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Photoshop: Why does Image resizing small makes image pixelated?

When I resize an image smaller it becomes very pixelated. I thought this only happened if resize larger. How can I resize an image smaller (Ex, 3x5 inches) without losing image quality?
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  • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) November 25, 2011 21:35
    Which application are you using?

    If you want to just change the size of the image, change the size and don't resample. But if you're resampling the image, you will lose some quality.
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  • Photoshop cs5. I'm taking a large image and sizing it way smaller, ie. approx 2x4 inches. I'm resizing it by ctrl T (transform), holding shift and dragging the corner in until it's the size I need to fit into my shape with a clipping mask. Is that why I'm losing quality. I tried resizing and not resampling, then I drag the image over to my other canvas where I need it which is 4x6 inches in size...then I resize by transforming and I lose quality. I'm stumped. Is it because I'm putting in on a 4x6 canvas??
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  • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) November 25, 2011 23:21
    OK, you are resampling because you have to in order to get the size in another document.

    Check your preferences and see which resampling algorithm is chosen, it should be bicubic or bicubic sharper.

    And, again, when resampling down you are always going to lose some quality because you have fewer pixels when you're done.
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    When resampling images, larger or smaller, you always loose some quality. This is natural as you are either adding or removing pixels from your image.

    When you make an image smaller, it will become sharper and more pixelated, as the higher contrast edges are maintained at the cost of the less important filler information.

    When you make an image larger, it will become more blurry. This is because you are adding pixels between the existing ones that are a created as a blend of its neighbors.

    The actual quality of the transformation is determined by the algorithm used, as mentioned by Chris. When using the Nearest Neighbor option, resizing larger will create a pixelated image. But you may be thinking of a non-resampled increase in size, or a zoom, which really is just making the pixels larger on screen, thus more visible (i.e. pixelated).
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