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Often times, you'll want to copy a digital photo that you've taken at a different size than the original. So you may need a particular size for a print you are going to make, and another size to send by email. I don't recommend that you upsize your photos from their original size, but you certainly can downsize. And here's how that's done. The first thing I'm going to do with this photo is see how big it is. So I'll come down to this small Document Information bar at the bottom of the document window, and I'll click there. And that brings up a small box that tells me the number of pixels in width and height that make up this digital photo as I'm looking at it on the screen.
When you're viewing photos on the screen, they're always made up of pixels. A pixel is a small square of color information. I can also see how large this image would print in inches--a different unit of measurement--if I were to print it right now. Right now we would print out at 18 inches wide x 12 inches tall. And I can also see here the resolution, which means the number of total pixels that will be allocated to every printed inch, if and when this photo is printed. So if you do the math, you can see that if there are 1800 pixels across, and you allocate 100 of those to every inch, 100 into 1800 will give you a print of 18 inches wide; and the same math applies for height.
There are 1200 pixels in height; if you allocate 100 of those to every printed inch, that will give you 12 inches. So that's a pretty easy math problem and I've set that up that way on purpose. But the truth is that if I were going to print this image on my desktop inkjet printer, I probably would want it to have a higher resolution than 100 pixels per inch. Most desktop inkjet printers do better with a resolution of somewhere around 300 pixels per inch. So let me show you how you can change the resolution and the size of this image.
I'll got up to the Image menu and I'll go down to Resize and over to Image Size. In the first part of the Image Size dialog box, I can see the size of this file on my hard drive: 6.18 MB. I can also see the width and height of the file in pixels, the same information we just saw in the document window. The next part of this dialogue, the document size area, applies only if I'm going to take this image to print. And here I can see the same information that we just saw in the document window. Right now, the document is set up with 100 pixels allocated to every inch.
If you look at this label, it tells you that resolution means pixels per inch. And again, if I have 1800 pixels across and I allocate 100 of those to every inch, that will give me a print of 18 inches wide. Now I said, that I need to change the resolution because my inkjet printer is expecting more than 100 pixels per inch. If I leave this at 100, it's possible that the printed photo may look a little blurry because with fewer pixels per inch, each pixel will have to be stretched out to be little bit bigger. So I want to change the resolution number 300, but before I do, it's really important to come down here to the bottom of the dialog and uncheck Resample Image.
What Resample Image does is change the actual number of pixels in the image and I don't want to do that; I want to keep the total number of pixels the same 1800 x 1200. I just want to reallocate them among inches. So with Resample Image unchecked, I'll go to the Resolution field and I'll change that to 300. Now look what happened: the width and height are the same as they always were, the size on disk is the same, but the width and the height of the print I'm going to get are different. And if you do the math you'll see why.
Remember that I have 1800 pixels in width; if I allocate 300 of those to every inch, that will give me 6. 300 into 1800 equals 6. And so I'll get a print that's only 6 inches across. And the height is figured the same way: 1200 divided by 300 equals 4. So with this setup, I will get a 6 x 4 print with plenty of resolution to get the best print that my desktop inkjet printer can produce and I'll click OK. The photo won't necessarily look different here in my document window, but if I go down to the document information area and click, you can see that now with the same number of pixels of width and height but a different resolution of 300 pixels per inch, I am going to get a print of 6 x 4 inches. Great! Now let's say, I want to make another print and I want this print to be only 3 x 2 inches--in other words I want to down size the dimensions, but leave the resolution the same.
Again, I'll go up to the Image menu and down to Resize and over to Image Size. This time, I'll make sure to check Resample Image, because I really do want to make the total amount of information in the file smaller. I want the resolution to remain at 300, but the width and height to be smaller. So with Resample Image checked, if I change the width from 6 to 3 inches, notice what's happened to the number of pixels in the file up here. Now I have many fewer pixels: I only have 900 pixels in width and 600 in height.
And you can do the math and see why. I have 900 pixels across with 300 of those allocated to every inch; I'll get a print of 3 inches. And the same is true for the height, which has now been set to 2. 2 times 300 equals 600. Notice also, that the total size of the file on the disk is much smaller now. It was 6.18 megabytes, now it's only going to be 1.54 megabytes because I'm resampling the image; I'm throwing away image information. Now one more thing, when I do resample the image, I have to tell elements the best formula to use to choose which pixels it's going to throw away. And I'll do that from this drop-down menu.
All I have to do is read what's in the parentheses. If I go all the way down to the bottom of this list, I see that Bicubic Sharper is the best method for reduction. In other words, for making a file smaller, as I'm doing here. So I'll choose by Bicubic Sharper, and that will keep the file as sharp as possible as it's downsized. And then I'll click OK. Now if I go down to the Document Information field, I can see that the file is indeed smaller; it has only 900 x 600 pixels, and it will print out at 3 x 2 inches at a resolution of 300 pixels assigned to every inch.
Now one more thing: what if instead of resizing this image for print, I just wanted to change it's size to fit a particular space on a webpage. Well, in that case again, I would go to Image>Resize>Image Size, and I would ignore the Document Size area and go directly to the Pixel Dimensions area, and just type in the number of pixels that I need. So let's say that for a particular website or a social media site, I need this photo to be only 300 pixels across. Then, I'll type 300 in the Width field under Pixel Dimensions, and Height will change proportionately; in this case, it will change to 200 pixels.
I'll make sure to keep Resample Image checked, and since I'm downsizing again, I'll change this menu to Bicubic Sharper, which is best for reduction or downsizing. And then I'll click OK. And now, when I go to the document information area, you can see that I have a file that's 300 x 200 pixels. So that's how you can resize an image both for print and for use on the Web.
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