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PNG format

Jan 26, 2010 5:08 AM

Would someone in the know like to hesitate a guess, or maybe even know, why the PNG format is not supported in Lightroom other than in the Identity plate? It seem odd because PNG uses ZIP compression which is lossless, and slightly more effective than LZW (slightly smaller files). - is a newer format, designed to be both verstile and royalty free, back when the LZW patent was disputed.

 

I ask because in another application that I use (Sony Vegas) it is recommended to use PNG files as opposed to JPG when creating projects comprising videos and still images and not even having PNG as an option in the Export dialogue kind of extends my workflow somewhat. Not a complaint this, just a question out of interest as I may well be missing the obvious.

 
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  • 99jon
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    Jan 6, 2010
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    Jan 26, 2010 5:32 AM   in reply to ElliR

    PNG was intended as a lossless replacement for GIF for use on the web. You will find support in graphics editors such as Adobe Fireworks and Photoshop.

     

    Lightroom is primarily designed for photographers who shoot using the RAW format. My guess is they tend to steer clear of bitmap images such as PNG which cannot embed EXIF data.

     
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    Jan 26, 2010 7:45 AM   in reply to ElliR

    In general, we do not believe that PNG is a good format for photographic images. One important reason is due to limited metadata support. Compression and quality are certainly two important aspects of an image format, but not the only ones.

     

    Eric

     
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  • 99jon
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    Jan 26, 2010 8:05 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    It’s also about understanding the best uses for such formats, rather like the difference of vector graphics versus raster graphics. PNG is really suitable for high contrast images with text and line art. These are the sort of things that you would not generally use Lightroom to do.

     
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    Feb 15, 2011 11:11 PM   in reply to ElliR

    Maybe it's time to re-think this philosophy with over 160+ million iphones and ipod touch devices and no way to import them easily into LR..  Obviously we're only talking screen grabs not camera photos but come on.  I still want to manage all my photos in one place and Lightroom is touted to be able to do this easily.

     
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    Feb 15, 2011 11:32 PM   in reply to Rainydaiz

    John Ellis AnyFile plugin is the thing to fill the gap for now...

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 4:38 AM   in reply to Rainydaiz

    I'm sorry; by acknowledging this is for screen grabs as opposed to 

    photography, you're not making a strong case for native LR support.

     

    Eric

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 12:02 PM   in reply to Rainydaiz

    Maybe it's time to re-think this philosophy with over 160+ million iphones and ipod touch devices and no way to import them easily into LR..

     

    I agree with Eric.

     

    Lightroom was primarily designed as a RAW workflow application for photographers. It’s a specialized program and very good at that thanks to its focus on the aforementioned target group.

     

    If you want an application to catalog a wide variety of media, there are much more suitable options depending on platform.

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 5:53 PM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    How about a compromise:

     

    When importing pngs, convert to tiff or jpeg (or even dng now that I think about it), and optionally delete original (reminiscent of converting proprietary raws to dng, no?)

     

    This way, photographers who find themselves with pngs could pull them into Lightroom like they want to, but Lightroom does not have to be modified to support non-destructive editing/management/export of non-camera/non-photo file types...

     

    PS - If cataloging is all you want (i.e. you want to view in Lightroom and launch from Lightroom for external editing, but not edit non-destructively in Lightroom), then just use AnyFile.

     

    Rob

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 9:37 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    I bet that would generate even more complaints because, well... because it's not perfect. Kind of like video... once that door was cracked open a little... you get the picture.

     

     

    areohbee wrote:

     

    How about a compromise:

     

    When importing pngs, convert to tiff or jpeg (or even dng now that I think about it), and optionally delete original (reminiscent of converting proprietary raws to dng, no?)

     

    This way, photographers who find themselves with pngs could pull them into Lightroom like they want to, but Lightroom does not have to be modified to support non-destructive editing/management/export of non-camera/non-photo file types...

     

    PS - If cataloging is all you want (i.e. you want to view in Lightroom and launch from Lightroom for external editing, but not edit non-destructively in Lightroom), then just use AnyFile.

     

    Rob

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 10:18 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    toDNG (available on the Mac App Store) can convert PNGs (and various other bitmap formats) to DNG, for those that want that kind of a workflow.

     

    Sandy

     
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    Feb 16, 2011 10:32 PM   in reply to sandy_mc

    Thanks Sandy.

     

    I was thinking about wiring toDNG into RC Importer (my import plugin) so users can configure auto-conversion of PNG (and other formats) to DNG.

     

    I would need Windows and command-line support though - any ideas for that?

     

    Rob

     
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    Feb 17, 2011 12:30 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    MadManChan2000 wrote:

     

    I'm sorry; by acknowledging this is for screen grabs as opposed to 

    photography, you're not making a strong case for native LR support.

     

    Eric

     

    Eric

     

    All i'm getting at is i snapshot fashion editorials and magazine clippings..  It would be nice to put those files alongside the SLR work it's based or planned on. It's for preparation and insight and would be nice to have it all in the same area. I still honestly believe that professional DLSR photographers still research right?  It's no big deal i can switch with Bridge.

     

    If you want a stronger case, Aperture can do it.  But those silly boys at Apple have even incorporated video editing..  I mean really, who shoots video on an SLR... Pfffft, like that's gonna take off.

     
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    Feb 17, 2011 12:30 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

     

    Writing a windows version of toDNG wouldn't be too hard. The reason why I haven't done so is that (a) most people that want toDNG seem to be Mac users anyway, and (b) it's really the Mac App Store that makes a product like toDNG, that sells for only a few dollars, economomically viable. Most other distribution channels, the channel costs are just too high.

     

    Regards,

     

    Sandy

     
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    Feb 17, 2011 1:22 AM   in reply to sandy_mc

    Hi Sandy,

     

    I see what you mean about toDNG and Mac and distribution...

     

    Anyway, I'd consider assisting in a solution - my guess is there are plenty of command-line converters to convert png to something lightroom supports. But, I still dont know whether people want to convert so they can edit non-destructively in Lghtroom, or just have the pngs visible and accessible in Lightroom.

     

    And both of those scenarios already have solutions:

    1. Drop the pngs onto a converter and import the resultant tif / jpeg, or

    2. Use AnyFile to import pngs alongside photos.

     

    So, as of yet, I wouldn't know what to do...

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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    Feb 17, 2011 1:46 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

     

    Yes, it's a bit of a question mark. toDNG is really for people that want to manage all their assets as DNG, and don't want to go though multiple layers of conversion to get there. For them, its quick and convenient, and preserves image quality better than multi-step conversions. But its a small market, and there are other solutions, so positioning yet another product would be tricky.

     

    Regards,

     

    Sandy

     
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    Feb 18, 2011 8:40 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    Let me ask a different question: What would be the negatives to including PNG support in LR? Perhaps cluttering the GUI is all I can think of, but I'm sure this would just be another item in a pull down list...

     

    If there are none, then Adobe employees should stop worrying about what file format they think photos come in and let the customer decide.

     
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    Feb 18, 2011 9:09 AM   in reply to brianwrx

    The primary negative is that you have to give up something else.

     

    Working on PNG not only means adding the engineering support itself, but also doing the testing, making sure that the format interacts correctly with the other features we have, making decisions about where to include the support (e.g., can you export as PNG, as well as import?), updating the documentation, etc.

     

    All of this takes time, and unfortunately, there is no free lunch. If we commit to working on this, then we drop something else. There are many things we are working on (including ones that have been asked for in these forums -- yes, we do listen) that we will hope will push photographic imaging and workflow forward. It's hard for us to justify dropping one of these in order to support PNG import (which does very little, if anything, to advance photographic imaging and workflow -- I have given some technical reasons in the past).

     

    I fully understand and sympathize with the need to do research, take simple grab shots, etc. and that one doesn't travel all the time with a SLR or shoot raw. There are many compact cameras, cell phones, and other devices that take pictures in JPEG format. For example, the iPhone was mentioned earlier in this thread. I'm not an expert iPhone user, but I do use one regularly to take grab shots. They end up as JPEGs which I then import into LR.

     

    Eric

     
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    Feb 18, 2011 11:01 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    I can certainly sympathize with the need to prioritize work (I'm a designer myself) and usinging your better judgement of what is most beneficial to users to set that priority. Clearly PNG is low on that list. Surely adding PNG is not that big an effort though...

     
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    Feb 18, 2011 1:48 PM   in reply to brianwrx

    I think the people who want support for png need to make a list of just what they need / want.

     

    I mean, there are already ways to "support" png. I've given two ways to "import" pngs.

     

    If you want to export a png, just configure a post-export action to convert a tif.

     

    I realize these solutions are not as slick as native, but Adobe has spoken: not high enough priority for Lr4.

     

    I'm not trying to talk y'all out of trying to convince Adobe to support png, but are you willing to accept an interim solution until such time Adobe sees fit to add support for png? Or, are you inclined just to do without until then....(?)

     

    Rob

     
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    Feb 18, 2011 7:21 PM   in reply to brianwrx

    brianwrx wrote:

     

    Surely adding PNG is not that big an effort though...

     

    You'd be surprised. What, exactly, does "adding PNG" mean? Because for some definitions we are talking about a lot of change and risk for very little benefit. Please re-read what Eric said about why something that seems so trivial actually has a lot of implications.

     
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    Feb 19, 2011 7:21 AM   in reply to ElliR

    I think tat png should have a place in Lightroom from a cataloguing aspect.  If I need to edit it let

    me use the Edit in . . .  functionality to go to PS.  It is frustrating to have to use a separate asset management tool to find my corporate logos that not only I use but Lightroom uses and supports as well in the Licence Plate function.

     
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    Feb 19, 2011 11:35 AM   in reply to brianwrx

    No offense, but if I was that desparate for importing PNGs into LR, I would have created a simple droplet to convert PNGs to any of the formats that LR supports long ago.

     

    Especially if you’re on a Mac, you can do that easily with Automator.

     
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:57 PM   in reply to David Lauder

    David Lauder wrote:

     

    I think tat png should have a place in Lightroom from a cataloguing aspect.  If I need to edit it let

    me use the Edit in . . .  functionality to go to PS.  It is frustrating to have to use a separate asset management tool...

     

     

    Again,

     

    AnyFile lets you do that, today - and it works quite well.

     

    Summary: If cataloging and visibility in Lightroom (and open to edit) are all you need:

     

         Use John Ellis' AnyFile plugin.

     

     

    And, in case you missed it in previous posts:

     

        - If you want to edit non-destructively in Lightroom: convert to tif, jpeg, or dng, before importing.

        - If you want to export png, configure a post-export action to convert exported tif to png.

     

     

    Everybody wants what they want native, but the reason Adobe invented an SDK and other hooks is so people have the power to fill niche needs, where niche means Adobe has not filled it yet, and may never.

     

    If you cant figure out how to do these things, just ask...

     

    Keep hounding Adobe if you want, but if you dont solve your problem in the mean time, well - dont make me finish that sentence...

     

    Rob

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 11:19 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    Eric

     

    I think Adobe is missing the boat on the png thing. Prior to Ligthroom 3 I was using Express Digital Darkroom for our studio to view, make minor corrections and sell to the client. It cost about $2,500 with 2 additional workstations. I can now do everything in LR3 that I was able to do in Express Digital except use a png file that had transparences in them to create colleges, and cards. This would be the final nail in the coffin of these extremely over priced software programs.

     

    What a great addition this would be for the photography studios.

     

    David

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 11:51 AM   in reply to PortraitPros

    My suggestion: Use TIFFs, which also support transparency. That way, you also get the benefit of proper color management!

     

    Eric

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 12:43 PM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    When I import  aTiff with a transparency LR does not recognize the transparency. Am I doing something wrong when I save the Tiff?

     

    David

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 12:53 PM   in reply to PortraitPros

    I now am assuming that LR does not support Alpha channels. That's what is needed.

     

    David

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 12:59 PM   in reply to PortraitPros

    Hey guys, I think you have gotten off the orignal poster's request> Want to EXPORT to PNG from Lightroom.

     

    If ElliiR does not have Photoshop then I can highly recommend downloading and using the 'Batch'  feature in freeware XnView to convert to PNG:

     

    http://www.xnview.com/en/download.html

     

    Available for all popular Windows, Linux and MacOS platforms. Yes, you do have to first export from Lightroom to JPEG or TIFF file format, but XnView's Batch converter speeds the process and supports many, many file formats including PNG and JPEG2000.

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 1:11 PM   in reply to trshaner

    You're correct, I did get OT from the OP. His post was over a year old and this was the closest thread I could find regarding png. But now I have discovered it is the Alpha channel that LR does not support. I did not mean to hijack the thread.

     

    David

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 1:41 PM   in reply to PortraitPros

    Yea, I see now that this is an old post. Creating images for the web has different set of constraints, but I agree it would be useful to support file formats such as PNG and perhaps even the "lost puppy" JPEG2000 licensed file format. I work with InDesign and find myself in a quandary whether to do some of my simple graphics using InDesign's tools or go back into Illustrator, and ditto for Photoshop! It's starting to become one big graphic application blur, with so much cross-over of raster, vector and layout capabilities.

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 3:30 PM   in reply to MadManChan2000
    function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

    MadManChan2000 wrote:

     

    In general, we do not believe that PNG is a good format for photographic images. One important reason is due to limited metadata support. Compression and quality are certainly two important aspects of an image format, but not the only ones.

     

    Eric

    I'd appreciate if you could explain why PNG is not a good format. Some publishers still want PNG's - maybe because they can preserve transparency?

    WW

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 4:46 PM   in reply to web-weaver

    I'd appreciate if you could explain why PNG is not a good format. Some publishers still want PNG's - maybe because they can preserve transparency?

    WW

     

    PNG does not allow saving of metadata, which is very useful for photographic images. Other than that limitation, PNG file format supports 16bit color (48 bit), wide gamut profiles, Alpha Channel, and transparency. PNG also provides lossless file compression about 10% more efficient (i.e. smaller file) than TIFF.

     

    I see no problem in using PNG file format over TIFF when you don't need the file metadata retained.

     

     

     

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 5:18 PM   in reply to trshaner

    trshaner wrote:

     

    I'd appreciate if you could explain why PNG is not a good format. Some publishers still want PNG's - maybe because they can preserve transparency?

    WW

     

    PNG does not allow saving of metadata, which is very useful for photographic images. Other than that limitation, PNG file format supports 16bit color (48 bit), wide gamut profiles, Alpha Channel, and transparency. PNG also provides lossless file compression about 10% more efficient (i.e. smaller file) than TIFF.

     

    I see no problem in using PNG file format over TIFF when you don't need the file metadata retained.

     

    First of all, metadata is really a non-issue, isn't it? If you need to not have metadata (and why wouldn't you at least want to preserve the copyright?) just remove it.

     

    Secondly, PNG supports chunks that stores XMP metadata, so it saves any sort of metadata you might like to save to the image.

     

    PNG is useful for places where you want a small bitmapped image, but for photos (which pretty much precludes an image where you want programmable transparency) JPEG almost always gives you a better size/quality trade-off. If you /really/ need to render a PNG for some reason, this can be done in post-export action.

     
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    Mar 31, 2011 5:20 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Regarding PNG metadata, a clarification: Adobe's XMP specification allows full XMP metadata to be stored in PNG files, but I don't think many tools implement that part of the spec.  As of a year ago, Bridge CS4 did, but Photoshop CS4, Photoshop Elements 8, and Windows did not.  Exiftool of course supports it.

     
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    Apr 1, 2011 6:13 AM   in reply to John R. Ellis

    First of all, metadata is really a non-issue, isn't it? If you need to not have metadata (and why wouldn't you at least want to preserve the copyright?) just remove it.

     

    My point was that most PNG convertors currently do NOT support metadata. I was not suggesting to use PNG format if you want to remove metadata from the file.

     

    Then you say:

     

    JPEG almost always gives you a better size/quality trade-off

     

    This is true, but not what the orginal poster was asking – Why doeesn't LR support PNG export.

     

    If you want high-quality compressed images, with 16 bit color (48 bit), wide gamut profile, Alpha channel, transparency, and metadata support, then JPEG2000 is a far better choice. Just don't use it in Web applications as most browsers do not support JPEG2000 files.

     

     
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    Apr 1, 2011 7:09 AM   in reply to ElliR

    One of the reasons that I bought Lightroom was that it was intended and designed for photographers and their photographs and did NOT try to be all things to all people.

     

    If that philosophy changes and it becomes yet another bloatware product of which I can  use only 10%, I'll find something else.

     

    I'm with Adobe on this. Keep it lean and clean, keep it focussed on cameras and photography.

     
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    Apr 1, 2011 7:23 AM   in reply to glugglug

    I am a full time photographer with a studio and I do not think asking for transparency support will make a software package all things to all people. Most of the software for photographers support transparency (alpha channel).  Like Express Digital, Studio Plus, TriPrism, Pro Select, Photo One, just to name  some off the top of my head.

    By providing transparency support a studio could provide many more options to the client.

     

    David

     
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    Apr 1, 2011 9:31 AM   in reply to trshaner

    trshaner wrote:

     

    First of all, metadata is really a non-issue, isn't it? If you need to not have metadata (and why wouldn't you at least want to preserve the copyright?) just remove it.

     

    My point was that most PNG convertors currently do NOT support metadata. I was not suggesting to use PNG format if you want to remove metadata from the file.

     

    I was responding to the assertion that PNG was a good choice because it did not support metadata.  The net result is identical whether the file has metadata support, or that metadata is removed.

     

    It is essentially meaningless criteria.

     

    PNG is important for some tiny subset of users, who already know about pixel editors, and there are plenty of options for getting a PNG rendition out of a Lr managed photo.

     
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