View Full Version : Size it Up

04-30-2009, 09:53 PM
We're going to talk about resizing. Basic right? Well it is, but let me throw in a few helpful tips to making your photos the right size and shape without stretching or squishing or losing too much quality.

Let's talk dpi. This stands for dots per inch or pixels per inch. What this means is what it says, how many dots are in an inch on your canvas.

Seasoned scrappers should know that the standard for scrapbooking is 300dpi on a 12x12 canvas. If you're new. . . well now you know! :biggrin: What this means is that you are cramming 43,200 pixels on your canvas. You don't really need to know that, I just thought I'd do the math for ya.

So why 300? You may have guessed that the higher the dpi the better the quality. Well here's why 300, most of your digital cameras take photos at 250 to 300 dpi, but they are like 32 inches long. This gives you something to work with. 300dpi is the optimum pixel to compression ratio. Meaning your eyes can't detect too much change between 300 dpi and higher at a 2 foot range. (give or take) If you look up close you could probably see the difference but you don't usually have your nose to the page when viewing. Any higher resolution is just a waste of computer space.

You don't usually print your photos out at 32 inches do you? I should say not! This is also why it works well. You can compress pixels and they still hold true, but what if we wanted to make that picture the size of the wall! Our dpi would not be high enough because now our 300 pixels per inch have become like 300 pixels a foot! Thats some serious pixel stretching. Do NOT stretch your pixels. This is how you get grainy or pixely looking photos. This is why I always work with the origianl photos (or duplicate of), and never ever a web copy when doing scrapbooking.

Why not a web copy? Monitors also run on pixels. Your standard monitor views at 72 dpi. Meaning even if I put a 300dpi picture on here, you really wouldn't be able to see the difference, plus it would take up WAY to much space and if your on dial-up (heaven forbid) you'd probably time out before it even loaded. Some of you may have high resolution high contrast monitors. (I do I do!!) even these don't get ya much more than 100 dpi.

Having said this, I always save my Layouts at the original 12x12 300dpi, but also at 600pixelsx600pixels at 72 dpi to put up here in the gallery. I find it a good size to compression ratio for the web.

So why did I tell you pixel size for web instead of inches? As I said monitors run on pixels so this means on paper you can have something 2 inches by 2 inches at 400 dpi, but if you put it up on the web it looks HUMUNGOUS! This is because it's going off of pixels not inches.

So here I'm trying to show you the difference this may seem confusing but see if you can get the idea. This is a one inch section of a picture of me. All other dimensions are below the picture.

http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn85/harmonystar1899/tutorials/rs1.jpg http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn85/harmonystar1899/tutorials/rs3.jpg
216 pixels x 216 pixels .....................216 pixels x 216 pixels
3 inch x 3 inch ................................. .72 inch x .72 inch
72 dpi............................................... .... 300 dpi

The two pictures appear to be the same size on the screen because they are the same pixel dimensions BUT if I printed these off in my program the one on the left would be 3 inches and the one on the right .72 inches. This change is size is due to the pixels per inch. By the way The one on the left I stretched the pixels which is why it's so blurry. It was 1 inch at 72 dpi and I made it 3 inches at 72dpi. I did this so you could better see the quality difference.

To be able to see what your working with click the zoom tool

Then on the options along the top click actual pixels to see how big it would look on the web. click Print size to see how big it would look printed.

On the other extreme, when scanning, especially old photos I scan at least at 600dpi, sometimes 1200dpi!!! This gives me a HUGE picture to work with but you get more detail which makes any necessary editing better. Then you can always scale it down when you need it.

Reduce Don't Enlarge
The reason I went through all that is so that you could better understand the statement above. You usually will be fine enlarging an itsy bit, but be very careful!!! If I've placed a picture on my my Layout and shrunk it down, then later decide I want it bigger, I delete that picture and take from the original again.

Same goes for elements. Most designers know this and will make their elements slightly bigger than most people would use them. It's ALWAYS better to reduce than enlarge. If you're a designer and you didn't know this keep it in mind for the future. My first few things I designed are too small, (so sorry:shy:) but I try to keep this in mind better now.

Don't Stretch or Squish!
Sometimes you'll see photos on a scrap page that look like this:

Maybe you're even guilty of doing it once or twice yourself :eek: (though perhaps not as dramatic. Let me show you how to NOT squish or stretch.

I have my 12x12 canvas open and my background paper on it. I've already done my every day edits to my picture and cropped it so it's just a close up of me and Sara. Then without resizing it I drag it to my canvas.

This is bigger than I want so I need to size it down. I go to Edit-Free Transform or Ctrl T to get my free transform tool then to maintain proportion and not squish I hold down Shift while I drag a corner in.


Holding down Shift works to maintain proportion in almost any program. It also works for shapes and if you are using the marquee tool and want a perfect circle or square.

So what about if you're trying to fit your picture in a premade frame? To demonstrate, I'll use 3 different shaped frames.

The first'll be the easiest. It's a rectangle like my picture. Holding down Shift I'll size my picture down to fit almost all of it in the frame.
You'll see I still have some picture hanging out of the frame. One way to take care of this is to zoom in and take the eraser and just erase the picture out around the frame


A square frame can be a bit trickier. We don't want to squish the picture so we'll still hold shift to resize down. If you can't fit what you want in the square go back to your origianl pre-cropped photo for some extra play room. Now we have the ends sticking out the size. The easiest way to get rid of it is to use the rectange marquee tool select it, then hit delete this will erase all the picture inside the marquee.


In the circle of flowers you can see virtically We just barely fit while horizontally we're over the edge. For this you could use the circle marquee then erase the extra Or...


While on your frame layer use your magic wand (make sure contiguous is checked) and select the outside of the frame. Then just hit delete.

(I don't have a screen shot for this cause my dinasour of an adobe is very sensative and keeps having arguments with Vista and having to close. :frown: Gotta get a newer version, in the meantime. . . )

Guide Lines
I'm talking entirely literal. The best way to line up things on your layout is to use guide lines.

Lets say you're making a layout like this:

You want all those squares the same size and to line up perfectly right?

First let me mention how to get those pictures in the squares EXACTLY right.

Take your original picture and do all the edits you want on it first. Then using the rectangle marquee, hold down shift to make a perfect square. Once you have your square just how you want it. Copy and paste it into a new canvas. edit-copy file-new edit-paste or Ctrl c, Ctrl n, Ctrl v Your new canvas should be automatically set to the dimensions of what had been copied so you don't need to set a size.

Then on your new square canvas, resize the photo down to be the size you want all your little squares to be (I think mine are 2 inches)

We'll place our squares using the guide lines. Make sure your rulers are turned on. view-Rulers or Ctrl r Then click somewhere on the ruler and drag out onto your layout. This should give you a blue or a red line. This line will NOT show up when you print, or post, but are just saved there in your adobe program. Now you have straight lines to help you arrange pictures, text, paper strips, whatever you want straight! If you ever want to hide your lines so you can just look at your LO you can hit Ctrl h. Hit it again to make the guides come back.


Well there ya have it! Lots of stuff there. If you have any other questions about resizing feel free to ask here or you can always pm me.

10-02-2012, 06:42 PM
I have a question about resizing layouts for posting in the gallery. I do my layouts at 300dpi 12x12 and save it as a PSD file. Then I need to make a file for posting in the gallery. If I try to take that same file and do File ---> Save for Web I get an error message that says "The image exceeds the size Save for Web was designed for. You may experience out of memory errors and slow performance. Are you sure you want to continue?"

Should I hit yes or do something else? I normally wait to change the size to 600x600 until the Save for Web menu opens. I'm new to posting in galleries so I'm not sure if I am resizing the correct way or maybe there is a better way that will keep the image quality while reducing to 600x600.

10-02-2012, 06:44 PM
By the way, my file sizes are usually around 200MB. Should I maybe save a Jpeg image then reduce the 3rd file for gallery posting?

10-02-2012, 06:47 PM
And I use Photoshop CS2. I know it's old but I bought the whole CS2 years ago and spent $$$ on it and don't want to do that again. I like all of the things I can do in Photoshop vs Elements.

10-02-2012, 07:15 PM
What I do - and this may be different than what others do - but its an option ;)

I save a jpg of it (I need a jpg anyway for printing). Then I open the jpg, reduce the resolution to 150, then hit the save for web feature and further reduce it to the 600x600 (and often under 150KB reqs of some galleries). I then save as (and not save over the full res jpg). So I end up with 3 files of every LO - the psd (or tiff most often now), full res jpg & the same file labeled with a _sm at the end.

Hope this helps :D

10-02-2012, 11:17 PM
Thank you Trina!

10-03-2012, 12:58 AM
Great re-sizing info!

10-03-2012, 03:32 AM
I found a great tutorial on resizing layouts for online galleries. You can find it here - http://mylifeonscrapbooks.blogspot.com/2011/07/editing-your-layout-for-gallery-posting.html - I did what she said and I can tell a big difference in the reduced layouts.

TOP LAYOUT - The first one is done using the tutorial. I did have to use SAVE FOR WEB because the file size was about 20kb over.

2ND LAYOUT - The second one is the file I have here in the gallery. I adjusted the image size to 600x600 72 dpi first then used SAVE FOR WEB. I am not happy with the image. I figured there had to be a better way. See the white fuzzies in the flowers!

I will be using this tutorial for all future gallery posting :-)

03-05-2013, 03:00 AM
A note on chardonay1234's saving technique. . . YES YES! By the way Pretty much every designer does this with their previews as well. Sharpening after lowering the DPI is a good idea, however don't go overboard or it will look weird. :)