mtbspike wrote: What's a 16 bit layered file and how does it differ from my normal PSE6 psd files with layers?
The only difference is the file is coded with 16 bits instead of 8 with normal layers in Elements.
Jpeg files are coded in 8 bits, which means each Red, Green and Blue components are coded with 256 different values. That means 256 x 256 x 256 = 16 millions different colors possible for your image.
16 bits means instead of 256 per component, you get 256 x 256 values per component.
That means much more precise colors... and much bigger files you can save in PSD or Tiff format.
You can compare that to GIF files which are coded in 16 values per component instead of 256 in jpeg. The colors are far less accurate. As a matter of fact, the gain in perceived color quality is more obvious when you go from 16 to 256 than when you go from 256 to 256 values per color. Working in 16 bits is possible with the full Photoshop, but in Elements you can do mainly global adjustments. Many tools are no longer available and you cannot use layers.
Here is a discussion about this:http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/hidden ... mages.html
While the 'Alt + move tool' is a very smart trick to fool Elements to work with layers in 16 bits, I am not sure it has a huge practical interest for Elements users. The practical cases you can really see a difference is when you are doing extensive changes (editing with curves etc.). The best you have to do with Elements is to recognize you are in such a situation you are going to see posterization (banding) due to the lack of enough values; particularly in dark skies or HDR images. You can work in 16 bits with ACR and for global adjustments including shadow/highlight in Elements, then convert to 8 bits when you want to use layers.