Scaling down Mac screenshots: inferior results

Contributor ,
Oct 04, 2021 Oct 04, 2021

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Scaling down Mac screenshots results in inferior images.

I'm on the latest Photoshop 22.4.3 - but this issue goes many versions back.

 

No matter what resampling mode you choose, once you scale down a screenshot it loses quality dramatically: text becomes emboldened and washed out, as well as other subtle effects that make screenshots look unappealing and low quality.

 

There are no issues whatsoever when scaling down screenshots in Apple's Preview app. In Preview, screenshots retain their original quality when scaled. So there's definitely something goes wrong in Photoshop.

 

Hope it can be fixed, finally!

 

Thanks,

Leo

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 05, 2021 Oct 05, 2021

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Maybe you should post some examples of Photoshop versus Preview scaling? Use this button to embed them: 

A41EDE15-475E-4C3E-8CD8-D75235755BE2.jpeg

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Contributor ,
Oct 05, 2021 Oct 05, 2021

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Thanks Johan,

Here's the screenshots:

 

Original screenshot:

OriginalOriginal

 

 

 

 



 

 

Scaled to 1200 px wide in Photoshop:Scaled to 1200 px wide in PhotoshopScaled to 1200 px wide in Photoshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scaled to 1200 px wide in Preview:

preview-scaled-1200.png

 

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 29, 2021 Oct 29, 2021

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Are you using Save a Copy? Save for Web? Or Export As? 

Can you post a screenshot of the dialog and its output/compression settings?


Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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Contributor ,
Oct 29, 2021 Oct 29, 2021

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Any settings produce results inferior to Preview.

 

For the sample result I posted I used some highest PNG settings (either Save As or Save for Web PNG 24).

 

But, as far as I understand, the issue happens when doing Image Size in Photoshop, not when saving.

 

The difference is quite evident in Photoshop right away after scaling down with Image Size. 

 

I wonder if you don't witness the same effect on your side?

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 30, 2021 Oct 30, 2021

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Can you post a screen shot of your settings in the Image Size dialog that you're using when you get these results?

JeffreyTranberry_0-1635651061656.png

 


Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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Contributor ,
Oct 30, 2021 Oct 30, 2021

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I used Automatic.

 

I 've also just tried other methods and found that Bilenear produces better results - BUT still inferior to Preview.

 

automatic.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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Don't use Automatic or Sharper. They consistently oversharpen, and most of us agree about avoiding them altogether.

 

That's what happened here. The Photoshop version is oversharpened - especially unfortunate when dealing with raster text and flat graphics.

 

I agree the Preview version looks better, but try Bicubic or Bicubic Smoother.

 

Of course, as downsampling goes, this kind of screenshot is absolute worst case scenario. Getting it to look good is very difficult (and my own working principle is to never resample screenshots, ever.)

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Contributor ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I tried all resampling methods and, like I mentioned, only Bilinear gave better results - but still inferior to Preview.

 

quote

and my own working principle is to never resample screenshots, ever.)

 

Just curious - so what's your advice for screenshots for website then - to just leave them at their original size?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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Most sites are going to be responsive, so isn’t the capture going to be scaled by the browser to fit the device? I don’t see how you can avoid the various browser resampling methods, so seems like you would be better off starting with the full resolution.

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Contributor ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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quoteI don’t see how you can avoid the various browser resampling methods, so seems like you would be better off starting with the full resolution.

By @rob day

 

The file size (in KB) of some screenshots at their full pixel size can be quite large for the web. So it's better to scale them down if you know you'll never need them at their full pixel dimensions. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 01, 2021 Nov 01, 2021

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You might consider a save as to JPEG for better compression than 24bit PNGs. Avoiding the double downsample might produce better results and the extra res would be there for large HiDPI screens. Here’s full size 40 JPEG 200K vs 24 bit PNG 587K:

 

Screen Shot 8.png

 

 

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Contributor ,
Nov 01, 2021 Nov 01, 2021

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LATEST
quote

You might consider a save as to JPEG for better compression...

By @rob day

 

Thanks, JPEG sure results in smaller files and I use them when possible, but not when transparency is needed like with this screenshot.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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@leo.r wrote:

what's your advice for screenshots for website then - to just leave them at their original size?


 

OK, point taken. I don't do tutorials, which is what I assume you need this for.

 

Raster text is notoriously difficult to resample. Is there a way you could scale the screen so that the text remains live vector, and screenshot that? That should give a much better result.

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Contributor ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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quote

OK, point taken. I don't do tutorials, which is what I assume you need this for.

 

Not exactly, I'm developing software and running my own website so I need quality screenshots. Just like many other developers.

 

Raster text is notoriously difficult to resample. Is there a way you could scale the screen so that the text remains live vector, and screenshot that? That should give a much better result.

 

Photoshop didn't always have this issue (as I'm running my website for over 15 years). It started a few years ago - I'm only reporting it now. 

 

For websites, the file size (as in KB) is also important. As I'm sure you know anyway. So if you know you'll never need the screenshot at its full pixel size, it's better to scale it down to more reasonable dimensions.

 

Anyway, dealing with screenshots normally doesn't require any complex trickery. Especially that Preview does it well anyway.

 

My point is that something should be fixed in Photoshop. As there's no reason for it to do worse job than Preview. 

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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Looks like Preview’s downsample anti-aliasing is similar to Photoshop’s Bilinear (lower right):

 

Screen Shot 2.png

 

 

Downsampling to exactly half the original dimension might help with small text where the UI character stems are only 2pixels. Bottom example is a Bilinear downsample to 1144px in width:

 

Screen Shot 3.png

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Contributor ,
Oct 31, 2021 Oct 31, 2021

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@rob day:

Yes, I agree that Bilinear gives a better result - but still inferior to Preview.

 

So I still believe that something should be fixed/improved in Photoshop.

 

Because the bottom line is that the same operation, in this case, produces better results in a low-end non-professional tool like Preview. Compared to hi-end professional Photoshop. 

 

Which in turn results in an extra step of having to use Preview in addition to Photoshop.

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