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  • file format to use

    I am just getting started in copying old family pictures. I will be making a master set (a digital orginal unretouched master copy) to suppliment a Family Tree Maker file that my daughter is working on.

    I am most familiar with Photoshop and started saving them in .psd format. I then wondered what the best file format would be for archival purposes. Is there a comon file format that archivists use that is not likely to change over the years?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Makes sense. I was leaning toward TIF or Raw.

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    • #3
      Tif is the way I'd go...I think anyway... specifically because the file doesn't get compressed and information isn't lost in the compression as it does in jpeg. I prefer saving in Tiff as I work (unless I've got layers then I use psd) repetitive saves in jpeg format significantly reduces the quality of the image.

      Just my two cents.

      --Heather
      Last edited by Lampy; 01-13-2003, 04:51 PM.

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      • #4
        Two votes for TIF (which I have decided to use) any votes for RAW???

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        • #5
          Thanks to all 'ancient' travelers.

          Tif seems the way to go.

          Many thanks to all.

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          • #6
            Interesting question. Now that I have a CD burner I can save larger files. I had read that JPEG files diminish on each save but what about PSD files???? What is a PSD format? Last year I restored a bunch of old family photos and archived them on CD in PSD format, even after flattening.

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            • #7
              Cinderella,
              I am not sure what you mean with your question, "What is a PSD format?" If you mean, "Is it lossless?" - I don't know. I have heard that repetitive saves in any format can cause slight degredation. This is the reason cited to not keep 'saving' a modified 'original' - beside the possibility to ruin the original.

              My concern with using any of the Photoshop formats is that the format might not be recognized by any computer in 30 years and I don't want to have to re-format to a new file format and re-copy the files every 5 years or so.

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              • #8
                PSD

                PSD is Photoshop Document. Saving in this format will save your layers and some other settings for Photoshop. For pieces that are in progress or something that I'll go back to and change at a later date (like 6months or a year) it's the file format I save in. An example would be my business postcard. A year later I might bring it up and delete one of the text layers so I can change an address or phone number etc or keep the layout the same and swap out the sample images.

                I guess the real problem would come if you saved in this format and wanted to retrieve the image 10-15 years later. We can't predict what computers will be like or what formats will be readable in the future so all we can do is make informed choices. Or keep our computers around forever in functioning condition with archaic programs running. (Anyone still have a Commodore 64 I can use!)

                My criteria are simple and are the following:

                1) No loss of image from compression (I don't care about file size)
                2) A popular, non-proprietery, file format recognized by many programs (thus most likely to exist in the long run)

                PSD fits #1 but not #2. Tif meets both. Jpeg meets #2 but not #1 and so on.

                Just out of curiousity does a PSD file that was created on a really early edition of photoshop still come up in the latest version and vice versa?

                That's just my thoughts!


                --Heather

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the input. Guess one of my projects for this year will be to convert all those photos I saved as PSD to TIFF files.
                  Does anyone else save their photos on their computer as well as on CD's? I have room on my computer so far but perhaps I should have courage that the photos on CD will be as good as the ones on my computer. JR

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                  • #10
                    And that brings up another question. How to keep things organized on CD's. Does one just keep adding to a CD till it is full?
                    And then how do you know what is on it???? Sigh REcord keeping is a challenge.
                    Food for thought. I had mostly been scanning images into computer. I just took a look and they are in PSD format. Should I have scanned in as a TIFF file or RAW file for better results?
                    Going to look and see if my digital camera gives me options when I download to computer. So far all my photos from digital camera have been JPEGS. Typically they are 27.5 x 20.6 inches and 72 pixels of resolution . When I resize them to 5x7 I get 283 pixels of resolution.
                    So much to learn. Thanks for all the info.

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                    • #11
                      Camera settings / Contact Sheets for CDs

                      Not sure how your camera works but mine, an Olympus C-2500L produced Jpegs for low and high resolution and Tiff for super high resolution images. Check and see if you have different settings. You will find it useful to be able to change it. I use the super high resolution for client stuff (conservation before and after treatment)... but I can only fit about 20 shots on my CF card. When I'm taking family snaps I'll put it on high res and I can get a hundred or so. If I'm on vacation and don't have my laptop handy I'll flip it to medium and get a couple of hundred...they're still good enough for 4x6 shots from Ofoto or Shutterfly.

                      If you take it off your camera as a Jpeg and you plan on playing with it and saving it a bunch of times in photoshop just be sure the first time you save to change it to either psd or tiff so you don't run into the loss problem talked about earlier.

                      About record keeping on a CD. Here is what I have done in the past. I group things into time periods. i.e. Jan-June 2002 and so on. I print a list of the image names (or clients names) out and put it into the front of the CD case with the title (month/year) at the top. Once I've got the entire CD burned I'll create a contact sheet in photoshop. If you've never done this give it a try.

                      In photoshop:
                      File > Automate > Contact Sheets
                      Click browse and choose your CD drive (or whatever)...if you have multiple folders choose that option and it will pull all the pictures from all the folders. Photoshop will creat contact pages for you...then print them, fold them up, put them in your CD case and bingo you've got instant reference!

                      Just so you know photoshop includes the file name under each thumbnail so you don't really have to print out a list if you don't want to. I just do it because it makes my life easier looking for a specific client name first then for the image.

                      Hope this helps.

                      --Heather

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Heather for all the info. Now I can organize my photos on CD. Do you still keep yours on your HD after you put them on CD?

                        I did look at my Olympus camera manual last nite and see that I have TIFF options as well as HI,LOw,standard options in JPEG. Wish I could do some of my holiday photos again. Will be more careful about converting to PSD if I'm going to "work " on them.
                        Going now to print a contact sheet with Photoshop. Thanks again. I had been putting one or two files on each CD which means I have lots of CD's mostly empty !!!!A great relief to know there is a way to get control of the CD jungle I am creating.

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                        • #13
                          Hi again

                          I keep mine on the hard drive for a while especially the family pics because I'm always needing them. I have had a couple of CDs stop functioning properly and that's a bit concerning. Be sure to treat them well and from a preservation view keep them cool, dark and dry......the cool being most crucial! And keep them in their case!

                          I don't know how many people own DVD players and rent from Blockbuster or the like but it's amazing how many times we rent a movie and there is something wrong with the disc.... Just be nice to them!

                          Cheers!

                          --Heather

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                          • #14
                            Pdf

                            Howcome not anyone says PDF. The pdf-format has the same advantages as the psd-format. But its got an extra little one, cos it might not get the same filesize as the psd. Adobe´s going the PDF way. Besides you can use your acrobat reader if you only wanna browse the old photos.

                            Ill defrently go for the PDF

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                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=

                              My criteria are simple and are the following:

                              1) No loss of image from compression (I don't care about file size)
                              2) A popular, non-proprietery, file format recognized by many programs (thus most likely to exist in the long run)

                              PSD fits #1 but not #2. Tif meets both. Jpeg meets #2 but not #1 and so on.

                              Just out of curiousity does a PSD file that was created on a really early edition of photoshop still come up in the latest version and vice versa?

                              That's just my thoughts!


                              --Heather[/QUOTE]
                              I agree that if you are archiving masters then you want to save it in a format that might be readable in 10 years. I also agree that TIFF might be one...what about BMP (Windows bitmap), it hasn't been mentioned by anyone?

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