March 8, 2007 12:05 AM PST

Photoshop gets HD Photo support

LAS VEGAS--Microsoft announced a plug-in on Wednesday that gives Adobe Systems' widely used Photoshop the ability to read and write images stored in Microsoft's HD Photo format.

The software, written by Pegasus Imaging and Microsoft with help from Adobe, is available in beta form for Windows users as a free download on Microsoft's Web site.

Josh Weisberg Josh Weisberg

A version for PowerPC- and Intel-based Apple computers will be ready in about two weeks, and the final version should be done in April, Josh Weisberg, director of Microsoft's digital-imaging business development, said at a meeting here at the Photo Marketing Association trade show.

In addition, Weisberg said several hardware companies are building products with HD Photo support. Among them are Sunplus Technology and Novatek, Taiwanese companies that design image-processing sensors, and Ability Enterprise, a Taiwanese camera maker that licenses its designs to better-known brands.

Microsoft has spent years developing HD Photo, and it hopes to eventually replace the ubiquitous JPEG. Weisberg believes the first cameras supporting HD Photo will arrive in 12 to 18 months.

"Today's cameras can capture a lot more information than JPEG offers," Weisberg said. "It's getting a little long in the tooth."

HD Photo compresses images more efficiently, supports richer colors and can record subtler tonal detail, Microsoft argues. The company hopes to profit indirectly from HD Photo by encouraging customers to use Microsoft products that support it--Vista and its Photo Gallery software, for example, or Microsoft's Expression family of image-editing software.

HD Photo is built into Windows Vista, though in that product, it goes by its earlier name, Windows Media Photo. In its attempt to spread the HD Photo as widely as possible, Microsoft changed to the more neutral HD Photo name, gave it liberalized licensing terms and is seeking to make the file format an industry standard.

The Photoshop plug-in lets photographers save a "raw" image taken directly from a camera's image sensor as an HD Photo image, Weisberg said. The plug-in works with the current CS2 version of Photoshop and the upcoming CS3, due to be announced March 27.

Microsoft also announced that HD Photo will be supported in future versions of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. The company also plans to release a batch conversion tool for those who want to change existing images into HD Photo images.

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10 comments

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Noooooooooooooooooooooooo
Noooo noooooo :(
Gaah. Another useless format from Microsoft. This wont go anywhere and the only one that will end up using this is Microsoft. I wonder what they payed Adobe to include this crap.
Posted by Karl Viklund (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only one?
since 90 percent or so of teh world's computesr run MS systems, then that is a pretty large headcount for what you call no one. Lets start a pool on when Apple buys a licence.

Of course, the anti MS and non MS community coudl have come upo with a better standard themselves. And sold it to the world. JPEG is 20 years old. They have had plenty of time
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
OK, that's cool
WHile I'd love to hate on Microsoft, I really can't find a reason why
HD Photo is evil yet.

And it actually looks pretty good (and has a good file size).
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
First they lie about HD....
Now they're calling it RAW? I hope the FTC slaps them down for
deceptive business practices. This software is not losless. It's
losssy, which means it's not RAW. Not only that, it has none of
the benefits of what real RAW files offer. Like being able to fix
white balance errors, recovery of highlights, as well as many
other things.

There is no way this will become a standard as long as anyone is
doing any licensing related to it. Even then, to pretend is has
anything to do with High Definition, or using the term RAW only
shows they are intentionally using deceptive language to get
people to accept this Trojan horse into photographers' lives.

Just say no to (pseudo)HD Photo. Stop the buzzword bingo
Microsoft!
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No D.A.
Can you read? Images that are taken directly from a camera's image sensor are in the RAW format.
Posted by J. Blow (193 comments )
Link Flag
It's a good compromise
RAW is the best quality but produces HUGE files and is very slow to process. 99% of the people who own digital cameras do not need this level of resolution.

JPG on the other hand is very fast, but can cause less than desirable results especially at higher compression rates.

HDPhoto is a good compromise between RAW and JPG. It will offer much higher resolution than JPG (not as fullas RAW though) and will produce file sizes only slightly larger than JPG.

Not that Adobe and camera makers are jumping on board I see HDphoto as a very good thing. Time for the the MS haters to step back and look at the bigger picture here and benefit.

BTW, an independent group tried to do something similar a few years back. (The need has existed for sometime). Their result was JPG2000. A good format (not great), but it did not have the market influence that MS does. It never stood a chance of surviving.
Posted by frankwick (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PNG
PNG for the win. We don't need anything new. HD Photo will only be one of all formats out there. I don't think it will catch on. Microsoft always, always... develops their own standards instead of taking what already out there and free to use... I think this is stupid. We don't need it, really.
Posted by Karl Viklund (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who are "We"?
You mean you and your dog?
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
pkzip the bmp and TIFF files
Just don't get me started about version 8 of winzip with tsadbot.
Posted by Martin Ozolin (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
pkzip the bmp and TIFF files
With archiving there is 100% data reproducibility. I have used a REGISTERED version of pkzip since 1993. It was annoying to see windows ME launch into previewing zip files without my permission. Some new digital cameras have dropped TIFF support. Just look who are producing DSC and P prefixes in file naming formats. See who will quit embracing short filenames with a simple OS first.
Posted by Martin Ozolin (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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