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How to work with an external editor in iPhoto
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 10, '06 05:09:40PM

The fact that PSD files are always sent to Photoshop as PSD files is partly due to the different way iPhoto treats RAW from the way it treats other image formats. When you edit a photo in iPhoto, it always keeps the original unchanged in the Originals folder and changes a copy of that original, which it places in the Modified folder. With every format except RAW, the copy it makes is of the same format as the original -- so there will be two photos called, say, IMG_001.psd; one in the Originals folder and one in the Modified folder. With RAW, however, the copy that gets saved is a different format from the original -- specifically, a jpg. This is to conform to the "RAW philosophy", which treats RAW as a digital negative that should never be edited directly.

So Osxpounder's observation made sense to me: if dragging the image to the Dock icon sends the original, while using the "Edit in external editor" menu item sends the modified copy, then RAW files would be sent as a different format via the two methods, while other files would be sent as the same format.

Interestingly, though, it turns out iTunes seems to be more intelligent than I expected: with RAW files, dragging to the dock icon sends the original; while with other files it sends the modified copy. I tested this (with a psd, in fact) by importing a file to iPhoto, editing it in an obvious way (I sepia'd it), then dragging the file -- lo & behold, the sepia version was what got opened in Photoshop! Pretty fascinating behavior.

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