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How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor

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Martin Stacey
How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 26, 2017 at 7:24:56 pm

Hi,

I'd been doing some tests with different bit depths and codecs, and this came up. If my monitor can only display 8 bit colour, as it's a macbook pro retina 2012, how am I able to see less banding in a gradient when I switch between 8 bit and 16 bit modes in After Effects. I understand that internal computations would benefit from the higher bit depth, but I don't understand how I can see more increments in the gradient.
Surely 8 bit colour in After Effects should be all I can see on my 8 bit monitor.
Can anyone explain this to me?
Thanks


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Walter Soyka
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 26, 2017 at 7:34:32 pm

When you enable 16bpc, After Effects applies dithering to the final image for 8bpc display and for encoding to 8bpc output modules.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dither

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Martin Stacey
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 26, 2017 at 7:39:53 pm

Really? Cause I'm still seeing defined lines in 8 bit and 16 bit, but the lines are just much thiner in 16 bit.


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Martin Stacey
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 26, 2017 at 7:40:51 pm

And why doesn't it just apply dithering in the first place and make all 8 bit images look like 16 bit?


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Walter Soyka
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 26, 2017 at 8:01:08 pm

[Martin Stacey] "Really? Cause I'm still seeing defined lines in 8 bit and 16 bit, but the lines are just much thiner in 16 bit."

Dithering can reduce the appearance of banding, but it's not guaranteed to eliminate it.

My personal favorite banding-reduction tool is GenArts Sapphire S_Deband.


[Martin Stacey] "And why doesn't it just apply dithering in the first place and make all 8 bit images look like 16 bit?"

Because Ae tries not to lie to you about your work. When working at 8bpc, Ae actually works at 8bpc and doesn't mess around with your images unless you tell it to. It only dithers when going from higher bit depths to lower ones to attempt to preserve the appearance of your work as faithfully as possible.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Martin Stacey
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 27, 2017 at 7:16:59 am

Ah thanks for the info. Also, is the dithering effect after effects uses available as an actual effect that I can apply manually. I know you mentioned S_Deband but was wondering as it's already in there if I had access to it.

Thanks


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Walter Soyka
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 27, 2017 at 2:10:03 pm

No, but that would make a good feature request.

A lot of people create a solid with a little bit of noise, then subtly blend that over the visuals.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Richard Garabedain
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 27, 2017 at 4:49:36 pm

i dont mean to state the obvious but you do know that scatter on the ramp helps the dithering.


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Martin Stacey
Re: How can I see a difference in 8 bit and 16 bit on an 8 bit monitor
on Jun 27, 2017 at 6:34:55 pm

Yep, it's not really talking about trying to create a smooth ramp. I was more asking how after effects is working. Thanks though.


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