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Chapter 4. Resolution Solutions > Other Resolution Tricks

Other Resolution Tricks

There are a lot of little tricks that I use when working with resolution. In this section I'll share the ones I use the most.

Scanning with Maximum Resolution

I often don't know how my images will be printed and am not sure what size I'll need at the time they are scanned. In that case, I look at the most demanding type of printing that I might use (the highest resolution I'd need) and also think of the largest size I'd ever need the image to be, and I'll scan for that. That way I'll have enough information no matter how I end up using the image. Once I know the final size and output type, then I'll simply choose Image > Image Size and enter the proper settings, which will cause Photoshop to reduce the file size so the image is optimized for that type of output.

Res Versus PPI

If you use a use high-end scanner, you may not be able to find a setting called ppi in the scanner software. Instead, you'll be able to specify the resolution in small numbers such as res 4 or res 8. All that means is that the particular scanner is using the metric system. Here's how to quickly convert between pixels per inch and resolution. Choose Image > New and enter the Resolution setting you desire. Now, click on the Width field so Photoshop knows you're done entering the resolution, and then change the pop-up menu next to the Resolution setting to pixels/cm. Finally, move the decimal one place to the left and you'll know the res equivalent of the ppi setting you were looking for.

Print Size

The View > Print Size command is supposed to show you how large your image will be when it's printed, but it's usually not accurate because it assumes that 72 pixels fit on each inch of your screen. You can find out if that's true on your screen by creating a document that is exactly 72 pixels wide (the resolution, mode, and height don't matter), then double-clicking on the Zoom tool to view the image at 100% magnification. Once you've done that, just hold a real physical ruler up to your screen and measure how wide that document is. If it's not exactly an inch wide, then your screen does not display 72 pixels per inch, and therefore the Print Size command will not be accurate.

Here's how to get an accurate print preview: Open your image, choose View > Rulers, and then choose Window > Navigator. Now hold a real ruler up to your screen and move the slider in the Navigator palette until the onscreen ruler matches the one you are holding in your hand. If the slider can't make things small enough, then experiment with the percentage setting that appears in the lower left of the Navigator palette. Once both rulers match, you're getting an accurate preview of how large your image will be when it's printed (Figure 4.38).

Figure 4.38. Matching onscreen with a physical ruler. (original image ©2005 Stockbyte, www.stockbyte.com)

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