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Formats, saving and storage
Old 02-19-2006, 03:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So, yesterday I discovered the joy of LZW compressed .tiff files. On average I'm now using 1.4 the sapce I used to be. A 101Meg file can now be compressed to about 25megs with no loss in image quality.

There does seem to be a trick to it though in that it seems to only really work with 8bit images. I have a couple of 202megs images that actually went to about 250megs after doing the LZW compression. Does anyone know if 16bit images are supposed to be able to work with LZW or what? Also, how common is the LZW method, will I have any problems sending files to clients or print houses?

If the recommendation is to not use LZW, how is everyone backing things up? I used to have piles of CD's now I have stacks of DVDs. I imagine I'd save even more space by going dual layer but now with this LZW method I can fit a lot more on one DVD. I shoot a lot of different stuff and I'm wondering how other people organize their stuff. I try to organize for ease of dining something yet not having to rely on specific software to do it. So I build folder structures that include categories and such so that all I need to rely on is the operating system. The problem with this is that I have to have several copies of a file in different formats so that I can have files ready for whatever may come along. I like to have the original RAW files, a full size printable file and 5 different versions prepped for on-screen use - 1 Wallpaper version, 1 large web version, 1 medium web version, 1 small web version and 1 thumbnail. I have to do this because some web forums allow larger images than others and I hate the hassle of having to load photoshop and prep a shot for upload if I only have 10 minutes to spend online.

What do you guys use for your file management?
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Re: Formats, saving and storage
Old 02-19-2006, 04:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Instead of using LZW compression (which by the way, degrades image quality), why not archive and zip your files. You can save them on DVD, or a master-hard drive that is used only for archiving ( thus prolonging shelf life).

Automate your thumbnail creation process and file those in a master folder.
Be more selective of images you like. Make an effort not to have so many
images to post on a forum or forums (your time is better utilized doing
something more constructive). Be more selective of images you have ready
for posting.







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Re: Formats, saving and storage
Old 02-19-2006, 04:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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LZW is destructive? Since when? I just never used it because I didn't think LZW was widely used. But now I want to be saving space and I'd rather not have to use yet more steps in my process by dealing with zipping files. I know Photoshop has a zip option when saving .tif files but does it rely on me having Winzip or anything? I guess I'll go give it a try...
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Re: Formats, saving and storage
Old 02-19-2006, 06:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't believe LZW is lossy. If I remember correctly, LZW in GIF at least looks at adjacent pixels and if they match then it represents that as a mathmatical formula like "2 pixels of X color".
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Re: Formats, saving and storage
Old 02-19-2006, 07:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am tired of buring DVDs...i just went and dropped $100 on a 250gig external hard drive. I plan on archiving on it from now on and when it fills up, I will grab another one. I will only burn DVDs of sessions that I am actually having printed or extremely proud of.

I too am culling images that are only so so, there is no point keeping blurry shots or any other image that falls below basic quality standards.
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Re: Formats, saving and storage
Old 02-19-2006, 07:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Greg, are you sure you're thinking of the right thing. This is right out of the Adobe help file;

LZW (Lemple-Zif-Welch) Lossless compression; supported by TIFF, PDF, GIF, and PostScript language file formats. Most useful for images with large areas of single color.

If you know of some way that it degrades image quality, please let me know. Thanks!

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I think we are:
Old 02-19-2006, 09:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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see this link:
LZW compression

I'm more into the print industry. For the web, this stuff is just fine.
But for print (you want to maximize your need for information). Ergo, I use
no compression except for archiving purposes.

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Re: I think we are:
Old 02-19-2006, 09:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Greg, the link you gave me does nothing but support LZW being lossless and not damaging to .tiff file data. Why do you say LZW degrades image quality? What special area of the print industry are you in? If you don't use .tif files then I can see why you wouldn't use LZW. As far as I can tell from what I've been reading, LZW does nothing to an image file but make it smaller with the odd exception of some files becoming bigger.

I'm not finding any information that's making any sort of case against using LZW. If anything the information is telling me to use it on every image I can unless the file size increases.

I'm just trying to understand.
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Re: I think we are:
Old 02-19-2006, 09:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think part of my error in thinking is how the LZW is applied.
I have to look up an old e-mail from a friend of mine about a
project we were working on and someone sent us an LZW tiff.
Caused problems in continuous tone images.
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Re: I think we are:
Old 02-19-2006, 09:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you find it please let me know. If you have a real world example of the failure of the compression that might be of benefit to many people.
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