Horrible gradient banding

Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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This issue has been posted before here but since noone responded here it is again:

Out of nowhere I started to get horrible banding on gradients in Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator, even when exporting.

Even the little gradient icons are less banded.

I'm on an M1 2022 Macbook Pro 16". 

I updated everything, no difference.

I opened in rosetta and normally, no difference.

 

Anyone know what's happening? Is it a bug?

I added some screenshots.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Also, I've tried both on native screen and external screen.
The gradient tool has been acting strange anyway, where sliding the midpoint didn't do anything for example.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Try working in 16bit. 

 

Could you please post a screenshot of the Gradient on white taken at View > 100% with the pertinent Panels (Toolbar, Layers, Channels, Options Bar, …) visible? 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Thanks for responding.

Here it is, there's less banding on white but still way too much.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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In 16 bit there's less banding until I put transparancy. It all goes to hell.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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If you create a gradient in 16 bit then any banding you see is in your display chain, not the image. Most screens are 8 bit and some are actually 6 bit + dither. The exception is a higher end 10 bit/channel monitor with a GPU card that supports it.

 

Note though that there is a long standing artifact when previewing  a gradient, even 16 bit, to transparency against the checkerboard pattern. The smooth gradient breaks up. Again though, this is just an on screen artifact relating to the preview and is not stored in the image. Put a temporary solid white layer at the bottom of your layer stack and you should see that break up disappear, showing that the true gradient to transparency is smooth.

 

Dave

 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Ok thanks a lot. It's just hard to believe I haven't noticed this before. Also, the exported image still has some breaking up. But I suppose it's just one of those things then.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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If you have exported in 8 bit then you are likely to see some banding

Dave

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Guide ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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they're applying the grad to a mask for transparency... which always produces the worst results. If only we could apply dithering to masks...

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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It was the same every other way I tried, I just happened to end on that one.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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I've exported in both 8 and 16 bit.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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These screenshots are not at 100% - you need to look at it at 100% zoom. Double click on the zoom tool...

 


Melissa Piccone | Adobe Trainer | Pluralsight Author | Fine Artist

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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It was

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Guide ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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you're applying the grad to a mask and masks are always 8 bit and have always banded like crazy. Not a bug and has needed to be improved for decades.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Masks aren't 8 bit, but selections are. A mask has the same bit depth as the document. Painting and gradients in a mask are always full bit depth.

 

You may need to watch this for masks made from selections, such as a standard luminance mask. The safe way to do this is to copy a full layer into the mask. A bit cumbersome, but can be actioned.

 

OTOH, I've never noticed any banding from a standard ctrl+alt+2 luminance mask. It would take an absolutely extreme adjustment to get banding from that, and in that case the file probably has deeper problems.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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@D Fosse wrote:

Masks aren't 8 bit, but selections are. A mask has the same bit depth as the document. Painting and gradients in a mask are always full bit depth.


 

Indeed and super easy to test:

Make a new document in 16-bit

Make a selection. Select>Save Selection; ask for a NEW document.

New Doc is in the same bit depth, Untagged Multichannel.

Masks are not always 8-bit. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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IF you see banding in high-bit (16-bit) images, zoomed at 1:1 (100%), the banding is due to the display path, not the data in your document. 

Download this test document, zoom in at 100%: see banding there? If so, it's the display path:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/s14f4w7dq85r7oo/10-bit-test-ramp.zip?dl=0

 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Funny enough I did not see any banding when I opened it in Photoshop but I did see terrible banding in the dropbox preview.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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LATEST

@Asyouwere Medewerker-1 wrote:

Funny enough I did not see any banding when I opened it in Photoshop but I did see terrible banding in the dropbox preview.


Forget Dropbox, what matters is Photoshop or other applications that fully support a high-bit display path. The application (OS, video card, display) ALL play a role. 

So export this and view wherever you viewed the images you reported; do you see banding at 100%? 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Hi. Does that happen if you export to any format? What about jpg?

 

Marlon Ceballos.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Thanks all for replying. 16 bit helped just a bit, I'm still getting banding in Illustrator and it's still not like I'm used to but I'm starting question my entire existence atm cause maybe it was always like this and I was living a lie, idk. It's mainly with dark gradients when using transparancy. It just makes a black band, then a very steep gradient of bands, not "gradual" at all as you can see in the linked image.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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How does it look onscreen when viewed at 100% 

 

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net :: adobe forum volunteer:: co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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