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Hi, I'm very much a beginner with Affinity Photo after years of only editing my photos in RAW form in apps like Lightroom and Capture One. What I've always understood is that a JPEG file is the final form, with edits 'baked in'. The idea of adding an HSL or brightness and contrast layer to a JPEG file seems very strange - surely this will push a compressed image too far? I understand adding pixel layers with creative effects or combining images, but what is the expert opinion on adjustments? My expected workflow will still be doing essential edits in a RAW editor, but should I export the end result as a TIFF file, for example, for more creative work in Affinity Photo in order to preserve quality and avoid artefacts?

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Hi there,

Welcome to the forums :)

Firstly I recommend changing your username, as this is public and therefore your email address may be harvested by spammers etc. You can do this through your Account Settings here - https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/settings/

On 1/17/2020 at 7:12 AM, mrpleasant said:

What I've always understood is that a JPEG file is the final form, with edits 'baked in'.

This is essentially correct, as JPEG is a rasterised format, meaning all layers/adjustments are flattened into the pixel layer(s) of the document.

On 1/17/2020 at 7:12 AM, mrpleasant said:

The idea of adding an HSL or brightness and contrast layer to a JPEG file seems very strange - surely this will push a compressed image too far?

There is the possibility of this, but it isn't necessarily guaranteed. You can still edit JPEG images without changing or 'pushing' the pixels too far, but it's certainly easier with a JPEG than with a RAW file.

On 1/17/2020 at 7:12 AM, mrpleasant said:

I understand adding pixel layers with creative effects or combining images, but what is the expert opinion on adjustments?

Each change or adjustment to your image is under your creative control, there are no 'wrong' answers as you're creating the final image that you're happy with - most (if not all) professionals will use adjustments as they allow for precise control to your image, or sections of it using masks.

On 1/17/2020 at 7:12 AM, mrpleasant said:

My expected workflow will still be doing essential edits in a RAW editor, but should I export the end result as a TIFF file, for example, for more creative work in Affinity Photo in order to preserve quality and avoid artefacts?

Will you be developing your RAW files in Affinity Photo, or another RAW editor? If you're developing images in Affinity Photo you don't need to export your image between developing and editing, as the image is passed through straight to the Photo Persona where you can begin editing.

If you're using an external app to develop RAW files then I recommend exporting to a 16bit colour space, where TIFF will likely give you better quality results but in exchange the file size will be considerably larger.

I hope this helps!

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In my view JPEG is delivery format. Sometimes though TIF is preferred delivery format but that depends how big is the job and how much storage and bandwidth is available and of course customer preferences.

TIF and PSD are good archive and exchange formats.

.afphoto is preferred work format when you are working on an image, having repeated saves and nondestructive tool layers.

RAW is the source format and if you have capable raw converter/DAM it is also a good archive format (save original and development sidecar/db instruction set).

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Thanks for the replies. Firstly, the forum admin team were on the case very quickly about my brainless username! Hopefully my email address hasn’t already been harvested by thousands of spammers…

Regarding the file format question, it’s partly hypothetical because I’ve only ever shot RAW in all my years of serious digital photography and processed the end result in either Lightroom or Capture One Pro and that will continue. All my highlight recovery, tone mapping, colour grading, etc. is done that way. Pixel-based editing (if that’s the right term) is quite new to me and Affinity Photo is quite obviously the biggest bargain in the photo editing world! It’s worth the price for the in-painting brush alone. I find I’m using it far more than I thought and the question quickly occurred to me that maybe working on my jpegs exported from Capture One wasn’t necessarily the best approach. If the Affinity Photo experts think even pixel edits are best done on a TIFF file rather than a JPEG then that’s the workflow I will adopt. It’s hard to believe anyone would expect good results doing shadow detail retrieval on a JPEG, but I wasn’t sure if that ‘rule’ extended to more creative editing work.

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2 hours ago, mrpleasant said:

If the Affinity Photo experts think even pixel edits are best done on a TIFF file rather than a JPEG then that’s the workflow I will adopt.

The recommendation is to export your file developed in your external app (Lightroom or whatever) to a file type that supports 16 bit color, & import that into Affinity Photo for further editing.

As explained here, the standard JPEG format is limited to 8 bit color, so if you exported to that file type you would often be throwing away a lot of color information with no way to get it back. If you export to 16 bit TIFF instead, you won't be throwing away any color information.

Worse, JPEG compression is lossy, even at 100% "quality," so even more image information would be removed than just from the reduction in color depth. As explained here, TIFF supports lossless (as well as no) compression, so as long as you export to lossless 16 bit TIFF files, you can be sure you will import all the information there is in the developed image into AP.


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This has been my understanding for years, but all those AP tutorials I've been watching on YouTube, etc. started raising questions in my mind. Whenever I explored the 'download the example images' links they took me to jpg files, whereas the same kind of links for Capture One and the like offered RAW files. Thanks for the thoughts; I will, as far as possible, always work with TIFFs in AP.

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