10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 3, 2012 1:51 PM by JJMack

    Reduce the size of tiff files

    RobertJoseph Level 1



      I have a question about the size of tiff files.


      I start with RAW (NEF) photos from my Nikon D800. These files generally import at around 40MB each and I am using Lightroom 4 to keep track of them.


      I'll use Lightroom's "Edit in PS" functionality, make a bunch of edits to the file in CS6, flatten all the layers, and then save the file (as a tiff).


      The original NEF file was ~40MB but the new tiff file (in this specific example) is over 200MB!


      Am I doing something wrong? How can I get the file back to a reasonable size for storage? I don't want to have to save it as a jpg - I want to keep as much information as I can.


      Thank you for any pointers!


        • 1. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
          conroy Level 5

          Maybe the NEF are compressed and you have compression set to "none" in the TIFF save options dialogue. What are the image dimensions in pixels and what is the bit-depth of the TIFF that you save?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
            RobertJoseph Level 1



            Thank you very much for the reply!


            The image dimensions are 7360x4912 (again, the D800 is 32 MP, so the files are big.


            Because I am opening the file from Lightroom, all I do in CS6 is choose "Save" (not "Save as...") so I am not prompted to choose the compression options. Do you know where I can modify that setting?


            Thank you so much!


            • 3. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
              Noel Carboni Level 8

              You're doing nothing wrong necessarily.  Raw files in general are expected to be smaller than a rendered result.


              Are you saving your master file as TIFF instead of PSD for a particular reason?  PSD has arguably more effective data compression, especially if you choose to disable the "Maximize Compatibility of PSD and PSB Files" setting.



              • 4. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                conroy Level 5

                Uncompressed 16 bits per channel RGB will need 6 bytes per pixel, so there's approximately 200 MB for 32 MP. If you have a Mac, Finder will tell you 217 MB because it uses M to represent 1 million, not 2 to the power of 20.


                Do File > Save As..., pick format TIFF, change the filename if you want, click Save. You will be presented with a dialogue of TIFF options. The first section is compression.

                • 5. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                  JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                  You need to learn about image file formats. Some have capabilites that others do not.  What requires the most data in an image file is Pixel information.  Pixel data vary with image mode Gratscale, RGB, CMKK, mapped color, Color depth. Pixel data size varies greatly in size and some formats support compress and uncompressed pixel data. Some file formats also support layers layered files have pixels for all raster type layers.  Image files may have meta data. Tiff supports layers 16bit color depth compresses and uncompressed.  Tiff will vary greatly in size.

                  • 6. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                    RobertJoseph Level 1

                    Thanks everyone.


                    JJMack, It isn't a lack of knowledge of file formats (I am a software engineer on the iPhone team at Apple) - it is a TOTAL lack of knowledge about Photoshop (I am doing something wrong with the transition between LR 4 and CS6 because if I export as TIFF from LR 4 (or do a "Save as..." in CS6 (as conroy suggested)), the resulting tiff's file size is almost exactly what I'd expect.


                    I'll keep looking into this.


                    Thank you for all of the help!


                    • 7. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                      charles badland Level 4


                      Keep in mind Raw (NEF) files only contain data of one color (R, G or B) per sample point (what will become a pixel). Compare to the pixels in a TIFF file that contain three colors (R, G and B) per pixel.

                      So as, Noel says, Raw files tend to be smaller.

                      Also, did you try saving TIFF with a lossless compression, like LZW?

                      • 8. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                        Level 7

                        Lightroom probably saves the file uncompressed before sending it to Photoshop.  Photoshop will resave the file with the same options it came in with, unless you do "Save As" and choose other compression options.


                        40 Meg RAW can easily translate to 120 Meg uncompressed, and if you add some layers that can double (or more) the size if it stays uncompressed.


                        And LZW doesnt' work well on 16 bit photographs - sometimes leading to larger files than uncompressed (it's really designed for 8 bit data).  ZIP/Flate works better on 16 bit and 32 bit data, but takes more time to compress.



                        And if you want to talk to me about Apple and file formats: bring some ketchup, it'll make the crow go down easier.

                        • 9. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                          RobertJoseph Level 1

                          Thanks for the help everyone. It was a setting in LR 4 that was indeed sending the file off to CS6 without using compression.


                          Chris Cox, perhaps you'd like some of my APPL stock? Will that also make the crow go down easier?

                          • 10. Re: Reduce the size of tiff files
                            JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                            Try using meu File>Save As and before that if you want a small file use menu image>mode>8 bit if it were 16 bit changing to 8 bit will cut the pixel data in half.

                            In the save as dialog make sure you use the file format pull=down menu abd choose TIFF so you will at some point the see the tiff save option's  dialog where you can choose the compression.