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File formats

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: File formats

Let's spend a few minutes in this video talking about the various different file formats you can might run into when you're working inside Photoshop and need to save a file so you can send it to something else, some other application to use there or something like a page layout application, or you're going to email it to someone or put it up on a website or something like that. So whenever you work inside Photoshop, whenever you open a file, regardless of what file format it is, it's actually getting opened up and converted into a Photoshop document while you're working on it. So I'm going to run you through a variety of different file formats that you might run into and kind of explain what they are used for.

File formats

Let's spend a few minutes in this video talking about the various different file formats you can might run into when you're working inside Photoshop and need to save a file so you can send it to something else, some other application to use there or something like a page layout application, or you're going to email it to someone or put it up on a website or something like that. So whenever you work inside Photoshop, whenever you open a file, regardless of what file format it is, it's actually getting opened up and converted into a Photoshop document while you're working on it. So I'm going to run you through a variety of different file formats that you might run into and kind of explain what they are used for.

And now as I said, when you open up the file, maybe whether it's a JPEG off your camera, or a Camera Raw file, at some point when you finally get it into Photoshop, it's getting converted into that PSD, that Photoshop document file format. Now, if you don't do anything to the file and just close it or save it again, it's still going to be the file format that you opened it up as. But if you've done things to the file like added a layer or added some text or things like that, then we call that the working file that's going to be saved as a PSD by default. And that working file is what preserves all the layers, all the channels, all the masks or selections or paths that you've added to that particular file.

It's important to always keep this working file separate from whatever file format that you're going to end up saving it as, because if you ever want to go back and make changes, change the type or move things around, of course, you're going to need access to that layered file. That's your original. So you really only throw that away or flatten it down, discard it, if you're absolutely sure that you never want to change your mind again. Any other file format you're going to choose from, or at least most of them, you're going to end up creating what we call a flattened version of it. And a flattened file is where all the layers get compressed or collapse into a single layer and then you save that flattened version as a different file format.

So for instance, if I were to actually go save this file, you can see it's a layered file. There is a bunch of layers. I have just turned them off right now to reveal them as I talk. But this is a layered working file. It's a Photoshop file. If I were to go to File > Save As and save this as a different file format, let's go ahead and choose from Format, let's choose say JPEG. What's going to happen is it's going to say oh, well because you're not choosing the PSD format, this file must be saved as a copy with that Format option chosen. And in order to do that, I'm going to not be able to save out the layers. So that's why you get a little warning symbol next to the Layers checkbox.

And it's grayed out because it's not available in that file format. So one little working rule here is you don't necessarily need to do a Flatten command. There's an actual command in the Layers panel that you'll learn about later where you can choose Flatten and then save your file. The file can be flattened as part of the saving-as process. So I actually tend to recommend people not to do the Flatten command. Because then they accidentally do a Save instead of a Save As and they have lost all their layers. So basically choosing the file format as part of the Save As command, doing the automatic flattening in order to create that file is the better way to go.

It's a way to protect the original layered file from ever being saved over. Well, let's go and cancel this. Let's talk about some of these other file formats then that you might derive from this layered Photoshop file. Of course the first one, the one you probably are already familiar with somewhat is JPEG. Now, JPEG is a compressed file format. It's what's called a lossy compressed file format. In order to save space to make the file smaller, it actually does throw away original information from the file that may not be all that important. How much information gets thrown away depends on the Quality setting that you choose.

So at the very high end, the highest Quality setting, your eye may not actually be able to notice anything that's thrown away. Whereas if you go lowering the Quality then you actually start seeing things like artifacts and compression artifacts and so forth. JPEG is probably one of the most common file formats. It's typically what people use to email each other. It's what a lot of the online photo services accept. If you use your Shutterfly or Flickr even Facebook or whatever, you're typically throwing up JPEG file formats to those online services. A key thing to remember about the JPEG file format, just keep in mind, is that because it is a lossy file format, you typically only want to save something as a JPEG one time, which is why it's important to keep that layered Photoshop file around.

Let me explain. If you open up a file that's already been compressed as a JPEG, and then re-save it as JPEG again, you're compressing it a second time. So every time you open, do something and re-save, that lossiness gets accumulative and you're actually deriving a lower quality each time you do that. So that's why if you need to make a change or want to do some more retouching or move things around or whatever, you want to go back to the original layered Photoshop file, make those changes there, and then save out a JPEG from that original Photoshop file so that lossiness of the compression is only happening one time.

If you're shooting JPEG off your camera, of course, you want to make sure that you're shooting what the highest quality JPEG possible, so that at capture time, you're not losing too much information just from the very beginning. Okay. So when it comes time to save this file, let's say as a JPEG, these are layered Photoshop file and we're going to do a Save As, just like I was showing you earlier. So File > Save As, and from our File Format list, we'll choose JPEG. And typically, every file format you choose here, when you choose the file format, when you click Save, you're typically presented with a secondary dialog box for options for that specific file format.

So the options of interest on a JPEG, of course, are the Quality setting. The default is 5 or Medium. These word presets are just presets for a particular number. So if you typed in 10, it would automatically switch over to Maximum. If you take the slider all they way over to the right, the Maximum value is actually 12 not 10. And Maximum is typically the setting you would use if you wanted to archive your final corrected files, let's say as JPEG, so they take up less disk space, but they don't actually introduce noticeable defects when they do the compression.

Of course, when you're just trying to do a quick comp or do an email photo or whatever, throw it up on a Web Photo Gallery where you don't care about absolute highest quality, 5 is a good starting point. You can see as you lower the Quality setting, the file size is updating to let you know what that's going to look like. Just to kind of take it down a notch, if we take it all away to 0, I can see the Preview checkbox is turned on. And it may be tough to see our video, but you'll see if I look at the edges of the text here, it's getting all mangled and artifacty or pixelated, because JPEG is really compressing a lot of that information and throwing it away. Okay.

So again for archival purposes, you would take it all way to Maximum, and that's fine. Hopefully again you're keeping the layered version around if you think you need to do further editing and if you need to save out another JPEG, you would do it from that layered Photoshop file. Okay, so I'm going to hit Cancel. Don't be surprised if you choose a file format from your original Save As dialog box and yet another dialog box comes up. It's typically because there are additional options that you may want to choose from. The next file format that's really common for a web graphic at least is the GIF file format or a GIF depends on what side of the country you're from I guess.

And this is also a lossy file format, but from a different perspective. The loss happens before you actually save the file out. In order to save a GIF, it has to be converted into what's called an 8-bit graphic. All that really means is the graphic that can only have up to 256 colors or less. It's typically not ideal or used for photographs. It's more used for graphics, web graphics. Areas of solid color, things like buttons, or logos, or labels or things that you might identify as areas of solid color or high-contrast edges on a website.

So banners and backgrounds and things like that. So typically what happens when you actually want to save a file as a GIF, you convert it to an 8-bit graphic first. I'm not going to get into that in this video here, we'll cover that later. But typically you're reducing the thousands of colors that might be available on a particular image and telling it to only use a certain set of colors to represent the overall image. So the file size is typically very small, because there's just not a lot of color information in it. So those are two file formats most used for the web: JPEG and GIF. There is a third file format that is used for web graphics, but also just interactive content and that's the PNG file format or PNG.

It's great for working with Flash. It's also a file format that you might use when you're doing presentations like working with Keynote on Apple, Macintosh's or PowerPoint. And the reason why is that PNG is one of the few file formats that actually supports real nice quality transparency. So, GIFs can be transparent, but only one level of transparency, meaning a color can be chosen to be turned invisible or transparent, but it's only one color. So you get a very hard edge, a pixelated edge. PNG supports true Alpha Channels or masks with 256 levels of opacity between 100% and 0 opacity.

So a nice soft drop shadow that you can actually see through the soft edges, right? The PNG file format is something that supports that or if you mask an image out to a transparent background. If you save a file like that, as a JPEG, then all those transparent areas will get converted to solid white, opaque white pixels. And that's typically not what you're going to want if you're trying to overlay these files on top of each other and see through around their edges. So the PNG file format is great for again PowerPoint, Keynote and working with Flash and creative interactive content. A couple of file formats to talk about for printing that are common that you might run into.

Now, the first one is an EPS format, an Encapsulated PostScript file. This is kind of an old-school format. It's kind of being phased out. I mean some people still use it, but it's largely been replaced with other file formats. It's something that you typically would see in a print workflow either using a product like InDesign, or Quark or Illustrator. And basically, what's happening when you save a file in EPS, your pre-rendering or pre-printing the file to disk, and then attaching a preview file that travels along with it. Now that can either be a JPEG preview or even a TIFF preview depending on which platform you're saving the file from.

The key point about an EPS file is that it cannot be modified. I mean you can't get to the pixels inside an EPS file anymore without reopening that in Photoshop. So you can assign a color to an EPS file, let's say, once you place it into a product like InDesign or Quark or Illustrator. A lot of production artists like this file format because they are protected. A designer can accidentally assign a spot color to it for instance. That color information needs to be baked into the EPS as you actually save it out. So when you place an EPS in these other products, again you're actually just making a reference to the EPS file that's sitting on disk.

What you're actually seeing in that application that you place it into is that preview image just so it can be represented during design time. When you actually print the file, the preview file is not actually used as the printed version. It's actually taking the EPS file and sending to the printer and outcomes the high quality version of that behind it. Another file format that is common in printing workflows is TIFF. This is a little bit more flexible than EPS files, because you can actually assign spot colors to them. So for instance, if you have a grayscale TIFF file, you can apply a color to that and tint it in products like InDesign, Quark or Illustrator, because the color values of those can be adjusted.

So just something to keep in mind. There are some different reasons to have EPS and TIFF. A lot of time, at least in an Adobe workflow, if you're going from InDesign or from Photoshop to InDesign or from Photoshop to Illustrator, you can just simply just place your layered Photoshop file. There is actually no need to flatten it or save it out as an EPS or a TIFF. The advantage of that is that you still maintain access to the native original layered file. In fact, there is a feature called Edit Original. So if I place the Photoshop file in say InDesign, it gets rendered and represented as if I had flattened the version in Photoshop before I save it out, but it's still the layered version behind the scenes.

So if I need to make a change, I can just Option+Double-click or Alt+Double-click on that Photoshop file that's been placed in your Illustrator or InDesign. And it simply opens that original layered file back in Photoshop. You make your change, do whatever you want to do to the file, change the text, move it to layers around, whatever it is you're going to do, when you save that Photoshop file, when you go back to Illustrator or InDesign, the updates are automatically applied. So a lot of flexibility and it kind of makes EPS and TIFF seem a little old school and dated. You'll still run into them if you're a designer and working with others that really haven't quite adopted a PSD workflow between Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

But if you haven't actually started playing with that kind of workflow, I encourage you to check it out. Okay, the bottom-line, lots of little acronyms and three and four letter words I'm throwing at you. At the end of the day, the most important file format you really care about is keeping that layered Photoshop file around as long as possible, because it's what's going to give you the flexibility to change your mind. And then when you do have a need to save out a file as a different format for your other purpose, it's as simple as doing File > Save As. Don't bother doing the Flatten command. So you don't need to go to the Layers menu or the fly-out menu of Layers and say Flatten image first.

Just skip that step. Instead do File > Save As, choose the file format that you're interested or need, whether it be PNG or JPEG or whatever. Let's do PNG for this. As part of that Save As process, it's automatically going to save out a copy. It's not going to save over the original PSD file. You can see it's picking up the PNG file format. It's giving you the warning sign to let you know that this layer will be flattened as part of the process which is not a big deal because you're keeping that layered Photoshop file around. Okay, so there you have it. PSD is your friend.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 94335 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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