Pixel art scaling up moves layers

Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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Hi there. I create low resolution pixel art, and I've noticed that when I scale upwards using nearest neighbor, all the layers misalign.

All the layers are linked to one of 5 separate files, they all have layer masks on them too.

 

I've set nearest neighbor in preferences, on each layer scale preference as well as in the image resize section.

The only thing that may be affecting them is that all the layers have layer masks on top of them, rasterizing each layer first *seems* like it may fix the issue. But I'd like to avoid that because I want to be able to edit the 5 different original files separately. Can anyone help figure out what is happening?

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Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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Just tried to recreate this with vector masks and trying unlinking the masks from the layers and the same problemn is happening.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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The rule of thumb is to flatten layers BEFORE you resize image.  That said, I prefer NOT to resize rasters because it invariably introduces pixelation artifacts.   For best results, start your project with the required canvas size so you don't need to resize later.

 

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

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Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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Thanks for the reply. The style is pixel art, so it's designed to be low resolution. However, it's only when having to scale it up for an export at a normal resolution, is when it becomes misaligned.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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In other words, start with a canvas of normal output size and resolution.

File > New > See screenshot (adjust values as required).

image.png

 

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

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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I don't think anything is designed to be low-res. If you need to display it or send it out that way, that's fine, and you can reduce the resolution in Photoshop. What @Nancy OShea said is correct. You prepare the art at the actual export size or larger (that's what I do), and then you can reduce it. You can downsize but you can't upsize in Photoshop (all Photoshop art is pixel art).

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Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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I understand the technicality that 'all photoshop art is pixel art'. However I'm referring to the ultra low resolution style 'pixel art' which is built at ultra low resolutions, and then upscaled by 100-1000% without anti-aliasing in order to be viewed on a normal screen.

 

Creating a canvas at a normal resolution (1280 x 1280) and scaling up just layers (they are all at 128 x 128) produces exactly the same misaligned effect.

Just to be clear that this is a software issue as if I try to do the same in GIMP or Krita with the same psd file, nothing is misaligned.

pixelprob4.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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quote

Creating a canvas at a normal resolution (1280 x 1280) and scaling up just layers (they are all at 128 x 128) produces exactly the same misaligned effect.

=========

@UltraEverything,

Of course it would.  Because that's a terribly flawed design approach.  🙂 

 

What Leslie and I are trying to tell you, however unsuccessfully, is to start big and reduce if needed.  Not the other way around.  Layers must be the same size as canvas.  

 

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

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Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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@Nancy OShea I appreciate the response, but I disagree with the idea that 'of course it would' be misaligned. There's nothing at all that would suggest that scaling up something from 128 to 1280 would not scale up every layer from the same origin at the same scale and keep everything perfectly aligned. There is no logic to think that it would knock the entire composition out of alignment randomly. And numerous other image software packages work in the same logic that I am working with, Krita, Gimp, Aseprite, all scale in a logical, linear fashion.

 

The whole craft of Pixel Art is simply not drawn at higher resolutions and scaled down. While I can understand from the outside in it may seem flawed, but there are people that have experience of creating pixel art on Photoshop and I'm really posting this to reach out to them.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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@UltraEverything Apologies but I read this reply after I was typing mine to you below, which I realize now is not what you are looking for. Thanks for giving us more information. But since Krita, Gimp and the other apps work for you, I'm wondering why you need to use PS if what you want it to do isn't working for you?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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@UltraEverything,

Maybe you should be using Illustrator instead of Photoshop.  Math-based vectors are NOT resolution dependant which has several advantages over pixel-based rasters.  See video below for details.

 

 

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media
A tutorial on how to make pixel art inside Adobe Illustrator!Check out my Photoshop and Illustrator kits! 🦄 https://bit.ly/3aWqZpFThis tutorial covers how t...

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Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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There are lots of other software that I would use over illustrator tbh. Especially when it comes to having 150+ grouped and organized layers to boot. In the meantime I'll have to rasterize first until I can figure out why smart objects don't scale properly.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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@UltraEverything Crazy, right, but you always need a larger file! I'm not sure if you'll ever get that alignment right with the existing files and layer sizes you are trying to upscale without flattening the file first (even then the results may not be great depending on several factors with your original art and how high you are trying to go).

 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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I need to retain the groupings and layers for this particular project. It's a shame because clearly there's an issue with the upscaling for Smart Objects on lower resolutions, but I guess not many people work with such low resolutions so perhaps it's not been noticed.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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You can report this over here and see what adobe says:

 

https://feedback.photoshop.com/

 

What version of photoshop and operating system are you using?

 

Do you have older versions of photoshop you can try?

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2021 Jul 03, 2021

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In addition it might not be a bad idea to reset the photoshop preferences by going to Photoshop>Preferences>General (mac) or Edit>Preferences>General (windows), click Reset Preferences On Quit and resart photoshop

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