CC2014 won't open older files saved in Photoshop RAW format (mistakenly used wrong file format)

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 4 years ago
  • (Edited)
A little over a month ago I purchased a new Mac laptop, cancelled the Adobe Photoshop contract I had on my old laptop, then began a new contract for CC2014 on my new machine. Unfortunately, since downloading this most recent version of photoshop, I haven't been able to open file photos saved over the past several years in Adobe RAW format. When I attempt to open them, I get only noise. If I click on Mac in the dialog box, I get a message reporting that the file is too large. Strangely, I had no problem opening these older files until I recently purchased my newer laptop and once again downloaded CC2014, which I was using on the Mac I replaced. Am I missing a plugin or something? I've used photoshop for 10 years or more and I've never had any problem opening older files saved in Adobe RAW format.
Thanks,
Gary Lantz
Taos, New Mexico
Photo of Gary Lantz

Gary Lantz

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • frustrated

Posted 4 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Chris Cox

Chris Cox

  • 20280 Posts
  • 813 Reply Likes
Do you mean Photoshop RAW (aka just bytes without any header or structure)?
If so, why were you saving files that way? That's a specialized format mostly for developers.

Or do you mean a camera raw format, or DNG?
Photo of Gary Lantz

Gary Lantz

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Need Help With Adobe Photoshop Raw.


I'm a wildlife photographer and have used Photoshop for a number of years. No formal training. When I first began, I was told by a fellow photographer to archive my images in Photoshop RAW, then use these images to produce jpegs or tiffs as needed for publications. The RAW images were color corrected and oftentimes cropped before they were saved. This system worked well until recently, when I downloaded CC2014 for a new laptop. All versions of Photoshop I've had on a number of laptops, up until the one I downloaded a few weeks ago, have opened these old Photoshop RAW files without a problem. However now, when I try to open the archived files, they open as either noise or a faint gray image. If I attempt to change the file size from 8 bits to 16, which gives me the Mac setting, I receive a message that says the file is too big to open. I've never seen this message nor had this problem before. Any help or any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm try to convert these old files to jpegs, because some are only a few years old and all have monetary value.
Thanks,
Gary Lantz
Photo of Chris Cox

Chris Cox

  • 20280 Posts
  • 813 Reply Likes
You got really confused somewhere.

Photoshop RAW (originally just called RAW before digital cameras came out) is a file format for experts only -- it's just the bytes of the image without any header or other information. This is used by image processing experts, or people dealing with command line level imaging applications to get data in and out of odd programs. Because it contains no header information - you have to make note of the actual size, bit depth, channel count, and channel order of the image to open it again.

Camera RAW is what different digital cameras produce, and has no relation to Photoshop RAW. Most cameras produce proprietary (undocumented) file formats that vary quite a bit from model to model (much less between brands).

DNG is a standardized, openly documented form of camera RAW file that can contain most camera RAW data. Again, no relation to Photoshop RAW.

It sounds like you used Photoshop RAW by mistake, and have lost the information about the image size, bit depth, etc. You will have to guess or recover the information about your image size, bit depth, etc. for your images to open them again. Then you should save your images in a well supported file format like PSD or TIFF so that you can open them again in the future.
Photo of Gary Lantz

Gary Lantz

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Thanks, Chris. So why have I been able to open them, and then convert them to tiff or jpegs, up until this last download of CC2014? It's worked like a charm up until three weeks ago, so it seems I've only been confused since August.
Photo of Chris Cox

Chris Cox

  • 20280 Posts
  • 813 Reply Likes
My guess is that you were on MacOS, which stored some data in the resource fork. But resource manager routines are deprecated by Apple, and Photoshop CC 2014 no longer reads resource fork data.

No, you were confused when you first started saving images as Photoshop RAW. Those are uncompressed, have no metadata, raw bytes of the image. You're wasting storage space, losing a ton of information, and gaining nothing from that conversion.
Photo of Gary Lantz

Gary Lantz

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Any software available that might retrieve these images?
Photo of Chris Cox

Chris Cox

  • 20280 Posts
  • 813 Reply Likes
You can open the files in an older version of Photoshop, verify that you got the correct parameters, then resave in a better file format (PSD or TIFF). But you'll have to manually open and validate each image.
Photo of Gary Lantz

Gary Lantz

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Remembered I had Photoshop Elements on an old computer. Burned one of the old Photoshop RAW images to a disk, popped it in the old laptop and Elements opened it like a champ. Converted it to tiff format, saved it and all is well.
Photo of Chris Cox

Chris Cox

  • 20280 Posts
  • 813 Reply Likes
If you have the CC subscription, you could also download Photoshop CS6 (which still reads resource forks).