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PSD files open as all black or all white images on Macs

ProSelect uses OSX system calls to read Photoshop PSD files. As Adobe makes changes to PSD files in newer versions of Photoshop, Apple also updates (sometimes belatedly) this area in OSX to allow for these changes but not necessarily in older versions of OSX.

If you are directly importing PSD files into ProSelect or using Reload Edited to update your originally imported images with retouched PSD versions and the resulting images in ProSelect come in as all black or all white images, the likely reasons are:

(a) You have not set Photoshop to save your PSD files to Maximize Compatability.

(b) You are using an older version of OSX that is incompatible with the PSD file format that you are using.

(d) You have a complex layer structure that OSX doesn't recognize.

Testing if OSX is the problem

Apple's Preview software also uses the same system calls as ProSelect when loading PSD files. So try opening your problem PSD file in Preview. If it opens as all black or all white then you know that OSX is the problem.


1. Set Save Preferences to Maximize Compatibility in Photoshop 

Go to Photoshop Preferences -> File Handling:  Set Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility to Always. You will need to open and resave your PSD files after doing this.

2. Upgrade OSX on your computer

We recently had a case with this problem when using OSX 10.12 (High Sierra).  However, the image imported fine on both OSX 10.14 (Mojave) and OSX 10.15 (Catalina) so Apple has obviously made some changes in this area in the later OSX versions.

3. Remove unnecessary layers

Open the file in Photoshop and try removing or turning off any unnecessary layers. Clipping mask layers have been known to cause issues in some cases. Save the file, then test it again by opening it in Preview.

4. Save as a flattened file

You can save your retouched PSD file as a JPG file or a Tiff file alongside your PSD file. In this case, make sure that the Last Modified date/time is newer than your PSD file because ProSelect always looks for and imports the newest version with the same filename (in either jpg, PSD or Tif formats) when you do a Reload Edited.

  KnowledgeBase Article: PSD files open as all black or all white images on Macs  

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