http://www.TheArtofRetouching.com - Photoshop CS5.5 Tutorial - Difference of 8-Bit and 16-Bit Color - This Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 tutorial is on the difference between editing images in 8-bit color and 16-bit color resolution. While it should be obvious that 16-bit color is twice as good as the 8-bit color, it just doesn't seem that way to the naked eye. This is because humans can only see less than 10 million colors. Since 8-bit already exceeds 16 million colors, why in the world do we need to work in a color space that moves us into trillions of colors? Visually, they both look the same, why use the higher resolution?
This very quick Photoshop CS5.5 tutorial is only a few minutes long, but guarantees you will never work in the 8-bit color space again! With two adjustments using the levels tool, you will see that using the 16-bit color space is the only way to go, if you want to achieve the best resolution possible.
Once you have watched the tutorial, I am sure you will be convinced. Then what should you do to properly make an 8-bit to 16-bit conversion? Well, thats easy. just go up to the pull down menu and select Image -- Mode -- 16-Bits/channel. Suddenly, you are whisked away to the wonders of color perfection. But, wait, you ask... what about that part, just below, that says 32-Bits/channel? Why talk about 16-bit when we can clearly select 32-bit and bask in all its glory? Well, settle down there, sparky. One thing at a time. I mean, if 16-bit is already trillions of colors, and can save the example in the video tutorial, isnt 32-bit just complete overkill? I sure think it is. But then again, who am I?
To continue with our color space conversion, once we have made the 8-bit image, a 16-bit image, then we can make all of our Adjustment Layers and save our layered PSD or TIF file. When we want to send the file off to the prepress house, or magazine printer, simply go back to Image -- Mode -- 8-Bits/channel and save the flattened file for them. At this point, all the color changes are done, so no need to have all that extra data. It was only needed to avoid banding or other color corruption before the CMYK conversion.
So then, why do cameras still work in 8-bit color space? This is because 8-bit color space is old school. If a camera takes a picture, it is good with 8-bit. It does not need to make the extra jump to 16-bit. Don't forget, we can only see a fraction of the 8-bit color space anyway. The issue comes in when we, the retouchers, start messing with things, and accidentally cause the banding. The camera did a good job, the first time around.
This Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 Tutorial answers the question: What is the difference between 8-bit and 16-bit color space resolution? This tutorial is also valid for older versions of the Creative Suite series, including CS, CS2, CS3, CS4 and CS5. If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer consulting one-on-one classes. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users