January 30, 2007

HD Photo format coming to Photoshop

Microsoft & Adobe have been working together on a plug-in that will offer support for HD Photo (née WMP*–Windows Media Photo), the new Microsoft-developed imaging format, in Photoshop.  HD Photo offers advanced compression (both lossless & lossy) and improved dynamic range relative to the standard JPEG format.  Timing won’t permit us to have support into the CS3 box, but we’ll find a way to get it out there.  My manager Kevin Connor noted,

"What’s good about HD Photo is that it was designed specifically for digital photography, with a good understanding of how digital photography usage is evolving," Connor said. "It will certainly take time for HD Photo to be as broadly accessible as JPEG–if it ever is quite that broad–but there can be reasons even today why a consumer might prefer to use HD Photo."

As with JPEG2000, which Photoshop began supporting in 2003, our goal is to ensure that support exists in Adobe apps ahead of customer demand.  That way, as images begin appearing, you’ll be good to go.

*The new name is far nicer, no?

Posted by John Nack at 7:38 AM on January 30, 2007

Comments

  • .carsten — 8:21 AM on January 30, 2007

    It might be better than jpg but it will have the same lifecicle as jpg2000 or png. And in the end, it’s just another format depending on a single company – this has never been a good argument…

  • dd — 9:14 AM on January 30, 2007

    hopefully it’ll be equally supported on mac/win.. not some vista-only gimmick..
    [Working well on cross-platform is a key requirement for being part of Photoshop. –J.]

  • Rosyna — 9:25 AM on January 30, 2007

    I think the new name is a misnomer to give people the idea Microsoft’s format is more high res and more non-proprietary than it actually is. Especially since it won’t be any more “HD” than RAW is. And Adobe apps have excellent support for RAW formats.
    [Well, at least it’s no longer pronouncable as “WiMP.” That’s progress. :-) –J.]
    And HD Photo is TIFF-based and therefore has the same limitations as TIFF.
    [Offhand I can’t think of any significant ones that would come into play here. I doubt that going above 4GB in file size, for example, is a design goal. –J.]

  • BWJones — 12:42 PM on January 30, 2007

    *sniff*…… a couple of points:
    1) Is this an “open” format? Microsoft has a history of abandoning users of previous proprietary formats (music and others) and I don’t see why people should be interested in it given that it is based off the TIFF format anyway (bringing with it those limitations).
    2) Archiving is another concern brought up by .carsten above. Provided we always have universal tools that can parse files and interconvert, this might be OK. However, I would like to see most companies standardize on a RAW format that could then be parsed into whatever format may prove useful for individual tasks.

  • John — 1:24 PM on January 30, 2007

    Oh, I’m so happy about having yet another proprietary image format available. Why, here’s a brand new way to foment incompatability and cross-platform distribution problems!
    And I thought my life was empty.
    [Tough crowd!! ;-) –J.]

  • Dude-X — 4:34 PM on January 30, 2007

    While it is a Microsoft format, the good thing about this new spec is that in the future it will support high bit displays that allow for greater colors.

  • Sachin Garg — 4:30 AM on January 31, 2007

    You guys might want to read this detailed comparison of Jpeg2000 with HDPhoto at The Data Compression News Blog.
    http://www.c10n.info/archives/454
    In technical analysis, it usually performed worse than Jpeg2000, but its not the final word, yet.

  • Maryland Wedding Photographers — 10:33 AM on January 31, 2007

    I believe IE7 and Vista will support this pretty quickly. Any word on the other browsers like firefox (mozilla) or safari? Second are the limitations in TIFF worse than JPG? I thought TIFF was a better format and just had a huge relative footprint.

  • Rosyna — 7:38 PM on January 31, 2007

    “I doubt that going above 4GB in file size, for example, is a design goal.”
    Microsoft has already said getting rid of the 4gig limit is a design goal for “a future version” in its WM Photo documentation.
    Also, Windows Media Player is already WiMP.

  • Rich MacDonald — 10:09 PM on February 01, 2007

    “Timing won’t permit us to have support into the CS3 box, but we’ll find a way to get it out there.”
    That’s good to know this is possible. I had read in an article about Apple’s 802.11n charge that adding features to products after being sold was becoming harder and that Adobe had held back features because of this. Of course, that must not be entirely correct because ACR has had a number of revisions per Photoshop version.
    [I don’t want to wade into the arcane details here, but releasing ACR updates is possible because they’re done for the sake of compatibility, not adding new features or capabilities. –J.]
    If it is possible to get something in after the official release, it’d be great if the smart-object perspective free transform could be added this way, too. You mentioned the programmer in charge of this feature had been out sick, and it’d be a shame to hold this feature for yet another 2 years because of missing the deadline for CS3, IMHO.
    Thanks.

  • kibets — 2:24 PM on March 12, 2007

    Sounds like a terrific idea. With IE7 and Vista support this could take off this pretty quickly. I welcome our new HD image format and would upgrade my version of Photoshop if required to utilize it.

  • Rob — 1:59 AM on March 17, 2007

    More bloatware and marketing hype from the master bulsh*tters at M$oft.
    Check out
    http://tomshardware.co.uk/2007/03/08/microsoft_hd_photo/
    Unable to prove Microsoft’s claims!
    Why would anyone ever want to believe anything that M$oft says?

  • Jim Hoerricks — 1:54 PM on December 03, 2007

    The beta plug-in from Microsoft is timed to expire at the end of the year and stop working. Any news of an update or final release?
    [Good question. Let me ping some folks and see what I can find out. –J.]

  • Tea Vui Huang — 10:04 PM on February 20, 2008

    HD Photo (JPEG XR) on Nokia & Sony Ericsson Phones‏
    Tea Vui Huang’s
    HD Photo Scribbler
    Microsoft’s HD Photo format (formerly known as Windows Media Photo) has been adopted as the new JPEG-XR standard. With Tea Vui Huang’s HD Photo Scribbler, you can now create and customise kaleidoscopes, as well as doodle on your Nokia & Sony Ericsson phones and be among the first to save them to the next generation JPEG-XR / HD Photo image format (.hdp)!
    http://teavuihuang.com/hdphoto

  • Aaron Spence — 3:02 PM on October 19, 2008

    G’day John,
    Did JPEG XR support make it into photoshop CS4?
    [To the best of my knowledge, JPEG XR remains a draft spec, and because it hasn’t appeared in cameras we haven’t heard a customer demand for it. Therefore we’re content letting the MSFT plug-ins address this capability within Photoshop. (In the past we invested early in a JPEG 2000 plug-in, only to see camera support/customer demand fail to materialize.) –J.]

  • Stefan — 4:13 PM on February 15, 2009

    Sounds like a terrific idea. With IE7 and Vista support this could take off this pretty quickly. I welcome our new HD image format and would upgrade my version of Photoshop if required to utilize it.

  • Marci — 3:54 PM on August 08, 2009

    The beta plug-in from Microsoft is timed to expire at the end of the year and stop working. Any news of an update or final release?

  • Scilence — 4:55 AM on April 13, 2010

    I can’t find any plugins, encoders or viewers that support HD Photo. Is this format officially dead? Would be a shame because Jpeg2000 (my weapon of choice) is very unreliable and JPG is very outdated.

  • Watcher — 11:40 PM on April 17, 2010

    I kinda sad. This format has been formalize as an ISO standard since last year. Furthermore, IE9 will support it natively. 3 years, 2 revisions since CS3, that has been no sound from Adobe on this. Adobe can release this as a plugin and all will be solved. Too bad this is too low on their list of things to do.
    It is actually disappointing and I will continue to stick with my CS3 until it is supported

  • Mark — 5:57 PM on November 19, 2010

    have to add my voice here. why the slow down in support for the format? is the format dead?

    [HD Photo became JPEG XR. –J.]

  • Mark — 4:05 AM on November 20, 2010

    Thanks for the quick reply John. I’m aware that the format is now known as Jpeg-XR. My question is; is adobe still planning on supporting it anytime soon? The CS5 product line currently does not appear to support it.

    [Well, like any work it’d have to be traded off against other priorities. At the moment customer demand has been essentially zero. In the past we’ve added format support (I’m thinking JPEG 2000) more or less on spec, anticipating that camera vendors would start generating files encoded this way. Once you support something, it’s very hard to remove support without ruffling feathers, so we’re being more circumspect this time. –J.]

    • Mark — 5:50 AM on November 22, 2010

      Ah, that sounds reasonable. Thanks again for the reply!

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