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When you have that one great image, odds are you're going to want to share it at different sizes. Maybe you want the original size to put in a frame and some smaller ones to put on the web or to put in your wallet. Before you resize images, it's important to understand how Photoshop handles resizing and the related topic of image resolution. To resize an image, I'm going to go to the Image menu at the top of the screen and choose Image Size. In this dialog box I can see the current size of my image. Here at the top, I see the size in pixels.
Every photograph or other rasterized file is made up of small rectangles of color information called pixels, which stands for picture elements. Down here, I can see the size of the file as it would be when printed in inches. Right now, this file is going to print pretty big at over 16 inches wide and 25 inches high. That's do in part to the fact that this file came in for my digital camera with 72 pixels allocated to every inch. That actually is too low a resolution when I'm preparing a file for print.
So, I want to increase the resolution to around 300 pixels/inch, which is what my inkjet printer needs in order to make the best print. That number may change depending on your brand of inkjet printer and the kind of print you're making. But 300 pixels/inch is a good round number to use. To change the resolution, I first need to go down to the Resample Image field and uncheck that box. And now I want to come in and change the Resolution from the 72 pixels/inch that my camera offered to the 300 pixels/ inch that my printer needs, the width and height are reduced.
But as you can see at the top of this dialog box, I haven't thrown away information. I still have the same number of pixels in width and height and the same file size. I've just rearranged that information into a different configuration of inches and resolution. Now let's say that I decide I want a copy that's actually 3"x2" but I do want it to have 300pixels/inch of resolution. In that case, I have to check the Resample Image dialog box and now when I change any of these fields, I'll actually be throwing away some information.
So, I'm going to scale down this image to say 3 inches in height, the width changes accordingly to 2 inches and the resolution has stayed the same. But at the top of the dialog box, I can see that I really have thrown away information. When I do reduce the overall size of an image like this, I want to make sure that Photoshop uses the best possible formula, when it decides which image information to discard. I'm going to go down to this menu at the bottom of the screen and there I can see that when I'm reducing an image, this is the best formula to use, Bicubic Sharper.
So, I'll choose that one and I'll click OK. And now my image is ready for print at 3"x2" at the proper resolution for my inkjet printer. One more thing to keep in mind when you're resizing images is it's fine to resize down as I just showed you how to do, but be conservative about scaling an image up, because when you do so, you're asking Photoshop to make up some image information to fill in some gaps. If you need to resize your own images please keep these tips and techniques in mind so that you get just the right size image without degrading your photo quality.
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