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November 9, 2012


Replies: 15

Important question about resizing pictures.

Barzona Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
For these many years, I have always had a system. I would paint a picture really big and then re-size it smaller when it was finished so it will fit online.

I have always noticed that when I do so, I lose some of the cleanliness of the original piece.

Do any of you folks who know what they are doing work at 100% when you are digitally painting, or do you also re-size your pieces?

I'm sick of my work being ruined because I have to make it smaller. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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Devious Comments

im-promptu Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Work in bigger size, a lot of artworks on this site are resized smaller, cause people usually work A4 300DPI.
When you're working, open up another window for the picture and zoom it out, so you can see the difference in a zoomed out version whilst you're drawing, it can help you focus on the bigger picture when you're zoomed into a particular detail.
Pictures do get a bit blurry when you resize it, maybe try using a sharpen filter? Usually my stuff looks okay resized but sometimes I apply sharpen.
DavidScript Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm gonna keep it short and simple:

- Save your stuff as PNGs
- Don't bother resizing your pics. deviantArt does that for you, and people have the option to see the full pics
Barzona Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
PNG, huh? I could tray that. :)

TidalNight Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
A lot of people have mentioned some good and interesting advice. ~FriendlyHand has provided some pretty good tips. In particular number 3 (regards algorithm selection) to add to it, you'll most likely always use bicubic (or its variants), and I'd recommend against biliniear or nearest neighbor algorithms unless you are going for a particular style of resizing (bicubic considers more pixels than the others so its the least 'lossy' of the three types).
Flattening before resizing is definitely recommended too.

Here's another two cents that you may find some useful food for thought:

Consider two things that affect why you may be unhappy with your digital work and resizing.
1) Digital media and its limitations
2) Your philosophy/attitude

Digital media, in particular screens, use pixels as we know. Fortunately they are getting smaller and smaller (eg Apple's Retina technology). However, most screens still have pixels that are still easily large enough to be seen individually to the naked eye. This means that when you are packing 3 fine, individual lines into 1 pixel, the pixel can only display the average colour/tone/value of those original 3 lines - that's the limitation of digital media.

As for your philosophy, if you were a traditional artist in the past and really enjoyed the fine details, fine details in traditional media can truly be kept as traditional media didnt have pixels with limited 'data'. You basically worked with atoms.

The best we can do to handle digital media is to create an illusion of fine, intricate detail (if that's what you aim for). If you want complete control of what your audience sees, work at 100% size and become a pixelbender. The downside is that you'll have to work with the limitation of pixels - if you're not used to it then it's akin to the idea of telling a pencil artist that he can only draw with square bricks.

If you want to draw with fine details, then working with a higher resolution will be the way to go. Bicubic resizing does what it can to consider as much 'information' as possible, but jpeg compression can still knock out some details, even at max setting (usually it doesn't, however). Consider using lossless compression such as png too, if your eye is that sharp.

Frankly, if using max quality jpegs (which, judging from your file sizes of your jpegs, is currently the case), or png images is not enough in terms of keeping your desired details, I suspect the issue is that you are dissatisfied with the limitations of screen and/or image resolutions. The other possible factor can be that you are over-downsizing your work, which will indeed mask off a lot of the finer detail into single discrete pixels.

I understand this may step on your toes a lil to say it as such, but I think that if you do take this advice on you can shift your focus to the piece of art as a whole rather than the fine details (mind you, for fine details, indeed over downsizing is the problem you then run into).

Feel free to discuss though, I'd be interested in your thoughts if this provided you with food for thought n whatnot.
Hope this helps.
achipps Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think you just need to do your artwork at 100% so you can use zoom, and manipulate pixels for fine details, or illusions of detailed grill lines and other pixel effects you don't want to change by resizing.

I think you can do it. I saw your work.

Once each pixel creates the effects you wanted then never resize them. Learn to work with small images for a while so you need to make every pixel count.
I do that a lot and I might make an image larger so I have more pixels to work with, but never smaller, unless it is just a sample view.
Because I draw the files at 100% I can use the final file to remake, change or repair the artwork, and they are my originals.
I do save PNG files without a background for an original layer.
achipps Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A lot of artist draw huge because it looks smoother when it is made smaller than it would if the drew it at one hundred percent.
I has a good reason, because if you make a little mistake the resizing will fix it most the time.

So the only way you could resize the image and make it not look good is if you change the image size inside the file and get the proportions off or resize it like that more than once.

I use Photoshop and I check the last box so I can make the resolution high without changing the size. I go with 600, and then save it even if nothing looked like it changed. Then I go back in and uncheck the last box and change the resolution to 300. This will resize the image to half the original size.

You can do the same thing with the size. If it is 22 inches then make it 11 inches, but keep the aspect ratio.

It has been a very long time since I did that, because I sketch my art and ideas on a very small canvas, and if I want more detail I enlarge the image, because with zoom I can do a lot of detail work at 100% and never need to changes sizes. Some of my website artwork is as you see it. I draw everything to size and play with pixel work for added details. [link]

I'm sure some day you will do that type of artwork.
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist

1) As someone mentioned, make sure you "maintain aspect ratio" when resizing.

2) because of the way the image is processed during resizing, resizing to 50% may produce cleaner results than resizing to a random percentage such as 59%

3) Some programs like photoshop offer a variety of algorithms for resizing and some are better than other. try all the options and compare the results.

4) flatten before resizing. If you have layers with various effects, they may behave unpredictably.

5) some very small 1-2 pixel details will inevitably be blurred so take that into consideration while working on your art.

Tip: if you plan to reduce the final art to 50% size, use window>arrange>new window in photoshop to open a second copy of your image and keep it always at 50% size so you can glance at it while you work!
leomon32 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I do it in big size then post it at 50-33% of the original size, always c.
Corvalian Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
I resize my stuff all the time. If you're getting fuzziness it's probably due to the dimensions being off. Like if you had something that was 800x600 pixels and you resized it to 700x500 pixels, your ratio becomes different and the software has to compensate. As a result it ends up pixelating and distorting some portions of the piece.

In the above example, the size the original was reduced to seems correct on the surface, you're just taking 100 pix off the top and sides right? Well yes, and this would work if you were actually shaving off portions of it. However, once you try to reshape the entire imagine into the new, smaller space, it won't line up the same. 800x600 has a nice ratio of 1.333~, whereas 700x500 changes it to 1.4. That means your original picture is going to have to shrink down to a proportionally smaller size, but also stretch in some places in order to fit the slightly differently shaped rectangle.

To get around this, it's best to decide what size you want the image to be and reduce it by a percentage. I usually zoom in or out on my piece until it looks like it's a good viewing size, then take the percentage at the top that it gives me for the zoom. In many cases, it's 25%. So, if I wanted to reduce something that was 800x600 to 25% of that size (which is really small btw, my pieces are usually a few thousand by a few thousand pixels in original size) I would multiple 800 by .25, then do the same thing to 600. I'd then get the dimensions of 200x150. By resizing it to 200x150, I keep the proportions correct and the piece should look just as sharp as before.

Now, if this is NOT the case, and you are resizing by the correct ratios, the other possibility could be image compression. You might have a setting off somewhere that is reducing image quality to save space when you save it. In doing so, the image will get more pixelated and lose certain colors. This happens to an extent whenever you save the picture in a different format, actually. In Photoshop, for instance, if you save a .psd file as a .jpg, the jpg will always be a slightly lower quality image than the .psd even if you save it as the highest quality jpg possible. These file type extensions (such as .jpg, .gif, or .bmp) are there to signify a different compression method for the image, and so will always be of lower quality than the original, raw .psd image. Usually the difference is negligible, however. I often can see a difference between my .jpg's and .psd's but it's usually not enough to ruin the image or even be noticeable by anyone but myself.

In the above scenario, of course, the issue is due to file compression, not actual image/pixel size on the screen, so I don't know if it covers what's happening in your situation. I guess it would depend upon what point you notice the image 'cleanliness' diminishes. Is it upon resizing the same image, or after you've saved the resized image as something else?

One more thing. If we're talking about really small images, they are bound to look worse at smaller sizes. Pixel artists especially have problems with this, because if you resize a simple sprite or something that is only 50x50 pixels down to something even smaller, some of the image's pixels will have to be removed in order to make room. Pixels themselves cannot be divided, so at some point of smallness, the image has to start losing details.
Lodchen Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I do work on really big sizes and resize it for submitting.
I never realized a quality loss there :o

Which program do you use? Maybe this is the reason for the quality loss?
Btw, I think your work seems to be okay. Of course I do not know how the original pictures look, but the quality on the submitted ones really seems to be okay to me ;)
puppy-dangerous Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
How are you saving it? I never have problems with quality loss.
Barzona Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
As a JPEG. File > save for web and devices.
TakemaKei Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Work big. I will keep the work in original size, and only resize when i upload.
Maybe its the resolution of your work. What resolution do you work on? I dont see any problem on your but probably just me.
Barzona Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
My resolution is at 300 these days. Maybe I should work higher than that? I've just never known the right way to do these things.
TakemaKei Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
300 is paper resolution. Some people do higher but I dont know if the difference is significant. i do 300-350
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