Reduced quality display when image is zoomed out in 16-bit

Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018

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I'm editing 16-bit DNGs directly from Lightroom in Photoshop, and when it's zoomed to actual size, everything looks fine, but when i zoom out, it looks like 8-bit image with fewer details and slightly changed colors, for example, I start seeing some pigments of green, although there are no greens in the image when in actual size. Is it just a Photoshop performance thing, monitor calibration and is there a way to see the full quality image all the time?

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 9.04.44 PM.png

Actual size - full details

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 9.04.53 PM.png

50% zoom - reduced detail

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LEGEND ,
Feb 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018

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You looking at your image actual pixels in one cast and in the other cases you tooking  at pixels in an image that was quickly scaled for the image your editing.  You are comparing Apple to Oranges they not the same thing. They are two different images. Not even the same size.

JJMack

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018

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Hi JJMack,

Thanks for the quick reply. I understand, but how come that on 66% zoom it's still smooth, and 50% and anything below starts losing a details. From your reply above, I guess there's no way to make it looks smooth every time?

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LEGEND ,
Feb 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018

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Photoshop quickly scales your image for performance some Zoom percentages look worse the other zoom percentages.

JJMack

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018

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Exactly what I though, but wonder if there's a way to ignore performance optimization. Thanks for quick reply though.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018

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Hi

Photoshop uses 8bits/channel for blending previews at less than 66% zoom. There is no way around that. It was probably done for speed in the past and although there is an argument that today's hardware should be capable, image sizes have also gotten larger and I have no idea how deeply embedded that code is and what the implications of updating it are.

Hence the advice always to view at 100% zoom to check blending.

Dave

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Guide ,
Feb 26, 2018 Feb 26, 2018

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Dave is right! Why the developers haven't fixed this yet is beyond me. It results/resulted in a lot of confusion among PS users, even to the point of users adding extra noise to get rid of the banding, which is of course unnecessary, and only serves to degrade the quality.

I believe the now-retired senior Photoshop developer Chris Cox implemented that code a long, long time ago when computers weren't that fast, and 16bpc processing and display caused performance/video memory problems.

A second, more worrisome aspect of Photoshop legacy 16bpc code base is that its 16bpc mode isn't actually a true 16bpc mode at all: it is a 15bpc mode. And when full-range 16bpc images are loaded, Photoshop will CLIP the original image to fit in a 15bpc value range. WITHOUT warning the user about this.

That is unforgivable in this day and age of HDR and 3D / effects imagery. And it ought to have been fixed by now, but it hasn't.

I think Mr. Cox's code is so deeply integrated in Photoshop's core, that it would potentially break large parts of its functionality, and other core features probably rely on it. So the developers might have decided to leave it as it is.  Of course, this is pure speculation on my part.

Be that as it may, it is somewhat ridiculous that this is still an issue in 2018. Competing image editors (PhotoLine, Gimp, Affinity Photo, and any other 16bpc capable image editor or painting app) have no such issues. It really is time now for the Photoshop team to step up, and fix this. (As they should have fixed other long-standing problems: but that is a different story for a later time.)

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New Here ,
Apr 20, 2022 Apr 20, 2022

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I want to reply because this haven't been solved, and it is pretty annoying. On my computer it's below 33% that it changes ; it must also depend on the resolution.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 20, 2022 Apr 20, 2022

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No, it changes to 8 bit previews at below 66.67% zoom.

 

If you see some kind of change at 33 it has to be a screen resampling artifact. Noisy/binary images are particularly prone to that.

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