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1 Message

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590 Points

Sun, Jul 10, 2011 7:39 PM

Implemented

54

Lightroom: Support cataloging PNG files in Lightroom

Lightroom should support png and psd files - Adobe's own file type creations - I find this inexcusable. Many of us serious photographers that have lived through all the permutations and advancement of Photoshop with tens of thousands of files only to find that they are not supported by the latest otherwise beautiful Catalog program: Lightshop

Responses

Official Solution

Adobe Administrator

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15.8K Messages

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295K Points

10 years ago

Hi Ken, As Lee Jay points out, PSD is a supported file format as long as files are saved with "Maximum Compatibility" option on. There's already a topic for Lightroom: support for un-maximized PSDs. Right or wrong, this was a conscious decision by the Lightroom team to require PSDs be saved with the "Maximum Compatibility" option. You can see the arguments for and against this in the topic and add your vote there.

We should probably make this topic a request for cataloging support for PNG files.

Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Digital Imaging

946 Messages

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13.8K Points

10 years ago

Lightroom is primarily targeted at processing raw images from dSLRs. There are no dSLRs that produce either image type.

That said, LR does support PSDs assuming they are saved with maximum compatibility. This is required because, without it, LR would basically have to have all of PS's rendering engine embedded to process all those layers into a usable image, and that would make it enormous.

It also partially supports PNGs in certain areas of the program, just not for cataloging.

Champion

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6.2K Messages

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106.2K Points

10 years ago

I've spotted the problem... you're using a different program called Lightshop! Sorry, just kidding. ;-) It's been a long day!

I do understand your frustration. PNG isn't a format suited to photographs, so I'm not sure you'll get any joy on that one, however the request is at least here for voting.

Did you realise that your PSD files can be imported into Lightroom - you just have to resave them with the maximize compatibility turned on. That is a process that could be batch processed, which may help a little.

Victoria Bampton a.k.a. The Lightroom Queen

www.lightroomqueen.com

Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

20 Messages

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408 Points

10 years ago

With more interest in panos and the resulting large file sizes, I would appreciate very much Adobe's incorporating psb as a supported file format in a future version of Lightroom.

20 Messages

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360 Points

10 years ago

Hi,

I've already got a plugin for loading JPEG2000 files into Lightroom (Windows only, I'm afraid). If there's enough interest I could do a PNG version too - let me know.

Cheers,
Jim

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

I think there is a *lot* of interest in loading PNG into Lightroom. I think people don't salute the flag you've raised here because:

* They aren't comfortable with plugins and/or
* They don't understand what you are offering, or
* They didn't read your post(s)...

I think you should do it, Jim! :-)

478 Messages

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10.5K Points

If there is a straightforward way to handle pngs in a Lightroom plugin, some of us would love to use it. There is an "any file" plugin for Lightroom which I was excited by, because it should allow one to catalog the _images_ that one has, and not just the _photos_. Unfortunately (due to the limitations of Lightroom, not the plug-in author's ingenuity), it required creating little jpg files all across my disk, and I found that so annoying that I abandoned it.

If you can create something usable, some of us would purchase it, and collectively we might send you enough money for you and your significant other to have a nice night out!

165 Messages

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3.2K Points

9 years ago

A lot of open source, or shareware programs generate PNG files because libpng is a convenient way to output losslessly compressed files without some of the issues of TIFF. I know lightroom is targeted at DSLR files, but some of us merge our DSLR images with other graphics, and want to have the two in the same catalog.

20 Messages

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360 Points

9 years ago

Hi,

OK, I'll stick this on the list of stuff to do. I'm pretty much swamped right now but I'll get round to it at some point. Maybe Adobe will add it to LR natively in the meantime ;)

Cheers,
Jim

1.3K Messages

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22.5K Points

There's already a plug-in called AnyFile that adds any type of file to a catalogue.

20 Messages

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360 Points

That might be enough, it depends on your needs. If you just want to catalogue things, that's fine, but if you don't want to store a JPEG copy of each image or if you want to use them in the Develop module, something more is needed. Mine translates images on the fly at the filesystem level, so LR believes it's reading a TIFF.

Anyway, if cataloging is enough then that's grand, problem solved :)

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

|> Mine translates images on the fly at the filesystem level, so LR believes it's reading a TIFF.

Wow - that's pretty amazing - I'd like to know how you accomplish that - sounds like a perfect solution for PNG too.

I don't *think* Adobe is planning to support PNG in Lr4 - based on various comments here and there plus gut feeling...

478 Messages

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10.5K Points

9 years ago

I must say that I found Lightroom's lack of support for png files remarkable. I am using LR as my primary cataloging program, and I generated literally thousands of pngs as stand-in files to allow key-word indexing of unscanned slides. (How do you catalog your unscanned slides?)

Anyway, it was easy enough to switch to jpegs for my needs, but since code to read and write pngs is so available, and it is one of the file types that supports xmp metadata internally, the decision to not support them in LR seems absurd.

That said, the lack of support for png's does not get in the way of my use of the program, and one can always convert png's to tiff's without loss if one needs to catalog or edit a particular image. So I hesitate to vote for adding pngs if doing it would distract Adobe from working on more important improvements to LR.

Champion

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1.4K Messages

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24.5K Points

9 years ago

Just a personal opinion here, but if Lightroom recognizes it (e.g. Panel End Marks and Identity Plates (specifically PNG,GIF, and BMP files are legal)), consideration should be given to managing these. The watermark editor also recognizes PNG. It seems a pity not to be able to manage watermark graphical files as well.

3 Messages

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80 Points

9 years ago

I am putting together some web pages in LR's web module. When importing sources in PSD format, 1 layer with transparency, LR treats the transparent edge as opaque - it makes it white.

I thought I could get around that by saving the file as PNG (as I'd had no problem with a transparent identity plate in PNG format) but was shocked to see LR wouldn't import those.

I shoot RAW and don't generate things in PNG except for the web, but I would like to see both support in LR for transparent edges in PSD files and PNG. In the web module in particular, having the ability to deal with transparency (so things merge easily with the page background color) is important.

946 Messages

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13.8K Points

"I am putting together some web pages in LR's web module. When importing sources in PSD format, 1 layer with transparency, LR treats the transparent edge as opaque - it makes it white"

I think all LR imports from the PSD is the flattened rendered image the PS generated when you have "maximize compatibility" on. So isn't this a PS issue?

3 Messages

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80 Points

Part of the reason that it's good to have two products from one company working together is to avoid the "it's the other guy's fault" finger pointing. I really don't see why LR can't read the layer that's in the PSD, but if Photoshop needs to change the flattened image to something else, that's fine with me. I would just like to be able to get to the end result somehow, and right now PNG doesn't work, PSD doesn't work...

946 Messages

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13.8K Points

"I really don't see why LR can't read the layer that's in the PSD..."

Because Lightroom would have to contain the entire rendering engine from PS, which is huge because of all the things Layers can contain and do.

3 Messages

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80 Points

There has got to be some way to compromise to get transparency - nothing else, no layer effects or smart objects or anything else. Pixels with transparency not white background. So layers would have to be merged and/or rasterized for this to work. Or change PS's notion of a flattened image to allow for a second type of flat - a single layer not merged with the background.

1.3K Messages

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22.5K Points

If you're dealing with transparent graphics, that's a job for Dreamweaver, not Lightroom which is a streamlined design for photographs.

3 Messages

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192 Points

9 years ago

Another vote for PNG support. PNG is basically like TIFF, only:

a) it's extensible
b) it's patent unencumbered
c) it's standardized
d) it supports all of the major things you'd think a common format should support, in a normal, sane, standardized way (metadata storage, alpha channel, color spaces, 48-bit color, etc)

PNG is a better TIFF, though unfortunately bad habits are hard to break - and people haven't really picked up PNG. I have thousands of negatives/slides that I scanned directly to PNGs that I'm now bringing into my LR flow, only to find out they're not supported.

If you google "Lightroom PNG support" you'll see that we're not alone!

15.1K Messages

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195.8K Points

You might want to learn more about TIFF and the PNG formats. Most of what you just claimed is wrong.

a) TIFF is more exensible than PNG, by far
b) TIFF is unencumbered as far as anyone knows
c) Last I checked, PNG wasn't standardized anymore than TIFF
d) TIFF supports that and a lot more, in a more optimal and flexible way

All PNG has going for it is simplicity because it is not as extensible.

3 Messages

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192 Points

a) If by extensible you mean "add an extension of your choosing" -- then yes I guess they're the same. But if you ever hope to have your extension included in the standard, then good luck! The TIFF standard hasn't been updated since 1992. In fact, if you go read the standard (p.9), it says that you can get information about TIFF extensions by checking CompuServe!

b) Wrong - TIFF most commonly utilizes LZW compression which was patented until 2003 when the patent expired. Unisys was suing people left and right back in the day (mainly for implementing GIF) which thus spawned PNG as an alternative unencumbered format.

c) PNG is ISO/IEC standard 15948:2004, also IETF RFC 2083.

There is no ISO/ANSI/IETF standard for what we commonly use as TIFF in image manipulation programs. There are some standards for atypical TIFF files (ex: FAX images), but I assume that's not what your average person means when they think of a TIFF. Also, Adobe holds the copyright to the TIFF standard and has not updated the standard since 1992.

The result is lots of oddball extensions and incompatibility between applications since these extensions are not documented really anywhere! They're certainly not being championed by the maintainers of the format. To give some perspective, TIFF baseline supporting applications, for example, are not even required to understand the most common compression used in TIFF images! That's why TIFF quickly got the nickname "Thousands of Incompatible File Formats."

d) Please point to the spot in the (latest) TIFF 6.0 specification where it includes those things. Since Adobe is the registrar of extensions, where is its list of common extensions and what they mean? Where is the documentation on, for example, how to include an ICC color profile? For PNG it's simple, just go to libpng.org. Limited metadata is built-in, Alpha is built in, ICC color spaces are built-in, 16bpp color is built in.

-----------

That said, it's really irrelevant; these days your average Joe doesn't care about lossless compression, and for those that do TIFF has become the defacto standard. Big name apps generally support most of the TIFF quirks. In Adobe's absence of leadership, the libtiff community and others have stepped in and done the legwork of figuring out and documenting what exactly a common TIFF is (i.e. which extensions are common and what they mean), and 3rd party software now just uses that. Ultimately that makes TIFF "more or less" work, and the graphics community continues using it because that's what they've always done.

It's a shame, too, because PNG is a much better format on so many levels (see above) and it's actively maintained by a community that actually cares about it. We are seeing PNG come up in the web world though (browsers, Android -- heck even the IP phone on my desk supports PNG); so maybe this story isn't over yet.

3 Messages

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192 Points

In my case I had thousands of negatives/slides to scan; I look towards PNG not TIFF - because I know that my PNG will be read correctly everywhere that supports the format. The TIFF will be larger and probably work when I open it in some app down the road, but is that the level of compatibility I should aspire to when archiving old photographs?

15.1K Messages

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195.8K Points

You really, really should learn more about a topic before trying to argue it.

a) Incorrect. TIFF has been updated through tech notes 3 times (I know, because I wrote one of them). And people are actively requesting, receiving, and using custom tags.

b) Incorrect. When TIFF was created, that patent was not known. And that patent expired several years ago. It was unencumbered when created, and is now as far as anyone can tell.

c) Sort of correct, but off base. TIFF itself is not an ISO standard, but is a basis for many ISO standards. Again, TIFF has been updated, even if the master document has not.
And there really isn't that much incompatibility. The worst I know of are some video apps that don't understand transparency versus arbitrary alpha channels.

d) Incorrect. TIFF 6.0 included all you claimed except ICC profiles - they didn't exist at the time it was written. The technotes cover JPEG compression, ICC profiles, extensions for LAB, floating point, and predictors for floating point (which PNG does not have). The BIGTIFF extension isn't an official technote yet, waiting on more implementations to test against.

Um, not paying attention to LibTIFF are you? I've been working with them to extend TIFF for about 12 years now.

PNG is simple. It has that going for it. It doesn't support many color modes, or bit depths, or compression schemes, or metadata standards, or multi-page extensions, or pyramidal (not interlaced) storage, or exabyte sized files, etc.

TIFF does support a lot more, which can make it more complex. But TIFF is still more widely supported, and can do a lot more than PNG.

Oh, and archivists prefer TIFF.

4 Messages

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194 Points

Chris Cox may want to follow his own advice.

For example, how good is TIFF at supporting 64 bit color depths? (Oh, not at all). And the _published_ version of TIFF would appear to be limited to 32 bit file sizes, so it doesn't (contrary to Chris' claim) support "exabyte sized files", etc.

But he also totally fails to see the point: the issue is not "one file format to rule them all", but one of "what's the best file format for my particular set of priorities". And until everyone's smartphones and tablets and out-of-the-box computers natively support displaying all TIFF files, and LibTIFF (or whatever Chris likes) is used universally, it is a suboptimal choice for many purposes.

[ Note: "suboptimal" doesn't mean "unusable". ]

20 Messages

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360 Points

9 years ago

Hmm - looks like a bit of a tiff developing here...

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Or is it a png emulating a tiff?

Champion

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5.5K Messages

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97.4K Points

9 years ago

3 Messages

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84 Points

9 years ago

Glad to know that there are experts out there when it comes to various file formats. Thanks for the information, but, for me, here is the bottom line. I shoot with a 5D and capture my images exclusively in the RAW file format. I catalog that work in Lightroom (and love the program for that purpose). Though I do some manipulation in Lightroom, I still do the majority of my "development" work in Photoshop (as I love the great variety of tools available to me there). For me, this is where the png format comes in and shines. In Photoshop I save "parts" of images (with transparent backgrounds) as png files and then re-introduce those png elements or parts files back into the final composite image as needed or desired. If I were able to access those png "parts" in Lightroom it would certainly streamline my workflow a great deal. Due to the large size of many of my pieces I often use the psb format for my layered work files, files from which I both extract and introduce png files. My final output is typically TIFF.

4 Messages

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194 Points

9 years ago

I just want to chime in and point out that when Victoria Bampton claims that PNG is "not a format suited to photographs", she is dead wrong. One might as well claim that JPG is "not a format suited to photographs". Or TIFF. Or JPEG 2000.

As to the TIFF-vs-PNG "debate", the two formats are different with the key issue, to photographers or artists, being that TIFF doesn't intrinsically support a single unified lossless compression method. Several have been added, over the years, but picking one with legs that will supported in the future requires a lot of care, and frankly it's not an area in which most people want to have to become an expert in!

So why use PNG? Simple: it's one of three raster image formats natively supported by web browsers (the other two being JPG and GIF), it's always been unencumbered by licensing issues (unlike GIF), and it supports alpha layers (unlike JPG).

So if you want an image format that can be displayed on any computer or tablet or smartphone, that supports lossless compression and alpha layers and is fully open, you have only one choice.

Unless you want to use Lightroom... and then you have no choice! 8-(

Adobe, just add the format. It won't hurt you, and it will let us photographers that also do illustration use LR as our overall image management/indexing system.