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Downsampling for print

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Downsampling for print

In this movie, I'll show you how to downsample or reduce the number of pixels inside of an image for print. Now at first, this may seem like a daft idea. After all, if upsampling or adding pixels is a destructive modification, then downsampling or reducing the number of pixels must be doubly destructive, but in fact, whereas you rarely upsample an image in Photoshop, you frequently downsample for a variety of reasons. First of all, let's say we're working in a production environment and we want this image to be 12 inches wide.

Downsampling for print

In this movie, I'll show you how to downsample or reduce the number of pixels inside of an image for print. Now at first, this may seem like a daft idea. After all, if upsampling or adding pixels is a destructive modification, then downsampling or reducing the number of pixels must be doubly destructive, but in fact, whereas you rarely upsample an image in Photoshop, you frequently downsample for a variety of reasons. First of all, let's say we're working in a production environment and we want this image to be 12 inches wide.

But we don't want to hand off this gargantuan file, either to a designer who's going to lay it out in a print document or to a commercial printer because it's going to take forever to upload and is going to waste everybody's time. Instead, what we want to do is downsample the image for the occasion. So here is how it works. Make sure to do all the work that you want to in a high res version of the file and you go ahead and save your work. That's very, very important. Then assuming you're working inside of a layered image, you go up to the Layer menu and choose the Flatten Image command.

It's dimmed in my case because I'm working in a flat file in the first place. And then of course, by the way, you would not resave the file at that point, because you would destroy your layers in a saved image. Instead, you wait a moment to save, and you go up to the Image menu, and choose the Image Size command. Then you can turn on the Resample Image check box so you are changing the number of pixels inside the image. I'm going to dial in a Width value of let's say 12 inches, and then I'll tab down to the Resolution value, and I'll take it down to the absolute highest resolution I really need, which is at most 360 pixels per inch.

But I could take it down to 300 PPI or 267 PPI depending on my destination. Well let's say I don't know exactly what line screen my printer is using, and I've got all these pixels to work within the first place. I'll just take that Resolution down to a conservative 360. Now notice that my file size in RAM is dropping from its original 166 megabytes down to a mere 36 to 37 megabytes here. So that's a big drop. Now I'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply my modification.

Then I'll press the H key so that I can get that bird's eye function, and I'll drag over to this section of the image here. And just look at the sharpness of that detail, and that's a great thing about downsampling. We're not asking Photoshop to make up new detail, we're just asking it to coalesce the original detail inside the image, and often times, the detail ends up looking better because we get rid of noise and other image artifacts. Now at this point, just to make sure you don't harm your high resolution layered file, we would go up to the File menu, and choose the Save As command, and then save the image to a different location, name, or file format.

I'll explain how saving works in an upcoming chapter. Now just for the sake of comparison, I want you to see what would have happened if we had done a similar upsampling from that low resolution version of the image. So here is the low resolution image. I'll go to the Image menu, choose the Image Size command once again and I'll dial in those same values. So I'll change the Width value to 12 inches, and I'll take the Resolution value up to 360 PPI, and now whereas the image was formerly 1.6 megs in memory, it's going to grow to almost 37 megs, I'll go ahead and click OK, and now I'll press the H key and pan to a different location in the file.

I'll go ahead and drag the image with the Hand tool for a moment just to get it into a good location here. And here's the difference. Even though we have just as many pixels inside this image, the details are gummy, if not downright indistinct, whereas, they look absolutely great in a downsampled version of the high resolution file, because we have a much better spatial resolution when we scan or photograph at a high resolution in the first place, and then downsample, than we do if we capture a few pixels in the first place and upsample.

The moral of the story is, Photoshop is not very good at upsampling, but it's great at downsampling, and your decisions about downsampling all depend on the final destination of the image.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

100 video lessons · 57574 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 19m 15s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 27s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop
      4m 7s
    3. Opening from the Macintosh Finder
      4m 9s
    4. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      2m 45s
    5. Opening an image from Mini Bridge
      1m 16s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      2m 32s
    7. Closing one image and Closing All
      1m 59s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. Navigating your image
      40s
    2. The dark vs. the light interface
      3m 12s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      4m 27s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      4m 29s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Adjusting a few screen prefs
      4m 16s
  3. 45m 58s
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      3m 3s
    3. The Image Size command
      3m 27s
    4. Common resolution standards
      3m 20s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      4m 36s
    6. Changing the print size
      6m 16s
    7. Downsampling for print
      4m 12s
    8. Downsampling for email
      3m 11s
    9. The interpolation settings
      5m 22s
    10. Downsampling advice
      4m 36s
    11. Upsampling advice
      6m 10s
  4. 53m 17s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 12s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      2m 58s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 19s
    1. The art of saving
      54s
    2. Four things to know about saving
      6m 0s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 38s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 41s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      3m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      3m 1s
    4. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    5. Filling in missing details
      6m 44s
    6. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 42m 6s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      3m 19s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 5s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 33s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color cast in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 8s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 46s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 10s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 49s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures
      5m 58s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes
      4m 43s
  11. 51s
    1. Goodbye
      51s

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