Saving as .psd versus .tiff

Butlerkid

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Interesting assessment from Tim Grey. Up to now, I have always saved my processed images a .psd files. Hmmmmm.....

"Question:
Since there is no "Maximize Compatibility" for TIFF files [in Adobe Photoshop], does that mean TIFF automatically creates the flattened composite layer? If TIFF files can maintain all Photoshop edits, automatically "maximize compatibility" (if, in fact, they do), and support compression to boot, is there any advantage to saving as PSD over TIFF?
Tim's Quick Answer:​
Yes, you can think of TIFF files saved from Adobe Photoshop as effectively always having "Maximize Compatibility" turned on, whereas this is an option you can turn on or off for PSD files. So, you might say that the only reason you might prefer to save as a PSD file is if you want to be able to turn off Maximize Compatibility.​
More Detail:​
In Photoshop you have the option to turn "Maximize Compatibility" on or off for Photoshop PSD files you save. It is necessary to turn on Maximize Compatibility in order to be able to import photos into Lightroom Classic, or to open those PSD files with software that support PSD files but not layers and other special features in Photoshop.

You might think of TIFF files saved from Photoshop as effectively always having Maximize Compatibility turned on. In other words, even if other software supports TIFF images but does not support the various layers and other special features in Photoshop, you would still be able to open a flattened version of that TIFF image using that other software.

In addition, TIFF files provides you with greater flexibility in terms of compression compared to PSD files. Therefore, now that Photoshop supports a layer-based workflow for TIFF images in a way that used to require saving as a PSD, my general preference is to use the TIFF file format rather than the PSD file format when saving images from Photoshop (including images sent to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic).
 

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1. Here is an example with a big file with many layers.
The file is a .psb (you have to use .psb not .psd when a file is large): 958 MB.
Saved as a .psb with max compatibility: 1748 MB.
Saved it as a TIF with LZW compression: 1459 MB.
Saved as a TIF with no compression: 3043 MB.

The first option is clearly best for these files, unless you really must have max compatibility.

2. Here is another example, showing how a file can be made much smaller, if you can live with indexed colour.
A .psb file of just one layer, this file is a map which only uses a limited number of colours: 822MB
Converted the mode to indexed color, then saved as .psb: 280MB

3. Final example. A tiny .psd with several layers, max compatibility on: 5MB (2.2MB without max compatibility)
Saved as a TIF with LZW compression: 4.4MB
Not much in it.

I still have a slight distrust of TIF compatibility, I won't be using it.
 

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Maximize compatibility must be used in order to import the .psb images into LR. So Tim considered that in his response.
 
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My experience is that TIFFs take forever to open compared to PSD files. I stopped using TIFFs shortly after I began consistently using Photoshop.
Interesting. I have not found that to be consistently true in my PS CC 16 bit work flow, sometimes involving Topaz filters, Nik filters. And about 50% of my images are from my D850. If I use Aurora for large HDR images from the D850, I need to save the results as .tiff files. There are a lot of variables - size and complexity of files, processing s/w and settings and hardware configurations.

In Richard's examples in Post #2, the .tiff files are generally smaller than the .psd files.
 

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Thanks for the link from 2017, but I saw nothing there that would indicate a strong reason to use either .psd or .tiffs, only habit based on 25 years of doing it one way, a general distrust of .tiff, or other personal reasons. TonyW provided the most fact based information in Post #19.

As Tim indicates in this recent post of his: ".... now that Photoshop supports a layer-based workflow for TIFF images in a way that used to require saving as a PSD, my general preference is to use the TIFF file format rather than the PSD file format when saving images from Photoshop (including images sent to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic). PS now supports layered .tiff files....." That fact that Tim, a respected PS educator and author has updated his recommendation and now recommends using .tif is the reason I posted this thread.
 
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Despite the revised recommendation and reasoning for using TIFF instead of PSD files, I'm hesitant to switch to using TIFF files for two reasons: Doing so would require a change and not making changes when nothing is broken, which is the case now, has served me well over time.

Note that Tim explains that it is his "general" preference to use the TIFF format. Does he explain situations or reasons he instead prefers using the PSD format?
 

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Despite the revised recommendation and reasoning for using TIFF instead of PSD files, I'm hesitant to switch to using TIFF files for two reasons: Doing so would require a change and not making changes when nothing is broken, which is the case now, has served me well over time.

Note that Tim explains that it is his "general" preference to use the TIFF format. Does he explain situations or reasons he instead prefers using the PSD format?
I have no more information than that which I posted. If you don't see a reason to change, then don't switch. Others may find the information on how Photoshop now handles layered .tiff files helpful - or not.
 

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What has never been clear to me is whether Adobe claim that all features of the .psd file are retained in a TIF. We hear about layers, and for simple layers that's fine, but what about the features at the top of the layer window such as opacity and fill, layer masks, and more than that the huge list of features within the layer style effects - all the features listed on the left in this snip, with their settings on the right for each of them? Can the TIF store all of this? Does anyone know?

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

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What has never been clear to me is whether Adobe claim that all features of the .psd file are retained in a TIF. We hear about layers, and for simple layers that's fine, but what about the features at the top of the layer window such as opacity and fill, layer masks, and more than that the huge list of features within the layer style effects - all the features listed on the left in this snip, with their settings on the right for each of them? Can the TIF store all of this? Does anyone know?

View attachment 1670646
I'm not sure I've understood your question correctly. Do you mean "can the layer style panel be opened and edited? when the file is saved as a layer .tiff? I have created a layered .tiff file which includes several Layer style items in the signature layer. Can you use this file as a test? I have put it on Drop Box and am sending you a link via email.
 

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Easiest way is wetransfer.com
All you need is my email which you have and you can send up to 2GB free each time. Don't pay - no need!
Thanks. The file transfer is taking place now......it's only about 10% complete....
 

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OK I just downloaded it. It all looks fine in PS, including the text layer and the effects. So that was useful to learn.
It certainly looks as if Adobe's TIF is indeed a safe alternative to PSD/PSB. Note that I mention Adobe specifically because of the large number of versions of TIF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TIFF

I also checked on the size limitations.
PSD - No more than 2GB, no more than 30,000 pixels to a side.
TIFF - No more than 4GB.
PSB - No more than 4.2 billion GB, no more than 300,000 pixels to a side.
BIG TIFF - No more than 18 billion GB.

Very few people would hit the TIF 4GB limit, but for those few that do the only option is PSB or BIG TIFF (which I have not yet come across).
Even I am not yet up into the billions of Gigabytes!
 

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OK I just downloaded it. It all looks fine in PS, including the text layer and the effects. So that was useful to learn.
It certainly looks as if Adobe's TIF is indeed a safe alternative to PSD/PSB. Note that I mention Adobe specifically because of the large number of versions of TIF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TIFF

I also checked on the size limitations.
PSD - No more than 2GB, no more than 30,000 pixels to a side.
TIFF - No more than 4GB.
PSB - No more than 4.2 billion GB, no more than 300,000 pixels to a side.
BIG TIFF - No more than 18 billion GB.

Very few people would hit the TIF 4GB limit, but for those few that do the only option is PSB or BIG TIFF (which I have not yet come across).
Even I am not yet up into the billions of Gigabytes!
With more than 10 images taken with the D850 for a pano, I have occasionally created HUGE files! Pano of Ngorongoro Crater
 

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OK I just downloaded it. It all looks fine in PS, including the text layer and the effects. So that was useful to learn.
It certainly looks as if Adobe's TIF is indeed a safe alternative to PSD/PSB. Note that I mention Adobe specifically because of the large number of versions of TIF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TIFF

I also checked on the size limitations.
PSD - No more than 2GB, no more than 30,000 pixels to a side.
TIFF - No more than 4GB.
PSB - No more than 4.2 billion GB, no more than 300,000 pixels to a side.
BIG TIFF - No more than 18 billion GB.

Very few people would hit the TIF 4GB limit, but for those few that do the only option is PSB or BIG TIFF (which I have not yet come across).
Even I am not yet up into the billions of Gigabytes!
Thanks for independently testing (albeit quickly and simply) the validity of layered .tif files. I'm sure there are parameters that we don't know that might be problematic, but layered .tifs DO seem to be a very valid option, especially considering the desire of a LOT of folks to transition to raw processing software other than Adobe. Tim Grey is a renowned industry expert in Adobe software. I subscribe to his free Q and A email. It is generally daily. Even after 20+ years, I occasionally learn something new and I've found his information extremely accurate and useful!
 
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