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Loading a 24 bpp image as a 16 bpp DD surface

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Assuming that 16 bit images can only be stored as 24 bit images in memory with a 64K color limit, how can I load a 24 BPP image into a 16 BPP DirectX surface ??
This would help me save runtime memory and allow me to do alpha blending without having to set my primary surface and backbuffers to 24bbp.. Source code or links to it is most desireable but any good suggestions will help
thanks

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