Why is the Filter Gallery Grayed Out in Photoshop CS6 and How to Fix it

You may have noticed that the Filter Gallery in the Filter Menu is grayed out in Photoshop CS6.  The Photoshop Filter Gallery provides access to numerous artistic filters to give your photos an artistic appearance.  The problem is that most of these artistic filters have not been upgraded to support 16-Bit-Per-Channel images

Photoshop Filter Gallery

The Filter Gallery is grayed out in Photoshop CS6 when none of the filters can be used on the open image. So, if you are processing a 16-Bit image, the Filter Gallery will be grayed out.  I also noticed that when I open an image for processing in Photoshop CS6 using Lightroom 4 it defaults to 16-Bits-Per-Channel.  Since my normal processing workflow centers around Lightroom, the Filter Gallery is grayed out for all images I process in Photoshop CS6.

Photoshop Filter Gallery Grayed Out

How to Enable the Filter Gallery

In order to enable the Filter Gallery in Photoshop CS6, the bit depth of the image needs to be changed to 8 Bits/Channel.  To change the Bit Depth, select Mode –> 8 Bits / Channel under the Image menu.  The Filter Gallery should now be available for this photo.

Changing Bit Depth in Photoshop

What are the Downsides of Converting a Photo to 8 Bits / Channel?

Bit depth indicates the amount of color information available for each pixel in the photo.

  • The smaller the bit depth, the less color information available for the image. 
  • Reducing the bit depth may also cause banding in the image as a result of further processing.

Written by Martin Belan

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