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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to preview the size of which your image will print, which is useful for gauging things like Sharpness and Detail and whether you're going to lose something in the image, because it's going to get too tiny or whether it's a defect that's going to be glaringly obvious. Now it does take a little bit of effort in order to preview the print size, which may seem strange, because if you go up to the View menu, there is a Print Size command and I think so highly of it that I gave it a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac.
So that gives, well, the problem is that when you choose the command you don't get the right results, it basically malfunctions. If you were to print the image, you would see that it's nowhere near the size. Basically the image on screen is smaller than the image you'll print. Well, how can I be so sure? Go up o the Image menu and choose the Image Size command or press Ctrl+Alt+I, Command+Option+I on the Mac, we'll be discussing this dialog box in all kinds of detail in a later chapter, but for now I just notice the document size, the Resolution is 300 pixels per inch, fine, more important for our purposes is that the Height of the image is almost 10 inches.
Well, we can't really see the entire height, so who knows? The Width is 6.5 inches. That is not 6.5 inches right there, nor is it on your screen. So what's the problem? I mean why didn't Photoshop get it right? Well, the problem is that Photoshop doesn't know your screen resolution. It has to know that in order to size the image properly. Photoshop thinks by default that the screen resolution is 72 pixels per inch, to which you might respond, well, isn't it? I've always heard that if you want to make screen images, for example, you should set them to 72 pixels per inch.
Well, it hasn't been that way for about 25 years and you've never needed to set your resolution to anything for screen purposes quite frankly, but the days of 72 pixels per inch monitors are long dead. Our current screens have much higher resolution. So here's what we're going to do, we're going to switch over to the Screen resolution.tif file, the idea is this. You're going to have to measure the resolution of your monitor, and then you're going to have to enter that information as a Preference setting in Photoshop to get the Print Size command to behave itself.
The good news is you should have to do that once and only once for each and every monitor that you work on. All right, so here it is, Screen Resolution=1/4 to 1/2 Print Resolution typically speaking. So in other words, we were looking at a 300 pixel per inch image, well, the most we're going to get out of our screen is 150 pixels per inch, probably not that high actually. Assuming default settings, modern monitors have resolutions of approximately 96 to 120 ppi, and in order to see this image in its entirety, I'm going to go out to the Screen mode icon up here in the Application bar, and I'm going to switch to the Full Screen mode.
Now if this is the first time you've ever done this, you'll get a warning, telling you you're about to go to full screen and telling you how to get out so you don't panic. So just say, Don't show again and click Full Screen. All right, so here's a mockup of a 17 inch MacBook Pro screen, and when you hear folks talk about screen size, it's always a diagonal measurement, because after all that's the biggest measurement. So they can make the screen sound that much bigger that way, and that goes for TV sets as well. So you don't want to do a diagonal measurement that's not going to help you, what you want to measure is the Width and the Height of the imageable area, and by that I mean you don't want to count any of the black around the edge.
If there is an edge that doesn't show you anything around the monitor, don't count that. Just count the bright stuff. So measure how wide the image on screen is essentially, the entire desktop all of Photoshop everything. How wide it is and measure how tall it is. Now you really only need one of those measurements. You don't need both, but it's good to have a second check essentially. So then what you do is you find out what your resolution in cold fingers is for your screen? In other words, how many pixels wide by how many pixels tall? And you could check that out by right- clicking on a desktop and choosing the Properties command on the PC, you can typically on the Mac, you can find that information listed under that monitor that little Monitor icon on the right side of the menu bar, and if you click on that little monitor, it'll show you the width and height of the imageable area in pixels.
So the default screen resolution for a 17-inch MacBook Pro is 1680x1050 pixels, so 1680 is obviously the width and 1050 is obviously the height. So you take the number of pixels, because we're doing pixels per inch. You start with the pixels per is divide, and I is inch, of course, so the number of pixels divided by the number of inches. That would be 1680 divided by 14.4. I don't expect you to do that in your head, I expect you to get a calculator and do that one.
And then you'll get a value, in my case of 117 pixels per inch. Just to make certain that you got it right, take 1050 in our case and divide it by 9, and you will once again get approximately 117 pixels per inch. So we're doing okay, 117 seems like the right thing. All right, so I'm going to press the Escape key to escape out of that Full Screen mode, and I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box and I'm going to switch to Units & Rulers, this guy right there.
And notice Screen Resolution 72 pixels/inch. Let's change that to a 117. We don't really care what the Print Resolution value is set to, because Photoshop is always going to take a look at what the actual resolution of the image is. Anyway, 117 for Screen Resolution, in my case assuming I'm working on a MacBook Pro which of course I'm not, I'm working under Windows 7, but just for the sake of demonstration here, I'll click OK. Now I'll switch back to my Dark portrait. jpg image and I'm going to go onto the View menu, and I'm going to choose this command right their Print Size, and notice that the image grows on screen, and now it should be right.
If you get everything right for your screen and then you choose that command, you should be able to actually measure the image or better yeah, just print it out. Compare it to what you see on screen, and they should be pretty nearly a dead match for each other, and that is how you use the Print Size command inside Photoshop.
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