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[FAQ] Fireworks Layered .PNG and Layered .TIFF files

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  • Staff

Since this subject comes up often I am writing a definitive statement.

Fireworks (layered) PNG files

There is no such thing as "layered PNG".  The PNG standard does not define a way to store layers, and only deals with flattened images.

Fireworks saves out additional layer data to PNG files in a proprietary format using a private tag. A definition for this proprietary data has never been made public.  A PNG saved by Fireworks can still be used as a flattened image by any application that can handle PNG files.  These applications will handle the standard data and ignore the proprietary Fireworks data.

Affinity handles standard PNG files.  But, it cannot import or export the layer data using the Fireworks method.

There is no expectation that we will ever be able to handle Fireworks layer data in PNG files.

We acknowledge that being able to support Fireworks PNG files would be of great benefit to users of Affinity.  If a public definition of the data format becomes available, we will be able to address the issue.

Layered TIFF files

There is no such thing as "layered TIFF".  The TIFF standard only handles flattened images as part of the publicly described tags.

TIFF does allow for companies to register additional tags for their own use. Adobe registered two private TIFF tags that enable them to embed layer data in a TIFF.  These tags are an extension and are not part of the central TIFF standard.  These tags are used to embed PSD layer data into a TIFF, in addition to the standard flattened image.

Since Affinity has a PSD importer, we are able to import the layer data from a TIFF if it has these tags.  However, since this is handled by our PSD importer it is subject to the same limitations as importing a standard PSD into Affinity.  We make clear that while we aim to provide the best third party support for PSD, we can never replicate 100% the way Photoshop handles and displays a PSD file.  Photoshop has its own approach to applying alpha/transparency, vector masks and vector strokes, layer effects and gradients.  This means that while we can offer importing of editable elements of a PSD file, the result will not be a one-to-one pixel reproduction of what you see in Photoshop.

We have registered our own TIFF tags for embedding Affinity layer data in a TIFF, in similar fashion to PSD layer data. This is intended for use with DAMs that use TIFF as their interchange format.  When saving a TIFF file, if your document has multiple layers you will be given the option of including Affinity layer data.  This will preserve the editable elements of a multi-layer document.  This obviously comes at a cost of increased file size.  Our TIFF tags will use our proprietary data format and as such can only be used by Affinity applications.

At this time we have no plans to save TIFF files with the PSD format layer data.  PSD layer data held in a TIFF file will be imported and converted to the Affinity format.

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