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Reducing confusion over image scaling on retina screens

Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2020

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Apologies if you've seen this post before, I originally posted it in another thread but seems to have disappeared.

 

It seems to me (and judging by other forum posts others too), that the current relationship between the Apple Display Settings and Photoshop image scaling is confusing and doesn't serve two groups of users particularly well.

 

There's a group of users (like me) who expected Apple Display scaling settings to determine how image pixels are displayed within PS. If I set my 5,120 x 2,880 Retina display to emulate a 2,560 x 1,440 display I expected each pixel in my image would be rendered using (2x2) Retina pixels when viewing at 100% in PS (i.e. pixel doubling). However, although PS/Apple respect the emulated display resolution when rendering PS UI (Menus etc.), PS doesn't apply the required pixel doubling to the image display.

 

There's a second group of users who expect that a 100% view in PS will always display each pixel in the image using a single pixel in the Retina display, (even though those single pixels are not easy to see). However, these users will find that the 1:1 relationship only applies if they also set the display scaling to emulate a 2,560 x 1,440 display. If they choose any other resolution setting (in Mojave) the 1:1 relationship is broken.

 

Would it reduce some of the confusion (on a Mac) if the PS Interface Presentation Preferences were modified by removing the Greyed out UI scaling box and replacing with a new setting as follows?

 

Image display - Use scaled display resolution [x1/x2]

 

If this is set to [x1]. The the system behaves in line with the expectations of the first group of users.

 

If this is set to [x2]. The system behaves according to the expectations of the second group of users whilst also making it clearer that they also need to set the Display Scaling to the default 2,560 x 1,440 to get true 1:1 when viewing at 100%. A popup help message could explain this requirement. The scaling display number at the bottom left in PS could include an asterisk (e.g. 100%*) when the display resolution (x2 option) is being used.

 

Ideally the second option would always use 1:1 (no matter what the Display Scaling is set to) but, based on the description of what's going on behing the scenes (by Pete at Adobe https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop/photoshop-depending-or-not-on-screen-scale-100-is-wrong/td-...) I suspect this isn't possible.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by davescm | Adobe Community Professional

In reality both Windows and Macs can cause some confusion to users.

 

I would like to see :

a. The User Interface (tools, menus etc) use the scaling set in Preferences (not taken from the OS). That way the settings would operate as expected regardless of OS, and not become inoperative on Windows 10.

b. The image always to map 1 to 1 at 100% (regardless of OS settings, screen pixel density etc). Then, 200% or other zooms can be used by users if they prefer. There is an argument to add an additional "user defined" preview scaling setting to the View menu next to 100% and 200%.  So "100%", "200%" and "User defined". That should accomodate all users without causing confusion.

 

Dave

 

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Reducing confusion over image scaling on retina screens

Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2020

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Apologies if you've seen this post before, I originally posted it in another thread but seems to have disappeared.

 

It seems to me (and judging by other forum posts others too), that the current relationship between the Apple Display Settings and Photoshop image scaling is confusing and doesn't serve two groups of users particularly well.

 

There's a group of users (like me) who expected Apple Display scaling settings to determine how image pixels are displayed within PS. If I set my 5,120 x 2,880 Retina display to emulate a 2,560 x 1,440 display I expected each pixel in my image would be rendered using (2x2) Retina pixels when viewing at 100% in PS (i.e. pixel doubling). However, although PS/Apple respect the emulated display resolution when rendering PS UI (Menus etc.), PS doesn't apply the required pixel doubling to the image display.

 

There's a second group of users who expect that a 100% view in PS will always display each pixel in the image using a single pixel in the Retina display, (even though those single pixels are not easy to see). However, these users will find that the 1:1 relationship only applies if they also set the display scaling to emulate a 2,560 x 1,440 display. If they choose any other resolution setting (in Mojave) the 1:1 relationship is broken.

 

Would it reduce some of the confusion (on a Mac) if the PS Interface Presentation Preferences were modified by removing the Greyed out UI scaling box and replacing with a new setting as follows?

 

Image display - Use scaled display resolution [x1/x2]

 

If this is set to [x1]. The the system behaves in line with the expectations of the first group of users.

 

If this is set to [x2]. The system behaves according to the expectations of the second group of users whilst also making it clearer that they also need to set the Display Scaling to the default 2,560 x 1,440 to get true 1:1 when viewing at 100%. A popup help message could explain this requirement. The scaling display number at the bottom left in PS could include an asterisk (e.g. 100%*) when the display resolution (x2 option) is being used.

 

Ideally the second option would always use 1:1 (no matter what the Display Scaling is set to) but, based on the description of what's going on behing the scenes (by Pete at Adobe https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop/photoshop-depending-or-not-on-screen-scale-100-is-wrong/td-...) I suspect this isn't possible.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by davescm | Adobe Community Professional

In reality both Windows and Macs can cause some confusion to users.

 

I would like to see :

a. The User Interface (tools, menus etc) use the scaling set in Preferences (not taken from the OS). That way the settings would operate as expected regardless of OS, and not become inoperative on Windows 10.

b. The image always to map 1 to 1 at 100% (regardless of OS settings, screen pixel density etc). Then, 200% or other zooms can be used by users if they prefer. There is an argument to add an additional "user defined" preview scaling setting to the View menu next to 100% and 200%.  So "100%", "200%" and "User defined". That should accomodate all users without causing confusion.

 

Dave

 

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Feature request, Mac

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Jul 20, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 20, 2020

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Photoshop will, and should, overrule any image scaling. 100% means, and will always mean, one image pixel represented by one screen pixel. That is a sacred axiom, it can never be any other way.

 

There is no confusion about this. The only confusion is among users who think 100% has anything to do with size. It doesn't. It only has to do with this 1:1 pixel relationship.

 

If you want 200%, set View > 200%.

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Jul 20, 2020 1
Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2020

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That's my point. It doesn't currently mean 1 image pixel = 1 screen pixel. This will only happen if the display resolution setting is also set to 2,560 x 1,440... Set it to anything else and that relationship is broken and the "sacred axiom" is no longer true (on Mojave with PS 21.2.0)

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Jul 20, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 20, 2020

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This sounds like it would add a ton of additional confusion to what's already there.

 

Any display scaling is a hack and a workaround, compromising accurate display. Photoshop can have no part in any of this. A Photoshop setting to pretend 200% is really 100%, is simply not going to happen.

 

To accomodate this, Photoshop now has a separate View > 200% setting. This is what it's for.

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Jul 20, 2020 1
Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2020

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"Any display scaling is a hack and a workaround".

I agree, but that's what's already going on, and it's clear that not everyone realises it. Hence my suggestion. I admit my idea of labelling it as 100%* doesn't really help, but it was the best I could think of. I wonder if PS can tell what the downstream scaling is set to? If so, it could change the 100% value to reflect what is actually happening if the user hasn't set 2,560 x 1,440? Without this all of the view percentages shown by PS (100%, 200% etc.) will be wrong (and hence misleading).

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Jul 20, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2020

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I think this is mostly a Mac OS problem. The whole "open in low resolution" thing, as well as the system display scaling, with wording like "make it look like" or something, is confusing and misleading in itself.

 

Windows is a lot more consistent here. The system scaling works explicitly by %, in 25% increments, making it very clear to the user what happens. And it never affects the Photoshop image, which is always displayed 1:1. It only works on the UI.

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Jul 21, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2020

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In reality both Windows and Macs can cause some confusion to users.

 

I would like to see :

a. The User Interface (tools, menus etc) use the scaling set in Preferences (not taken from the OS). That way the settings would operate as expected regardless of OS, and not become inoperative on Windows 10.

b. The image always to map 1 to 1 at 100% (regardless of OS settings, screen pixel density etc). Then, 200% or other zooms can be used by users if they prefer. There is an argument to add an additional "user defined" preview scaling setting to the View menu next to 100% and 200%.  So "100%", "200%" and "User defined". That should accomodate all users without causing confusion.

 

Dave

 

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Jul 21, 2020 2
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2020

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Yes, I agree. We can obviously discuss how to best implement UI scaling, whether it should be done globally in the OS or in the application preferences.

 

But image scaling should simply not happen in Photoshop. Full stop. End of discussion.

 

This is always requested by web/social media users - but for photographers, print designers, prepress, science/medical/forensic workers, etc., any scaling whatsoever is disruptive and counter-productive to the whole workflow, whichever way you look at it. It means you cannot trust what you see.

 

 

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Jul 21, 2020 1
mavc116 LATEST
Community Beginner ,
Jul 21, 2020

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That would be great. It's a shame that Apple seem to only pass responsibility for the coarse part of the scaling adjustment (100% or 200%) to the App but then apply a global "fine tune" (-20%, -10%, +25%,+60%) to everything afterwards which the App can't override. It's a bit of a "dog's dinner". I'm basing these comments on what Pete said about what goes on behind the scenes. https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop/photoshop-depending-or-not-on-screen-scale-100-is-wrong/td-...

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Jul 21, 2020 0