Saving Spaaaace!!

Hard drive costs are getting lower while capacity is getting bigger and bigger. However I have always felt that if you can compress something without loosing quality then you should do it.

I regularly spend time saving space whenever I complete a photo shoot. I have the rejected photos exported to Jpeg and crunched with JPEGMini. These of course are for archival purposes only. They will not be used for editing again. It is the .TIF files that can take up the most room on your hard disk but there are steps to reduce their overall size.

Please note that these steps are taken once I have finished with the file, compressing a TIFF file with the methods shown below can really slow down your work flow when saving/opening the file.

These are the save options for TIFF files in Photoshop. I will be concentrating on the Image Compression and Layer Compression sections.

The image above is one I took of a pepper corn dropping into a shallow pan of water. It has four layers. Dust, Curves, Smoke and Background.

If this file is saved with Image Compression (IC) set to none and Layer Compression (LC) to RLE then the file size is 150mb.

If saved with IC and LC set to ZIP then the file size is 91mb.

If saved with IC and LC set to ZIP and the layers turned off the file size is 76meg.

Turning off the layers does mean that in Lightroom the image will be displayed as a white block. For this reason I also save out a JPEG (crunched with JPEGMini of course) and have that next to the TIFF as a guide. The resulting JPEG was only 400k in this instance. That combined with the 76meg file was still below the 91m one.

As a reference I also use the handy snipping tool in Windows 7 to quickly clip out the layers tab in Photoshop as a guide too. This is saved in the same folder as the main shot.

You may be thinking well its only around 20mb difference between the two and the 91mb file would display better in Lightroom. Which is true, however this is one of the smaller TIFF files I have. Some of mine are around a gigabyte in size and the method of compression using IC - Zip and LC - ZIP is far greater than shown above.

This massive panoramic file saved with IC - None / LC - RLE resulted in a hard drive chewing 1.7gig of data.

Saved with IC - ZIP / LC - ZIP resulted in a better size of 900mb.

While saving with IC - ZIP / LC - ZIP with the layers turned off resulted in a less heart attack inducing 755mb.

That is a saving of nearly 1 gig of data!

As said I only use this as end of use compression as the saving and loading of the files are too slow other wise.

Hope this article saves you some spaaaaaaaaace!