On 06.04.2014 at 04:52 A.M Gary Aitken wrote
I'm frustrated by large storage requirements for xcf files resulting from
processing many jpg image files.  [...]

Are there any plugins, or is any work being done / planned, on some means to
save (even a selected set of) operations so the result can be reconstructed
from the original?  It would save me many GB of space.

Hi,

besides the original payload data (here: image information) every file format contains additional technical information for the application's internal use. This explains it from a technical point of view. From a user's point of view: yes, you are right. Thank you for pointing it out.

As far as I know there's at least a chance for improvement with the switch to GEGL in GIMP 2.10. GEGL is a graphics library for non-destructive image editing. This means it internally stores the set of processing commands instead of bulks of image data. User of RAW photo processors know this as 'receipt'. Indeed, such a receipt can be stored in a very small file. GEGL itself (separately from GIMP) stores receipts in XML files. For more information about a new,
GEGL-based file format for GIMP Mitch could be able to tell more.

Kind regards,

Sven

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