8-bit or 16-bit for digital painting?
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Thread: 8-bit or 16-bit for digital painting?

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    8-bit or 16-bit for digital painting?

    There seems to be no information on this for digital painters on the web that I could find with an easy search, so I just wanted to ask the community here whether, as digital concept artists, or digital for-print illustrators, you use 8 or 16-bit colour modes? It may be an obvious choice for some, but I've been painting in 8-bit for quite a while (not really thinking about it) without issue. For concept artists, is the gain in speed and efficiency of file size for 8-bit more valuable than a colour gain in 16?

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    I have just today started using 16-bit. I am guessing that it will allow AT LEAST 2x as much colors as 8 bit, however based on the extra 8 bits (again, only guessing here ) it might, I don't know, give 2^8 times as many colors? I'll let you know how it turns out. However, the downside to using 16-bit = me discovering I need a new computer current one too slow to handle 16-bit. I'll let you know how it works out for me.

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    yes 16-bit allows for a much, much greater depth of colours across the image. 8-bit is 256 shades each of red, green and blue (16.8 million colours), while 16-bit is in the trillions of colours. 16.8 million is probably fine for general concept art, but from what I've read it's still not adequate for very precise image editing where extreme subtlety of gradients is important, esp. with photography.

    All jpgs are 8-bit, so what we usually see in the Finally Finished forums is hardly compromised in quality from a general visual perspective. I'm just curious to know if using 16-bit is more of an exercise for photographers looking for hyper-editing capabilities, or if there are painters who feel it's a necessity and can explain why. My own impression is that it's probably not necessary for most painters, but I'd love to hear other opinions. You're right, though, it slows the computer down.

    Last edited by Lord Edwin; January 7th, 2010 at 12:02 PM.
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    Whew, haha you actually know this much deeper than I do. I thought it was 256 colors * ways of shading the individual colors, but I didn't know it was R*G*B = 256^3 = 16 million colors!!!! thank you thank you for explaining, now that I know it's actually 16 million, no need to go into 16-bit anymore, no need for a new comp, NO NEED TO SPEND THAT 1000$ thanks a lot man

    anyway, as far as I know/read, 16-bit is for photograph editors, while 32-bit is pretty common in hardcore graphic applications, such as films and etc. hehe a help-you thread turned into a help-me thread. thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Edwin View Post
    yes 16-bit allows for a much, much greater depth of colours across the image. 8-bit is 256 shades each of red, green and blue (16.8 million colours), while 16-bit is in the trillions of colours. 16.8 million is probably fine for general concept art, but from what I've read it's still not adequate for very precise image editing where extreme subtlety of gradients is important, esp. with photography.

    All jpgs are 8-bit, so what we usually see in the Finally Finished forums is hardly compromised in quality from a general visual perspective. I'm just curious to know if using 16-bit is more of an exercise for photographers looking for hyper-editing abilities, or if there are painters who feel it's a necessity and can explain why. My own impression is that it's probably not necessary for most painters, but I'd love to hear other opinions. You're right, though, it slows the computer down.


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    iv been wondering the same thing, thx guys

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