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File Question about Elements Digital Software

Marc Hildebrant

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Group,

If the JPEG file is a "loss type", then when you are using the various tools in say Elements, does your picture continue to lose detail as you use the program?

If so, then the only digital software tool to use would be the ones made for raw files?

Marc
 
Save as a tiff until you're ready to create the final jpeg. Also, save an unchanged copy of the original image file and work on a copy. That way, you can always start over if you screw up the image with bad editing or if you need to change it for some reason.
 
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Alan,

Thanks for the comment. As an example: Start with a RAW canon file. Convert to TIFF file and perform operations in Adobe Elements as a TIFF file, until done. Then convert to JPEG.

Save RAW file as backup.

Make sense?

Marc
 
I pretty much agree with Alan, but something else needs to be mentioned - demosaicing, which is the process of converting the raw sensor data, which is not a viewable image, into a viewable rgb image. When you import an image into Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop (I'm not familiar with Elements), it demosaics and may apply some of the camera settings in the metadata like white point. If you then export as a tiff file without doing any other manipulation, it may have some changes like white point, may embed a color space and you need to be careful of number of bits / color. You can make 12 bit / color tiff files or 16 bit / color tiff files. My Nikons capture at 14 bits / color, so I don't want to make 12 bit tiff files. I agree, shoot raw, backup your raw files, import into your post processing software, do what your going to do and export as a tiff or jpg depending on your need. As you noted, the jpg standard has a lossy data compression algorithm at 8 bits / color. So, you may not be able to recover the raw file from the tiff file, but IQ will be very similar, but you cannot recover the raw file from the jpg as a lot of data has been thrown away. I believe you can create a tiff file as a wrapper around a raw file, i.e., no demosaicing done, but I don't see why you'd want to do that, just keep the raw file. There are different demosaicing algorithms out there and some boast more detail than others.

Detail is measured in lines / inch. Detail is different from sharpness, which is subjective. The detail captured is a function of the number of sensor elements you have on your subject and the quality of the lens you use and cannot be increased in post. There are other factors like lens flare and atmospheric effects, ... Some post processing operations decrease detail, others do not. Operations that can reduce detail are size change and rotation in addition to the no brainers like using a blur filter. Operations like adjusting color do not impact detail. Sharpening can be changed in post, but again, is subjective. Adding more contrast can make an image appear sharper along with all the different types of sharpening algorithms out there.

If there's a lot more here than you wanted to know, sorry.
 
Group,

If the JPEG file is a "loss type", then when you are using the various tools in say Elements, does your picture continue to lose detail as you use the program?
Yes. And there is nothing you can do to prevent that. Make sure you're working on a copy and not the original.
Because of the JPEG compression applied to the file editing changes to tone and color will interact with the embedded compression grid producing artifacts (can look a lot like noise) and banding in the image.
If so, then the only digital software tool to use would be the ones made for raw files?
You can do that but the same degradation occurs when changes are made to tone and color -- inescapable.
If you want to avoid degradation due to editing of JPEG images there really is no option except to not edit JPEGs. Edit raw files and if possible avoid editing in a raster/pixel based editor like Elements/PS -- no point in adding a destructive element to your workflow.

CAVEAT: Today in 2022 most of us are shooting pretty high-res cameras -- at least 24mp images and in many cases more. Editing the high-res JPEG from a modern camera will result in the same degradation to the image we've always experienced but we can no longer see it. If you can't see it does it matter?
 
Ysarex and others,

Thanks for the info.

Marc
 
Alan,

Thanks for the comment. As an example: Start with a RAW canon file. Convert to TIFF file and perform operations in Adobe Elements as a TIFF file, until done. Then convert to JPEG.

Save RAW file as backup.

Make sense?

Marc
With Elements, when you open a RAW image, Camera Raw opens first. There is no conversion you have to do. Edit as you wish. Then click on Open image and the rest of Photoshop Elements opens for more edits.

It's when you save it you should save it as a TIFF. Elements automatical converts it to something it can see from the RAW file. Save it as a separate file. Be careful. DOn't save it over the original otherwise, you'll lose the original RAW file. You can shut off your computer now and go away and come back tomorrow and open the TiFF file you created and edited already and continue your editing. Save again as a tiff. Finally, when you're ready to create a jpeg let's say to email or download to the web, then save a third file as a jpeg. It may be a smaller size for the web or whatever. If you want to make more edits next month, open the same edited Tiff file and edit. Then create another jpeg or whatever you want to do. The TIFF won't take on artifacts that jpegs create.

Also, keep in mind that compression, when you make a jpeg, can be selected. The more compression the more artifacts and possible banding like in a blue sky. With Elements, I use a quality 10 for my jpegs although an 8 probably would be more than required. If you need a smaller file for email or web posting, then I reduce the resolution, not the quality. So for posting on the web 1500 pixels wide should be OK, also OK for email.
 
Group,

If the JPEG file is a "loss type", then when you are using the various tools in say Elements, does your picture continue to lose detail as you use the program?



Marc
NO (If I understand the question) If you open a file and edit and edit and edit, nothing has changed. Even if you save and save and save, as you work at editing, the image is still the same and doesn't degrade.

The loss is only when you save and then re-open, because now the file has to be compressed and unpacked again. While editing, it is what it is, the file is not being processed.

Otherwise there's a general yes. If I have something, and I shoot JPG only, and I know I'm going to open and save and possibly re-open again, and edit more, and maybe, save and re-open again. I save the image as a TIF as my master working file.

Also some parts depend on the compression. Open, edit and save, just the one time. Then someone else will open the finished work, and they will have a nearly identical version of the edited file. I often save at 10 which is 10 out of 12 in photoshop and 80% in most others. The image will print fine and be useful for the person you sell or give it to, again, without noticeable loss.

It doesn't hurt anything to always save at 100% or 12, except in the case of transferring, because of file size. If that matters. Or storage for space on disk.

But the main point of my answer is, while you are editing, you are not losing anything. And part two is, if you save that as a TIF, and later re-open, you don't have any loss at all for that version. There will always be some slight loss in opening the JPG the first time. I doubt that that small change is detectable.

Save and open 10 times and you will be more likely to start seeing flaws and errors, and other artifacts. Each version losses sharpness and color, and starts to get pixelated. A small image, will degrade faster than a large image, because it has less data to start with.
 
NO (If I understand the question) If you open a file and edit and edit and edit, nothing has changed. Even if you save and save and save, as you work at editing, the image is still the same and doesn't degrade.

The loss is only when you save and then re-open, because now the file has to be compressed and unpacked again. While editing, it is what it is, the file is not being processed.

Otherwise there's a general yes. If I have something, and I shoot JPG only, and I know I'm going to open and save and possibly re-open again, and edit more, and maybe, save and re-open again. I save the image as a TIF as my master working file.

Also some parts depend on the compression. Open, edit and save, just the one time. Then someone else will open the finished work, and they will have a nearly identical version of the edited file. I often save at 10 which is 10 out of 12 in photoshop and 80% in most others. The image will print fine and be useful for the person you sell or give it to, again, without noticeable loss.

It doesn't hurt anything to always save at 100% or 12, except in the case of transferring, because of file size. If that matters. Or storage for space on disk.

But the main point of my answer is, while you are editing, you are not losing anything. And part two is, if you save that as a TIF, and later re-open, you don't have any loss at all for that version. There will always be some slight loss in opening the JPG the first time. I doubt that that small change is detectable.

Save and open 10 times and you will be more likely to start seeing flaws and errors, and other artifacts. Each version losses sharpness and color, and starts to get pixelated. A small image, will degrade faster than a large image, because it has less data to start with.
You've picked up a lot of misinformation -- I'm going to assume the Internet as source because a lot of what you're getting wrong here is common Internet myth. We can't fix the Internet because in the time I take here to help you get this straight the myths and misinformation will have spread further, but let's go over it all here.

Opening a JPEG does no harm. Open and close a JPEG 1000 times and not an iota of data is changed.

Re-saving a JPEG does minimal harm. The open and re-save 10 times process will do damage but it's not a big deal.

Yes, converting the JPEG to a TIFF stops the re-save degradation that you don't really need to worry too much about in the first place.

Converting a JPEG to a TIFF for editing does not help mitigate degradation due to editing.

Editing, specifically changes to tone and color, is the primary cause of increased JPEG degradation and nothing can be done to prevent that except don't edit a JPEG.

Let's look (this may take multiple posts). Here's a SOOC camera JPEG (cropped and re-saved once with no editing).

h-tully.jpg


The side-lighting is harsh and has resulted in the sky too light and unsaturated -- we're going to fix that -- an edit.

NOTE: I deliberately went back a decade to an old 10 mp camera I no longer use. I did that because at that lower resolution we'll be better able to see what's happening. This is an issue. What I'm going to show you here still happens with our modern cameras but because of the increased resolution we don't see it. Problem's not gone but it's swept under the rug as they say.

Now here's my edit of that JPEG with only one change -- adjust the sky tone and color:

h-tully-2.jpg


Look in the upper right corner of the sky and do you notice some mottling? Let's zoom in and do a side by side:

jpeg-edit.jpg


That's the same section of sky on the left from the camera JPEG and on the right my edit of the camera JPEG. Look at the edited version and look for straight edges -- small straight lines -- look for squares or partial squares.

On to next post for more images.
 
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Let's have an even closer look at a section of the edited sky and be sure we see the squares.

jpeg-edit-2.jpg


Those squares are how the JPEG algorithm works it's magic. It is brilliant by the way and very effective at what it does. We have all benefitted greatly from it's creation. But there's a note in the JPEG specs from the designers -- it's what they call an archive format not meant for editing.

JPEG has to compress the data. Bottom line of all data compression methods is we can compress redundancy. If there is no redundancy we're screwed. So what JPEG does is create redundancy by changing your photo's data. JPEG lays a grid of 8 x 8 pixels over your image -- that's 64 pixels in a grid cell and in most photos those 64 pixels are mostly unique -- no two the same and so no redundancy. The JPEG algorithm then very smartly starts to alter pixels so that a grid cell that had say 60 unique pixels ends up with only 36 unique pixels -- compressible redundancy. Those squares you see above are the grid cells. Look real hard in the previous post at the section of sky from the camera JPEG and they're there but they don't show nearly as well as they do once the edit has been applied.

JPEG does a great job of blending the changes it makes in the cells and between the cells so that we see a smooth sky.

Any editing of a JPEG for tone and color will interact with the compression grid that is a permanent part of the JPEG and basically start to make the grid visible. That's what's happening here. We see it basically as a mottling kind of noise in the edited image. Convert the JPEG to a TIFF before editing and the compression grid is still there and the same degradation takes place. What degrades a JPEG most? Any editing for tone & color.

Just for fun here's that same section of sky from the edited JPEG and now the processed raw file.

jpeg-edit-3.jpg
 
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Ysarex​

How did you acquire such detailed info about Adobe software ?

Thanks for the info.

Marc
 
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Let's have an even closer look at a section of the edited sky and be sure we see the squares.

View attachment 258647

Those squares are how the JPEG algorithm works it's magic. It is brilliant by the way and very effective at what it does. We have all benefitted greatly from it's creation. But there's a note in the JPEG specs from the designers -- it's what they call an archive format not meant for editing.

JPEG has to compress the data. Bottom line of all data compression methods is we can compress redundancy. If there is no redundancy we're screwed. So what JPEG does is create redundancy by changing your photo's data. JPEG lays a grid of 8 x 8 pixels over your image -- that's 64 pixels in a grid cell and in most photos those 64 pixels are mostly unique -- no two the same and so no redundancy. The JPEG algorithm then very smartly starts to alter pixels so that a grid cell that had say 60 unique pixels ends up with only 36 unique pixels -- compressible redundancy. Those squares you see above are the grid cells. Look real hard in the previous post at the section of sky from the camera JPEG and they're there but they don't show nearly as well as they do once the edit has been applied.

JPEG does a great job of blending the changes it makes in the cells and between the cells so that we see a smooth sky.

Any editing of a JPEG for tone and color will interact with the compression grid that is a permanent part of the JPEG and basically start to make the grid visible. That's what's happening here. We see it basically as a mottling kind of noise in the edited image. Convert the JPEG to a TIFF before editing and the compression grid is still there and the same degradation takes place. What degrades a JPEG most? Any editing for tone & color.

Just for fun here's that same section of sky from the edited JPEG and now the processed raw file.

View attachment 258649
Ysarex:

1. Wouldn't the quantity of banding and artifacts depend on how much jpeg compression the camera or editing program is set for?

2.Wouldn't the resolution of the original also affect the quantity of banding and artifacts?

3 . Why is there no banding or artifacts in the Processed RAW image considering you had to convert to an 8-bit jpeg? What was it before you started editing? What editing program did you use? (8 or 16-bit?)
 
The reason I'm asking all these questions is I'm trying to determine if Adobe PS Elements can be used in some way without suffering from banding due to it's 8-bit limitation. No one's clearly defined those limitations, if any.
 

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