PHOTOSHOP - 16 bit value color picker and palette

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I am editing an RGB file using 16 bit color. The color picker does not support 16 bits, I can only enter values from 0 to 255. I would like color picker and color palettes to support 16 and 32 bit values.
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Mike Jackson

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Posted 4 years ago

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Chris Cox

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I'm guessing that you are using Photoshop.
Photoshop does have a 32 bit color picker for HDR values.
But there is no 16 bit value picker (mostly because you can't actually see that much detail in colors).
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Mike Jackson

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Hi Chris, sorry I was not very clear. Yes, I am using Photoshop, and that I spent 20 minutes with a very helpful support person explaining the situation to me.

I am trying to point out that the conventional color picker, which you get when you double-click to set the foreground color, does not understand 16 bit color even in a 16 bit file. There is a very obscure way to know the 16 bit color values using Window>Info and choosing the drop-down menu next to the eyedropper icon. It turns out that approach has a couple of quirks, which I will not go into.

The reason I want to do this may seem obscure, so let me explain. I am printing an image that comes from the 3d color laser scanner my group is developing. I want to include, alongside that image, a color bar with a set of test colors (this is sometimes called a color wedge) to see whether the printer can reproduce colors accurately. Those test colors are 16 bit values. I would like to generate them inside photoshop, but I cannot do so because the color picker and color palette do not seem to understand 16 bit color properly.

I Hope that helps explain why I am reporting this as a problem. It's surprising to me the capability to operate with 16 or 32 bit color is not included, and I am trying to request that functionality be included.
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Chris Cox

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In that case I'd just create the test color wedge in a command line program than open it in Photoshop and copy it onto the scanned image.

You can use the 32 bit (floating point) color picker if your image is in 32 bit/channel mode, or you are using the 3D features (which always work in HDR values).
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Chris Cox

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Changing the color picker dialog and palette to deal with 16 bit and 32 bit (floating point!) values will take a bit of work (and aggravate my testers). I'll add it to the feature requests, but I'm not sure how much priority it'll get.
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Mike Jackson

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Thanks Chris, I tried opening the file in 32 bit and the color picker is great. I guess I can save from this point into 16 bit. FYI the support people I chatted with are unaware of this, I was told there was no way to put in a desired color beyond 8 bit precision.

It sounds like you're the product manager here, perhaps I don't get what's so complicated. The 32 bit color picker and palette is perfect, just do the same for 16 bits. IMHO all the stuff in the 8 bit pickers (where you can grab the hex values etc) is unnecessary once you're at 16 or 32 bit.

As to aggravated testers, I worked for a great graphic arts company called Creo for a while and every one of our paychecks said on it "Paid for by the Customers of Creo".

Thx for your help.
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Chris Cox

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Yes, but you have to remember that 32 bit is gamma 1.0, so you can't just type in values and have them convert linearly to 16 bit (which is gamma encoded using the document colorspace).

No, I'm an engineer on Photoshop and have written most of the 16 and 32 bit/channel code in Photoshop. A 16 bit picker would need to work more like the 8 bit picker, but offer additional UI clues/choices about the fact that it is working with 16 bit/channel values. Then there's all the glue necessary to make that work with the previews (which are 8 bit) in the dialog. I've got a good idea of how to make it work, but it'll take time to write and more time to test. And unfortunately it'll take more time than I have available right now.
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Scott Martin

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For color science projects I'd love to be able to enter L*a*b Values to the second decimal in the color picker for 8 and 16 bit files. A 'b' value of 0.55 is quite different than when rounded to a 1 or a 0 for example, and important for paper white simulation.
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Scott Martin

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I'll add that if we could enter L*a*b values to the second decimal in the Color Picker in 32 bit mode that would be useful and perhaps easier to impliment.

Either way, I'm finding there's a need for a greater level of precision for specifying L*a*b values for color science projects... not just in Photoshop but Illustrator as well. Clients needing color matching with a DeltaE of less than 1 for example...
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Oliver Guth

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There is a big need to be more precisely in L*a*b* values. The same in CMYK and RGB !!
So the question is when do we get such a colorpicker to enter a decimal value?
Does anybody know such a tool?
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eartho, Champion

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why do you think you need 16 bit numbers for cmyk?
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eartho, Champion

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why do you think you need 16 bit numbers for cmyk?
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Oliver Guth

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Hi Eartho,
we print wood and stone design on paper for furniture.
When we do reprinting the same files (days /week month) later
we have to correct them very slightly.(Its below delta E1)
Here we have very often the problem if we put 1 digit more its to green
one digit minus its to red.
And belive me you dont want to buy a furniture were the left door looks differnt to the right. So we really need to adjust the colors behind the decmial point.