PHOTOSHOP - Paths don't actually align along pixel grid

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Troubles working with paths:

When creating a live shape path doesn't match pixel grid even with option Align edges turned on. It results in occasional edge blur when performing path operations. It also sometimes is getting impossible to drag shape using Move Tool.
I am using Photoshop CC x64 (version 2014.2.2) for Windows 7 x64

Please fix this issue!
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Dmitri Albert

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Posted 3 years ago

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Chris Cox

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The align edges option makes the rendering of the shape match the pixel grid, not the outlines. There are separate options to make the outline match the grid when possible.
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Dmitri Albert

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Thank you for your answer but you missed the point of my complain. It's quite disappointing and doesn't make any sense that path doesn't match actual pixels (see image attached) like it was in my previous version (Photoshop 5.5). What other options you mentioned?

If you mean "Edit>Preferences>General...>Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid" that doesn't help since it makes all further operations with paths discrete. What I need is matching paths along actual pixels edges during shape creation and the ability to move those paths freely later on (this is exactly how it worked in my previous version of Photoshop). This allows me to fine tune the image's edge rendering and it's pretty imortant when working on a small sized graphics like UI icons (which I do).

Once again, the problem is that I don't see any way to make paths snap to pixels during shape creation but not later on.

I would appreciate if you give me directions on how to solve this problem if there is a way do do so or report this isue as a bug to Adobe developers team.

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Chris Cox

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Yes, it makes sense. There is no reason for paths to be constrained to exact pixel boundaries. And no, paths were not any more constrained to pixel boundaries in previous versions -- we only added some of the constraints in recent releases of Photoshop (I know because I wrote them). And with high res displays you expect more things to be antialiased and not on perfect pixel boundaries (especially if you work on mobile UI).

You have the "render on pixel boundaries" option enabled (aka "align edges"), but it looks like you disabled the preference to snap vector shape creation and movement of vector shapes to pixel boundaries (the snap pref you just mentioned). No, that old version of Photoshop had no snap on creation, movement, or rendering - again, those are all new features. And there is no option to snap on creation but not on movement -- the XD people decided that if you want one, you really want both to snap, so we implemented it the way they said.
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Dmitri Albert

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Hello Chris!
Thank you for you fast response!

Let me tell you that Photoshop CS 5.5 did have an option allowing to snap path along pixel boundaries during creation only. It was implemented as a tool option
called "Snap to Pixels" and it didn't constrain path movement between pixels (using keyboard arrow keys) after shape creation:


In Photoshop CC this behavior was removed instead we've got two options:
1. global constrain of all vector shapes via Edit>Preferences
2. Align Edges option which aligns only rendered shape but not the path it's built upon.

This takes away a lot of flexibility.
1. Global constrain doesn't give me the subpixel control allowing to fine tune the edge of rendered shape.
2. Align Edges option gives good visual result when creating a single shape but brings troubles when I need to make path operation e.g. "Combine shapes".

Here is the case:
1. Creating simple shape. Algn Edges mode is on. Path is not aligned alog pixels but visually the edge is snapped:



2. Creating another shape using operation mode "Combine Shapes". When creating is done we get blurry edges of both combined shapes.



When working with small sized graphics I need to have an ability to fine tune shape's paths on subpixel level to make edges look crisp (think about 16x16 tree application icon). I guess the walkarround would be at least to make a keyboard shortcut for Edit>Preferences>General...>Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid option.
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Chris Cox

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Photoshop CS 5.5 and Photoshop 5.5 are very different things. (differing by about 10 years).

And the "snap to pixels" option didn't do quite what you think.

Yes, align edges works on the outer edges of the shape - there is no way to preserve all shapes appearance AND draw without antialiased edges -- some interior edges will need antialiasing because they won't fall on pixel boundaries at all sizes. Think about a circle as the worst case -- you can snap the edges to a pixel boundary, but the curves still need antialiasing.

Well, we implemented the new vector shape features the way the XD/screen designers said they wanted it to work. The engineers wanted more flexibility, and the XD/screen designers said "No, this is the way everyone wants it."

Yes, we have other requests for a menu item/shortcut for the preference -- but XD has yet to come up with an appropriate name or location for a menu item.
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Dmitri Albert

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Chris, I wasn't totally correct 'cause I surely meant Photoshop CS 5.5 and not 5.5 (which I by the way used in the beginning of my career).
I would like to ask you make people in Photoshop's team informed on this issue. It is great to introduce new abilities to the product but they shouldn't cease previous useful features and behavior that people used to. Here we've got an irretrievable loss of important functionality.

And I would also kindly ask Photoshop's team to finally implement a keyboard shortcut for switching select mode between layer and a group for a Move Tool. I bet a great number of designers would be greatful for this obvious and long-awaited feature.
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Anirban5875

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I noticed same issue as Chris and it's driving me nuts, my production time has doubled due to this new artifact. As I'm dragging the path around or nudging it just won't snap to pixel. What do I do?
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Dmitri Albert

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Actually I've found a workaround to this issue. I've created two actions which turn on and off "Edit>Preferences>Tools>Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid" mode and assigned hotkeys to them. That had solved the problem.
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Anirban5875

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yes after doing some research I found the bjango actions to this and it seems to work well for me too. thanks for the response.