my PC (not talking imaginary data here but actual data on the SSD) is;

- DNG 1 = 39mb
- DNG 2 = 39mb
- Tiff 1 (merge of DMG 1+2) = 517mb (lol!)
- Tiff 2 (proper render, crop with added bordering and wm = 849mb (woops!)

Total SDD space used up for one image = 1.41gb... (not including the exported Jpg).

Yeah so things are getting silly.

Perhaps this is the wrong place to ask, maybe its more of a PS thing than LR, but I thought perhaps I'd try here first. I can't change my workflow much, it's really about these ridiculous sized tiff files than PS gives when I visit that town, can I not use another format or some kind of tiff compression that really has little to no difference during the editing process (virtually unnoticeable).

Thanks,

Eddy
 
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You can instruct PS as to what kind to TIFF to save. You will want 16bit Compressed.. Each layer may multiply the number of pixels by the number of layers so size can accumulate exponentially. Lightroom does not export a layered file so you can flatten all of the PS layers into one and the size will not be too different from the DNG (which uses the TIFF/EP6 specification. Additionally, you can save as 8 bit TIFF but at the loss of color preservation (An 8 bit TIFF has the color definition as a JPEG but is lossless rather than Lossy)
 
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As Cletus pointed out, TIFFs are expensive. Each pixel in a TIFF is 24 bits (if you have an 8-bit TIFF) or 48 bits (16-bit TIFF). Your raw files have probably 14 bits per pixel, which is considerably smaller. Then you duplicate all the pixels in each layer, resulting in a really huge file. Fortunately, storage is getting cheaper, but even so...
 

summerseddy

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
10
You can instruct PS as to what kind to TIFF to save. You will want 16bit Compressed.. Each layer may multiply the number of pixels by the number of layers so size can accumulate exponentially. Lightroom does not export a layered file so you can flatten all of the PS layers into one and the size will not be too different from the DNG (which uses the TIFF/EP6 specification. Additionally, you can save as 8 bit TIFF but at the loss of color preservation (An 8 bit TIFF has the color definition as a JPEG but is lossless rather than Lossy)
I'm not that familiar with the workings of PS, do you know where about these options might exist to tell PS what kind of Tiff file to save? When I do the LR>Edit In function and then hit 'Save' in PS, there is no secondary window popping up giving me an option of size and compression etc, so I am guessing it's a system menu dive thing that I have to change, and I'm hoping the change stays semi permanent? Do I have to change any option within LR also for this process?

And the other take away message I am getting is to flatten my images before hitting save? I think I can be guilty of not doing that...

But also... why Tiff? Can I save as a PSD file or something? Like... the point of me toggling from LR to PS to do some more editing is typically layering, masking etc. Sometimes I make a mistake and a PSD file is better than a tiff file for revisiting and undoing those changes. But we can't have a PSD file 'Saved'back into LR and then Exported as a Jpg?

As Cletus pointed out, TIFFs are expensive. Each pixel in a TIFF is 24 bits (if you have an 8-bit TIFF) or 48 bits (16-bit TIFF). Your raw files have probably 14 bits per pixel, which is considerably smaller. Then you duplicate all the pixels in each layer, resulting in a really huge file. Fortunately, storage is getting cheaper, but even so...
yes I shoot 14 bits RAW. My issue is that the storage I take on my person at all times (think of me as the cloud), is a 2tb Extreme Sandisk SSD. They don't make a larger compact portable one, this was the best I compromise I could make. I'm half way through the year with half my data being used up... I'm trying to last 2yrs before deleting ex-clients work... :/
 
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I'm not that familiar with the workings of PS, do you know where about these options might exist to tell PS what kind of Tiff file to save?
I’m away from my desktop on a holiday and only have an iPadPro . So I can’t access PS to identify wher you can set the preference for saving as a TIFF. Perhaps some other PS subscriber can fill in
 
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I’m away from my desktop on a holiday and only have an iPadPro . So I can’t access PS to identify wher you can set the preference for saving as a TIFF. Perhaps some other PS subscriber can fill in
In the save dialogue, you can compress using LZW or ZIP format. However, TIFF is a lossless format so will always be large - reducing layers makes a huge difference, or simply saving as a JPG once expected edits are complete. I tend to go back through each month checking I've changed any TIFF files I can to full res JPG if I think I've finished with them (just a filter in LR then Export / add to catalog all within LR) then delete the TIFF.
 
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- DNG 1 = 39mb
- DNG 2 = 39mb
- Tiff 1 (merge of DMG 1+2) = 517mb (lol!)
- Tiff 2 (proper render, crop with added bordering and wm = 849mb (woops!)
The first three are unavoidable, but could the fourth be avoided? Like for the border and watermark, is it necessary to have every image saved that way, or could each TIFF 1 version be temporarily dropped into a reusable Photoshop template, complete with a hole for the correct crop (like a mat), when a bordered or watermarked print or web export is needed?

can I not use another format or some kind of tiff compression that really has little to no difference during the editing process (virtually unnoticeable).
TIFF has several compression options. The ZIP option provides the smallest lossless TIFF file size, but takes a long time to save.

I'm hoping the change stays semi permanent? Do I have to change any option within LR also for this process?
Open Lightroom Classic preferences, click the External Editing tab, make sure the File Format is set to TIFF, and make sure Compression is set to ZIP.

And the other take away message I am getting is to flatten my images before hitting save? I think I can be guilty of not doing that...
I never flatten unless I am 100% sure I won't need to work with individual layers again. Since I'm never sure about that, I basically never flatten. Yes, flattening saves storage space, but as with lossy compression, the price may be too high to store the original that way.

But also... why Tiff? Can I save as a PSD file or something?
You can use the same External Editing preference to set the File Format to PSD. But you will gain nothing, yet the file size will not necessarily be smaller than TIFF. It's unlikely to be smaller than a TIFF with ZIP compression.

Just to put these file sizes into context:

The "truest" file size is an uncompressed TIFF. You could calculate the storage requirements from the ground up: Each pixel has 8 or 16 bits, times the number of pixels in the picture (which these days is tens of millions), times three channels (RGB), times the number of layers in the file, adding on the sizes of masks and channels, then convert the resulting number of bits into bytes (8 bits in a byte). The number you would get would be pretty close to the uncompressed TIFF size. Not bytes or kilobytes, but tens or hundreds of megabytes. Maybe even over a gigabyte.

The DNG is much smaller because, being the raw sensor data, it's a single monochrome channel. But in that unprocessed state it can't be viewed, edited, or printed, so the small size is not a reasonable standard to compare to. DNG is a small file in the same way that a cake mix box is a lot smaller than the finished cake: Sure, it's a lot smaller, but you'll never be able to serve it that way, so it doesn't count.

A JPEG is much smaller because so much information has been thrown out. It can no longer be considered an equal to a TIFF or DNG, so its small size is not a reasonable standard to compare to either.

A TIFF or PSD is the most realistic file size to expect of a master image that you want to be editable at full quality with layers, after raw processing and before lossy compression. So I just keep photos on a huge hard drive (backed up to other drives of the same size, of course).

In other words, there is a common misconception that TIFF/PSD files are too large compared to DNG and JPEG. But the reality is that TIFF/PSD are the normal size, and DNG/JPEG are only able to be very small due to severe compromises.
 

Rob M.

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Hi, Conrad --

"Open Lightroom Classic preferences, click the External Editing tab, make sure the File Format is set to TIFF, and make sure Compression is set to ZIP."

I've been using that setup with Photoshop as the external editor, but despite the preferences saying to use ZIP, Ps saves the TIFF without compression.

The workaround is to always use Save As... in Ps, then check ZIP or LZW in the dialog that comes up. (If you chose ZIP, Ps warns about potential incompatibility with old TIFF readers.) Remembering to use Save As... is a bit of a pain, though.

What am I missing?

Thanks,

Rob

using latest Lr 8.4.1 and Ps 20.0.6 on a Mac running latest OS Mojave 10.14.6
 

summerseddy

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Joined
Jun 23, 2019
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The first three are unavoidable, but could the fourth be avoided? Like for the border and watermark, is it necessary to have every image saved that way, or could each TIFF 1 version be temporarily dropped into a reusable Photoshop template, complete with a hole for the correct crop (like a mat), when a bordered or watermarked print or web export is needed?


TIFF has several compression options. The ZIP option provides the smallest lossless TIFF file size, but takes a long time to save.


Open Lightroom Classic preferences, click the External Editing tab, make sure the File Format is set to TIFF, and make sure Compression is set to ZIP.


I never flatten unless I am 100% sure I won't need to work with individual layers again. Since I'm never sure about that, I basically never flatten. Yes, flattening saves storage space, but as with lossy compression, the price may be too high to store the original that way.


You can use the same External Editing preference to set the File Format to PSD. But you will gain nothing, yet the file size will not necessarily be smaller than TIFF. It's unlikely to be smaller than a TIFF with ZIP compression.

Just to put these file sizes into context:

The "truest" file size is an uncompressed TIFF. You could calculate the storage requirements from the ground up: Each pixel has 8 or 16 bits, times the number of pixels in the picture (which these days is tens of millions), times three channels (RGB), times the number of layers in the file, adding on the sizes of masks and channels, then convert the resulting number of bits into bytes (8 bits in a byte). The number you would get would be pretty close to the uncompressed TIFF size. Not bytes or kilobytes, but tens or hundreds of megabytes. Maybe even over a gigabyte.

The DNG is much smaller because, being the raw sensor data, it's a single monochrome channel. But in that unprocessed state it can't be viewed, edited, or printed, so the small size is not a reasonable standard to compare to. DNG is a small file in the same way that a cake mix box is a lot smaller than the finished cake: Sure, it's a lot smaller, but you'll never be able to serve it that way, so it doesn't count.

A JPEG is much smaller because so much information has been thrown out. It can no longer be considered an equal to a TIFF or DNG, so its small size is not a reasonable standard to compare to either.

A TIFF or PSD is the most realistic file size to expect of a master image that you want to be editable at full quality with layers, after raw processing and before lossy compression. So I just keep photos on a huge hard drive (backed up to other drives of the same size, of course).

In other words, there is a common misconception that TIFF/PSD files are too large compared to DNG and JPEG. But the reality is that TIFF/PSD are the normal size, and DNG/JPEG are only able to be very small due to severe compromises.
Thanks for that.

Ok then so...

1) My LR>Preferences>External Editing was already set to TIFF and ZIP

2) Here's a hypothetical. If I don't flatten the image in PS and Save and I get that large a$$ Tiff file in LR (as a consequence), then... let's say some weeks go by, I have closed both applications down numerous times, in fact I have 'Export As Catalog' as I am kinda 'done and dusted' with this catalog. Let's say I need to go back to it for a tweak. I open the catalog up from the Exported As Catalog location, when I find the Tiff file, if I right click it > Edit In >PS will the Tiff file load with all the layers again?

3) Same scenario as above with the exception of Flattening Layers before Saving. Now when reopening the Tiff file from LR>Edit In>PS (numerous weeks later), and I see the flattened image version of the Tiff (multi layers gone), can I not simple 'Ctrl+Z' and 'get back' the layers?

4) Same scenario as above but in LR>External Editing> I have PSD selected instead of Tiff, does anything change in relation to that?

I'm guessing not. Once you flatten you flatten, hitting Save will give LR a flattened version of the tiff file and then when Edit In again sometime in the future you will not get the old working layers back. If you don't flatten (either in Tiff or PSD working space) then yes you will get those layers back when doing the Edit In>PS thing again...


My issue is storage space. The cloud is too expensive and slow for where I live, which is also a bushfire zone. Although HDD disks are cheap, portable good storage is not. I have just invested in an Extreme Sandisk 2tb SSD (semi rugged and very light/portable) but it was $480AUD! I want to keep enough data for myself and clients for 2yr periods, but it's not looking likely, I'm half way through this year and have already used 1tb's worth...

I may have to be ruthless and just Export As Catalog only the DNG files (that have seen some edits) and leave the Tiff files out as I am sure they are taking up a lot of the space in some of these catalogs...

I created a macro for quickly applying my watermark and bordering in PS, but now I am thinking it is just too expensive in terms of additional storage space (even when flattening). I'm literally duplicating the file and then some just for the watermark and bordering. perhaps I need to give LR/Mogrify 2 another chance...

Thanks again.
 

Rob M.

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Hi, Summerseddy --

Re (1), my Lr prefs are set like yours, but Ps doesn't compress on saving. It seems the linkage from Lr to Ps doesn't convey the compression preference to Ps. My workaround is Ps > Save As... and specify compression in the save dialog.

Re (2) - (4), recall that a Lr catalog stores only Lr-specific info about a photo, notably where to find the file that represents the photo and changes you have applied to that underlying file in Lr. When you edit a photo with Ps, all the Ps-specific info is in the underlying file. Lr doesn't care about whether the Ps file has layers or not. So nothing you do in Lr will preserve layers in the photo if you flatten them in Ps.

Also, if you flatten and save, Ps has no way to recover the layers. To do so, it'd have to store all the layer info, which would mean a big file. The file format (TIFF, PSD, Ps PDF, etc.) makes no difference in this regard.

So as Conrad explained, if you ever want the layers in a photo, you have no choice but to store the photo unflattened. Unavoidably, that gives you a larger file -- often a much larger file -- than if you flatten.

If you need cheap, portable disk space, get a hard-drive dock and bare drives to plug into it as needed. Ugly, but portable, and high-capacity.

Rob
 
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"Open Lightroom Classic preferences, click the External Editing tab, make sure the File Format is set to TIFF, and make sure Compression is set to ZIP."
I've been using that setup with Photoshop as the external editor, but despite the preferences saying to use ZIP, Ps saves the TIFF without compression.
The workaround is to always use Save As... in Ps, then check ZIP or LZW in the dialog that comes up.
I don't think you're missing anything about the ZIP compression. In fact your post reminded me that I have to manually save in Photoshop if I want ZIP compression to really happen!
I checked, and it looks like this was reported some time ago to Adobe, but no action has been taken:
Lightroom/Photoshop: TIFF compression settings have no effect when Lightroom sends image to Photoshop for editing

Regarding your hypotheticals 2 through 4. If you select a DNG in Lightroom and "Edit In" Photoshop as a TIFF, add layers in Photoshop, and save, it's a new file that's a TIFF with layers that's added to the catalog by Lightroom. Lightroom will never change the fact that specific file is a TIFF with layers. It's only going to track it.

It is possible for the TIFF in Lightroom to be flattened by Lightroom, but it only happens when you choose to not work with the original file, for example:
  • You select the TIFF (not the DNG) and have Lightroom edit it in Photoshop with the "Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments" option. The other two options do not flatten.
  • You apply the Export command to the TIFF, which creates a flattened copy.
But as long as you always Edit In Photoshop with "Edit Original" selected, the original TIFF will stay layered as long as you don't flatten it yourself in Photoshop.

To avoid creating a confusing mess of copies, I try very hard to maintain only two copies: The raw (DNG), and only when necessary, one TIFF with layers. Therefore, when I select the TIFF version in Lightroom and choose Edit in Photoshop Lightroom, I just about always use Edit Original. Because the other two options (which both have names starting with "Edit a Copy") duplicate the file, consuming storage space; I don't use the other two options unless I have a really good reason.
 

summerseddy

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
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I don't think you're missing anything about the ZIP compression. In fact your post reminded me that I have to manually save in Photoshop if I want ZIP compression to really happen!
I checked, and it looks like this was reported some time ago to Adobe, but no action has been taken:
Lightroom/Photoshop: TIFF compression settings have no effect when Lightroom sends image to Photoshop for editing

Regarding your hypotheticals 2 through 4. If you select a DNG in Lightroom and "Edit In" Photoshop as a TIFF, add layers in Photoshop, and save, it's a new file that's a TIFF with layers that's added to the catalog by Lightroom. Lightroom will never change the fact that specific file is a TIFF with layers. It's only going to track it.

It is possible for the TIFF in Lightroom to be flattened by Lightroom, but it only happens when you choose to not work with the original file, for example:
  • You select the TIFF (not the DNG) and have Lightroom edit it in Photoshop with the "Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments" option. The other two options do not flatten.
  • You apply the Export command to the TIFF, which creates a flattened copy.
But as long as you always Edit In Photoshop with "Edit Original" selected, the original TIFF will stay layered as long as you don't flatten it yourself in Photoshop.

To avoid creating a confusing mess of copies, I try very hard to maintain only two copies: The raw (DNG), and only when necessary, one TIFF with layers. Therefore, when I select the TIFF version in Lightroom and choose Edit in Photoshop Lightroom, I just about always use Edit Original. Because the other two options (which both have names starting with "Edit a Copy") duplicate the file, consuming storage space; I don't use the other two options unless I have a really good reason.
Thank you for this, very helpful and I think that is where I have been going wrong. "IMGP2540.DNG and a IMGP2540.TIF and a IMGP2540-Edit.TIF and a IMGP2540-Edit-Edit.TIF and a IMGP2540-Edit-Edit-Edit.TIF LOL!
 
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If you find that you tend to want to rework your original raw image file you could also use Edit In -> Open as Smart Object in Photoshop... This includes the raw file with it's develop settings as a Smart Object layer. Double clicking that layer in Photoshop opens the Camera Raw dialog and you can continue to make parametric to the underlying raw file.

It is a copy of the raw file so the original is still in Lightroom and on your hard drive but it makes it a lot easier to combine adjustments best made on the raw data with those best made in Photoshop.

-louie
 
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