How to work with, edit, and share HEIC images without data loss

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  • Reply 21 of 26
    Is there an option to save in a format with LESS compression instead of even more?

    I don't store thousands of photos on my phone and have lots of storage capacity so file size isn't an issue. Image quality is. It would be nice to have a choice of something lossless, or at least only gently compressed. It makes editing so much easier.
    Just leave the Camera setting as HEIC, as shown in the article. Since that setting also affects video compression, setting it to JPEG will unnecessairly revert to H264 instead of H265, then the video will take twice more space.

    There is no point to get obsessive-compulsive with the iPhone camera if yours is a recent model. There are some apps that saves in RAW format but these may create more problems than they resolve to non-OCD people.
    Thanks for the advice, but as I mentioned, space is not a consideration for me. Quality is, particularly since the vast majority of what I capture, still or video, is not the end product but an element to be incorporated into a larger project. H.264 is a pain at the editing stage, and H.265 is even worse. Same situation with JPEG and HEIC.
    Just out of curiosity, how H264 can be a pain at the editing stage? It is almost the default codec today with all its standard and pop-culture variants. I understand that H265 may not be needed in much of the cases, but the issues with H264 should not be that severe right now?
    There are two major problems with H.264 as a source for post-production.

    The first is the frame structure. One of the ways H.264 reduces file size is to record only "unique" pixels for most frames. It only stores a complete picture in any particular frame when it absolutely has to. So it starts with a complete picture for Frame 1. For frame 2, it records only what has changed since Frame 1, not a whole image. Same with Frames 3, 4, 5, etc. until there's enough change to force a new full-picture, like on a cut to a different shot.

    The editing software obviously can't work on a partial frame, so the editor is either restricted to only being able to cut and make changes where full frames exist, or the footage has to be converted into a format that compares the partial frames to the full frames and reconstructs full images for each frame. That is obviously a time-consuming process. (Some software will do the conversion in the background so it's invisible to the user, using terms like "rendering," but it still takes time and limits what the editor can do while it's processing.)

    The second problem is the enormous amount of data compression. It's intended as a delivery format, so it throws away parts of the image data that are perceptually acceptable. That's fine when it's applied at the final stage, but it interferes with processing like effects and color grading that may be applied during editing. Then, since the finished edited product needs to be in a consumer-friendly format (like H.264), it suffers going through another round of heavy compression. It's like dubbing VHS tapes -- the quality gets worth with each successive copy generation.

    As a delivery format, which is what it was intended to be, H.264 can actually look very good. It just isn't a good choice for an acquisition format.
    The first problem is science, so I cannot comment. I suggest not to worry too much about those. But the second problem is under your control. To preserve effects and color grading obviously you are using an appropriate intermediate format, consult Apple's documentation on those codecs. The initial footage must be perfect, subsequent editing will not ameliorate a crappy footage so don't spend so much time on that. Unfortunately the majority of the footage not produced by you will be crappy, and it will not be your fault if you give up on compression and focus on quality. Examine iTunes videos, they can be further compressed to the half of their actual size but this is not the Apple way. Re-recording a low-resolution clip from an iPad and iPhone to Quicktime Player on the Mac can be a good alternative to enlarging and may help in some up to 1080p projects.
    Transcoding can not magically "restore" what's missing from the original capture. Once the recording codec discards parts of the signal, they're gone. Transcoding to an intermediate format does nothing to make color grading or effects rendering any better than if one were working with the original H.264 footage.

    I appreciate your effort to establish what I shouldn't worry about, but it's really not necessary. I got this. The only piece missing from my personal puzzle is an iPhone that supports better codecs. I'm not expecting that, I was just indulging some wishful thinking. It's not even a big deal, as there are lots of alternatives to using an iPhone for acquisition.
  • Reply 22 of 26
    lorin schultz said:
    Is there an option to save in a format with LESS compression instead of even more?

    I don't store thousands of photos on my phone and have lots of storage capacity so file size isn't an issue. Image quality is. It would be nice to have a choice of something lossless, or at least only gently compressed. It makes editing so much easier.
    Just leave the Camera setting as HEIC, as shown in the article. Since that setting also affects video compression, setting it to JPEG will unnecessairly revert to H264 instead of H265, then the video will take twice more space.

    There is no point to get obsessive-compulsive with the iPhone camera if yours is a recent model. There are some apps that saves in RAW format but these may create more problems than they resolve to non-OCD people.
    Thanks for the advice, but as I mentioned, space is not a consideration for me. Quality is, particularly since the vast majority of what I capture, still or video, is not the end product but an element to be incorporated into a larger project. H.264 is a pain at the editing stage, and H.265 is even worse. Same situation with JPEG and HEIC.

    I'm not suggesting that higher-quality settings with their inherently larger file sizes are the right choice for everyone, I'd just like to have the option. With Apple making so much noise about magazine covers and feature films being shot with iPhones, it doesn't seem unreasonable to wish for a more "pro" oriented storage format. Maybe it could even be an extra-cost add-on feature purchased through the App Store.
    Just use one, or more, of the [excellent] camera apps available in the App Store that allow you to shoot in RAW [+ JPEG], just like a "real camera"...  e.g.:
    Halide.    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/halide-camera/id885697368
    Moment.    ‎Moment - Pro Camera on the App Store - itunes.apple.com
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 23 of 26
    lorin schultz said:
    Is there an option to save in a format with LESS compression instead of even more?

    I don't store thousands of photos on my phone and have lots of storage capacity so file size isn't an issue. Image quality is. It would be nice to have a choice of something lossless, or at least only gently compressed. It makes editing so much easier.
    Just leave the Camera setting as HEIC, as shown in the article. Since that setting also affects video compression, setting it to JPEG will unnecessairly revert to H264 instead of H265, then the video will take twice more space.

    There is no point to get obsessive-compulsive with the iPhone camera if yours is a recent model. There are some apps that saves in RAW format but these may create more problems than they resolve to non-OCD people.
    Thanks for the advice, but as I mentioned, space is not a consideration for me. Quality is, particularly since the vast majority of what I capture, still or video, is not the end product but an element to be incorporated into a larger project. H.264 is a pain at the editing stage, and H.265 is even worse. Same situation with JPEG and HEIC.

    I'm not suggesting that higher-quality settings with their inherently larger file sizes are the right choice for everyone, I'd just like to have the option. With Apple making so much noise about magazine covers and feature films being shot with iPhones, it doesn't seem unreasonable to wish for a more "pro" oriented storage format. Maybe it could even be an extra-cost add-on feature purchased through the App Store.
    Just use one, or more, of the [excellent] camera apps available in the App Store that allow you to shoot in RAW [+ JPEG], just like a "real camera"...  e.g.:
    Halide.    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/halide-camera/id885697368
    Moment.    ‎Moment - Pro Camera on the App Store - itunes.apple.com
    Nifty! Thanks.
  • Reply 24 of 26
    volcan said:
    emoeller said:
    What a mess!  Why would Apple default to the lossy .jpg format, which slightly degrades the image each time it is saved, when .png would be a better option?  Why isn’t this switch in formats better documented in the menu options?  
    You read it wrong. Apple isn’t defaulting to JPEG, they’re defaulting to HEIC.
    I think the poster was referring to the automatic conversion to JPEG when the image is sent by email.
    Yes, thank you that is what I meant.   All of these are compression formats (except RAW of course) do provide some degree of degradation with each edit/save cycle..   Some, such as HEIF/C provide high compression with minimal loss (at least that is the hope).  A simple script to load/modify/save repeated 50 to 100 times on JPEG files clearly will show the degradation.

    What I object to is that Apple isn't as transparent as it should be on what format is being saved when.
  • Reply 25 of 26
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,398member
    Adobe added HEIF to Photoshop but still haven’t bothered with Photoshop Elements.
  • Reply 26 of 26

    I have had the same issue with the green jagged lines (both to the side and the bottom of the picture) and already wrote Apple via the feedback page at least twice since macOS 10.13. 

    Because not only it doesn’t work on Quicklook and Finder’s icon preview, but also in any picture edited in Photos on macOS. In that case the HEIC/HEIF picture is *saved* with the error in the file. The only way to remove them is to "revert to original". It usually happens if you rotate, even if of just one pixel, the image.

    The only way to avoid any issue, is to edit pictures on the iPhone. The iOS Photos app doesn’t have the bug.

    I was hoping for a fix in 10.14, but although the introduced export to HEIC in Preview, they didn't fix anything. In 10.14.1. 

    This is actually ridiculous. They introduce a new compression format, that has a lot of potential and then it only works reliably on the iPhone. As usual macOS feels like a second thought and even after *3* releases of macOS (last 10.13 and the latest two 10.14's) it is still not working.

    I thought I had issues with my iMac, the graphics driver somehow were at fault, but after seeing this article it is clear that they have a serious bug they are either ignoring or have a hard time fixing, in the way they handle HEIC files in macOS. Which is weird, the issue crops up practically immediately when working or exporting to HEIC.

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