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Scaling images without losing quality while compositing

Community Beginner ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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Hello everyone!

I'm having trouble when I copy and paste parts of images to my .PSD composite file. What I do is I cut a part of one image and paste into my .PSD, I use free transform to make the part smaller, and this reduces the quality of this part significantly, it becomes pixelized and blurry if I try to scale it back a bit. 

I'm not sure if it's connected with copy/pasting the image or with the free transform. Both files are 300ppi. 16 bits. Maybe there's a setting in free transform that I'm missing? I have read previous discussions on the same topic and it looks like this reduction in quality is by default, but I'm pretty sure I didn't have this issue before with the previous version of Ps. 

Thanks so much in advance.

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Actions and scripting , macOS

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Adobe
Community Expert ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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Pixels are pixels. If you go down, you can't go back up. Then you've lost those pixels.

 

Which is why smart objects were invented. This very cleverly embeds the original into the file, and keeps that original untouched. When you transform a smart object, you transform a representation, an "image", of that original. You're not transforming the original itself.

 

This way you can do repeated transforms, upscaling and downscaling, without ever damaging the original.

 

Until crunch time. Sooner or later you have to rasterize the smart object, and then it will be degraded according to the scaling factor. But the point is - that happens only once. You're not accumulating damage as you normally would.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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thanks, I'll try that

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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It may also be that I zoom in too much and I see a very pixelized image. It looks ok, if there's not too much zoom, but what I'm worried about is printing, not sure how it will come out, if I print it large, like 100 x 100cm or 41 x 41 inch

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Community Expert ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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You should covert the pasted layer to a smart object before transforming smaller and then back to original size. This isn't magic, but it will preserve the original pixels.

 

Edit - looks like @D Fosse @posted while I was typing!

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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I will try that, I'm just surprised this issue hasn't ever come up for me before in my 10 years of using Ps...

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Community Expert ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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quote

I use free transform to make the part smaller, and this reduces the quality of this part significantly


By @dashapears.art

 

Just to be safe, check what Interpolation is set to for Free Transform.  If it has become set to Nearest Neighbor, then that is going to have a significant negative impact on image quality, (not sure why I suddenly started talking in double bollox in that last sentance 😞  ).  With very sharp images, I like to use Bilinear, but don't be afraid to apply some sharpening even when downsizing.

image.png

 

 

If you do a lot of this, then apps like Topaz Photo Ai are very good at upscalling.  This is a 4X upscale of your screenshot to 6240 X 7208

image.png

 

 

quote

it becomes pixelized and blurry if I try to scale it back a bit. 

By @dashapears.art

 

As Dag says, that is completely normal.  I use Smart Objects so often I begrudge the time it takes to right click the layer and hunt out Smart Object, so I have F12 set to create Smart Objects.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024

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In practice, even without using Smart Objects, this should not be a huge problem. I am a product photographer and composite many of my images, and as long as I'm careful I don't see pixelation.

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