Opening 16 bit Tiff image in PSE8 - what happens - is Elements really worth it

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by sivakumarprs, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Hello everybody

    If I open a 16 bit Tiff image saved from View NX2 in Photoshop Elements 8, does it open as a 16 bit image or an 8 bit image? In the mode, it shows as 8 bit.

    Will further editing in Photoshop Elements degrade the image if it happens to be 8 bit? I have read in these forums that 16 bit editing only is recommended. In that case is Photoshop Elements unsuitable to Photo Editing?

    Another big questions. I am able to open my Nikon D5100 NEF files converted via Adobe DNG converter as DNG files , through ACRAW in the Photoshop Elements 8. (But of course it has limited editing possibilities.) What I do want to know is that when I open this DGN file in Elements 8, does it process as 16 bit or whatever bit the DNG file has, or will it be again 8 bit processing of RAW files.

    And if I do the editing of DNG in whatever limited features available in PSE 8, and then save this as a tif image - and this I have found out to be a 16 bit tiff. Now if I save this as PSD in PSE 8 and then edit and then do further editing ans save as jpeg, will there be loss of quality in the image or will the image be not as worthy as edited in Full Photoshop (which I can't afford).

    My main editing in PSE 8 is with the Transformation tools and since adjustment brush is not available in PSE 8 ACRAW editor,I have to do some sort of masking with feathering etc. and do local editing of colour cast or brightness/contrast.

    Is this workflow Okay or is Photoshop Elements just not worth it for Photo Editing?S0orry for the long qestion - but it seems to be very critical to me.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Well, if you have to work in 16-bit, there is always Gimp. Otherwise, PSE is only 8-bits. You can open a 16-bit image in PSE, but you can't do anything to it until you convert it to 8-bit. JPEGS are always 8-bit. Generally, the final incarnation of an image is a JPEG, whether for print or web. As to noticing a loss of image quality, unless you are doing some serious color via say levels, I doubt you notice any loss of quality. And of course, you could always look into Lightroom and so all of you serious color work @ the 16-bit level and then open the image into PSE, where it will be converted to 8-bit.
  3. Will further editing in Photoshop Elements degrade the image if it happens to be 8 bit?​

    Yes! See:
  4. For any serious editing, where you are adjusting contrast-locally or globally, transforming the image or almost anything beyond some very basic moves, you really need PSCS. You can do a lot of adjustments these days, that weren't possible in the past, in ACR or Lightroom. But it is only in PS that you can really access the most advanced tools (I don't know GIMP or its capabilities) and stay in 16bit mode, which I believe is critical.
    If you are only doing very minor tweaks after doing work in ACR, then you might be fine with Elements. The problem is once you add on a few layers of adjustments or even one that does anything more than a minor tweak. At that point, you are most likely going to start to see degradations in the image-- and particularly banding. Any of us who worked with digital images before PS allowed for working in 16bit know that this fact was the bane of our existence.
    I personally know that I would be severely limited in what I could produce if I was limited to an 8 bit image processor and rarely then be able to produce the type of images I create.
  5. Hello John Deerfield,
    GIMP as on today (with GIMP 2.8 for windows ) is not a 16 bit editor - unless I am totally wrong - please correct me somebody if I am wrong. If 16 bit GIMP was available I'd happily settle for it - as I am a GIMP user and am quite familiar with it. I believe the next version of GIMP would be supporting 16 bit.

    If 16bit GIMP is available now, please somebody give me a link to it ( Icould not find any). I definitely cannot afford full PSCS. BTW I do have Lightroom 3.6 and I can edit my DNGs in it. But I stopped working with it because of its importing and duplicating the files (and my hard disk gets filled up), cataloging, etc. which I really do not need as I do not shoot several hundreds of photos even monthly.
    I would like to open single files and edit them in RAW editor and then save it back to the same folder and also convert that file to tiff or jpeg. This is not possible in LR IMHO. Which was why I switched to Nikon View NX2 hoping to further continue in PSE.
    Now from what you all say I infer that PSE is not good for what I want to do. As I had already said the main work I want to do in PSE is work with the transform tools. I use the skew tools very much for perspective corrections. I have the free easy filter which gives me the full photoshop equivalent of curves and i use this a lot and I would like to make lot of local adjustments of brightness & colour. (All these are for the pictures I have taken of my Architectural interiors - as I am an Architect & Interior Designer).
    I never expected that digital photography would involve so much of post-processing - and I have little time for it (but now the passion for my good old serious hobby of pictorial & graphic photography are coming back to me).
    I have already spent quite a good deal of money on equipment (whatever i could afford). My software expenditure mainly goes to OS & CAD software - which gives my bread & butter. I am patiently waiting for the 16 bit GIMP.
    Thanks for the replies, would like to hear some more opinions or advice as to how I could do what you do in an economical way.
    With best regards
  6. I'm not sure about PSE8 but PSE9 does allow some things to be done in 16 bit. They are however very limited and I wouldn't really call it a 16bit editor.
    Given your various needs and wants which I would sum up as "I want to work in layers in 16 bit and I need something that doesn't cost a lot" I would suggest that you have a look at Perfect Layers by onOne software. This will let you work in 16 bit and in layers and also has some Perfect Effects features thrown in too. Best of all it's FREE. Got to be worth taking a look.
    If you are tempted to try it out give it a fair go, it (or the company) seems to attract scorn for some reason but for the price I can't see anything to complain about.
  7. Have you considered using Nikon's Capture NX2 ? They have a 60day trial period. It might help you do what you want without needing Photoshop.
    Personally unless I'm working with JPG's, I never saw much point in Elements.
  8. Thank you Mac Hordam and Richard Henley for your valuable suggestions.
    Sorry to be bothering you again. I already have Perfect Layers (Free) and also the Perfect Effects. But I understand that Perfect layers is not a stan-alone software for picture editing - it needs another software (in fact Onone Software recommends LR in which Perfect Layers get coupled with it or so I read. And this software works only online when you have a fast internet connection (which is again very expensive here in India) and I have a moderate speed internet connection. This makes the software almost unworkable. And I take it that you are suggesting this instead of using PSE. But this does not have the tools which you have in PSE.
    As for Nikon Capture NX2, I already had this also - the first version of NX2 - which was working fine with my Nikon D40 at that time and my new Nikon D5100 NEF files are not recognised by it. I believe if I upgraded it to Capture NX2.3, then it would work. But the upgrade is not free. It costs 75 percent of the original cost of the software - which means that you are almost buying a new software. I don't want to stick with a company which does not give free updates to their own changed file format and asks us to pay 75 percent of the cost of the software. This would become an endless process if I switched cameras a couple of years.
    In contrast to Nikon's policy, Adobe gives a free converter to convert any ,make of camera's RAW files to be converted into DNG which would be recognised by LR 3.6 (upgrade to the new LR4 version is also affordable). And they keep posting on their website free updated DNG converter on a regular basis.
    From what you all say I have to conclude that I should fall back to my LR3.6 which also recognises the D5100 NEF files (without conversion to DNG) - and i have just thought about a way to import only small quantity of files into LR - create a separate folder and put only those files tha I want to edit in that folder and import these files into LR - this way my hard disk space is also conserved. This seems to be the work-around for me.
    I have posted this question when I have exhausted all the possiblities of other open source / free software like GIMP, UFRaw, Rawtherapee, etc. all of which just do not have enough tools to do advanced manipulation in RAW format itself (like what you have in LR).
    I have come to this conclusion of sticking back to LR after hearing from your very helpful sufggestions and also those who advised me on this from other Nikon forums also. I am really indebted for all of you because this came as a critical decisaion making factor before I could further seriously pursue my digital photography as a serious hobby.
    Sorry for trying your patience with this long reply - but I coudn't help it!
    With best regards
  9. PaintShop Pro happily handles 16 bit tiffs, Sivakumar.
  10. Thank you Keith, I just looked into their website and the price is easily affordable by me. Thank you very much again for this valuable info.
    With best regards
  11. Perfect Layers will work as a stand alone or in conjunction with Photoshop, Elements or Lightroom, even Aperture if you use a Mac. I'm not sure where you get the idea it works only online, it is just like any other program once downloaded and installed and doesn't even require that your computer has an internet connection during use. (I know this because mine hasn't and I've tried out Perfect Layers)
    That said I think your leaning toward LR3.6 could be your best option (it leaves open the option of layers in Perfect Layers). It will require a little bit of familiarisation to get used to the tools in LR but I think that with persistence you will find you can do most things you will want to.
    Although it wasn't designed with it in mind it is perfectly possible to use LR on a per image basis instead of having it import every image you have. It will set up a catalog by default and will only import what you tell it to. If you only tell it to import one image at a time then your catalog will become populated with just one image at a time.
    Another concern to dispel is your "But I stopped working with it because of its importing and duplicating the files (and my hard disk gets filled up)" comment. LR doesn't duplicate your original files it just references them and may add small sidecar files when you work on an image that will not significantly use up hard drive space. All the changes are kept in the LR catalog but not as duplicate images only as instructions and shouldn't grow very big if you use it only for images you want to do work on.
    I'd be looking at using LR3.6 and if layers are needed use it with Perfect Layers for a zero outlay over what you currently have. But of course it will take some effort to get comfortable with the programs and get the best out of them but they are capable of what you want to do. (In actual fact Adobe dropped the price of LR4 quite a lot and if you have some money you could spend on software it could be worthwhile getting the upgrade to the latest version, it should keep you going for some years with one of the most powerful photo editing software progams)
    Alternatively as you have Capture NX2 and View NX2 I think you can still do your raw conversion to your D5100 files with View and save the changes you make to a tiff file which you can then work on in Capture. Slightly convoluted but that's what sometimes has to happen when you don't want to keep spending on the latest updates. (I do similar things myself, so I can at least recommend it as one of the lesser evils)
  12. Hello Mac Hordan,
    Thank you for your response. Perfect Layers is working fine without internet connection. I somehow mistook that it needed it.
    Regarding LR duplicating files, what I have said is true. I have my original NEF files in F drive. When I open LR it asks me whether to import or copy the files from the folder. As I do not want to lose the files from that folder (which is used as a backup) I select copy. So all the files get copied into C drive under Users and in My Pictures. I just cheked and found it to be true. They are there in a separate folder marked as 2012 and all the copied NEF files and their side car files are in this folder. There is a separate Catalog also outside this folder.
    You have said you can even import a single file into LR. I am unable to figure out how? It would be of great help if you could brief me on that. I have definitely decided to stick back to LR.
    Thanks in advance
  13. I was thinking about this earlier today and wondered whether it was viewing the tutorials for Perfect Layers that caused you a problem on your internet connection.
    Anyway back to LR. As I only have what you've written to make conclusions on I may be heading off in the wrong direction here, bear with me if that's the case. From your "As I do not want to lose the files from that folder" comment it seems to me that you are misunderstanding what goes on when you import to LR. Nothing moves from the drive or folder where your image files were when you decide to import. Let's say you have all your photos in the My Pictures folder and that when you open LR you decide to import all those photos into the LR catalog. The catalog would show all those photos in LR for you but none of the files has been moved or changed at all.
    Think of your photo files sitting in the My Pictures folder as being a warehouse. If you were to visit the warehouse you could see the actual photo files that were kept there. Now think of the LR catalog as a home shopping catalog put out by the owners of the warehouse where your photo files are kept. You can open the pages of the shopping catalog and look at pictures of the items kept in the warehouse but none of those pictures is the ACTUAL item itself. That is still in the warehouse (i.e My Pictures folder). If you decide you want to have one of the files you can select it from the catalog and it will open in LR for you to work on, BUT it will still stay where it was in your My Pictures folder (the warehouse). When you close it an entry gets placed in the catalog with information that tells LR that next time you ask to see that file it will show it to you with all the changes that you made to it REPRESENTED by LR. Note it's represented only, no changes have been made to the file.
    Basically if you don't want to use up hard drive space use Import and Add instead of Copy.
    Now to the single files issue. When you open LR (from here on please make allowance that I use LR4.1 not LR 3.6 so there may be some minor differences in interface) go to the Library module. Down the bottom there is an Import button, click this. In the Import window select the location of your pictures. Let's assume again that they are in the My Pictures folder, select this and it will ask whether you want to Copy as DNG/ Copy/ Move or Add. You want Add as this merely adds the photos to LRs catalog without doing anything to them or with them physically. You will then see the thumbnails for the contents of the My Pictures folder portrayed in the View area of LR. By default all the thumbnails will have a tick in the top left corner indicating that LR will import all the ticked files. That's the way it's intended to be used so that everything gets put into the catalog and all the other features LR has, e.g database searching, can be addressed to the whole of your picture collection. If you decide no, I only want to import one file today (for example Sunset over the Ganges), all you need to do is click on Uncheck All below the thumbnails and then scroll to where Sunset over the Ganges is in the thumbnails and place a tick in that thumbnail only. Down the bottom and to the right is a button marked Import next to one marked Cancel. Click on Import and your one file is added to the catalog and you can then click on the Develop module up top to work on that particular file.
    Having said all that I have to add that you don't really need to limit your catalog additions to single files if you use Import and Add instead of Copy. Why? Because your desire to work on single files was in order to save hard drive space and you'll find that the catalog doesn't take up much room if you only Add photos to it.
    Hope this helps and apologies again if I'm repeating stuff you already know. You might find the following of interest - Learn Lightroom in a week :-
  14. Thank you very much Mac Hordam for the pain you have taken to explain what I exactly needed to know. And many thanks for the link to the tutorial. I just had a glimpse and I have realised it is going to be a very useful one for me. I am really proud to be a member of this forum where there are people like you to help out the beginners.
    Wit best regaRDS
  15. Otherwise, PSE is only 8-bits. You can open a 16-bit image in PSE, but you can't do anything to it until you convert it to 8-bit.
    This is oversimplified to the point of being wrong. Even PSE's predecessor in the 1990s, Photoshop LE, could do one thing at 16 bits (Levels), which is more than "can't do anything." The last several versions of PSE have been able to do a number of things with 16-bit images, including levels, highlights/shadows, saturation, unsharp mask, and many (but certainly far from all) filters. Yes, there are many things you can't do at 16 bits, including anything to do with Layers (and that's a pretty serious limitation for a lot of people).
    I don't know why you're seeing it saying 8 bits when you open your files. I use PSE 8 and it shows 16 bits for 16-bit files, regardless of whether they're coming from ACR or as 16-bit TIFFs from a non-Adobe RAW converter. I can't help you with how ACR handles DNGs created from NEFs, but I'd be surprised if they were limited to 8 bits, since ACR can certainly convert at 16 bits from the RAW files from the two cameras I've used (Canon 20D, which produces 12-bit RAW files, and 7D, which produces 14-bit RAW files). One of the things you can't do in PSE is to convert from 8 bits back up to 16, so if you're doing your work and saving a file, and you can verify that the file you've saved is definitely a 16-bit file, then despite what PSE was displaying, you were indeed working at 16 bits.
    If the Transformations you mention are the ones I'm thinking of (adjusting the geometry of the image), then they're layer-based, and will only work at 8 bits. But that's an example of something where bit depth shouldn't be all that critical. Tonal adjustments (levels, highlights/shadows, saturation, local contrast enhancement, etc.) really ought to be done at the highest bit depth possible, and PSE supports those at 16 bits if you're doing them directly to the image rather than via Layers (there are pros and cons to both approaches). As well, I've long used the PTLens plug-in to do most geometric corrections (as well as fixing chromatic aberration), and it handles 16-bit images. So the 8-bit limits on Transformations aren't a problem for me.
    So you could probably find some people who do what you need to do in PSE and are satisfied, and others who aren't, in part depending on their personal preferences and the way they organize their workflow. Make sure it doesn't actually meet your needs before spending money on something else.
  16. Thank you Steve Dunn
    What you say is perfectly correct. My PSE8 can edit 16 bit tiff images including transformations, levels (I have the Easy Curve plugin which also works in 16 bit). I had been deceived by what was shown in the Image Mode - there is no label showing 16 bit - when the label 8 bit looks bright & clear, it means the image is 16 bit. IF I convert the image into 8 bit then this 8bit label gets grayed out. Also opening an 8 bit image, this 8 bit label is greyed out. So when I am working on a 16 bit image, as long as this 8 bit label is not greyed out, then I can be sure that I am working in 16 bit mode.
    So I have now realised that either of the combination of LR 3.6 plus PSE 8 or Nikon View NX2 plus PSE 8 are doing more than enough work for me. So I don't have to buy any 16 bit editor. (If I convert the NEF file from View NX2 to 16 bit tiff, the barrel/pincushion distortion is automatically corrected from the camera's setting if the lens distortion correction is set to ON). I also now noticed that even in LR3.6, in the lens correction there is an option to use the camera's lens profile - and if I choose this option, the correction is automatically done and looks perfect.
    One thing I want to know. Where does it show in PSE 8 that the file is 16 bit? In the Image>Mode> there is no label for 16 bit. There is only 8 bit label.
    Thanks a lot again to everybody who have helped me in solving the problem and saving money (by not purchasing another software).
    With best regards
  17. Sorry Steve Dunn - I just saw iit in my PSE 8, it shows at the top left corner that the image is RGB 16 bit. I never noticed that. Regarding the Curves - correction - it is" easy filter" - "Smart Curve" - a free plugin.
    But the PT lens - free plugin for "Panorama Tools" Which I had downloaded long back does not work in 16 bit mode for lens distortion correction. And the latest PT Lens - I just found out is not free anymore. Anyway I get this distortion solved with LR 3.6 or View NX2.
    But for this forum I would have never realised the potential of PSE 8. I am really happy that it does what I want to do more than I expected.
    With best regards

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