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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
You often need to change the size of the photograph depending on how you plan to share it. I suggest that you edit a photo at its original size and then make copies of the edited original, resizing each copy to match its intended output. So you might make a small copy to send by e-mail and a larger one to print. It's important then to understand how to resize a photo without losing image quality. Before I resize a photo I'd like to know its current size. One way to see the size of a photo is to go down to the document information area here and click-and-hold.
And in this pop-up menu I can see the size of the image in inches which is 18 inches across and 12 inches down. I also can see the resolution. Currently the Resolution of this image is set to 100 pixels per inch. And by that I mean the number of image pixels that will be assigned to each inch in the print as I'll explain further in a moment. So now I know that I have two things to change before I print this copy of the image. First I have to change the resolution and that's because most inkjet printers the kind that I'm going to be printing on are looking for somewhere around 300 pixels per inch in order to make the best looking print.
So 100 pixels per inch isn't going to be enough. If I were making this copy of the file for a slideshow or e-mail or the web then a lower number like a hundred or even 72 would be enough. But in this case I need to increase the resolution. And I also can see that I want to change the number of inches at which the file is going to print. So that the file fits in a frame that I have. And that's going to happen automatically when I change the resolution. So let's see how to resize and change the resolution of a photo like this? I will go up to the Image menu and I'm going down to Resize and over to Image Size.
Here in the Image Size dialog box take a look at the pixel dimensions. This is the total number of pixels across 1800 and the total number of pixels down 1200 that make up the digitized photo. Pixels of course are small squares of color information that are the building blocks of a digital photograph. Now let's take a look down here at the Document Size area. Here I again see that the resolution of this photo is currently set to 100 pixels per inch. And that currently if I printed the photo, it would print at 18 x 12 inches.
Those numbers Resolution and Size are interdependent. Let me explain. The digital photograph is measured in pixels, but in a print on paper, the photo would be measured in inches. So the number of image pixels in the digitized photograph up here needs to be converted into inches for print. And the Resolution value is the number that will be used to do that. The value in this Resolution field is the number of pixels that will be allocated to every inch when the image is printed which means that resolution here means number of pixels per inch.
You might think of this like a word problem from your old math classes in grade school, it goes something like this. Start with 800 pixels across, divide that into sections of 100 pixels each, each representing a printed inch and that will give you a result, a print that is 18 inches across because 1800 divided by 100 equals 18. Now I set up this example with a hundred pixels per inch because that's an easy number to divide. But as I said, most desktop inkjet printers need more pixels than 100 per inch.
They're looking for more like 300 pixels per inch to make the best looking print. If I send this to my inkjet printer with only a hundred pixels allocated to every inch, the print may look blurry because the printer is going to stretch out those 100 pixels to fill a space where it's expecting 300 pixels. So I'm going to change the resolution here to 300 pixels per inch. But first it's really important to come down here and uncheck Resample Image like this. Unchecking re-sample image tells Elements not to change the total number of pixels in the file but just to reallocate them.
And now I will go up to the Resolution field and I will highlight 100 and I will type 300 instead. Now notice what happened. The width and height in pixels didn't change. There are still the same amount of information in the file. But the width and height in inches did change. It went down from 18 x 12 to 6 x 4. Why? Because 1800 pixels divided into sections of 300 pixels per inch comes to 6. And in the Height dimension 1200 divided by 300 equals 4.
So the print will be 4 inches high. And I want to emphasize that the key to keeping the number of pixels in the file are the same but just reallocating them among inches was to uncheck resample image. So now, let's say I'm happy with this. I want to print this size. I know it's got the right resolution to print. I will click OK, and at that point I could go on to print. So that's what you do if you came down to this field and you've noticed that the resolution was too low to print. Now what if you come down here? And you see that the resolution is okay, as it currently is, but you don't like the width and height of the print.
So in this case let's say that I want a print that smaller than this. I want this only 3 x 2 inches. But I still wanted to have 300 pixels per inch. This is another situation in which I'd go up to the Image menu and choose Resize and Image Size. Now this time I'm going to go down to Resample Image and I'm going to put a check mark there. Why? Because I want Elements to get rid of some image information. I wanted to make the total number of pixels in the file less than 1800 x 1200.
I wanted to make the size of the print not 6 x 4 at 300 pixels per inch but 3 x 2 at 300 pixels per inch. And so I'm asking Elements to resample or throw away some image information. I will highlight the six in the Width field. And I will type 3 instead. And the Height automatically changed to 2 inches because by default Constrain Proportions is checked here. Now notice that up in the Pixel Dimensions area, the Width and the Height have been reduced from 1800 x 1200 to only 900 x 600 pixels.
That means that some information is going to be thrown away and that's confirmed up here by the reduction in file size. Before I made this change the file would take up approximately 6.18 megabytes on my disk. Now it's going to take up only 1.54 megabytes. So I am telling Elements to jettison some image information in order to make a smaller file at the same resolution. And that's okay because remember I'm just working with a copy of the original file which I've already saved and archived.
Now finally I'm going to come down to this menu to choose the formula that I want Elements to use the extraneous image information. This menu tells me that Bicubic Sharper is the best formula when I'm reducing file size. So that's the one I'm going to choose. If I were making the file bigger instead of smaller then I would choose Bicubic Smoother which is best for enlargement as it says here. But I do want to make the point that I don't recommend that you make an image much bigger because then you'd be asking Elements to make up image information.
It's better to shoot or scan the original photo really large so you have enough information to make the biggest print you think you want without having to upscale here. So I will choose Bicubic Sharper since I am making the image smaller. And now I'm done in this dialog box and I will click OK. And now if I go down to that document information field and click there, I see that I have a file that will print at 3 x 2 with 300 pixels in every inch. So that's everything you need to know about resizing and resolution so that you can resize your images in an informed way that does the best possible job of retaining image quality.
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