8-Bit Color Channel vs. 16-Bit Color Channel

Someone at work came to me with a problem yesterday where they were getting an error message in Illustrator about not being able to read a 16-Bit image.

I had never had this error message, and when I hopped into Photoshop, I found that this .tif image was set to 16-Bit color. I changed it to 8-Bit Color Channel and everything seemed to work just fine.

16 Bit Color Channels are basically more information per channel. For example, for RGB, that would mean you would have a 16-Bit greyscale and then 48-Bit Color RGB Image (16 per Channel of Red Green and Blue x 3). It is more information and if I would have to guess without doing too much research, is something similar to RAW. It contains more data than most users need, but at least they can utilize it if need be.

Photoshop can edit in 16-Bit image mode to some degree. None of the layers options work, but most of the basic tools do. So, you may want to work in 8-Bit until you have the image where you need it then convert it to 16-Bit Channel.

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