Choosing a Bit Depth for Color Correction

When fixing images, bit depth is an important consideration. While most Photoshop users are most comfortable working with

Color Correction allows you to make important improvements to color and exposure within an image. The top image is the original image; the bottom image has been enhanced.

8-bit images, there is a strong case to switch to a 16-bit workflow. The extra bit depth gives you more image details (especially in areas such as shadows and highlights). The extra bit depth can also reduce banding and posterization in gradient areas (such as skies). Since most digital cameras and scanners now offer 16-bit modes, be sure to explore this option.

Mode

Pros

Cons

8-bit More filters.

Faster image processing. Greater compatibility with older video and motion graphic tools.

16-bit Greater range for color and exposure. Allows for more processing of image without visible pixelization.

Banding in gradients. Image can show "wear" more quickly after application of filters or adjustments.

Larger file sizes. Not as many filters or adjustments available. Overkill for users working with 8-bit video formats.

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