What seems to trip people up most in Photoshop is resizing and resampling images. Adobe doesn’t help here, hiding what you need under the “Image” menu when it ought to be right out there in a panel of it’s own or in the header of the photo itself – in fact, I get so tired of showing people where this is, that I wrote to Adobe once suggesting this very thing. As I recall, their answer was something along the lines of, “Yeah, we’ll get right on that…”
Until then, most people find out the hard way that photo downloaded off the internet, when plopped into a new file, may suddenly look much smaller. Or much larger. Or someone complains the image file you sent them was HUGE. It completely weirds people out.
“That’s funny,” you say, “it didn’t look like that before.”
The thing is, you can’t tell how big a piece of artwork is from the way it looks in Photoshop, especially if you don’t have your rulers on, or if you have documents open with different resolutions – and how do you even know you have different document resolutions – there’s no “File > Document Setup” in Photoshop – hello, Adobe?
The answers to these and lots of other issues – like “how do I make my parents quit complaining I’m sending them ginormous photos?” “is it really worth it to see “Frankenweenie”? is all found in one place: train yourself at all times to go to “Image > Image Size” – all of life’s answers are held there! Well, the ones pertaining to Photoshop sizing, anyway…
Here we can see that our old stairs photo for the latest edition of “Retread Weekly” is not too small to print and frame, about 8×7 inches, but the resolution is too low to print well, at 100 pixels/inch. You’re aware that you can make a photo smaller to up the resolution – so you figure 3 or 4 inches is fine – you’ll just put a big border around it, kind of like a mat effect. But when you change the size, the resolution stays the same – and it prints out just as rotten as you think it will at 100 pixels/inch.
The small clue here is off to the right – see the little bracket that links the width and height? You know that’s so if you change the size of one the other changes – keeps your photos in proportion. So now you see why just changing the size doesn’t work – you can’t just force Photoshop to make up pixels – well, you can, but you probably won’t be happy with the results!
The answer is in the checkboxes below – and it’s completely non-intuitive – see the one that says, “resample image”? UNcheck that checkbox…
“But why?” you say, “I want to resize the image.” I know, I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but you’ll find if you do uncheck, now the bracket extends all the way down to encompass resolution. You can now change the size – only down, remember, not up! – and the resolution will also obligingly go up too. For a 3″ width, we can get a decent almost 300 pixels – problem solved.
If you have more time and you’re trying to post to your “Retread Weekly” blog, you can also do a “Save for Web” that will take you to a vast and and very rewarding area we don’t have time to get into right now – there’s a “Hoarders” marathon on!
And, note to self, next time get more pixels on those great stair treads!