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After you've corrected, enhanced or built-in image in the Editor, you can output that image in many different sizes. You could make a large version to print and also a very small version of the same image to attach to an e-mail say. Understanding how to resize your images correctly will make sure that you don't compromise the quality of the image when you change its size. I am working with this photograph that I'd like to resize. The first step is to get a handle on the current size of the photo. To do that I'll go down to the Information field here at the bottom of the document window.
By default this Information field displays the total file size of the photo, which is the amount of space that it will take up on my hard drive. That isn't exactly the information that I want. So I'm going to click the arrow just to the right of that Information field and that offers this menu of other kinds of information. I'm going to choose Document Dimensions. Now in the Information field, I can see that the size of this image is a whopping 25 inches by 16 plus inches, when viewed at the current resolution which happens to be 72 pixels per inch, and I'll talk about resolution in more detail in just a minute.
But first I'd like to show you another way to view the current dimensions of the file and that's by using the Rulers. To display the Rulers, I'll go out to the View menu at the top of the screen, and I'll choose Rulers. I can't see the entire photograph in the document window because right now there is not enough room. So I'm going to zoom out a bit by selecting the Zoom tool and the minus sign in the Options bar and then I'll click in the image just once. So that now I can see the borders of the photograph and now the Rulers are telling me that if I were to print this photograph at its current size, it would print at 25 inches in width, as I can see on the horizontal ruler, and 16 plus inches in height, as I can see on the vertical ruler.
If I wanted to change the units of measurement of the rulers, for example, if I were not preparing the image for print but rather for the web, then I would right-click inside either one of these two rulers to bring up this menu and then I can choose to change the Rulers to measure in Pixels like this. But since I'm preparing this image for print rather than for the screen, I'm going to right-click in the Ruler again and choose Inches. Now the current width and height of this photograph are bigger than the print that I want to make. So I need to resize the image to make it smaller.
To do that I'm going to go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen and I'll choose Resize and then go over to Image Size. That opens the Image Size dialog box. There is a lot of important information here. The Document Size area of this dialog box down here reports the current Width and Height of this file in inches 25 inches x 16.667 inches at a Resolution of 72 pixels per inch. The Resolution field is important when I'm preparing an image for print, because my computer measures and displays an image in pixels, which are small pieces of digitized color information, but a print is measured not in Pixels but in Inches.
So when I'm preparing an image for print, I have to take the total number of pixels in the file and allocate it among the inches in the prospective print and the Resolution setting here in the Image Size dialog box determines how many pixels will be allocated to every inch that is to be printed. So if I leave this Resolution set to 72 pixels per inch and I try to print on an inkjet printer, the print probably won't look very good. It may be blurry or even pixelated and that's because typically an inkjet printer needs more than 72 pixels per inch to make a good quality print.
Each brand and model of printer is somewhat different in exactly how many pixels per inch it expects. But if you are looking for a nice easy to remember round number, you can think of 300 pixels per inch as a good number to put in this Resolution field when you are preparing an image for print. 72 pixels is okay if you're planning to show a photo on screen. Say in a slideshow or attach to an email or on the web, but it's not a high enough resolution for print. Before I type the number 300 into the Resolution field, I need to go down to the bottom of the Image Size dialog box, and it's really important that I un-check this command, Resample Image, to disable it.
Doing this tells Elements to leave the total number of pixels the file the same, or in computer speak, not to resample the pixels in the file. The number of pixels currently in the file is reported up here in the Pixel Dimensions field. Currently there are 1800 pixels across and 1200 pixels down in this digital file. I just want to take those numbers of pixels and reallocate them among the inches of the file if and when it's printed. So I've unchecked Resample Image and now I'm going to type 300 in the Resolution field.
Keep your eye up here on the total number of pixels in the image, as I type 300 in the Resolution field. And notice that the total number of pixels didn't change. But what did change is the Width and the Height measured in inches, which is reported here in the Document Size area of this dialog box. The dimensions have been reduced because I've substituted a higher number down here in the resolution part of the formula that converts pixels to inches. To explain the math I've told Elements to take the total width of 1800 and divide it by 300 to get the total number of inches across that will print, which is 6, because 1800 divided by 300 equals 6, and just the same way Elements will take the total height of 1200 pixels, divide that by 300 and the result is 4 inches.
The key to keeping the total number of pixels in the file the same, but just reallocating it among inches is to un-check Resample Image. When I'm done changing the resolution, I can click OK. Back in the image, the ruler show that the image will now print at 6 inches wide, as you can see in the horizontal ruler, and 4 inches in height here in the vertical ruler. So when might you do what I just showed you how to do? Well, just remember that if you plan to print a photo, you want to keep an eye on the Information field down here and check the resolution reported in that field.
If you notice that the image is a fairly low resolution like 72 pixels/inch, you're going to want to open the Image Size dialog box and change the Resolution with Resample unchecked, as I just showed you how to do. Now imagine a different scenario. What if I do have the correct resolution in the file, but I want a copy of the photo that smaller, one that has smaller dimensions? Let's say that I want a wallet-sized photo at about 3 inches by 2 inches, but I know that I have to leave the Resolution at around 300 pixels per inch so that there is enough resolution for my inkjet printer.
So I'm going to go back into the Image Size dialog box, go up to the Image menu, down to Resize and over to Image Size. This time in this dialog box, I'll go down to Resample Image and I'm going to click in this box to add a check -mark enabling Resample Image. I'm instructing Elements to go ahead and resample or change the total number of pixels in the image, which as I've said several times is currently 1800 x 1200 pixels. To make that happen I'm going to come down to the Width field here and I'm going to type in the number of inches at which I want this smaller copy of the image to print.
I'm going to type in 3 here, and that automatically changes the height to be proportional so it's been changed to 2 inches. So now I have a print that is 3 inches by 2 inches with 300 pixels of resolution in every inch. And importantly, look up here in the Pixel Dimensions area and you'll see that the Width has changed from 1800 pixels to only 900 pixels and the Height from 1200 pixels to only 600 pixels, and the total file size or the amount of space that the file will take up on my hard drive has been reduced substantially from just over 6 megabytes to one-and-a-half megabytes.
So basically what I'm doing is throwing away some pixels in order to make a smaller copy of this file and that's okay as long as I'm working on a copy and keeping a master at the larger size. One more thing when I resize an image like this to make it smaller, the best thing to do is to come to the field down here that's marked Bicubic best for smooth gradients and click on it and that shows a menu of different formulas that could be used to change the size of the image. When I'm making an image smaller, I choose Bicubic Sharper, which is best for reduction, because it tries to retain the sharpness of the image.
If I were making an image bigger, I would choose Bicubic Smoother, which is best for enlargement, but having said that I don't recommend that you make your images bigger because Elements has to manufacture image information, when you increase the size of an image. So it's better to capture a photo or a scan larger than you think you will ever need it so you never have to resize up, but if you do have to resize up, be conservative about it and don't increase the file size drastically. So I'll choose Bicubic Sharper since I'm reducing the file size and finally I'll click OK to close this dialog box and to make this copy of the image smaller, and you can see in the Rulers that it's now 3 inches by 2 inche and down here you can see that the Resolution is still set to 300 pixels per inch, which is a good resolution for print.
So Elements does give you the opportunity to resize your images. When you do, please remember to work on a copy to avoid making your images too much bigger if you're resizing up and to follow these steps that I've outlined for you here, when you're trying to change either the image dimensions or the resolution of an image.
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