Does Gimp support more than 8 bits per color channel?

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Does Gimp support more than 8 bits per color channel?

Helmut Jarausch
Hi,
I'm considering buying a new monitor (and graphics card) which supports
10 bits per color channel.
Will Gimp on a Linux machine (X11) support this now or in the near future.
Or is it just waste of money to buy a monitor with more than 8 bits/color channel?
Many thanks for some hints,
Helmut
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Re: Does Gimp support more than 8 bits per color channel?

Joao S. O. Bueno Calligaris
more bits per pixels on the monitor/graphics card are actual
independent of what your image editing software supports.

8bits per color component is more than you eye can distinguish
already, so if these 10 bit components cost extra, don't go for them.

Contrast is another thing: you should aim for good monitor contrast
,where black is black.

So, detailing the display parts: I don't know if x11 or Wayland
support 10bpp for display use. Anyway, GIMP uses GTK2 + Cairo for
doing the interface, and those sure are 8bpp only.

GIMP 2.9 however can manipulate images with comparatively arbitrary
color depths (32bits per color, or 32bit floating point). That will
just work on "regular" 8bpp hardware, and the extra depth, while
making difference in several situations in an image manipulation
pipeline, does not translate to direct physical "view" depth in any
device> the extra depth is good when transforming lightness conditions
in parts of the image and preserve a smooth local color gradient.

So, again: this 10bpp of monitors and video boards have nothing to do
with GIMP's ability of manipulating 32bit float per component, and it
does not make the least difference.



On 20 October 2017 at 14:11, Helmut Jarausch <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm considering buying a new monitor (and graphics card) which supports
> 10 bits per color channel.
> Will Gimp on a Linux machine (X11) support this now or in the near future.
> Or is it just waste of money to buy a monitor with more than 8 bits/color channel?
> Many thanks for some hints,
> Helmut
> _______________________________________________
> gimp-user-list mailing list
> List address:    [hidden email]
> List membership: https://mail.gnome.org/mailman/listinfo/gimp-user-list
> List archives:   https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gimp-user-list
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Re: Does Gimp support more than 8 bits per color channel?

Liam R. E. Quin
On Fri, 2017-10-20 at 17:10 -0200, Joao S. O. Bueno wrote:
>
> 8bits per color component is more than you eye can distinguish
> already, so if these 10 bit components cost extra, don't go for them.

Try a gradient from blue to white on a 1,000-pixel wide image and say
you don't see banding. The answer to this is not dithering, because
then if you have multiple layers composited you start to see other
artifacts - this is part of why the movie industry uses higher bit
depth, as neither sharp bands in the sky nor flickering like a 1900s
silent film was acceptable to them. And if the monitor can't display
what's being edited then there's guesswork involved.


> Contrast is another thing: you should aim for good monitor contrast
> ,where black is black.
Yes. And a wider gamut such as AdobeRGB really does help, too
especially if you're working with images for print. Monitors that do
higher bit depth often also have a wider display gamut, e.g. so you can
see saturated reds and oranges.

> So, detailing the display parts: I don't know if x11 or Wayland
> support 10bpp for display use. Anyway, GIMP uses GTK2 + Cairo for
> doing the interface, and those sure are 8bpp only.

I don't think it wise to guess :)

In fact X11 has supported higher bit depths for decades, partly because
of SGI graphic systems used in film production.

However, gtk2 does have the problems i mentioned in my earlier message,
so it might be worth waiting for the gtk3 version of gimp to be stable
before using 10 bits per channel in the display. Also, i've been told
krita is OK with it but i haven't tested that recently.

If you get an 8-bit-per-channel monitor here it's hard to get one that
does more than 6-bit on the blue channel by the way - you have to go to
a place selling monitors for graphic design (e.g. Vistek in Toronto) or
buy one unseen via this new-fangled Web thing.

Note also that a hardware colour calibration device is pretty essential
if you're going to spend the extra money for a high quality screen.

Liam


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