How do I get 10 bit color depth working with Adobe Photoshop CS6? All elements in the chain from the Photoshop application to the monitor must support 10 bit color to achieve true 10 bit color depth. This article illustrates the steps to set up 10 bit color depth for a Windows 10 PC.

Overview

In order to get 10 bit color depth working all elements in the chain from the application to the monitor need to support it (See Figure 1). This includes:

  • Application,
  • Operating system,
  • Video card driver,
  • Video card,
  • Video connection, and
  • Monitor.
Figure 1) HW and SW elements involved in the video output
Figure 1) HW and SW elements involved in the video output

Setting it up

We use the following hardware and software:

  • Application: Adobe Photoshop CS6,
  • Operating system: Windows 10, 64 bit,
  • Video card driver: ATI FirePro V4800 Driver, Release 8.68,
  • Video card: ATI FirePro V4800,
  • Video connection: Display Port,
  • Monitor: NEC PA271W

Setting up Adobe Photoshop CS6

Perform the following steps to set up the 10 bit color depth mode for Adobe Photoshop.

  1. Within Photoshop CS6 select Edit / Preferences / Performance…
  2. In window Preferences, section Performance, group Graphics Processor Settings: Tick Use Graphics Processor
  3. In window Preferences, section Performance, group Graphics Processor Settings: Click on Advanced Settings…

    Figure 2) Photoshop Settings
    Figure 2) Photoshop Settings
  4. In window Advanced Graphics Processor Settings: Tick 30 Bit Display10Bit-Advance-Graphics-Processing-Settings

Setting up the Video Card ATI FirePro 4800

Perform the following steps to set up the 10 bit color depth mode for the video card.

  1. In window Catalyst Control Center, section AMD FirePro, AMD FirePro Settings: Tick Enable 10-bit pixel format support

    Figure 3) Video Driver Settings
    Figure 3) Video Driver Settings

Results

The 10 bit color depth mode results in:

  • Smoother and more accurate color (less banding) on very wide gamut monitors.
  • Loss of the Windows 7 Aero transparency features.

Testing

To test if the 10 bit color depth mode is working you can load the following gradient into Photoshop. In case of 8 bit color depth you will see banding as in this picture. When the 10 bit color depth mode is working properly, the gradient is silky smooth.

Figure 4) 10 Bit Test Image with Gray Scale (10Bit-TestRamp.tif)
Figure 4) 10 Bit Test Image with Gray Scale (10Bit-TestRamp.tif)

Follow these steps to test 10 bit color depth mode:

  1. Download image 10Bit-TestRamp.tif containing a grey scale: Right mouse click on image and select safe image.
  2. Open the file 10Bit-TestRamp.tif in Photoshop. If the 10 bit color depth mode is set up correctly you will see a silky smooth gradation. In case of 8 bit color depth you will see banding.
  3. To see the difference, open the file 10Bit-TestRamp.tif in an application that does not support the 10 bit color depth mode. You will see banding.

References

 

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