Lightroom: support for un-maximized PSDs

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I saw a post in 2009 about this, but nothing since. Lightroom NEEDS to support Unmaximized PSDs in some form or another. Right now they are invisible to Lightroom!

A multilayered photo file can be 200MB Un-Maximized, yet it's only 89 MB Maximized.

I'd even settle for saving a small composite image in the PSD that Lightroom can use.

As the guy said in 2009 - It's PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM, how can Lightroom completely ignore files native to Photoshop?
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Mike Palmer

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Posted 7 years ago

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Lee Jay

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In order to support them, LR would have to have PS's full ability to process all layers and such. I could imagine this capability could easily triple Lightroom's size.

Maximize forces PS to render an image using its resources, and Lightroom can then read that image from the file and thus avoid having to render it itself.

I would be very annoyed if LR increased in size by a huge factor just to support this one feature.
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Mike Palmer

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Not suggesting LR needs to decode Photoshop's complex layers. But LR could at a minimum show the file exists and perhaps Photoshop could put a composite file in the Unmaximized file to let LR present an image of what's in the file. I thought that what was what maximize did, but it shouldn;t take 100+MB to do so.

Right now maximized is 200+ MB, Unmazimized is 89MB. I'll settle for 90MB with a 1MB composite image. I would not expect LR to be able to make changes to the file.

It's ludicrous to waste 100+ MB just so LR can see it.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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A more imaginative request that will likely occur sooner and be more useful but still allow for accomplishing what you want would be to request an Import Plugin Framework for Lightroom or an Import Photoshop Action where a Photoshop droplet could be invoked to, in this case, add a composite layer to each incoming PSD. It would keep the bulk of Photoshop's processing out of LR, itself, but make it available to people who needed it. Right now droplets and plug-ins are only part of Ligthroom's Export processing.

Is there a reason you're insisting on Adobe adding a feature to LR instead of using existing features of Photoshop in your workflow to accomplish the same thing?
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Mike Palmer

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What Photoshop features could I use to allow LR to see the PSD? I need to edit the PSD from LR, but that's tough since LR can't see it.

It just seems amazing to me that LR can't see my PSDs unless they are more than twice as big as they need to be.

Isn't the maximize option supposed to put a composite file in there for other apps to use? If so, why is it so big?
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Lee Jay

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"Isn't the maximize option supposed to put a composite file in there for other apps to use?"

Yes.

"If so, why is it so big?"

I would guess because it's an uncompressed image.

Perhaps your request belongs in Photoshop, and it should be to have an option to include a JPEG in a PSD instead. Perhaps that would cause other interoperability problems.

Since TIFFs hold what PSDs with maximize on hold, maybe you could use TIFFs instead, and use one of the compression options. I don't know.
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Andrew Rodney

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>Since TIFFs hold what PSDs with maximize on hold, maybe you could use TIFFs instead, and use one of the compression options. I don't know.

Exactly. That’s why I never use PSD and always TIFF. There’s nothing PSD provides, other than duotone support that TIFF doesn’t as far as I know. Add Zip compression, the files are smaller albeit slower to open and save. TIFF is an open format, vastly more compatible in other applications. PSD is a proprietary format. Why use PSD?
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Mike Palmer

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I tried compressed TIFF and it's still 170Mb (almost double the unmaximized PSD file) and it's incredibly slow (and that's on fast computer).

Again, I just don't see what the problem is with Adobe providing some compatibility with unmaximized files for two apps that are supposed to work closely together.
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Andrew Rodney

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The problem are layers! Lots and lots of app’s don’t support em. Probably only Photoshop if you consider all the differing layers, blend modes etc. A flattened version is required.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Just to make sure, what is an Un-maximized PSD? I assumed you meant a PSD saved without Maximize Compatibility turned on, right? To make LR see it you just turn on maximize compatibility when you save it. There is a preference to always, never or ask about this when you saev. Do you not know how to do this or have you decided you don't want to do this, or does it not work when you try it?

What are the dimensions in Pixels of the PSD? Do you need the PSD to work on in Photoshop after you edit a copy in LR, or is it just a stage in your workflow that isn't optimal, yet, and Photoshop won't need to see it, anymore after LR sees it?
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Mike Palmer

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Hi Steve,

The maximized file is 208MB, the unmaximized file is 89MB. Pixel size is 2448 x 4288.

I organize in Lightroom, but do re-touching in Photoshop. It's not unusual to re-edit in Photoshop several times, so lightroom needs to be able to see the edited file.

Up until recently I didn't save the layers so compatability wasn;t a problem. But a new work flow has everything done in layers and saving them makes sense for future edits.

I can tolerate a few extra MB for compatibility, but a 120MB compatibility penalty is a lot.

It's worth noting that Adobe Illustrator can read the non-maximized file, though it collapses thd layers. Is it asking too much for Lightroom to do the same?
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Lee Jay

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Yes, it is.

That size difference doesn't make sense to me. At that pixel size, a fully-rendered image even in 16 bit should be 62MB. In 8 bit, it should be half of that.
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john beardsworth

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Partly, if you deliberately chose not to maximise compatibility, you shouldn't be too disappointed to discover that it means what it says on the tin - however LR is branded.

However, that is a bit brutal and I agree it is right to expect to be able to import particularly these PSD files. Regardless of whether LR can display a thumbnail or preview, users expect LR to help them manage picture files.

In the interim, how many files are involved? Wouldn't it be best to (a) convert them to TIFs with an action/droplet and (b) get more disc space?

John
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Mike Palmer

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Thanks for all your workaround suggestions, but TIFFs are too slow and so are 200MB PSDs. I'll manage the unmaximized files myself until such time Lightroom steps up to the plate.
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Mike Palmer

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One workaround that does work, is to save the file maximized, let LR read the file, then save it unmaximized. LR now complains it can't read the file, but at least it displays the (maximized) image and lets one access the file.
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Artman

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Today, I just installed LR for the first time and I was completely taken off-guard that LR cannot read PSDs to display a preview or even add them to a catalog. I am 100% in Mike's corner regarding the Maximize Compatibility option -- don't want it, don't need it. And, given the number of legacy PSDs that I have, the notion of re-saving them all with MaxComp invoked or as Tiffs is not a work-around I intend to employ.

This is close to being a deal breaker.

Bridge has always had this functionality and it seems ludicrous that LR does not. There is surely some way to add this feature without bloating LR. Given that my CS5 folder is nearly 400mb and my LR folder is 50mb, tripling LR's size as was suggested might happen would be nothing compared to adding the MaxComp bloat to every PSD file.

Make it an add-on that can be downloaded by those of us who don't mind incurring a one time disk-space penalty to have LR behave as it should have in the first place.

Please.
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Lee Jay

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"Given that my CS5 folder is nearly 400mb and my LR folder is 50mb, tripling LR's size as was suggested might happen would be nothing compared to adding the MaxComp bloat to every PSD file. "

That's not the kind of bloat I mean. I mean memory footprint, size and speed to change modules, and processor load to handle such files.

My suggestion would be to re-save all your PSDs as layered TIFFs with compression. Much more compatible and less proprietary than PSDs.
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Andrew Rodney

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>My suggestion would be to re-save all your PSDs as layered TIFFs with compression. Much more compatible and less proprietary than PSDs.

Yup, just build a droplet to do this for all legacy documents and move forward saving TIFFs with compression.
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Artman

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Well, for the sake of my edification, if I *do* decide to go the tiff route -- at least from this point forward -- is LZW compression reliable? I seem to remember having file corruption with LZW encoded tiffs in the long ago past, so I'm a little leery. I've toyed with the ZIP option and, sure, it makes smaller files but it's so freakin' slow.

Any thoughts?
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Andrew Rodney

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Very much so. You’ll save a good deal of disk space. But there is no totally free lunch, opening and saving the data is a bit slower. For me, its worth the small speed hit.
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Mike Palmer

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Adobe should either support un-maximized psd files or take Photoshop out of the name! Maybe it should be renamed "TIFF Lightroom"? Bridge can read un-maximized psd files, so it is outrageous that Photoshop can't.

All this speculation about the size of Lightroom ballooning to fully support un-maximized files is also silly; the Bridge executable is only 12MB, so why would Lightroom gain much weight?

While I appreciate all the band-aide solutions offered here, they are NOT viable solutions. They a) waste incredible amounts of disk space and b) waste a lot of time reading and writing the huge disk files. (Every save takes 5 times longer!)

Adobe, fix it please!
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Andrew Rodney

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Bridge is a simple browser, it doesn’t have to alter or effect the layered data. Even the Mac finder can show a thumb of a layered TIFF without the compatibility on but not much more.

>Bridge can read un-maximized psd files, so it is outrageous that Photoshop can't.
Reading (seeing a preview) and editing the data are quite different tasks.
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Mike Palmer

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So why can't Lightroom show the image and say "no Lightroom editing". At the moment it completely ignores the file (after saying it can't read it)! Totally unacceptable.
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Andrew Rodney

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For one (and I suspect many other reasons), it would have to have support for layers, their opacity, blend modes and all the stuff in Photoshop to show you this data. Huge engineering when a solution exists that not only allows you to see the compounded effect of the layers, it allows tons of other applications to do so as well (the rendered embedded TIFF data).

Bottom line is, you have to use the compatibility option, it aint going to change anytime soon if at all.
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Mike Palmer

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The engineering's already done - just copy it from Bridge! Do you speak for Adobe on "it ain't gonna change"?
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Andrew Rodney

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Of course, command C, command P, why didn’t I think of that.

Hopefully that simple code will do the job of showing you the layers and even let you edit them too. You’re a genius!
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Lee Jay

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"The engineering's already done - just copy it from Bridge! Do you speak for Adobe on "it ain't gonna change"? "

They aren't even written in the same language.

Look, here's why I think this is unlikely to be implemented. First, it's been like this since version 1 with very little complaining. Second, there are two very simple and straight-forward workarounds already (maximize and tiff). Finally, take a look at this thread. It's been around for a couple of months and it has three votes for it. Look at the "popular" page. The last one on the first page has 19 votes. This indicates to me that not a lot of people care about this feature request, likely because the workaround is so straightforward, especially now with gigabytes of hard drive storage down to 5 cents a piece.

Lightroom makes processing large numbers of images at least an order of magnitude more efficient than using PS for the same thing. Given its relatively low cost (compared to CS) and that very large return on that investment, many photographers have adopted it for handling large numbers of images. Many of us, myself included, don't even own PS (I have Elements for those very few images that I can't deal with entirely in Lightroom). For those very few images, I save them in TIFF. For those legacy images, I saved them with maximize on. No big deal and they are all editable in Lightroom.
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Artman

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Mike, I'm still on your (our) side here. Given that LR can't do anything with layered files, I suppose it seems logical to the propeller heads at Adobe to have it (nearly) ignore PSDs altogether. In fact, I read recently that initially there was not going to be any support in LR for PSDs at all. I guess something is better than nothing, but not by much.

So, being a LR newb, I'm trying to figure out how to modify my workflow to take advantage of LR's strengths but, in the meantime, I'm still not sold on the idea of converting all my legacy PSDs to tiffs just to make LR happy. For that matter, I'm not yet really sold on LR.

The jury is still out.
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thany81

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It just seems silly to me that one Adobe product cannot read another Dobe product's files properly. The requirement for maximized compatibility seems like LR is crippled in its ability to PSD's to me. Adobe has the code that reads a normal PSD and it should be fairly trivial to put that code into LR.
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martijn Saly

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Also, isn't it called PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM?

Seems all the more stupid when LR cannot properly read PSD.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Lightroom can read a properly saved PSD.

Why are you using PSD when a Tiff can handle it all without special hoops?

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/for...
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thany81

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First of all, no it cannot. It needs "maximized compatibility", which seems silly to need for another up-to-date Adobe product. Such a function seems more like something for legacy applications, like older versions of Photoshop.

Why not TIFF: because when using PSD, exporting to TIFF is yet another file to manage. And compared to PSD, TIFF is "lossy" becasue it cannot contain all the things a PSD can (so not lossy pixels, but still lossy as in loss of information).
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john beardsworth

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Not choosing "Maximize compatibility" means not properly saved, and Photoshop's dialog box does provide a very clear indication of the likely results in other apps.

It's "fairly trivial" to read the embedded preview which "Maximize compatibility" adds to the PSD, and that's what LR and other 3rd party apps use. It's not so trivial to include Photoshop's rendering engine and can't be a high priority to cater for folk who have deliberately chosen a suboptimal method of saving files.

Your best bet is to write an action to convert PSDs to layered TIFs. TIF is the equivalent of PSD - with the minor exception of not supporting duotone mode images.
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Besides the hassle of knowing which file is in Layers and which is flat. If it has layers I use PSD, if its flat I use TIF.
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thany81

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On top of that, even if TIFF supports layers (properly), most applicaties cannot read them. So might as well have PSD for full functionality, rather than a crippled version in TIFF.
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In two years, this topic has received 3 votes. That probably tells Adobe they don't need to waste the engineering time to reverse engineer the PS engine into Lightroom just to satisfy a few.

Some additional research in to Tiff vs. PSD on your parts, is probably in order. The functionality you perceive you are losing is so miniscule that the benefits of Tiff dwarf them by comparison. I have never met anyone who wished they hadn't converted over to TIFF but I have met plenty who lament having stayed (or converted) to PSD.
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thany81

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I don't care about votes. A long discussion says a lot more. I think Adobe is intelligent enough to disguish between what's important and what's popular.

More to the point, if TIFF and PSD are so similar, then it should be all the more trivial to get PSD working.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Good luck
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thany81

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I don't understand this.
You're wishing me good luck with what exactly?
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Andrew Rodney

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It's foolish to use PSD, end of story. It doesn't provide anything useful as discussed, it's proprietary, it's far less supported on other applications. There's no reason for Adobe to waste engineering time and resources so yes, good luck in getting this requested implemented. I suspect that if you asked most Adobe engineers if they would personally prefer PSD to go away, they would say yes.
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thany81

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Maybe it's foolish, maybe it's superfluous, maybe it's even obsolete. But certainly it's *being used*. And that's what matters.

On top of that, like I've said a million times, TIFF doesn't work properly in each application that claims to be able to read it. Those programs almost always only read the first/top layer, and don't apply any of the effects that you could do in Photoshop, like adjustment layers. I seriously doubt that any program capable of reading TIFF would go and implement all of this. It's too much work and TIFF is almost never used like that anyway.

All this makes TIFF certainly usable, but it also makes for faux compatibility. Which is useful if your files remain inside the realm of Adobe. Anywhere outside it and they become unreadable and write-only.

Therefor, PSD. At least PSD is unsupported or supported. Never anywhere in between.

And if TIFF is so equivalent to PSD, like (as well) I've said a billion times before: implementing it in Lightroom should be trivial, if it already supports TIFF to its full extend as you so claim (which I seriously doubt - so prove it).
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Andrew Rodney

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>>On top of that, like I've said a million times, TIFF doesn't work roperly in each application that claims to be able to read it. Those programs almost almways only read the first/top layer, and don't apply any of the effects that you could do in Photoshop, like adjustment layers.<<

I don't know that you get it. Layers, in TIFF or PSD are proprietary Adobe data. If you are worried about access to that data in an Adobe app, either will work the same (san's Dutone support). OUTSIDE Adobe app's, TIFF or PSD, the layer proprietary data isn't available. That's why we need a flattened version! Outside Adobe app's, TIFF is vastly more supported than PSD, and both will only provide a flattened version of the proprietary layer data for editing.
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thany81

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Wrong again. GIMP can read layers. And I'm sure there are other program that can. So now you're claiming Adobe is the only one capable of reading layers at all. This couldn't be further from the truth.

My point was that programs reading TIFF cannot read layers at all, making save-as-TIFF completely nonsense for anything but Photoshop.

If layers are 100% proprietary data, then the argument for TIFF fails again, because a PSD is 100% proprietary by itself. Interoperability can easily be achieved by exporting to PNG, since the file is going to be meant to be read only anyway.
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Raffi Dian

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What background do you have in using this software? Anyone heavily in editing as derivatives of TIFs, the last thing anyone wants to do is mistake a layered source file for a flat file.

How are you supposed to distinguish a Flat TIF from a layered TIF????
A little color change if it were wouldn't be enough. it needs a new icon and extension. Is PSD slow? Yes, but it IS the standard of how and what photoshop is based on. Maybe PSB should be the new engine for PSD, and have that transition, but why would you associate TIF with PSD?

And Yes, last time I checked PSD is VERY key for Lightroom users. The reason why there are low votes is that many people don't get active about it. I'm surprised how you're being so COUNTER active. Whats your gain?

Its annoying enough that when you open a file from LR(defaults to a TIF format), you have to resync the folder to see it back in LR if you saved it in PSD, which is 90% of the time. If you wanted to work flat, you really have little reason for it to launch into Photoshop in the first place! Someone has got it screwing back there, and just lazy to fix it.
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john beardsworth

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The reason for low votes? Why not take it at face value? No votes means not many people are interested in it. And imagine how many votes would be against it - if people were allowed that option.

You're most unlikely to get this to change. Rather than getting upset, create an action to convert the files to TIF, see them appear in Lightroom, and move on.
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Raffi Dian

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I'm surprised at your unwillingness and resistance to improve something that doesn't negatively effect anyone else.

This would make managing files very difficult.
I have used Adobe before it was called Photoshop. The only reason in the past 20 years I have come to the forum to voice something is with LR limitations. There have been numerous things we just except and not post about it. LR is now at the point of annoying with the limitations. If Adobe took things at face value, they wouldn't be the application they are today.
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john beardsworth

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I'm giving you a positive way forward.
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Andrew Rodney

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>>GIMP can read layers.

Photoshop proprietary created layers (with all blend modes supported, Smart Objects etc)?
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Andrew Rodney

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How are you supposed to distinguish a Flat PSD from a layered PSD???? File name seems doable.
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Raffi Dian

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So you suppose I should go through 10TB of image data to rename the ones with layers? The file names as they are are too long. When there are visual instant response ques like icons to distinguish files, you want to sit there and read??? Sounds like you need a good book to check out from your local library using index cards to look up some titles and info.

If the content is the same, and they don't sound like they are, and if there was a CLEAR way visually to distinguish a LAYER vs a FLAT TIF, maybe I would not care of the conversion. But there isn't. It should perhaps be called a CTF(complexTiff)? or something. This way you see it in the extension, you see the icon differnece and thats it.
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Andrew Rodney

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>>So you suppose I should go through 10TB of image data to rename the ones with layers?

Yup (which isn't difficult with the right product), but at the very least, you could consider naming conventions in the future as a key to what the data contains and/or use the slew of metadata that's possible to embed into images. But back OT, a TIFF or PSD can have layers or not have layers. Doesn't change the needlessness of PSD when we have TIFF!