Use as many colours as possible, in as high a resolution as you can manage. It's tempting to use 256 colours because of RISC OS's wonderful dithering capability, but you can be misled when doing fine work. To see this, look at an image in a 256-colour mode, and repeatedly click on the Photodesk>Magnify>Real icon; you can clearly see the effect of the random dithering used, slightly changing the appearance of the image every time.
Having said that, I do much work quite satisfactorily in 256 colours with occasional changes to 32K or 16M colours for critical work. But my machine (a RiscStation) slows down noticeably in high-colour modes, and it can only manage 800x600 at 16M colours. Interestingly, 256-colour modes often look far better on screen than 32K modes, especially on smooth colour transitions.
George Greenfield notes the enormous advantages of the Viewfinder graphics card for Risc PC (and A7000+) users. He says, "Working on a large desktop in 24-bit colour at high refresh rates has transformed image manipulation on the RPC, for me at least. I now find no noticeable difference between my RPC at home using Photodesk and my G3 Mac at work using Photoshop - this was certainly not the case pre-Viewfinder!"
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