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    Photoshop CC gradient banding

    brooxart Community Member

      I've been a using Photoshop for 20 years (as a design professional) and only since I switched to CC a few months ago, I get awful obvious banding when creating gradients. Even in rgb files, which sometimes used to occur in cmyk. Nothing seems to get rid of it, and I'm NOT looking for a noise or blur solution, please, so don't suggest that.

      I did the same actions in Adobe 4 which I still have on another computer and it doesn't occur. I hate this. Any suggestions? I have a new latest iMAC so it doesn't seem like that would be the issue.

        • 1. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
          jdanek Community Member

          Is the banding showing up in print or on-screen?  Or both?  In the old days, banding showed up in low res monitors or monitors showing only 256 colors.  I wonder if it could be related to the monitor or the video card?  I still do not understand how software development has not evolved to the level of zero defects.  That goes for hardware, too.  They wrote these applications and operating systems years ago and I would think that, by now, they'd have perfected everything to work in concert.  Guess I got a wiff of laughng gas.

          • 2. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
            brooxart Community Member

            I think it's a screen issue since after I posted this I thought I'd try it on my older iMac. Looks fine. Spent hours on phone with AppleCare and they have no idea what I'm talking about. Never heard of banding. Right.

             

            Sent from my iPhone

            • 3. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
              Herbert2001 Community Member

              A quick test if the video card is causing these issues is to turn off hardware acceleration in the preferences, and restart Photoshop.

               

              Does it still occur after turning that off?

              • 4. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                brooxart Community Member

                I can't see where that's an option in preferences.

                • 5. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                  Herbert2001 Community Member

                  Performance tab-->use graphics processor. Uncheck and reboot photoshop.

                  • 6. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                    brooxart Community Member

                    I had tried that before. Tried it again. Nope. It seems like contrast SOOOO high, accentuating the banding. And it's set to the lowest.

                    I've tried everything, Besides it's the same in illustrator. EVerything looks striped. Not as smooth as it should be at all.

                    • 7. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                      Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                      A bad display profile could exaggerate banding, as could a bad display (particularly laptop LCDs).

                      • 8. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                        Herbert2001 Community Member

                        And the screen is colour calibrated? It might be a defect in the screen's hardware - I know that the video hardware applies certain debanding tricks. Have you checked with an identical iMac (for example in an Apple store)?

                        • 9. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                          brooxart Community Member

                          Herbert, I thought I'd try that (bring a file into the stiore, see what it looks like on a similar machine. Computer is a late 2013 iMac (latest upgrade in November), All Adobe Creative Cloud software, Mavericks OS (latest upgrade) So NOTHING is old.

                          Maybe the displays are just not what they used to be. It's bright and color is OK, but it's so contrasty for my taste. Edges that should be soft are harsh. And then the banding is not good. It makes it tricky to see what I'm really getting.

                          Thanks.

                          • 10. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                            brooxart Community Member

                            And it's calibrated, but by me, like I usually. do. The default setting is even worse.

                            • 11. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                              Herbert2001 Community Member

                              I agree - and unfortunately the quality of Apple screens is not what is used to be years ago. I teach in Apple labs and I have seen a degradation in screen quality over the years, with contrast given precedence over colour quality.

                               

                              Btw, Mavericks is the buggiest MacOs in a long time (ever?), and I have read accounts about how it affects video hardware negatively as well. Did you install CC on the older mac for comparison?

                               

                              Otherwise you may have to get a second high-quality screen meant for graphics design and work on that.

                              • 12. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                brooxart Community Member

                                Mavericks IS buggy. I can't install CC on my older one, since I still want to keep Adobe CS4 stuff there.

                                And getting a secind screen, yeah I guess, but then there was no point in getting an iMac. I couldve gotten a Mac Pro model and a separate display, but I haven't and don't want to keep buying equipment right now.

                                This SHOULD be a high quality screen!

                                • 13. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                  jdanek Community Member

                                  I wonder if it's Photoshop > Preferences > General > Image Interpolation = Bicubic ( best for smooth gradients )?  In Illustrator > Preferences > General > select Anti-Aliased Artwork.  I am not running Mavericks or any creative crud crapware, so the only thing, other than what I already posted, I can think of is application specific Preference settings.  Photoshop Image Interpolation set for Bicubic seems like a likely solution, is that selected or not?

                                  • 14. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                    brooxart Community Member

                                    Yes, I checked that. nope. I'm thinking it's not sioftware related now, like I thought at first.

                                    • 15. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                      Herbert2001 Community Member

                                      To figure out whether this is due to faulty hardware or the OS, you could install Windows, and install CC for Windows. If the gradients display fine, you have your answer.

                                       

                                      Might be a bit much, though, to go through all that merely to check whether this is an OS or hardware issue... ;-)

                                      • 16. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                        jdanek Community Member

                                        Is that a Retna Display?

                                        • 17. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                          LisaHuf Community Member

                                          I am having the same issue and was thinking it was my monitor until tonight.  I realize now that it's PS CC that's causign the problem.

                                           

                                          I had the CS6 subsctiption before I upgraded to the photographer's bundle with LR.  When I first noticed the banding working in PS CC, it didn't occur to me that it was the change in software...

                                           

                                          I also have an iMac, but mine is much older than yours as I got it early in 2010.  When I first noticed this banding, I thought it was my computer that was causing the problem,  but I now I really don't think that's the problem.

                                           

                                          Tonight, I re-processed some photos of Northern lIghts that I took and first processed back in July.  At that time I was using the online version of PS6. 

                                           

                                          While doing these new edits tonight, I noticed the banding and was unhappy with it.  I attributed it to my computer and did my best to ignore it.

                                           

                                          Then I brought the new PSD files back into my LR catalogue and looked the old PSD files(which I thankfully kept).  The original files I processed in July with CS6 are beautiful and clean with smooth and creamy looking transitions.  The ones I just processed with PS CC are unacceptable and look like Netflix on a bad day, and I wouldn't even show them publicly.

                                           

                                          It's late now, but I need to put in a support ticket as this is unacceptable.  I want CS6 back...

                                           

                                          Lisa

                                          • 18. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                            Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                                            No, this is not a problem with Photoshop CC.

                                             

                                            It could be a problem with your display profile (try changing it in the system settings) or your video card driver (try updating it from the GPU maker's website).

                                            • 19. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                              LisaHuf Community Member

                                              Then why are the files saving with the problem showing on other peoples' computers, and why do I have a copy with the exact same NEF file, done on the exact same computer, but with CS6 that looks clean, while the one done with PS CC looks so bad the files aren't usable?

                                               

                                              The jpegs save with the problem visible.

                                              • 20. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                                                I don't know what mistake you might be making, but you have to be making a mistake somewhere to have gradients appear differently in CS6 and CC.

                                                • 21. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                  DrStrik9 Community Member

                                                  Just for drill, could you please post a screenshot, or a jpeg/png of the issue you are having? (Even a test file, if it shows the problem.)

                                                   

                                                  I'm using CC, haven't had this issue, and am wondering if I can recreate your problem here.

                                                   

                                                  Thanks.

                                                  • 22. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                    Noel Carboni Community Member

                                                    I'm surprised to see no mention of dithering settings in this thread.

                                                     

                                                    I too would like to try to see or reproduce the problem.

                                                     

                                                    -Noel

                                                    • 23. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                      martin_botvidsson Community Member

                                                      I switched camera from Canon to Hasselblad. Now I see banding in Photoshop. I use top of the line Eizo monitor.

                                                      The strange thing is that all looks fine in Phocus, Lightroom and Camera Raw. See attached screenshot.

                                                       

                                                      What's going on?

                                                       

                                                      PS CC to the left and Camera Raw to the right.

                                                       

                                                      Link the the image: http://www.botvidsson.se/waste/banding.jpg

                                                       

                                                      http://www.botvidsson.se/waste/banding2.jpg

                                                      • 24. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                        Herbert2001 Community Member

                                                        I opened your jpg in Photoline, and the banding was quit obvious in both versions, until I switched to 16pbc. Then the right version looks much better. In Photoshop CS6 I did not need to switch to 16bpc to see the right version looks better (PS probably uses some internal 16pbc-->8bpc conversion for improved gradients blending).

                                                         

                                                        However, Jpg is the worst format to use for this particular example: a 16bpc png or tiff would give us a better idea of what is going on.

                                                         

                                                        Having said that, the dithering used to reduce banding in the left version seems to be of a lesser quality compared to the version on the right - which would explain the higher quality of the right version.

                                                         

                                                        To create a much better 8bpc version I applied some grain/noise to a 50% grey layer in overlay mode and a layer mask to avoid adding noise in the brighter areas of the image:

                                                         

                                                        www.estructor.biz/testje/banding3.jpg

                                                         

                                                        Can you upload the same image in a 16pbc format?

                                                        • 25. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                          Noel Carboni Community Member

                                                          OK, I see that you're using the ProPhoto RGB profile.  I've seen some pretty severe banding with that as well, though on a PC system.  I don't know if your Mac might suffer from the same issues...

                                                           

                                                          Try a few experiments to see if what you're seeing is what I've seen.

                                                           

                                                          1.  Convert the profile of the image to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 and see if it clears up.

                                                           

                                                          2.  On the original image with which you're seeing banding, choose Window - Arrange - Float all in Windows and see if when you grab the window and start to move it the problem clears up (Photoshop switches from GPU-based color-management to CPU-based when you do this).

                                                           

                                                          3.  Try configuring your Photoshop - Preferences - Performance, [Advanced Settings...] to "Basic" drawing mode, then Quit and restart Photoshop.  This causes Photoshop to use CPU-based color-management.

                                                           

                                                          -Noel

                                                          • 26. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                            Idaho Airships, Inc. Community Member

                                                            Greetings from Boise. I'm in a big rush so didn't go through all the answers, but have some suggestions (late to the party, I know).

                                                             

                                                            In RGB banding is more likely if you have a dominant hue, such as Blue (which accounts for far less than 10% of any Pixel's Luminance value). Additionally, it is more likely if you are working in 8 bits per Channel: this is due to "Quantization," or the Luminance "steps" between various Channel values. In 8 bits, there is a noticeable difference between, say, 125 and 126. Again, this is most noticeable with a dominant Hue. Human vision is very sensitive to Luminance Deltas (differences).

                                                             

                                                            Work in 16 bits, aRGB (not PPRGB, nor sRGB). I know there are arguments for sRGB, but: http://www.forensicallyfit.net/2012/04/16/argb-srgb-gamut-accuracy-conversion-delta-e/

                                                             

                                                            When you build the Gradient, in the Gradient Dialogue Box ensure that you select adjust the "Smoothness" control up. This will produce a dithering in the Gradient to combat Posterization. Additionally, when you have the Gradient Tool Selected, check your Options ToolBar to ensure that the Dither checkbox is selected.

                                                             

                                                            There are some very clever things you can do like overlaying and averaging Gradient Layers, but I mention that because it is only necessary in extreme cases.

                                                             

                                                            Here's a good exercise: generate a monochromatic (0-255) Linear Gradient without Smoothing and without Dither. Note the shape of the Histogram: it is "platykurtic," meaning that it is very flat and regular.

                                                             

                                                            a.PNG

                                                             

                                                            Now-without changing the Gradient Stops or Colors, apply Smoothing and/or Dither, or both:

                                                             

                                                            b.PNG

                                                             

                                                            Now the Histogram is neither evenly distributed nor smooth. This tells you-primarily-that what amounts to Noise (synthetic value Pixels) are being generated by PS in the background to blend the various Quantization Levels. You will probably not find them objectionable in even large prints. This is a superb way to mitigate "banding."

                                                             

                                                            Finally, you should know about a "gotcha." You'll notice (using your Info Window) that the Pixel Values of a 16 bit Document range from 0-32768, which represents 15 bits, not 16 (which would range from 0-65535). So, you are actually working in 15 bits, but the difference is unimportant to the human eye...unless, like me, you hallucinate a lot. Ahem. Anyway, you are in 15 bits (this is done to accomodate Blending Mode math).

                                                            • 27. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                              lehou Community Member

                                                              I have the same problem here. I'm using CS5. I run some tests on CC and the same problem occured.

                                                               

                                                              The biggest problem on my side is the banding is visible when it's printed. I use to color Caillou books for years, with different printers from all over the world and the banding problem appears at some places. So I guest it's not a screen problem. Neither a computer or display or graphic card performances. It seems to be a problem with the brushes of Photoshop.

                                                               

                                                              On this example, I've boosted the effect to accentuate the banding problem. I have few more examples like this one, but this one is the most visible.

                                                              Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 9.32.01 AM.png

                                                              • 28. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                                                                It is not a problem - it is a result of having very smooth gradations display or printed on systems with quantization levels (how many bits are displayed/printed) that cause visible banding.

                                                                And the solution is always the same: add enough noise to make the banding invisible.

                                                                • 29. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                  lehou Community Member

                                                                  I work on a 8 bits document usually. I might consider using the heavier 16 bits from now on.

                                                                  So, of what you know, there is no way to create that kind of gradient without adding noise? Sadly this solution brings another problem: the noise.

                                                                  • 30. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                    Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                                                                    You need a small amount of noise to break up the banding.

                                                                    And 16 bit can make the banding worse on output (because you have even smoother data), unless you add noise appropriate for the output to break up the banding.

                                                                    • 31. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                      WThomas57 Community Member

                                                                      I disagree with Chris and other who say its "not a problem" and that we must be doing something wrong or not doing something to make the banding not show. And yes, it IS a problem and much worse with CC than on CS6 for example. I can open up the EXACT same images with CC and CS6 and the horrible banding only shows up in CC using the same preferences and settings. Its been this way since CC came out. I wouldn't care so much how it is DISPLAYED on my monitor as that is simply a limitation of most if not all monitors. The problem is.... its saving it into the image and PRINTING the same way.

                                                                       

                                                                      I have not been able to "fix" this issue since CC came out. It sux.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                        WThomas57 Community Member

                                                                        Actually i take one thing back from what i said. I can make the gradiant banding go away by converting to cmyk mode.... umm, yah that doens't work when sending these photos to pro labs from printing. need to be RGB as always. So, doesn't help

                                                                        • 33. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                          gashhead Community Member

                                                                          I would have thought that seeing as this seems to be a consistent issue many suffer from and have done for years now that it might be addressed at some point by adobe either though a tech demo or sorting out the rendering engine to forward solve the issue. If you are staff++++ then it could be worth putting this to your bosses as there are people out there who clearly suffer from this and could probably be doing better things with their time other than adding noise to everything which is a laughably poor solution. 

                                                                          • 34. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                            Chris Cox Adobe Employee

                                                                            If you use an 8 bit/channel image - then Photoshop can only render in 8 bits/channel.

                                                                            And if your display is 8 bit/channel - then you can only see the image in 8 bits/channel.

                                                                            No amount of code change will affect that.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                              norway_bob Community Member

                                                                              Sorry, but that's a whole bunch of BS. As usual from Adobe instead of fixing the problem. I have the same PC I used with my CS6 Photoshop, when exporting from Lightroom to PS - no banding whatsoever. I upgarade to CC and I get terrible banding and posterization effect in the shadows. Right, I must be doing something wrong.

                                                                              • 36. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                                Trevor.Dennis MVP

                                                                                I have not read the _entire_ thread, but I think I covered most of it, so I'll add that Have Cache levels set to 1 in Preferences > Performance, can cause visual artefacts. 

                                                                                • 37. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                                  Trevor.Dennis MVP

                                                                                  You are talking about exactly the same image with the same settings I take it?  Can you show us a screen grab of your Preferences > Performance tab?

                                                                                  • 38. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                                    norway_bob Community Member

                                                                                    No, I'm not talking about the same image. I'm talking about exporting an image from Lightroom (where it looks fine) to Photoshop CC, where suddenly all my shadows get posterization and banding in the dark gradients. Never happened in CS6 with earlier version of Lightroom (5.2 I believe). Maybe its the updated version of Camera Raw that are causing this, but I'm not an expert that's why I'm here. Adobe telling people that its the user's fault, when its not just a few people having these problems, is absurd.

                                                                                    • 39. Re: Photoshop CC gradient banding
                                                                                      Trevor.Dennis MVP

                                                                                      So did you check cache levels in the Preferences > Performance tab? 

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