Photoshop: Support more accurate 16 bit/channel display even when zoomed out below 66.67% magnification

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  • Updated 1 month ago
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It is rather abysmal that photoshop still has this critical bug, given that is has been reported for years now. It is a software for professional imaging yet you cannot work on an image at print resolution and have accurate color displayed on the screen.

Steps to reproduce:
-For full effect, open an image with dark shadows you would like to lighten
-Again, to dramatize, we are going to add two curve adjusment layers
--Make one curve to set your black and white points and your gray balance
--Make another curve to open up the dark shadows
-You should see that at 66.67 magnification you will get the true colors while at 50% below colors suddenly change, meaning you cannot look at the image as a whole and make color adjustments. This applies to any image that is more than 4/3 your screens total resolution, which, for a 1080p monitor that is beyond the average, would be 3MP. Yes, that is three megapixels as in DSLRs of 14 years ago.

Perhaps you could have an option to 'render proxy at this magnification' which would render a 16bit cache level at a specified magnification at which curves et al could be calculated from there on.

Shame on you for not having addressed this despite pleas from multiple professional fields for so long.
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derin korman

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  • frustrated

Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of Jeffrey Tranberry

Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
As Chris pointed out earlier, the current implementation, where pyramid levels above the base (that is, the 50%, 25%, levels) of a 16 bit document are in 8 bit. The thinking at the time was that zoomed out representations are previews (inaccurate for a number of reasons including interpolation, etc) and  speed/performance was more important than accuracy.

It might be something we can revisit as compute power increases and we refactor and improve our drawing code - but it's not 'free' - it takes a lot more compute power.

If you want accurate 16-bit previews at all levels of the zoom pyramid, you can go to Preferences > Performance... and set the "Cache Levels" to 1 (close all docs and reopen them). You can see how 16-bit at all zoom levels affects performance and why this decision was made.

(Christoph pointed this out earlier in the thread but I wanted to capture it in an official answer)