Photoshop Myth Busters (And The Problem With Web Content That Never Dies)

I’ve been tossing around a series of posts called “Photoshop Myth Busters” for a while now and I thought I’d start one today. Basically, the idea came to me at a seminar a few months back when some one came up and asked a question about resizing. He said that he’d seen a tutorial (by me no less), where I talked about resizing images in 10% increments (rather than just changing to the size you need all at once) to get better quality resizing. Then he asked why (on that day) I just taught to open the Image Resize dialog in Photoshop, and resize it all at once. The answer is pretty simple… the old way is no longer relevant. In some ways it’s a myth (something that is widely believed, but false). Now that doesn’t mean it wasn’t true at one point. Myth may not be the perfect word here, because it implies that the topic was never really true. But it makes for a better blog title than “Photoshop things that were true at one time, but aren’t true any more” :)

Back to our story on the resizing thing. At one point in time (many years ago), it was indeed actually better to resize your photos in 10% increments. You got better results that way. But today, Adobe has refined their resizing algorithms so much, that all you need to do is look through a list and pick the one that best suits what you’re doing and you’ll get the best results. If you’re enlarging photos, no sweat. They’ve got one for that. Making photos smaller. Yep, there’s one for that too. That’s it. Pretty simple huh and a lot better than opening the Image Size dialog box a bunch of times every time you wanted to resize a photo.

Myth Status: BUSTED!

As a side point, one of the problems we encounter with content that never dies on the web is that sometimes it’s old content. In the case of, say, an explanation of what aperture is in photography – you could go back 20 years and find an explanation that would work just fine and still hold true today. But when it comes to software, if the tutorial you watch is any more than 2 years old (and sometimes even less than that), then you’ve got to be careful. Software and technology change so much that techniques and tools I used two years ago in Photoshop or Lightroom, are no longer applicable today. That’s just the world we live in. So if you hear something I said in a tutorial a long time ago, disregard it – I was probably drunk when I said it anyway ;) Totally just kidding! It may or may not be true. If you’re wondering, just stop by, leave a message, tweet, or whatever and ask.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good one!

  • Dennis Zito

    Hi Matt,

    I got to PS I guess after the 10% stuff (old way). So, I’ve always done it in one process and had good luck with it. My biggest problem with resizing is resolution. I’m not sure when to turn “Resampling” on or off when resizing. Also, I sharpen after resizing … is that correct? It there a Tutorial on the NAPP site that goes through this? If not maybe after Photoshop World you could do one! :-)



  • Don Fahnestock

    Thanks, Matt. I’m new to your blog, but like it. I rarely downsize. I leave it on Bicubic (no auto in CS5). For upsizing, I use onOne’s Perfect Resize.

  • Peter

    Hi Matt, just a heads up: my ESET NOD gives a virus warning and quarantines the fourth page of your blog… I can read the first three with no problem

  • Randy

    Ok, I’m gonna ask a really dumb question. Why do I even care about “resizing” in the first place? I have always been confused about this. If I upload to MPIX (or the local drugstore or what have you), they all seem to print just fine without me resizing them beforehand. Plus, if I’m using LR and not PS, where would I do this? Thanks for humoring me. :-)

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Hey Randy,
      If you had a large photo open in Photoshop and wanted to save a smaller version to send to some one in an email (so the photo didnt look huge). Or if you had a smaller photo and wanted to upsize it. There’s still lots of things people do to change the size of an image in Photoshop. If you’re using Lightroom – sure, the need vanishes because LR will do it for you.