11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2013 7:23 PM by JJMack

    Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?

    *Photonic Level 1

      I produce large photographic art prints by combining my own edited 16-bit RAW photo images with 8-bit stock photo images and 8-bit photoshop artwork. I used to just reduce my 16-bit photos to 8-bit and then edit my composite image as 8-bit, but I ran into banding and other problems in the color gradients I created later in my composite image.

       

      I want my composite image to be 16-bit to get more accurate colors and better gradients. What is the best way to bring 8-bit image files into my composition and maintain best quality? Is it good to convert 8-bit images to 16-bit in PS before importing? I also heard about bringing 8-bit images in as Smart Objects? Thanks for any help on this.

        • 1. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
          JJMack Most Valuable Participant

          You can Paste in, Place in and copy in 8bit images into 16 bit documents. They will be converted to 16Bit mode. They will not gain and color quality. Their current 8 bit color values will just be set to the equivalent 16bit color value. You may need to set your color setting to convert colors to the current documents colors profile  if what is being pasted in or placed is has a different color profile.

          ColorSettings.jpg

           

          Message was edited by: JJMack

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          • 2. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
            Noel Carboni Level 8

            Choose Image - Mode - 16 Bits/Channel before combining.  Save your master files as .psd to preserve the bit depth and layers.

             

            -Noel

            • 3. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
              JJMack Most Valuable Participant

              He stated he is starting with RAW image converted to 16bit color the would convert layer to 8bit mode. All he need to do is not convert to 8bit mode and make sure he knows what his current color setting color management policies will do. If he converts to 8bit mode he looses color quality he can not regain.

              • 4. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                Noel Carboni Level 8

                Exactly.  If he wants to use the stock image as a base onto which to paste other data, convert it to 16 bits/channel first so the pasted data doesn't get reduced.

                 

                -Noel

                • 5. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                  JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                  That would be done by Photoshop during the process of pasting in or placing in or copying 8bit images. He question was what's the best way to get 8bit image into his 16bit images/document.

                   

                  Photonic "Place" creates smart object layer.  These smart object layers imbedded object is a copy of the file being placed in.  They can be any file type Photoshop supports.  So placed images can contain tranparency as PGN, PSD and PSB files support transparency.  Embedded object can be opened and worked on. So you can even work on the original file copy and modify it. Doing so will update the smart object layer.

                   

                   

                  What is the best way to bring 8-bit image files into my composition and maintain best quality?

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                  • 6. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                    *Photonic Level 1

                    Thanks Jack and Noel. My workflow usually starts w. a 16-bit RAW image brought into Photoshop as the background layer of the master file. Color space is AdobeRGB. Then 8-bit stock photo and art elements (objects) are brought in by dragging the open 8-bit image up to the master image file tab, and then dropping it back into the image window after the file opens.

                     

                    Should I use the "Paste In" command instead? I usually avoid copy/paste since some of my element files are usually over 100MB and that seems to challenge my Mac after a while.

                     

                    Could I convert the 8-bit image files prior to import, like Noel suggests (Image>Mode>16bits)?  Thanks.

                    • 7. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                      JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                      *Photonic wrote:

                       

                      Thanks Jack and Noel. My workflow usually starts w. a 16-bit RAW image brought into Photoshop as the background layer of the master file. Color space is AdobeRGB. Then 8-bit stock photo and art elements (objects) are brought in by dragging the open 8-bit image up to the master image file tab, and then dropping it back into the image window after the file opens.

                       

                      Should I use the "Paste In" command instead? I usually avoid copy/paste since some of my element files are usually over 100MB and that seems to challenge my Mac after a while.

                       

                      Could I convert the 8-bit image files prior to import, like Noel suggests (Image>Mode>16bits)?  Thanks.

                      There is no need to convert 8bit open documents to 16bit mode Photoshop will convert the copied layers to 16bit bit during the drag copy.  Converting the open document would just increase Photoshop RAM usage every layer pixels bytes used  would double in size.

                       

                      If you element files are over 100MB they are most likely layered files.  If all you need is a composite you should avoid using Place for that will needlessly inflate your document size. Instead open the element file create a new layer that is a stamp visible layer (Shift+Alt|Opt+Ctrl|Cmd+E) and drag that layer to you document then close nosave your element file. Copy only copies the targeted layer or there is a Copy Merge that copies the composit merge of all targeted layers. It a bit hard to create an action that would be able to use Copy or Copy Merge. Using the above stamp visible way can be made into an action. You also do not want to drag all the layers to your document if you just need a composit layer.

                       

                      You could also automate the element file copy with an action.

                       

                      Action Step 1 Insert menu into File>Open this will be an interactive step you must select a file to open. When the action is played.

                      Step 2 (Shift+Alt|Opt+Ctrl|Cmd+N) Create a new empty layer This will always work

                      Step 3 (Shift+Alt|Opt+Ctrl|Cmd+E) stamp visible layers into the new layer

                      Step 4 (Ctrl|Cmd+A) select all

                      Step 5 (Ctrl|Cmd+C) Copy

                      Step 6 Close current document no save

                      Step 7 (Ctrl|Cmd+P) Paste into the document your working on Photoshop will convert to 16bit if the document is 16bit mode and the clipboard content is 8bit.

                       

                       

                      When you use Photoshop and do something.  Think to yourself how did Photoshop do what you asked it to do. Thing about what is involved what layers must be used etc. How is the feature/function done.

                       

                      Message was edited by: JJMack

                       

                      Message was edited by: JJMack

                      • 8. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                        *Photonic Level 1

                        Thanks. an action would speed things up.

                         

                        I almost always need to edit the element to match global lighting, sharpness, contrast, etc. after it is copied into the master file .

                         

                        A stamp visible layer could work for me sometimes, but if an element, let's say a planet, is comprised of several texture layers, the planet's ocean, land and cloud layers, they may need to be tweaked a bit to better blend them into the scene. In this case, would it be better to convert the 8bit file into a Smart Object and drag/drop it into the master file, or just use "Paste Into" or "Place in place" (not sure the difference)?  Which would result in a smaller master file, or would they be the same? Thanks.

                        • 9. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                          JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                          Again there is no need to convert the element document to 16bit mode if is not.  If you need all the layers to be able to tweak the the element image to blend better or be light it better you have two choices. Don't open the element file Place it in as a smart object layer then open the embedded object and tweak the copy for your document.  Or open the element document target all the layers and drag then to the document you working on. 

                           

                          The second way would produce a larger document file then the smart object layer way. For all layers will be 16bit color. Where the smart object layer embedded object is a copy of an 8bit image file only the composite rendered pixels for the object is convert to 16bit mode.  A smart object layers pixels are like a raster layer whose pixels can not be changed only acted on.  To change the pixels you need to open the embedded object and modify the object.

                           

                          If you do not need all the layer you can just drag in the ones you do need.  Again there is no need to convert the element document to 16bit mode,  Photoshop will do that during any drag copy of layers.

                           

                           

                          Again when you use Photoshop think how or what did Photoshop just  do  how could it do that. Before long you will have a better understanding  of what going on.

                          • 10. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                            *Photonic Level 1

                            Thanks Jack. Very helpful.

                             

                            I like the first method in that it protects the colors as they already exist in the 8bit file, and makes for a smaller file. Converting to 16bit via drag'n drop, as in step two, may create problems with the image's gradations and colors with subsiquent global editing. I will experiment.

                             

                            On more thing you mentioned: Could you tell me what the difference is between "Paste Into" and "Paste in Place?" Thanks again.

                            • 11. Re: Best way to combine 8-bit and 16-bit image files?
                              JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                              *Photonic wrote:

                               

                              On more thing you mentioned: Could you tell me what the difference is between "Paste Into" and "Paste in Place?" Thanks again.

                              I don't really know what 'Paste in Place' at all about haven't found a need to use it. I do use "Paste Into" In a script of mine.  I create an selection where I want to past in a image that has the size and aspect ratio I want the picture to have.  Before I did the copy image to the clipboard I sized the image to fill the area I want to paste the image into.  When I do the paste into a new layer is created with a layer mask of the active selection the image in pasted over the selected area and the layer mask act like as a cropping mask to mask the image to the aspect ratio I need it to have.