28 May / 2013

Batch convert files to LZW TIFF

Ever wondered how to batch-convert your files to LZW-compressed TIFF files? Here is the easy solution…

But why TIFF? Answer: Simple, due to compatibility. The image editing/viewer software which doesn’t read TIFF, doesn’t deserves attention… Also TIFF files hold the image data in a lossless way (unless JPEG).
The LZW compression? The LZW stands for Lempel-Zih-Welch, an universal lossless compression. (You may read more about this algorithm at Wikipedia). The image data of a TIFF can be automatically compressed with the LZW algorithm before saving the file. Regardless of the slightly slower save/read times, the LZW compression really saves disk space.

Basic scenarios:

  • you have a lot of layered TIFF files, but uncompressed or compressed with ZIP (unless LZW, the ZIP compression isn’t a common standard, many image viewers/editors may fail to read)
  • you have a lot of layered PSD files
  • you have a lot of (different) other formats and you want to store all of them as TIFF, compressed with LZW

Opening every file and saving as TIFF isn’t an option for sure, especially for several tens or several hundreds of images. So here’s how to deal:

Image Processor

The Image Processor dialog

You need Adobe Photoshop and Bridge. Open up Bridge and navigate to the folder where are the files to be converted. Select all the files you want to convert and click Tools → Photoshop → Image Processor… Check the Save as TIFF and the LZW Compression options. Make sure no other things are checked. Then hit Run. If the Save in Same Location option was selected, don’t worry about the overwrites, because a separate folder, named TIFF will be created in the given location and the converted files will be created inside this folder. Also don’t worry about the channels, layers, adjustment layers, etc., these will be kept in the resulting TIFF!

Finally you may delete the old files and replace them with the new TIFF’s. But before the replacement, it’s advised to make some checks by opening several old and new files to make sure, everything is preserved…

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