should raw files be saved as tiff or jpeg?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by danzel_c, May 31, 2009.

  1. after all the raw post processing is done, should raw files be saved as jpegs or tiffs?
  2. I keep the RAW files and make jpegs, saving at 10. The lab I use processes from jpegs and recommends saving files at 10 in CS4.
  3. I have always been taught to save the more important files as a Tiff to prevent the file from degrading if it is a file that you may go back into and work on from time to time. Takes up more space than a jpg but it will not degrade. You can always export large files to a CD or external storage drive to save your primary hard drive space.
  4. Keep the raw always.
    Save the photoshop file ( unsharpened except for capture sharpening) in layered version as a master altered file. Use the .psd as a basis for each output you need. This is lossless.
    Make whatever output type from that photoshop file that is required. That means for publication, usually a TIFF. For internet posting, a JPEG. For ink printing or sending out for laser printing, a JPEG. Final sharpening is customised for the intended output. Ink requires a lot and depends on paper and surface. Internet, small radius and not to much.
    I usually rename the file so I know size and resolution, IMG 1234 300 8x10.jpeg means Image 1234, 300 ppi resolution, 8x10 size. It gets saved in a different folder from the .psd and different from originals. You end up with three folders.
    If my raw converter was NX2 ( NX can not save as .psd) and I need further photoshop, I must save as a TIFF and import to photoshop. I can convert to .psd at that point or keep using TIFF
  5. I work with Lightroom. Whenever I finish rendering an image, I elect to "save metadata to file" to put the LR processing instructions with the RAW image and archive that. I also output a full resolution, 16bit ProPhoto RGB TIFF files into my "completed work" archive.
    - The archived RAW file gives me maximum flexibility to go back and change, generate other sizes and formats, print, etc.
    - The archived TIFF file makes sure that I have a finished original of that particular rendering.
    Both are essential to a proper archiving schema. JPEG images can be generated from either at any time with a variety of software, there's no need to clutter up the archives with multiple JPEG copies.
  6. once you 'cook' the image as jpeg, you can never really go back.
    disk is cheap; keep it as raw or tiff
  7. There is no "should" really, it depends on your standards. If you want the highest quality, with no (lossy) compression, then tiff. If you're going to edit further in PS, then tiff. If you don't care about compression and you aren't going to edit further then jpeg is ok. You can always make srgb jpeg from tiff for the minilab. It's simple. For quality, 16-bit Adobe RGB tiff is the standard. As far as "cooked" or "baked." This question about development of raw that have already been captured. The concept of "baked" is only relevant at the time of capture, unless of course the OP was thinking of converting to jpeg and deleting the RAW, which of course is the biggest no-no of all. You never delete raw, ever.
  8. It should be added that if you're going to export the raw and then delete the raw, both tiff and jpeg are "cooked." A 16 bit tiff in a wide gamut color space will increase your options for preserving quality while making adjustments, but they're both cooked.
  9. 99.9% of the time a jpeg is all I need from my raw photos. I do however keep all my raw files. In the very rare cases where I really need a tiff file it is very easy to re-convert the raw files as tiff files.
  10. But if you do further editing if Photoshop then your set of final files, be they tiff or jpeg, is different than when you finished working on the raw in Lightroom, etc. So if you process a shoot of 2,000 photos in Lightroom, export the raw as 16-bit tiff, then spend several days working on them in Photoshop, what you have is far different than what you have in Lightroom, and going back to the raw to re-output as tiff instead of jpeg - means you have to re-do all that work, and you can never do it the same way twice. If you don't work on images in Photoshop, or if you output piecemeal, that's fine, but if you shoot and process substantial numbers of photos on a regular basis, and if your workflow extends beyond Lightroom or whatever your raw converter is, this approach is not logical. Output raw as 16-bit wide gamut tiff, further process in PS. Do things once and always maintain the highest archival quality. Converting the finalized tiffs to 8-bit srgb jpeg is fast and simple, either by an action in PS or with the export dialog in LR.
  11. The whole "raw" vs. "cooked" analogy is hilariously amusing. Apropos, but nonetheless amusing. XD
  12. after all the raw post processing is done, should raw files be saved as jpegs or tiffs?​
    I save all original RAW files.
    I save the Photoshop file that I used to do any additional post processing with all layers intact.
    In some cases I may also save a flattened print version of files that I am likely to print frequently.
    The only time I make a jpg is after flattening a copy of the Photoshop file and need to make a small version or in a few cases a version to be sent to a client. I never make a TIFF file unless a client requires it or a print service requires it.
    NEVER delete a RAW file. I recommend that you NEVER delete the full Photoshop file with layers. Disk storage is cheap - almost always better to err on the side of caution.
  13. Do you save RAW files as TIFF or JPEG after editing? It depends.
    If you put a lot of time into an image, and plan to publish or print it, it makes sense to save as much information as possible - i.e., TIFF or PSD with layers. You can always make smaller copies later for printing or deliverables, often JPEGs. I always back up the RAW and master files, and any derivatives to DVDs - sometimes many DVDs*.
    When I shoot an event, I generally forego the TIFF stage and save the edits as JPEGs. Editing is usually minimal - e.g., fine tuning white balance and exposure. That way everything fits on one DVD or can be emailed (FTP'd, actually). Some clients do a lot of tinkering for brochures and such, and may want RAW or TIFF files. In any case, the JPEGs are there for their convenience (and mine).
    * I used to recycle space for projects once it was put to bed and archived on DVDs. However, it costs me more to restore a project to the hard drive than the drive itself costs. Digital photos are a wash either way, but it can take several hours to restore a video project.
  14. I always save the Raw. If I do some basic editing in Bridge or Lightroom, I always save the alterations to file (xmp), and if the image needs more heavy PS-word, I keep the psd-file.
  15. Brett,
    99% of my photos are "done" completely in Lightroom. For files that require some Photoshop processing, I manage that from within Lightroom ... "edit in Photoshop" renders a TIFF or RGB file which is automatically added to the Lightroom catalog and placed in the file system next to its RAW original. Once I'm done editing the file in Photoshop, I save and close, and then continue with it in Lightroom.
    So *all* final products are exported from Lightroom. If the final product has been massaged in Photoshop, that and the original RAW (plus metadata edit info) are what is archived in the RAW group. The final exported TIFF is archived in the "completed work" group.
    I think what you're missing is that Lightroom is not just a RAW processor. It is an image management tool ... from transfer to hard drive, to metadata annotation, to image adjustment and side trips to Photoshop, to slide shows, printing, web outputs, and exports, *all* my workflow is managed with Lightroom.
    I maintain a second LR catalog called "Completed_Work" where all the exported, finalized, rendered TIFF files are imported so I can find, sort, and organize finished work quickly. No image or metadata editing is done in this catalog, only organization into collections for submissions, clients, etc.
  16. Just to correst a few misconceptions posted here:
    Jpg DO NOT degrade unless you open the file, work on it, save on top of original jpg and do that multiple times. I've personally done the test twice and for a typical 8x10 I could not see any degradation until it was re-worked and re-saved 5 times. There are a lot of variables in the process (what the photo is taken of) and I would never recommend that anyone re-work jpgs and re-save unless there is no other alternative but I think we need to dispell that old wives tale.
    jpgs DO NOT degrade when they are on your hard drive or DVD (of course unless either one becomes bad on it's own, nothing to do with jpg) I've heard that one way too many times.
    When saving jpgs, it's far better saved at max. (12) in PS. Yes, I've done the test and once again it depends upon your photo but I CAN see the difference in an 8x10 saved at 10 vs. 12. The difference in file space is minimal, so if you are going to compress, keep it as the best possible.
    To answer your question, as a few have said, always keep your raw file (partly because your PS techniques as well as your tastes will change over time) and I would save valuable files as tiff and so-so ones as jpg. Of course if everything you shoot is valuable and you have lots of HD space, save it as all 3 types, who cares.
  17. Despite the feeling that I "should" be saving as .tiff, I usually save as a highest quality .jpg. My rationale is that I still have the .raw file as a digital negative in its original form and I will have performed any manipulations on the jpg I have saved at the time I processed . If I wish to play with the fileagain, I almost certainly want to make an alternative version / interpretation in which case starting again from the raw file is no great imposition. Besides my printer needs jpgs so this is more useful for me and avoids further conversion if I want to do anything ofthis sort. Occassionally if I am part way thu processing or think I will need to come back later I will save as a psd file thereby keeping my layers etc intact for future manipulation.
  18. Save the raws, then: decide for yourself how much of an investment in time and effort you've made. If for example you used Adobe Camera Raw on "auto" to create the image from the raw file, with little or no intervention or effort, do you see any point to saving a (lossless) tiff?
  19. Even if you _think_ you will never edit it again, Id save it as TIF. Learned my lesson years ago. Saved files as JPG, my abilities progressed did not know JPG files degraded loaded some edited them and saved. Biggest mess ever. Now always save as tif, so if a year from now the occasion arrises that I want to make a change, can do it.
  20. I have always saved the final image of all my "keepers" as TIFF. Have been doing so since I started seriously scanning my trannies 15 years ago. Have continued the practice even though my 'blad is now giving me RAW files to play with. I get the image the way I like and save an uncompressed TIFF. (now over 1 TB of keepers)
    I believe that a TIFF image will have a much longer archival life-expectancy. RAW formats come and go and are extremely varied. JPEGs require that the compression algorithm be correctly applied before you can see anything that looks like an image. But, anyone with rudimetory knowledge of 21st century technology could recover the image out of an uncompressed TIFF file, even in a 1,000 years time (assuming that the image has been stored on some archival media system - maybe not feasible today but within our lifetime it will be possible to store our keeper images on long-term archival data media).
  21. I usually work with lightroom and in most cases I keep my raw files, as a backup, export tiffs for future use, with edits etc., if needed for immediate printing- than I export jpegs as well. If adding a lot of editing in PS- I like to keep than .psd file, with layers for back up as well.
  22. "after all the raw post processing is done, should raw files be saved as jpegs or tiffs?"
    First of all, if it's an image you like, always keep the RAW file.
    To answer you question, it may not make any difference at all if you'll not be making any adjustments to it later on, in which case you may want to work from you RAW file where you left off, if you working with LightRoom for example.
  23. Can i recommend a book? Real world Camera RAW
  24. If you process them in Lightroom, is it better to save then as a PSD or DNG file than TIFF?
  25. Dan,
    As I stated up-thread, I feel it is best to save both a RAW file with the metadata representing LR's adjustments AND a fully rendered, finished TIFF file. They address different future needs.
    Whether to save as DNG or as native RAW + xmp is a question better answered with regard to your personal workflow. I convert my native RAW files to DNG as a matter of course, except for RW2 files from the Panasonic G1*, so when I export to a RAW file I usually export to DNG.
    * (Panasonic G1 .RW2 files with embedded lens correction metadata can only be stored in DNG format in the linear RGB representation mode, which means that they are 3x the size of the original .RW2s and have been demosaiced. When Adobe updates the DNG Spec and DNG Converter to store them in mosaic data format, I'll process all my .RW2s to DNG.)
    Regards TIFF vs PSD, I read somewhere (and I'm not entirely sure where at this point) that the Lightroom team recommended using TIFFs instead of PSD files as TIFF files were more compatible. PSD files need to have the option to promote compatibility turned on so that the embedded composite preview is accessible for Lightroom to use. TIFF files can contain layers and all the information I need, and when ZIP compressed are not that much larger or slower to work with than PSD files, so I use TIFF as the archive format.

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