I received a fantastic email from James Mellers last night which serves as a very helpful extension on my recent O Series tutorial. I work with a lot of layers and overlays in each piece that I do, and this sometimes results in gradients on lower layers becoming fragmented and chunky. I attempted to remedy the problem before posting the O pieces with very little success. Here is James’ suggestion:
“By working with a 16-bit canvas in Photoshop (instead of regular 8-bit), the problem of choppy grads from heavy pushing is almost entirely removed. When you’re done, you can save your 16-bit PSD, to keep that precious source file ;) …then flatten, convert to 8-bit and save out separately for whatever else you may normally do - put it out on the web, have posters printed, etc.”
As you can see by the image above, this technique completely removes the fragmentation that was causing me problems and regardless of my numerous overlays, the gradients below remain smooth and nice. With all of your layers intact, you can switch your canvas by going to Image > Mode > 16 Bits/Channel.
I had no idea this could be achieved in this manner, and goes to show that you can be using software for a great many years yet still pick up little tips along the way. Now the daunting task of switching all of my work to 16-bit to see how it looks :)
Many thanks James!