Monday, May 4, 2009

Bit by Bit...

Today we go back to that 8 bits or 16 bits decision for working with images in Photoshop. What bit depth is realistic?

I should edit my photos at 16 bits, according to Martin Evening's book. But I can't see the 8 bit vs. 16 bit differences. Not in my finished photos. In fact, Mr. Evening admits that the differences are not visible to anyone. Martin works in 16 bits for the future "just in case." My original RAW files are in 16 bits. That's nice. Thirty years from now, when nobody cares, I'll possibly be able to go back and do some obscure editing trick with them.

Digital scrapping files are 8 bits. To make them 16 bits would needlessly make them twice the size. Digital scrapping files are zipped for downloading. If they were in 16 bit format, the zipped files would be even larger than they already are. There is a cost to downloading, paid by the site owner as a part of the cost to have a website. They are not going to pay more to send bigger files for no practical reason.

When I am working with images in Photoshop that have different bit depths and I try to add one to another as a new layer, I get a warning message pop-up. I'm not at the stage where I want to turn off those warning messages, so I edit my photos at 8 bits and I put them into digital layouts that are also at 8 bits. I don't get that annoying pop-up.

I'm not worried about file sizes, I don't have performance issues, and the image quality differences are not visible. Editing my photos at 16 bits counts as too much effort for too little result for me.

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