1. Dave12308's Avatar
    and so incorrect, in describing the Storm's "color banding" issues regarding the icon tiles. It's not that the Storm is running at a reduced color depth, this can be verified by using that engineering screen unlock code trick; it will tell you that the color depth is 16-bit (on .148)

    The correct term for what has occured is known as "dithering". The icon tiles and their transparency effect are drawn with fewer colors. This causes the bitmaps to take up less RAM, therefore improving the performance of the device. You can obviously see what is happening if you use a highly detailed custom wallpaper. The portion of the wallpaper covered with icon tiles appears to have color banding. The portion not covered with icon tiles shows full color depth. This is because it's the actual tile that is dithered. The Storm would probably REALLY fly if they lowered the bit depth to 15-bit (32,768 colors) or 12-bit (4096 colors); however video playback, photo viewing, and 3rd party apps would all suffer. Dithering the icon tiles was a perfect tradeoff to allow the GUI to scroll through many icons smoothly. Remember, Blackberry OS was made with trackballs in mind; swipe-scrolling performance wasn't really a priority before the Storm. The very nature of trackball navigation makes it easier for the scrolling to appear smooth; plus there is no touchscreen API/Input driver/whatever RIM calls it running in the background. The touchscreen code itself is likely somewhat CPU intensive.
    05-30-09 10:03 PM
  2. stunksinatl's Avatar
    Wow. My first post and first response and couldn't agree more! Nice analysis. Cheers!

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-30-09 10:35 PM
  3. KcKb's Avatar
    Awesome explaination, thanks!
    05-30-09 10:46 PM
  4. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    I hate to be the one to disagree with you, but this is not correct. It's the other way around, in fact. Dithering would improve the video quality, the fact they are not using it is what results in the color-banding many are complaining about.

    See the following article from Wikipedia, and notice the cat pictures on the right side of the page:

    Dither - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If you look at the first Cat picture, it is hi-resolution full color picture.
    Attachment 26214
    The second uses a reduced color palette, banding is obvious.
    Attachment 26215
    The third is the same color palette as the second, but dithered and looks almost as good as the original. There is a slight "polka-dot" or newsprint feel to it though, that's reduced in quality from the original.
    Attachment 26216
    05-30-09 11:03 PM
  5. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    Also, here is a screenshot of my homescreen, compared to the original picture, notice the color banding on the clouds, where the "tiles" are not covering:

    Attachment 26217

    As opposed to the original image:

    Attachment 26218

    The banding is minor, but it is there, and it is not dithering.
    05-30-09 11:11 PM
  6. LetMeClearMyThroat's Avatar
    I hate to be the one to disagree with you, but this is not correct. It's the other way around, in fact. Dithering would improve the video quality, the fact they are not using it is what results in the color-banding many are complaining about.

    See the following article from Wikipedia, and notice the cat pictures on the right side of the page:

    Dither - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If you look at the first Cat picture, it is hi-resolution full color picture.
    Attachment 26214
    The second uses a reduced color palette, banding is obvious.
    Attachment 26215
    The third is the same color palette as the second, but dithered and looks almost as good as the original. There is a slight "polka-dot" or newsprint feel to it though, that's reduced in quality from the original.
    Attachment 26216

    Win.

    /close thread.
    05-30-09 11:36 PM
  7. borderwave2's Avatar
    "The Storm would probably REALLY fly if they lowered the bit depth to 15-bit (32,768 colors) or 12-bit (4096 colors)"

    No sh;t sherlock. If you make the graphics look like crap, it's going to run faster. Serously, my lg vx4400 from 2003, that's 6 years ago, supported as many colors as the storm did in .75

    This whole thing really is a joke.

    I don't care how hard it is to code an os that works, it's not my problem. The programmers need to figure it out. For god sakes, it's the same graphics chip in every phone, and they can't even get that right. Don't the linux people manage to reverse engineer drivers for products with little to no help from manufacturers.
    05-31-09 12:44 AM
  8. Dave12308's Avatar
    It's NOT a crappy thread, Curis. Even if my terminology was incorrect, the fact stands that the number of colors in each individual icon tile is less.

    Just because all you people want to do is bash the Storm, it's not my fault. Thread closed.

    EDIT: How the **** do you close a thread? Maybe someone that isn't an a-hole flamer would like to help me.
    Last edited by Dave12308; 05-31-09 at 01:58 AM.
    05-31-09 01:55 AM
  9. Dave12308's Avatar
    Also, here is a screenshot of my homescreen, compared to the original picture, notice the color banding on the clouds, where the "tiles" are not covering:

    Attachment 26217

    As opposed to the original image:

    Attachment 26218

    The banding is minor, but it is there, and it is not dithering.
    Whatever you call it, the fact remains that the device IS running in 16-bit color. The engineering screen pretty much proves this fact.
    05-31-09 01:59 AM
  10. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    It's NOT a crappy thread, Curis. Even if my terminology was incorrect, the fact stands that the number of colors in each individual icon tile is less.

    Just because all you people want to do is bash the Storm, it's not my fault. Thread closed.

    EDIT: How the **** do you close a thread? Maybe someone that isn't an a-hole flamer would like to help me.
    I am not a flamer, nor am I a Storm basher. I am very happy with my Storm, and I actually accept the issue we are discussing as a necessary evil as it did noticeably improve the performance of the OS in post-.90 builds. I still hope they fix it, but I can live with it.

    Part of your original post I agree with. For one, the GUI elements are the only parts affected. Take the wall paper I'm using. If I open it in the media app, there is no color banding. It's only when I assign it as the wall paper that some small banding appears. It's barely noticeable, so I'm not worried about it. The theme I use, which uses the Bold style icons, doesn't have background tiles on the icons, so I don't see it there either. I've taken steps to minimize the appearance and I think my phone both looks and performs well. I only wanted to correct your terminology.

    Oh, and you can't close the thread...but you can ask a Mod to.
    Last edited by DeaconBlue; 05-31-09 at 02:16 AM.
    05-31-09 02:08 AM
  11. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    Whatever you call it, the fact remains that the device IS running in 16-bit color. The engineering screen pretty much proves this fact.
    I don't deny this, although I'm not sure what you mean by engineering screen.

    But the title of your thread and the gist of your post was focused on the term "color banding" and stated that the correct terminology should be dithering. I merely wanted to clarify the error, and as I've already said, I don't disagree with the rest of your post (GUI elements versus media apps).
    05-31-09 02:22 AM
  12. Stormbot's Avatar
    You know what's funny.

    Getting pawned and showing your face on an avatar. Now that's a laugh.
    05-31-09 04:56 AM
  13. Snarfler's Avatar
    on good displays, usually 24 bits or better yet, 32 bits is full color, 16 bits is reduced color. If .148 is running 16 bpp, what is .75 running?

    I'm also not sure the storm would fly at 12 or 15 bits per pixel, it;s easier to code to an integer times 8 bits per pixel.


    I don't know how to access the engineering screen. Some say it's only available on unlocked phones, accessible via the Help Me screen. If that is not true, how do you access it on a phone that is not unlocked?




    You know what's funny.

    Getting pawned and showing your face on an avatar. Now that's a laugh.
    pawned? I don't think there was a loan of funds with material as collateral in this thread.

    You mean that's not your face in your avatar? :P
    Last edited by Snarfler; 05-31-09 at 09:35 AM.
    05-31-09 09:32 AM
  14. Dave12308's Avatar
    I don't deny this, although I'm not sure what you mean by engineering screen.

    But the title of your thread and the gist of your post was focused on the term "color banding" and stated that the correct terminology should be dithering. I merely wanted to clarify the error, and as I've already said, I don't disagree with the rest of your post (GUI elements versus media apps).
    Deacon, over on Berryreview, they posted a link to a site to generate an "unlock code" for a hidden engineering screen:

    Advanced Users: BlackBerry Engineering Screen Unlock Code Generator | BerryReview.com

    As for the use of the term "dithering", you'll have to forgive me. I am a PC hardware guy and it is very common for the term "dithering" to be used to describe the color banding that occurs on lower quality LCD displays. FWIW, "dithering"; if done with a poor algorithm, can cause the same effect. I will admit, however, that the proper term would probably be "reduction in homescreen colors"

    However, the gist of my post was that "color depth" is an overused term, NOT "color banding" - 2 totally different things. As for the wallpaper, I can honestly say mine (a fighter jet firing rockets) doesn't exhibit ANY color banding at all, unless it's behind an icon tile. The wallpaper thing must be a YMMV thing.
    05-31-09 09:35 AM
  15. Dave12308's Avatar
    on good displays, usually 24 bits or better yet, 32 bits is full color, 16 bits is reduced color. If .148 is running 16 bpp, what is .75 running?

    I'm also not sure the storm would fly at 12 or 15 bits per pixel, it;s easier to code to an integer times 8 bits per pixel.


    I don't know how to access the engineering screen. Some say it's only available on unlocked phones, accessible via the Help Me screen. If that is not true, how do you access it on a phone that is not unlocked?




    pawned? I don't think there was a loan of funds with material as collateral in this thread.

    You mean that's not your face in your avatar? :P
    .75 is running 16-bit as well. The Storm has a 65,536 color screen, which means 16-bit.

    As for not being faster at 12-bit, perhaps you are right; but I do believe that at one point, Palm tried this trick (and got sued) on one of their low-end color models.

    As for the engineering screen, see my above post and link. It's not an "unlock code" in the traditional sense, but a code MUST be used to unlock the engineering screen.
    05-31-09 09:38 AM
  16. borderwave2's Avatar
    Dave, would you not agree that even 16 bit color is unacceptable on a "top of the line smartphone"? As I said, my lg from 6 years ago supported as many colors.

    For reference Apple managed to get the iphone to support 256k colors without taking too much of a performance hit. Not saying the storm is an iphone, but just referencing one of its competitors.
    05-31-09 11:22 AM
  17. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    Deacon, over on Berryreview, they posted a link to a site to generate an "unlock code" for a hidden engineering screen:

    Advanced Users: BlackBerry Engineering Screen Unlock Code Generator | BerryReview.com

    As for the use of the term "dithering", you'll have to forgive me. I am a PC hardware guy and it is very common for the term "dithering" to be used to describe the color banding that occurs on lower quality LCD displays. FWIW, "dithering"; if done with a poor algorithm, can cause the same effect. I will admit, however, that the proper term would probably be "reduction in homescreen colors"

    However, the gist of my post was that "color depth" is an overused term, NOT "color banding" - 2 totally different things. As for the wallpaper, I can honestly say mine (a fighter jet firing rockets) doesn't exhibit ANY color banding at all, unless it's behind an icon tile. The wallpaper thing must be a YMMV thing.
    I think we're basically saying the same thing here. The color depth of the screen is 16bit, 64K color. The engineering screen your referring to shows the capability of the screen and is correct. And the OS uses 16-bit color in the media apps, so videos and pictures are displayed in high color there.

    The GUI elements on the home screen, however are being displayed at a reduced color depth. When you reduce the color depth of an image with gradients, it produces color banding. A technique for reducing that banding effect is dithering, but it's not being used here.

    So "reduced color depth" is a correct term, just not in reference to the phone's display. It is in reference to the display of the on screen elements by the OS.

    If you have a 32-bit capable monitor, but you configure windows to display at 16-bit color, would you not say you are reducing the color depth?

    I also work in PC support, and have been since 1997. I've also been a computer hobbiest since the early 80's. I've heard the term dithering many times over those years, as it was common practice in early Windows days and before the broadband era. But I've never heard it used the way you are using it in your post here.
    05-31-09 11:43 AM
  18. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    OK, correcting myself here. As you say, some cheaper LCDs use a form of dithering, quoting below from Wikipedia:

    "Some cheaper LCD displays use dithered 18-bit color (64 64 64 = 262,144 combinations) to achieve faster transition times, without sacrificing truecolor display levels entirely."

    But this is hardly what is happening on the Storm. First of all, the Storm is not capable of producing True color. Second, it is not the display that is running at a reduced color depth, as you have stated. Only certain elements as they are rendered by the operating system are being displayed with a reduced color depth.
    05-31-09 12:02 PM
  19. oI Platinum Io's Avatar
    This thread shows a lot of color depth. Keep it up.
    05-31-09 12:14 PM
  20. DeaconBlue's Avatar
    This thread shows a lot of color depth. Keep it up.
    Okay, Dave and I will discuss the technical aspects, you can be the color commentator
    05-31-09 12:19 PM
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