Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > TIFF vs. PSD and file organization



Posts: 289

Rīga, Rīga, Latvia

I'm interested in TIFF versus PSD files for long term storage
which one?
I currently store PSD but I'm not sure about it.
Also how do you organize your work overall? I mean folders. I found that my file organization doesn't work for me.
I currently organize: year then month and then divide - paid or TF or Testing etc.
But when I need to find something specific in my head I'm thinking: "umm.. i think I did it in summer.. and then I check every summer month and it turns out I did it in autumn (and it was sunny outside big_smile).

Apr 17 13 05:15 am Link



Posts: 42707

Houston, Texas, US

TIFF is non-proprietary, which makes it more "future proof".

BTW, have any image file formats thus far fallen by the wayside?

Apr 17 13 05:38 am Link


Mark Salo

Posts: 10054

Olney, Maryland, US

rp_photo wrote:
TIFF is non-proprietary, which makes it more "future proof".

BTW, have any image file formats thus far fallen by the wayside?

JPG 2000

Apr 17 13 05:53 am Link



Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

PSD is always going to be readable by something for the foreseeable future, even if Adobe goes bust which seems unlikely.

I remember names better than dates so I store all my shoots in physical folders identified by the model's name and the shoot date. In Lightroom, I have some smart collections that then also organise them by date, by model, by agency, etc.

Just my $0.02


Apr 17 13 06:34 am Link



Posts: 37171

Columbus, Ohio, US

I struggle screwed with organization for a couple years, then came to where I've been for the last 10 or so.

A folder for every year.

A folder for every shoot, date first in this manner yy-mm-dd, name after that.
They will always stay in chronological order that way.

Individual images first two letter of first and last name, the date sequence as above, then the image number that corresponds to my raw files.

Apr 17 13 07:47 am Link



Posts: 170

West Des Moines, Iowa, US

The choice of Photoshop's digital image file format is a trade off between the following factors:

1. The size of the files on disk.
2. The speed of saving and re-loading the files.
3. The ability to view the files in other non-Adobe software (i.e., compatibility).
4. The fear of a format becoming obsolete and un-readable in 10, 20, or 30 years.

Some formats make smaller file sizes. some formats save and load images faster. These differences in size and speed are significant. Size and speed also vary depending on whether the image document is flat or layered, and 8 bit or 16 bit.

The ability of non-Adobe software to view different formats varies considerably. FastStone, Picasa, Windows Explorer are examples.

Photoshop gives you 5 basic choices:

1. PSD with Maximize Compatibility turned OFF.
2. PSD with Maximize Compatibility turned ON.
3. TIF with no compression.
4. TIF with LZW compression
5. TIF with ZIP compression.

An interesting exercise is to create 4 different test  images:

1. A flat 8 bit image.
2. A layered 8 bit image (just use a blank do-nothing layer).
3. A flat 16 bit image.
4. A layered 16 bit image (just use a blank do-nothing layer).

Save each of these 4 images in each of the 5 basic formats ( a total of 20 saved images). Watch and record the time it takes to save each one, and the resulting file sizes. Compare the results and decide your personal preference for optimal size and speed.

Some key things you will discover:

1. A PSD Layered Compatible file will be the largest and the slowest (in 8bit or 16bit).
2. A 16 bit TIF with no compression will save faster than any other format, and be equal to or just slightly larger than other formats (layered of flat).
3. A 8 bit TIF with LZW compression will give the fastest save time and a small file size.
4. Using TIF with ZIP compression will always give the smallest file size, but is much slower. Plus many other browsers can not read the TIF/ZIP format.

Some conclusions:

1. There is no "best" format to fit all image types and all people.
2. My personal preference is to use TIF with no compression on all 16 bit files, but TIF with LZW compression on all 8 bit files.

Some other, little known quirks:

1. The "no compatibility" option of the PSD format only works on layered files. If a PSD file is truly flat, an extra copy of the image will be embedded in the file anyway, making it larger than than the same file with a blank do-nothing layer.

2. The TIF format automatically embeds  a "compatibility" copy of the image in layered files. No way to turn it off.

3. The LZW compression of a TIF file does not work well on 16 bit files. LZW makes 16 bit files actually larger than if no compression is used.

Apr 17 13 11:55 am Link


Joann Empson

Posts: 430

Walnut Creek, California, US

rp_photo wrote:
TIFF is non-proprietary, which makes it more "future proof".

I concur with this statement. It's always a bad idea to use proprietary formats.

When Adobe does get out-competed and driven out by freedom-respecting software (e.g., GIMP, Krita and MyPaint), there's no guarantee that the specifications for the PSD format will be released. The format might just die along with Adobe.

Without the specifications, support for PSD files by non-proprietary software will be imperfect at best, because the support has to be derived from trial-and-error reverse engineering.

Apr 17 13 01:08 pm Link



Posts: 289

Rīga, Rīga, Latvia

Thanks for replying especially Redcrown - it helped me a lot!!! smile

Apr 18 13 12:23 am Link


Jayc Yu

Posts: 533

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When Windows tries to render previews from my Tiff images, the lag often causes BSoD.

Apr 19 13 08:56 pm Link