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I have been doing work in Photoshop, but the saved .tiffs look vastly different outside of Photoshop. I save as .Tiff because often the files are larger than 2GB so no PSD. But with later or image compression the Tiff size is not that bad. I can get it on my iPhone. But in Mac OS Preview, Mac OS Photos, iOS Photos, and every app other than Photoshop, they look different regardless of compression. it only renders properly in Photoshop when open. The files are larger, but that's not the problem. They are complex (quite a few layers differently blended in groups that are blended, see screenshot. This doesn't happen with all of them, but many. Every other app outside of Photoshop renders them with "extra detail"/noise or what I recently noticed is some type of merging. I can't do command+option+shift+e (not sure of the name of that shortcut) because it doesn't blend properly. Even with that shortcut applied to the smaller groups and those groups blended as they were it is still distorted somewhat in PS and very much in Preview on Photos on the Mac. Every other app except Photoshop. Black and white ones get a ton of extra white spots and color ones get extra color dots.

This is beyond adjusting curves/color/the light because the rendering is a bit off outside of PS. It is noise but also what appears to be some merging. Different apps different amounts. I have tried the above keyboard shortcut, a white channel, taking a screenshot and blending that on top, and File->Scripts->Flatten All Layer Effects.

I don't mind the larger files, but I can't share nor see the images outside of Photoshop because of this issue. I can't flatten or merge in any way because it is a lot worse. In other apps, it looks as if there is some flatting/merging but not entirely. Often times screenshots aren't even the same.

Thank you very much

groups are blended and layers within them are blended

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  • Photoshop can save larger than 2GB, you just have to use PSB rather than PSD - helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/file-formats.html
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 27, 2022 at 7:53
  • @Tetsujin thank you, yes I use .PSB for my files bigger than the .tiff limit of 4GB. But my concern is I want to put an export of the final result on my phone but flattening, merging, everything I have tried is very unlike what it looks like with layers blended at 100% zoom in Photoshop.
    – irfan mir
    Feb 27, 2022 at 10:17
  • Layered TIFFs with blending modes are an Adobe thing - nothing else will likely support them - they're non-standard. Why do you need to have a layered TIFF? What is the image going to be used for? Can't you export instead in a common format like PNG or JPEG?
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 27, 2022 at 10:49
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    Pehasps you dont understand that blend modes do not export on semitransparent surfaces
    – joojaa
    Feb 27, 2022 at 12:58
  • @BillyKerr I would love to do that but it looks totally different when not layered. Tried so many ways to blend and merge and the often gradient masks even but in this file there really aren’t those, but the look is vastly different. This isn’t the case on some of them. A fair amount do look fine in other apps, but this one and another important one look like they’re merged somewhat and then with noise. I want to share the exports with people as digital art
    – irfan mir
    Feb 27, 2022 at 14:25

2 Answers 2

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  • Photoshop is a high-end professional level image editor.

  • Apple Preview, Apple Photos, etc - are designed for moms, dads, grandparents, and teenagers to view photos and do some minimal editing such as rotating or cropping.

There's no comparison between the two toolsets.

You're using a top-of-the-line image editor and expecting bottom-of-the-line applications to support and understand the advanced features of the professional tool embedded in the image.


Layered tiff files are a Photoshop proprietary thing that 99% of all other apps, especially Apple apps, won't recognize. Nothing else sees the layers (or transparency) other than Photoshop. All other apps are using the proxy composite preview embedded in the Tiff.

If the desire is to use a Tiff in various, smaller, less professional applications, flatten the tiff to remove layers and transparency so it conforms to standard tiff abilities.

The tiff format has restrictions. Adobe works around them in Photoshop to allow you to save to the Tiff format. Even though you really shouldn't if you need to retain layers and/or transparency. PSD or PSB are better, more stable, formats to retain live construction. (Note PSD and PSB are compressed formats similar to TIFF)

Note, layered tiff files have a greater chance of becoming corrupt. If a file is in danger of corrupting and an OS attempts to save the file, the first thing that rescue will do is dump all the non-standard format code - i.e. the layers and transparency in a tiff.

Tiffs with layers and transparency are simply not as universally usable as tiffs which conform to the format standards.


A general workflow is a two file workflow. One file with all the layers and effects intact and live, then a separate file for output/external use.

Save your layered file for easier editing in the future... then flatten and save a copy for other applications.

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  • thank you so much. I learned a lot. How do I safely export then? Everyway I try to flatten or merge in PS for a single layer file without blended layers, the final result is very close to what the other apps show when I open the layered Tiff in them
    – irfan mir
    Feb 27, 2022 at 0:28
  • Then you may have some construction anomalies which can't be determined without direct file examination -- which is off topic. Or you aren't viewing the file at 100% in Photoshop when flattening/merging layers.
    – Scott
    Feb 27, 2022 at 1:09
  • that's what someone said on the Adobe forums but I am viewing at 100%. Zoomed in and out zoomed in especially there is a ton of distortion. Is there a way I can dm you a link to the file of you think you can help me. Please. It is large. But please don't keep/distribute. It is very important to me that only I have the source but I want to share the export as I see it in Photoshop. I ask and hope you can respect that. Please
    – irfan mir
    Feb 27, 2022 at 1:44
  • I don't have the time to examine files. Sorry.
    – Scott
    Feb 27, 2022 at 1:47
  • Thank you so much for your help already!
    – irfan mir
    Feb 27, 2022 at 2:32
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Thank you, everyone. Answer below. While I do have graphics issues on my Mac, I checked across devices and operating systems before posting. I have been dealing with this concern for over a month on many files, but suddenly it is a lot closer if not fully resolved. I did nothing.

Multiple people mentioned to me view it at 100% for how it actually looks. Not sure how zooming to that can change it, but

After setting them at 100% and I liked them that way, I opened in Mac OS Preview to see if it was the same and it was. In other apps. Slightly different than when zoomed out a bit, but closer to how I want it. Not at all merged, but some extra noise.

However, in Mac and iOS photos as well as other devices what appears to be some sort of merging/flattening and a lot of excess noise is still there. I learned this is from edits within those applications somehow. Probably because as I found out online they are non-destructive and somehow over top. but these images have tons of layers. When I go to edit myself, the extra white noise disappears and it looks how it does in PS (even better than Mac Preview and other graphic editing/making apps), but when I get out of the editing mode, it goes back to merging/flattening and obtrusive noise.

I removed these edits, could not do so in iOS Photos, but in Mac Photos by clicking Edit and then reset adjustments and very thankfully the images are in a place I am grateful for and fine with. I have quite a few others from January that have similar issues, but I don't have time to test those. However, these are what I wanted.

Thank you so much, I learned a lot.

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