Extremely large .photo files

Discuss Pixelmator Photo and photo editing on iPad.
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2021-03-10 11:28:36

I just bought the app for my iPad Pro and been using it to edit my a7Rii files through the files browser in the app. However, when I edit a RAW file, a .photo file is generated, which is exactly a duplicate of my original file of 45mb. This actually fills up the storage really fast as each file is large to begin with. So I wanted to ask if this is normal and is there an alternative?

Secondly, when I do some healing function on the RAW file, the file size jumps to 200-300mb. Not sure if I’m doing anything wrong here.
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2021-03-10 16:19:05

Hey there, the short answer is: that's normal and there aren't any alternatives at this time. The slightly longer answer is: we are aware of some ways we can optimize things and while they won't solve every issue (nondestructively recreating areas of RAW photos requires a lot of data) we do plan to make some improvements in the future.
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2021-03-10 16:40:24

May I ask, when in the future you are exactly planning to resolve this issue? It’s been over two years I had reported this issue.

Thank you.
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2021-03-20 07:14:41

Yes, this is a bit of a sticking point for me too (not just with Pixelmator, other apps have the same issue). I'll add my own thoughts here, but to be clear, I'm not at all critical of Pixelmator, it's just some IMHO stuff .

I actually use Raw Power for all my initial non-destructive Raw editing. Nik seems to have found a way to make that work, with the edits being both stored in the Photos library, and easily synced with other devices for further editing on another device. They're also much more streamlined, adding only a handful of MB extra over a Photos edited image.

I'm just puzzled as to what is being missed with regards to the Pixelmator method (and to mention another rival, the same issue affects the Affinity Photo edits too, although theirs are even worse), but for years we've had non-destructive editing data stored in side-car files that are of negligible size, or indeed Photos itself stores this data without bloating the library in any noticeable way.

At the moment Pixelmator is unsustainable for mass non-destructive Raw editing. At the moment, I'm just using it for the occasional creative edit, and saving as a JPEG without the non-destructive option. As an iCloud storage user, with a maximum of 2TB available, it is not an unlimited supply, and as a hobbyist, I don't particularly need the most comprehensive of non-destructive data stored.

FWIW (based on a Nikon 24Mp NEF image, usually around 25-28MB each Raw at 14bits):
Lightroom non-destructive editing data in sidecar files equates to 4-5KB - accompanying Previews can be configured for preferred size and quality, so these can add varying amounts of extra storage needs, but can be configured down to almost none at all if you want.
Pixelmator Photos files end up around the same size as, or slightly larger than, the original (effective doubling the storage requirements).
Photos adds about 5-6MB extra with the overlaying JPEG Preview image.
Raw Power adds about 6 MB extra to the overlaying JPEG Preview image on top of the Photos version, but it's still less than half the size of the original.
Affinity Photo ends up at a ridiculous 250MB from the same image type (only added as a reference point, Pixelmator is far from being the worst for this), and is not even truly non-destructive.

I appreciate there will be good reason for the larger file sizes, but perhaps the possibility of more user choices on what's saved would be useful, so we can choose how to compromise on the data stored if needed.

Just some thoughts anyway, otherwise I really like Pixelmator on my iPad, it's an excellent editor, and my goto when I need to apply more creative editing. But I would use it more if it wasn't for the quirky non-destructive editing setup.

Cheers.