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Photoshop's PSD native format turns out it's kind of the Rosetta stone between Painter and Photoshop in that almost all the information between the two applications can be preserved in this particular format. Painter's RIF file for example is its proprietary format and Photoshop doesn't even know how to read it. So there is no way to take a RIF file and read it in to Photoshop. But Photoshop can come into Painter, and fortunately Painter can save Photoshop files. What I'm going to show you here is what's compatible in the Photoshop format between these two applications and what's not.
So let's begin by just talking about this basic compatibility. First of all, you've got layers, which is probably the most important element between the two that really work well. So layers are compatible, layer groups are compatible, masks, blend modes, some of them which we'll get to in a moment. Selections, guides, Embedded ICC Profiles, all of these transfer back and forth between Painter and Photoshop when using the PSD format. Now with regard to the blend modes, you have a subset as Photoshop has come out with new versions, they continue to add a number of different blend modes in there.
Painter calls these compositing methods, and it doesn't have all the ones that Photoshop does, there are some in Painter that Photoshop doesn't have. But what I have here is that subset that is shared between the two of them. I won't read them all off here, but it's generally the ones that are kind of the work horses of blend modes are available to go back and forth. In some cases if Painter doesn't quite understand the blend mode from Photoshop or vice versa, it will try to replace it with the closest one, but some of these blend modes are unique enough that you won't get the same thing.
So knowing this can let you, in some cases do a little bit of collapsing to bring something in without seeing a sudden change due to the fact that a particular blend mode is not transferring across. Now let's talk about what's not compatible between Painter and Photoshop. On the Painter side, within the RIF format, there's no code in Photoshop to know about these things. And we'll see in the moment there are things in Photoshop Painter has no code to take advantage of it. So in Painter, Painter's dynamic plug- in layers, the text layers, shapes, which is another layer form in Painter, also transformed layers, our watercolor layer, the liquid ink layer and the impasto layer.
So you can see it's basically these specialized layers in Painter, many of them, which provide natural media tendencies, and in other cases just vector information. But because there are stored at a unique format Photoshop doesn't know what to do with them. What it will generally do is rasterize that layer on the way to Photoshop. So you'd lose the editing capabilities of what you've done in Painter. And for that reason if you want to totally sure that you can always edit later all of the unique features in Painter, be sure to save a RIF file of that information, and then go ahead and create a Photoshop version of the file for export to Photoshop, and just realize some of what goes over to Photoshop it will no longer be editable, either in Photoshop or if you bring that file back into Painter.
Whereas the RIF version of that same file will still have all it's editability sill intact. On the Photoshop side, Painter doesn't know about adjustment layers. It doesn't know about Photoshop's text or shapes layers, and in fact you can see they even share same names, but don't let that fool you and think oh, they both have Text or they both have Shapes. They are using the same terminology, but the internals of that data is very different, than either application recognizes. Photoshop's Smart Layers cannot go into Painter.
The same with layer styles, vector masks, layer fill opacity. These just don't make it across. And once again Painter will do its best to rasterize or it will discard some things, like adjustments layers. It has no knowledge of what an adjustment layer is, and it just sees it as a foreign invader, and it kicks it out on the way in. So any adjustments layers would be lost. So, once again what you need to consider is in these areas you need to flatten or rasterize these particular layers, prior to going into Painter, and just as you do in the Painter, you may want to save a Photoshop version of the file that you tag as Photoshop native or however you would want a nomenclature it.
And you'd save another one for Photoshop to export to Painter. That one you'll that, well, I'm going to lose some information there, but I've always preserved the data in a master file. So these are the basic compatibilities, and for a large percentage of the work that I do, I rarely run into this incompatibly issue. Yes, there are things that don't transfer back and forth across, but it's a far smaller percentage than this chart would lead to believe.
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