Image analysis in Photoshop?

Hi all,

I generally warn against doing image analysis in Photoshop, as it seems risky to me given the program was not designed for it. In the past there have been versions of Photoshop that convert intensity values by applying display adjustments when the image is saved. But I have been told this is not an issue in recent/current versions. Obviously there are many open source packages that are better suited for image analysis, but for those who are comfortable with or have already done their analysis in Photoshop - are there known risks?


Hi @jencwaters,

great question! I expect quite some people have an opinion about that. Here are my two cents: I’ve worked on some projects replacing Photoshop in applied workflows with open source tools. There are indeed some things which were (or still are?) hard with open-source tools. For example: Slice-by-slice registration of histo-pathological slices can be done manually really well in Photoshop. Also annotating areas showing cancerous tissues with arrows and circles is quite convenient. Similar workflows in Fiji or other open-source tools are sometimes complicated but definitely possible. I also generally warn scientists of Photoshop (usually on slide 2 of our image-analysis courses). Major reasons I see in reproducibility and transparency. To my knowledge, nobody has measured scientifically what Photoshop does to images, e.g. when you drag&drop layers around. Also it might not be known in detail how different versions of Photoshop process images. Last but not least: We cannot have a look in the source code. Thus, we cannot even try to ensure that there are no bugs in core-functionalities.

It all boils down to user training. If they know Fiji&Friends well, they won’t use Photoshop anymore, just because the open-source tools are much more powerful with respect to scientific image analysis than this particular software which clearly has a different purpose.



Great points Robert, thanks!

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