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How to Resize an Image in Photoshop CC (2021)

It’s essential to know how to resize images in Photoshop CC, as part of the final stages in your photo editing process.

Let’s begin with a short guide on how to resize an image using Photoshop. Later on, we’ll cover more technical aspects of resizing and the purposes behind this action.

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We start off by showing you the easiest way to resize your photos. However, there is much more to learn about resizing images based on what you want to do with the resized image. How many pixels do you need, or is the file size more important than image quality? This quick explanation gets the job done. However, the best resizing method is the one that fits what you want to use the resized image for.

Quick Resize: How to Resize Photoshop CC Using The Image Size Tool

Before we did into resizing begin by opening a Photoshop document or your original image.

Step 1: Go to the menu: Image > Image Size to open the Image Size Dialog Box

Go to Image -> Image Size in the top menu bar to open up the image dialogue box

change image size

Step 2: Change the Dimension Units

In the Image Size dialog box, enter the image dimensions, the width or height of the resized image. If you prefer to use another unit instead of, i.e., inches, then you can change it to use pixel dimensions instead.

change image size units

Step 3: Keep Aspect Ratio / Constrain Proportions

To maintain the original aspect ratio of your image, check the link icon to activate the Constrain Proportions option. This adjusts both the width and height even if you only enter one of them. With the constrain proportions link icon deactivated, you will end up stretching the image, which you very rarely want.

constrain ratio

Step 4: Change the Resolution if Needed

Enter the preferred PPI (Pixels per inch) under Resolution. (Read below to find out more about resolution).

Click OK to resize the image.

Finally, save the image.

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Resizing Images Options

When using the image size command from the Image menu, you have a few options in the dialog box that affects how you scale images, if you lose image quality, the image resolution you want, and so on. We will cover these options more in-depth here, and how it affects your resized photos.

Resample options

By checking the resample checkbox, you tell Photoshop that it is OK when it changes the image size. For instance, it may add some pixels, when enlarging images or throw away pixels when downscaling images.

Adobe has made successive efforts to improve resizing images without losing quality. They started with Bicubic Sampler, which improved details but had a softening effect. Then it was Preserve Details, which often produced artifacts in the resampled image. The third is Preserve Details 2.0, the most advanced upscaling technology Photoshop has provided until now.

resample preserve details
Change the resample method and compare with your original photo quality.

To enlarge or upscale an image in Photoshop, all you need to do is enter the pixel dimension you want. Check Resample, and choose Preserve Details 2.0 from the drop-down list. Other possible options are Bicubic Smoother (enlargement), Bicubic Sharper (reduction), Bicubic (smooth gradients), Nearest Neighbor (hard edges), and Bilinear.

As Photoshop provides an instant preview window, you can go through all options and see which one is better for your resizing purpose.

How to Resize an Image in Photoshop by Dragging

You cannot resize an entire image by dragging in Adobe Photoshop. You can resize layers in Photoshop by using the transform tool. However, this doesn’t affect the image size or the canvas size. For scaling images, you should use the method described above.

How to Resize Photos in Photoshop CC with Content-Aware Fill

You’ll often need to change the aspect ratio of your photo to match your clients’ requirements. Even social media prefers particular aspect ratios.

There are also situations in which you can’t change the aspect ratio without cutting off parts of the image or adding new ones. This is where the Content-Aware Fill workspace helps you.

It’s usually used to move or remove objects from the image. But it gives you a lot of flexibility to fill transparent areas and expand the background. For example, you can transform a vertical frame into a horizontal one by using the Content-Aware Fill workspace. Here is how it works:

Photo by Airam Dato-on from Pexels
Original image. Photo by Airam Dato-on from Pexels
  1. Choose the image you want to transform
  2. Select the layer and Double click on it and click okay to turn it into ‘layer 0’ from ‘background’.
  3. Use the Crop Tool to change the aspect ratio the way you like and include some transparent pixels into the frame.
  4. Select an area slightly larger than the transparent pixels.
  5. Right-click in the selection and select ‘Fill’ from the drop-down menu.
  6. Select Content-Aware and hit Enter.
  7. There may be some weird content-aware artifacts around the corners. Fix them using the Patch tool (content-aware).
  8. Iron out any edge issues with the Patch tool (normal), Healing Brush tool, or Spot Healing Brush tool.
content aware filled image
Enlarged image using Content-Aware Fill workspace

Publishing Images on websites

When you publish your photos on websites, you want the best quality. However, you may want to upload lots of images without losing too much time. Or the website where you publish your photos may have limitations in terms of file sizes. It’s important to optimize the size of your photos.

Resize for Web Use

So how to resize an image in Photoshop without losing quality? You will likely suffer a small degree of quality loss when reducing images dimensions because you want to keep the file size down.

Photoshop provides the useful ‘Save for Web’ option that reduces the disk size of your images. It allows you to set the output quality you need, so your images still look great.

save for web
Save for Web

The option Save for Web is a life-saver, but it is a legacy option well hidden under File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy). For quick access use the shortcut Alt+Shift+Ctrl+S.

Photoshop CC allows you to save images in common file types such as PNG, GIF, and JPEG. You can reduce the size of the image by reducing pixel dimensions and/or the quality of the image.

The editor provides real-time previewing and zooming to the pixel level to see image quality. The speed of the preview depends on how fast your workstation performs. This option is particularly good for saving in PNG format.

To avoid compression and loss of quality, you can share your photos as PNG files because this format protects the image quality the most.

save for web
PNG format preserves image quality

You’re probably thinking that PNG format is for transparency, right? Well, partially. PNG is a format that shows the alpha channel of an image, which JPEG format doesn’t do. It is a lossless file format in terms of compression, which means it preserves image quality.

PNG is one of the formats that provide the best results for image sharing. On the other hand, it doesn’t reduce the size of your files as much as the JPEG format.

Reduce Resolution

Sometimes, the Photoshop CC option Save for Web will be enough. Other times, you may need to address resizing at a deeper level. For example, we know that photographers love to work with a resolution of 300 dpi, which is the print resolution.

An image with 300 dpi and one with 1 dpi look the same on the web but not in print.

Some high-end websites require 300 dpi images for zooming in and better overall control. But for most websites, especially if they don’t provide zooming, you can set a lower digital resolution when you resize images in Photoshop CC for screen or web use. After changing the resolution, you need to update the image’s new dimensions again (width and height).

Go for around 72 or 96 dpi to reduce the size of the image drastically without anyone noticing any difference. How to do it? Choose an image in RAW file format.

Go to Image -> Image Size. In the image size dialog box, change the resolution to 72 dpi and set resampling to Preserve Details 2.0 or Automatic.

image size dialog
Shortcut for Image Size dialog box Alt + Ctrl + I

How to Batch Resize in Photoshop?

If you need to know how to automatically resize images in Photoshop, the answer is to use Photoshop actions and batch processing. Actions help you achieve sharper resized images in no time. Download the actions we’ve created for resizing and sharpening images.

Related Photoshop Articles:

Concluding words

Photoshop is an all-in-one photo editor that does everything so perfectly that we barely need anything else. When you want to resize an image in Photoshop you have multiple options. Moreover, you can transform your favorite and frequent usage patterns into actions and save time.

Regardless of the method you choose, you have to consider the purpose of resizing. Do you want to make the image larger? Or do you want to reduce the image based on the file size. Where will be the photo published, the client’s requirements in terms of quality and size, copyrights protection, and so on. Everything is easier when you have an intention in mind.

How do you resize a picture in Photoshop CC? Do you take into consideration the purpose of resizing? Let us know if you use actions or prefer to resize images manually.

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