32 bits / Channel Image Mode in Photoshop Tutorial

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By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2021

How to use the powerful 32 bit / channel color image mode in Photoshop for truly awesome color effects with brush strokes, gradients, shapes, effects etc as well as adjustments as well as how to return to standard RGB 8 bit.

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1. Where ?

You can find it via the Photoshop image menu and RGB and then 32 bits / channel option. Select the option and nothing much will change, the image, if already existing, will look much the same but it is only when you start to modify it will you start to notice the difference. However, you will find that a number of the effects and adjustments etc will no longer be available but the ones that still exist have a great range of color available such as gradients etc

2. Options Not available

Select the command such as hue / saturation etc or go to the filters menu and you will find a number of filters not available. If you select the gradient tool etc, you will see the blending modes are slightly different as well

3. Color picker is different

If you go to the gradient tool and gradient presets and editor, changing the color of a stop you will now see the range of colors available has been extended. Instead of seeing 240 etc you will see the channels displayed as 1.23848 etc and these settings can be modified to a very subtle degree allowing for even more color expression.

4. Applying gradients

Blending gradients using the gradient tool and the available gradient blending modes is also so much nicer with no or very little banding or coarseness to the gradients. The colors jump off the screen in a way they don't in the 8 bits

5. Brushes

Brushes can be used as well and can be used with the full range of colors and the blending of the colors is far superior to the 8 bits. There are less blending modes but many of the options are still available in the brush settings panel. You will notice this if you go to the drop down and you will see some of the blends disabled.

6. Converting back

At any point, you can always convert back to the standard 8 bits / channel via the image menu and 8bits . As soon as you do this a panel will appear and this allows even more color tweaking. So you can then tweak the image using different presets such as turning it into an amazing black and white or perhaps high contrast and so on. Must admit, I find this super useful and the HDR conversion often results in some super powerful images as well as a lot of experimentation features


Blending modes

Color picker is slightly different

Gradient effects

Brighter colors when you extend the color gamut

Even more amazing brush effects

Returning to 8 bits and the HDR tuning appears

You will notice that some adjustments are not available

You will notice that some filters are not available