Photoshop CC 2015: 100% view is blurry on Retina display

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Hi,

I have issues with the 100% view in PS CC (currently 2015.1.2) on iMac 5k: images in 100% view seem to be visibly less sharp than they really are, e.g. when viewing that same image in other viewers or photo editors including Apple's Preview, Affinity Photo or Capture One Pro 9 (used to display a JPEG image, of course).

The issue seems to be with Photoshop, as even in its own dialog boxes the 100% previews are visibly sharper than the main image window. For example "Image Size" or the sharpen dialogs with "preview" active - the small previews in the dialogs are different (sharper) from the main window.

Interestingly, zooming in to 200% and viewing from a little bit farther away also gives the fully sharp impression, so the information is there, it's just not displayed.

Seems like PS does not really do a 1:1 pixel mapping in 100% view but some kind of pixel doubling or interpolation. This makes it difficult to assess sharpness in PS.

Thanks Georg

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geni1105

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  • disappointed.

Posted 2 years ago

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Chris Cox

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At 100%, one document pixel is one screen pixel.
At 200%, one document pixel is 4 screen pixels (the way many browsers display images).

You could be seeing a video card driver problem. But I have an iMac 5K - and the images are perfectly sharp at 100% (but not as easy to see because of the small display pixels).
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geni1105

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Thanks Chris for the comment!
I am not sure if this is a driver issue, after all it should then affect all display modes of PS, not just the main image display. As I said, the 100% preview in the image size dialog is visibly sharper than the 100% view of the main display. Same for the sharpen dialogs, with "preview" active. I have no plausible explanation for that, other than 100% view is implemented differently and does some kind of interpolation.

Here is an example, have a look at the key and the wood structures - clearly those are sharper in the "image size" preview than in the 100% normal display. 

 

Can you compare "image size" preview and main window on your iMac? Are those looking the same?

Thanks, Georg
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geni1105

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I understand what 100% view is supposed to do - show the exact pixels without any manipulation, and I am frustrated because in PS it obviously does not.

I don't understand your first statement - why should there be a difference if I just open the image size dialog, without any changes to the default values and even "Resample" unticked?
Of course the can be a difference in the Smart sharpen dialog, but with "Preview" ticked the on-canvas display should again look identical, right? Because if not, that preview would not work correctly - or at least not precise enough to assess sharpening, which would make the whole "preview" function of limited use.

But we need not discuss this difference or not-difference further, we can just exclude any manipulation by the PS dialogs by just looking at Photoshop CC (left) vs. Lightroom CC (right). This is a screenshot of LR's window placed above PS's, same image opened, both at 100%. The black bar is LR's window border. Of course any sharpening switched off in LR (by default, as it's a jpeg). Again I see the same difference as in the screenshot above, LR is visibly sharper and provides more detail.
Do you agree?



I have no additional SW on my machine which would interfere on a low level / driver level, at least not to my knowledge ;-) It's a normal iMac 5k with just application level programs installed. And even if there were some OS-level manipulation, it should be the same for PS and LR.
BTW, the same effect can be seen also on my wife's Macbook Pro Retina.

Georg
(Edited)
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geni1105

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Hello Chris, any feedback?
Thanks, Georg
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geni1105

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Disappointed that there is no comment on the different rendering of 100% views of Lightroom and Photoshop on Retina displays ...
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geni1105

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Any feedback? Or is the issue just ignored. ...?
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geni1105

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Finally found out where the issue is:
when GPU usage is de-activated, the problem is gone - 100% view is really a 1:1 display of the pixels and tack sharp (like in Lightroom 6).
When GPU usage is activated, 100% view is slightly blurry - so best to avoid the GPU when checking for critical sharpness.

I have just checked this with PS 2015.5 on an iMac Retina with El Cap. However I have seen the same problem with older versions of PS and on a Macbook Pro 13" Retina (see above), so it seems to be a general issue of GPU usage on Retina screens.