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Help! Moved from a PC to Mac and photoshop images are TINY at 100%.

Community Beginner ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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So I recently moved to a 13in Macbook and use Photoshop to make images. These images are 1105 pixels wide, which is fairly wide (it's a banner for a proboards page). Yet, when I have it open on Photoshop, at 100% zoom, it's INCREDIBLY small. Probably close to 1/4 the size. I can blow it up to 200% but that doesn't quite fix the problem as then some PNGs that I'm using seem pixelated due to being so big. 

 

Is this just how Photoshop is on a Mac or it being a smaller screen (I recently had a 16in PC laptop and it never looked like this). Attached are screenshots of what the banner looks like at size on a site and then how small it is in photoshop. 

 

Thanks for any help. 

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Mac, Make It, Problem or error

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Beginner , Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020
After doing some more research I sort of get what you're saying. My screen has a bunch of pixels and that's what Photoshop uses. Got that part.  The trick is, outside of zooming to 200% (because that's still not a 1:1 sizing compared to how it looks on websites), what's the best adjsutment? Just making the image at 200% and hoping for the best when I upload it to the internet? I've seen some people talk about opening PS in "low resolution mode" but that mode seems to have been taken out at some ...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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Hi

Not a Mac issue, but a result of using a high pixel density screen.

100% zoom in Photoshop is not a physical size. It means 1 image pixel is mapped onto 1 screen pixel. That means no scaling and, in turn, no scaling artefacts. The more screen pixels in a given area then the smaller the image.

 

Dave

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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I have a similar issue. My computer is fairly new, and since getting it, the 100% is very small, and so are all the pop-up boxes in photoshop. 

I underststand what DaveSCM is saying, but is there a way to make them larger by default? 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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Open Photoshop Preferences > Interface.  Adjust the UI scaling to something more comfortable.

 

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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thank you!!

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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When I open the preferences and go to Interface all I have are some color items (making the app black, dark grey, medium grey, etc). and the UI language and UI Font size. There's nothing to scale. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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Actually, you're not supposed to set UI scaling in Photoshop. You do it in the operating system, and then Photoshop picks up that setting. That's how it works in Windows at any rate.

 

Of course, that's just the UI. The image is whatever size the screen's pixel density dictates.

 

As Dave explained, 100% in Photoshop has nothing to do with size. It's one image pixel per one screen pixel. With a high density screen, that means smaller image. That high density is what you paid for!

 

Other consumer-oriented applications, when detecting such a display, will scale up so that it is represented at the size people are used to from traditional displays. They use four screen pixels to represent one image pixel. This is the standard workaround to ensure all material will work on all screens, whatever resolution and technology.

 

In short: this isn't Photoshop. It's your monitor.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 14, 2020

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After doing some more research I sort of get what you're saying. My screen has a bunch of pixels and that's what Photoshop uses. Got that part. 

 

The trick is, outside of zooming to 200% (because that's still not a 1:1 sizing compared to how it looks on websites), what's the best adjsutment? Just making the image at 200% and hoping for the best when I upload it to the internet? I've seen some people talk about opening PS in "low resolution mode" but that mode seems to have been taken out at some point, or at least getting to it is different than they talked about a few years ago in threads. 

 

EDIT: I did find the "low resolution mode" for PS and that actually did the trick. It sizes a lot more closely to what would be seen on the internet, it's just the rest of the software looks poor (the text for layers is a little blurry). So, a somewhat fix. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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Running in low resolution, as you can see, just negates all the benefits of your expensive screen, in fact it probably looks a bit worse than a low resolution screen if teh scaling is anything other that a simple integer (e.g. 200%).

 

The answer is - just accept Photoshop 1 to 1 scaling at 100% for what it is. It has nothing whatever to do with physical sizing - it is for checking image quality and maps to the screen without any scaling.

 

When you look at images on websites, using a high pixel density screen, then the image is being scaled by your browser. How much scaling depends on your exact screen and on your browser. It sounds, from your description, that yours is scaling to something other than 200%.

 

If you can't live with a check at 200% there is a workaround you could try if you mainly produce images for web use . If you know both the actual pixel density of your screen and the effective density of your browser screen when scaled  ( produce an image of a known size and measure it to work out your effective browser screen density in pixels per inch). Then go to edit Preferences and enter the actual screen density in "screen resolution" and set the document ppi in Image > Image Size with resample unchecked to the effective browser resolution. Then you could use View >Print Size to preview the image at the size to which will be scaled by the browser.  You would though need to alter that print resolution if you actually print your images (hence it is a workaround).

 

Dave

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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"If you can't live with a check at 200% there is a workaround"

 

If he can live with it in his web browser - and apparently he lives very well with that - then it shouldn't be a problem in Photoshop either. After all, it's exactly the same thing. Four pixels to one. An expensive display turned into a cheap one.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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He was suggesting that 200% was not matching the physical size in his browser  - so his browser may be scaling with another value

Dave

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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So helpful. /

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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That's a silly answer "just accept it". Just accept that there's a scaling issue when using different programs? The answer is, the one I answered myself, where using low res mode will scale the image more correctly to a browser, but you have to sacrifice some quality of the program. The image itself looks fine and looks exactly what it looks like in a browser, any browser. It's just the rest of the software looks a little poor. 

 

So, for website making purposes, low res mode works great. If I want to edit an image that isn't for it, then I can turn it off. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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No it is not silly. Re-read what I said.

 

Just accept that 100% zoom is 1 to 1 mapping.  It has nothing to do with physical size.

 

Then if you want a specific physical size on screen either use 200% zoom (which will match most browser scaling) or use the workaround with print size.  That way you retain the benefits of Photoshop in that you can critically assess and prepare images with no scaling and therefore no scaling artifacts, whilst at the same time being able to view a preview at "browser size".  Best practice for web use says you should be preparing images at more than one size, so assessing the image at 100% is still critical.

 

Low res mode just throws away all the benefits of your high pixel density screen and introduces scaling on all images making it impossible to critically assess the image, sharpness settings etc. A poor compromise, but if it works for you...........

 

 

Dave

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 16, 2020 Jun 16, 2020

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This was also recently discussed in another forum question here:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop/100-72dpi-is-too-small-on-mac-retina-display/m-p/11201029?p...

 

That might provide more info.

 

Setting Photoshop to Low Resolution mode can be an OK solution if you are doing web design, but it’s not a good long term solution. Better to understand what is going on and how to handle it. For example, other Mac photo editors magnify the same way. Also, you need to understand why and when a web browser will decide to scale up images by 200% on Retina/HiDPI displays, because ultimately, that is what confuses people. Photoshop is doing the right thing, web browsers are doing the right thing, so neither is wrong. To avoid frustration in the future, you have to understand why.

 

Also, you said you saw this after moving from a PC to a Mac Retina Display. The same problem would have happened if you stayed on a PC and bought a new computer with a Windows HiDPI display, because it’s the same concept with the same consequences.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020 Jun 15, 2020

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The Apple term for a high resolution screen is Retina Display.

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New Here ,
Nov 21, 2021 Nov 21, 2021

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Fun Fact: Apple's Retina doesn't factor in the resolution at all. It factors in pixel density. If you view the screen at an average viewing distance, the pixel density is enough that you can't perceive pixels. The image is supposed to look as crisp as real life. The first Retina screen was on the iPhone 4 which only had a 640 resolution, where 1080p is the norm for considering something HD or high resolution. Granted, the MacBooks and iMacs with Retina screens do have a ridiculously high resolution, but Retina is really about pixel density and not resolution.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2021 Nov 22, 2021

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 For a monitor, pixel density and monitor resolution are the same thing. Both are expressed in pixels/inch (or pixels/cm in some parts of the world). Sometimes you will see the inverse number, pixel pitch, stated which is the distance between each pixel centre.

A couple of years ago, I went on a call with Eizo where they did not recommend using too high a pixel density for photography. For critical image adjustment we need to see the pixels. That way we can judge noise and sharpness correctly. They suggested a sweet spot of around 100-130ppi.

Dave

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2021 Nov 22, 2021

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That's right. Pixel density is just another term for monitor resolution and vice versa.

 

I agree with Dave: for photography, a retina/4K/UHD screen is counter-productive. You need to get an impression of the pixel structure at 100%, and you can't do that with a high density screen.

 

The standard 27 inch panels at 2560 x 1440 are pretty close to ideal for Photoshop work. They have a screen resolution of around 110 ppi.

 

But that's for photography (and pixel-based design). For graphic design and vector-based work, using InDesign or Illustrator, a high density screen is a real advantage. Not a huge advantage, but it's there. So whatever you do most will probably tip the balance one way or another.

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