December 23, 2013
What is the ideal RAW to TIF or JPG printing workflow?
I had last week with a photographer friend who wanted to know if I knew how much of a difference there was between saving a RAW file (out of Photoshop) as a JPG or a TIFF file. As I researched it, I realized it was more complicated than I thought.
In short, there are lots of "buts" and "ifs." I can tell you this: A RAW, a JPG, and a TIF can all be saved as either 8-bit or 16-bit files. This workflow seems to make the most sense: adjust the image in RAW and save it as 16-bit RGB file, edit it in Photoshop, and then convert it to CMYK and save it as and 8-bit TIFF or (some say) JPG file. The point being, if you knock a 16-bit file down to 8-bit before you edit it, you will likely remove necessary information from the original that could result in a less than optimal reproduction.
As with most color workflows, you're best off asking the commercial printer that will reproduce the finished project, the workflow they are most qualified to tell you exactly what type of files will work best within their workflow and how to configure the associated settings.