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Using High resolution displays

Community Beginner ,
Aug 25, 2017

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Hi.

I recently bought a iMac 2017 5k desktop.  This is my first experience with a display with so many pixels.  But I feel like I'm missing something... If I crank the resolution up to the max, apps (lightroom included), become virtually unusable becasue the interface is so small. 

OSX dispolay setting has a dumbed down interface to either "make room" or "make thing bigger".  But I'm guessing that simply increasing/decreasing display resolution???

So my question is... what am I missing?  Is there a way to get apps to have a familiar scale why having the monitor run at it's max resolution?

Thanks!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Conrad C | Adobe Community Professional

I found a good explanation, with visual comparisons, in this article:

iMac With Retina 5K Display Review: Do Those Extra Pixels Really Matter?

The visual examples include Lightroom.

It's a confusing topic. Both the "maximum" resolution and the "default" resolution use 5120 x 2880 pixels. The difference is that the "default" resolution is displaying as if it was 2560 x 1440, but with double the detail. This is shown in the macro example further down in the linked article.

You're actually always running the Retina display at its "maximum resolution" in that every individual hardware pixel is being addressed at every setting. The only difference is the pixel density/clarity of the content and the UI. As explained in the article, the UI can be scaled independently of the content. The UI is shown at the "scaled" resolution so that you can read it, while the content is shown at the full hardware pixel resolution. This is why you can have the third comparison in the linked article, where text appears to be the same size on both displays, but obviously 2x sharper on the Retina display at its "default" resolution.

bcdavis1975  wrote

I would think, in an ideal universe, you'd want to be able to run your display at it's maximum resolution but "scale" the OS and application interfaces to the desires relative amount of real estate/readability.  If I understand you correct... that's not what's happening when you adjust Apple's "scaling" options.

Yes, that's what they're after, and that's what the examples should show. Content is always shown at full resolution so that hardware pixels aren't wasted, while UI is scaled for readability and is visibly sharper when shown at the same physical size as on a low-resolution display. Misunderstandings seem to come out of an assumption that the system "scaled" resolutions aren't showing detail at the level of the hardware pixels, but they are.

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Using High resolution displays

Community Beginner ,
Aug 25, 2017

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Hi.

I recently bought a iMac 2017 5k desktop.  This is my first experience with a display with so many pixels.  But I feel like I'm missing something... If I crank the resolution up to the max, apps (lightroom included), become virtually unusable becasue the interface is so small. 

OSX dispolay setting has a dumbed down interface to either "make room" or "make thing bigger".  But I'm guessing that simply increasing/decreasing display resolution???

So my question is... what am I missing?  Is there a way to get apps to have a familiar scale why having the monitor run at it's max resolution?

Thanks!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Conrad C | Adobe Community Professional

I found a good explanation, with visual comparisons, in this article:

iMac With Retina 5K Display Review: Do Those Extra Pixels Really Matter?

The visual examples include Lightroom.

It's a confusing topic. Both the "maximum" resolution and the "default" resolution use 5120 x 2880 pixels. The difference is that the "default" resolution is displaying as if it was 2560 x 1440, but with double the detail. This is shown in the macro example further down in the linked article.

You're actually always running the Retina display at its "maximum resolution" in that every individual hardware pixel is being addressed at every setting. The only difference is the pixel density/clarity of the content and the UI. As explained in the article, the UI can be scaled independently of the content. The UI is shown at the "scaled" resolution so that you can read it, while the content is shown at the full hardware pixel resolution. This is why you can have the third comparison in the linked article, where text appears to be the same size on both displays, but obviously 2x sharper on the Retina display at its "default" resolution.

bcdavis1975  wrote

I would think, in an ideal universe, you'd want to be able to run your display at it's maximum resolution but "scale" the OS and application interfaces to the desires relative amount of real estate/readability.  If I understand you correct... that's not what's happening when you adjust Apple's "scaling" options.

Yes, that's what they're after, and that's what the examples should show. Content is always shown at full resolution so that hardware pixels aren't wasted, while UI is scaled for readability and is visibly sharper when shown at the same physical size as on a low-resolution display. Misunderstandings seem to come out of an assumption that the system "scaled" resolutions aren't showing detail at the level of the hardware pixels, but they are.

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Aug 25, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2017

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Anyone?

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Aug 28, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2017

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how about asking this in an Apple forum?

Regards,
Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer

I'm not an Adobe employee. All advice constitutes my own opinion. Use at your risk! 🙂

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Aug 28, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2017

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Hi Abambo.  In fact I did that as well as contacting Apple support directly.  Neither have led to answer.  Moreover, the question really has to do with the app as much as the OS and it's behavior when being used on a high DPI screen--At least I think it does.

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Aug 28, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2017

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You can adjust the font size in Preferences > Interface.

The largest font size in LR 6/CC is 250%. Older versions don't go that far, and the largest size may not be sufficient for a 5k display.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2017

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It seams that is both, App related and OS related. Unfortunately I do not have such a high resolution display, so that I cannot answer the question.​but I see that there are now qualified answers.

Regards,
Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer

I'm not an Adobe employee. All advice constitutes my own opinion. Use at your risk! 🙂

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2017

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bcdavis1975  wrote

OSX dispolay setting has a dumbed down interface to either "make room" or "make thing bigger".  But I'm guessing that simply increasing/decreasing display resolution???

If you want the non-dumbed-down version, try holding down the Option key while clicking Scaled. [Edit: I'm not sure if that works on the built-in display.]

Which version of Lightroom are you using? The current version should show a normally scaled UI on a Retina display. The UI in older versions might appear too small.

Also, if this is your first Retina Mac, you should understand how a Retina display is supposed to work. While the hardware resolution of the 5K iMac is 5120 x 2880 pixels, you do not want to set it to that number. The additional pixels are not there to provide more working area, they're there to provide more detail per inch — just like print. The default working resolution of the 5K iMac is 2560 x 1440 at 2x; in other words, twice as much detail as a non-Retina 2560 x 1440 display.

If you adjust the resolution in the Displays preference, what you're doing is deciding on how much you want to trade off having more working area versus seeing finer detail.

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Aug 28, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2017

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Hi Conrad.  Thanks for the reply!

If you want the non-dumbed-down version, try holding down the Option key while clicking Scaled. [Edit: I'm not sure if that works on the built-in display.]

Which version of Lightroom are you using? The current version should show a normally scaled UI on a Retina display. The UI in older versions might appear too small.

Yes the option key does work on the built in display as well.  I'm using the latest iteration of Lightroom CC...whatever that is.

Also, if this is your first Retina Mac, you should understand how a Retina display is supposed to work. While the hardware resolution of the 5K iMac is 5120 x 2880 pixels, you do not want to set it to that number. The additional pixels are not there to provide more working area, they're there to provide more detail per inch — just like print. The default working resolution of the 5K iMac is 2560 x 1440 at 2x; in other words, twice as much detail as a non-Retina 2560 x 1440 display.

...now I think your getting to heart of my question.  Can you tell me why you wouldn't want to run you monitor at it's maximum resolution?  Doesn't running it at lower resolutions defeat the purpose? To your point, if I want the maximum detail per inch (DPI) when editing /reviewing pictures in lightroom, why would I want to run the monitor 2560 x 1440 v 5120 x 2880?

If you adjust the resolution in the Displays preference, what you're doing is deciding on how much you want to trade off having more working area versus seeing finer detail.

OK.  So "scaling" is the thing that's confusing me.  The "dumbed down" option in display preferences are not scaling the program interface, they are simply reducing/increasing screen resolution correct?

I would think, in an ideal universe, you'd want to be able to run your display at it's maximum resolution but "scale" the OS and application interfaces to the desires relative amount of real estate/readability.  If I understand you correct... that's not what's happening when you adjust Apple's "scaling" options.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2017

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I found a good explanation, with visual comparisons, in this article:

iMac With Retina 5K Display Review: Do Those Extra Pixels Really Matter?

The visual examples include Lightroom.

It's a confusing topic. Both the "maximum" resolution and the "default" resolution use 5120 x 2880 pixels. The difference is that the "default" resolution is displaying as if it was 2560 x 1440, but with double the detail. This is shown in the macro example further down in the linked article.

You're actually always running the Retina display at its "maximum resolution" in that every individual hardware pixel is being addressed at every setting. The only difference is the pixel density/clarity of the content and the UI. As explained in the article, the UI can be scaled independently of the content. The UI is shown at the "scaled" resolution so that you can read it, while the content is shown at the full hardware pixel resolution. This is why you can have the third comparison in the linked article, where text appears to be the same size on both displays, but obviously 2x sharper on the Retina display at its "default" resolution.

bcdavis1975  wrote

I would think, in an ideal universe, you'd want to be able to run your display at it's maximum resolution but "scale" the OS and application interfaces to the desires relative amount of real estate/readability.  If I understand you correct... that's not what's happening when you adjust Apple's "scaling" options.

Yes, that's what they're after, and that's what the examples should show. Content is always shown at full resolution so that hardware pixels aren't wasted, while UI is scaled for readability and is visibly sharper when shown at the same physical size as on a low-resolution display. Misunderstandings seem to come out of an assumption that the system "scaled" resolutions aren't showing detail at the level of the hardware pixels, but they are.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 28, 2017

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App programmers and OS programmers first need to cope with that kind of details.

Regards,
Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer

I'm not an Adobe employee. All advice constitutes my own opinion. Use at your risk! 🙂

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2017

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Thanks you!!!  Shockingly difficult to get an answer to this question.  Even from Apple!  Great article.  That one escaped my googling

So apps themselves must be "aware" of the OS scaling feature I assume? 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 31, 2017

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bcdavis1975  wrote

Thanks you!!!  Shockingly difficult to get an answer to this question.  Even from Apple!  Great article.  That one escaped my googling

So apps themselves must be "aware" of the OS scaling feature I assume? 

Yes, but they have been for many years now ever since Apple introduced the retina MacBook Pros (2011 or so?) and there are very few apps that don't correctly deal with this left. I haven't come across one in a long time at least. Lightroom has supported retina screens since version 4 or so so for quite a while now. Apple does the same sort of scaling on iOS  on retina capable devices (nowadays all of them are) and apps just work seamlessly there too so all this is well known in the developer community. The only place where you'll run into ugly images nowadays are websites that are not correctly coded even though it is trivial to do so: Jao's photo blog: A much simpler way to serve retina displays the right images . All the major image sharing sites do this automatically.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 04, 2017

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It seems this thread has run its course but I have a question related to 5K iMac screen and sharpening images in Lightroom Classic so I thought I’d just add to the High Resolution Display topic.

Using the iMac’s default screen resolution setting I have noticed discussions on the internet  that one should sharpen the image in Lightroom viewing it at 200%  rather than the 100% that has been recommended for years before the High Resolution screens of today. Something related to pixel density?… Sorry I’m not an expert and really don’t understand the tech terms and maybe I shouldn’t care as long as the prints roll off my printer and I think they are sharp but I feel the need to have my settings correct..so that I’m utilizing my software to its max. I have applied my sharpening at 200% and it does appear that I can see sharpening effect take place more effectively and I don’t believe I’m over sharpening but am I sharpening correctly..ha….  Anyway I’d like to hear from other photographers and Lightroom experts on this topic….specifically with 5K iMac Display.

Thanks

George

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Nov 04, 2017 0
Jao vdL LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 04, 2017

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You can sharpen at 1:1 just fine on the retina screens if your eyesight is good. The reason why people might tell you to do it at 200% is that the pixels on these retina screens are so small that if your eyesight is not top notch, you might over sharpen as you are not able to see the possible ringing artifacts. If your eyesight is good there is no need to do this.

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