Photoshop: Retina Scaling - Photoshop Document not accounting for macOS Retina Display Scaling

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  • Updated 8 months ago
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As the header says Photoshop is not taking in to account that scaling is being applied to Frame Buffer.

Take for instance this iMac Pro 5K Display. In system preferences I have default for Display set in scaling. This translates in to a frame buffer looking like a 2560x1440 pixels - drawn on to a 5120 x 2880 Pixel Layout.

This scaling is accounted for in photoshop's GUI but NOT in the content when viewing it.
This makes screen design totally cumbersome on any Retina display. 

You can re-create what I am saying like this

1. Create a new Document 
2. Select Web under document type
3. Then Select "Most Common" fron preset drop down menu which is 1366x768
4. Click OK to create the document. And set zoom to 100%

Instead of adhering to macOS Display Scaling Preference Photoshop draws the document into the actual pixel layout. This causes the document to be ridiculously small. Kind of 'correct' but not correct. What happens when Apple or someone else once again doubles the pixel count ? Then "Web Most Common" will be invisible on the screen which would make it impossible to design for that screen size. Unless zoomed to 800%. 

Currently I have to zoom to 1366x768 to 400% on a 2560x1440 (Scaled) Retina display). You can imagine how ugly that looks.

I AM aware of the fact that the increased pixel density is cause for confusion and problems but it was not by mistake that Apple built-in the Display Scaling macOS. It is because this IS a problem. A problem which Adobe should be solving differently.

For images it doesn't really matter but for screen design the current way Photoshop is handling this is making it highly uncomfortable for anyone using a Retina display. 

Designing for web is still measured in CSS Pixels... 

So to adobe... Could you perhaps incorporate a preference in to Photoshop that would enable the Application to adhere to macOS's Display Scaling. Should not be that hard to do given the fact that your own User Interface is adhering to it perfectly....
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Morten Carlsen

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Posted 8 months ago

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David Tristram, Employee

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we talked with Apple about document pixel display when we were doing the high density work for UI.  There are good arguments for doing it both way and our current choice is to do what Apple does with their own apps.  Fortunately you can use document zoom to get the appearance you want, if I understand you.  
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Morten Carlsen

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Hi David,

unfortunately, using document zoom is a bad option i.e. when working on screen design for i.e 1366x768.
To be able to see what one does on a 5K Display one needs to upscale to 200% where art starts to look scaled. It is very cumbersome to work like this.

With images this does not really matter. With Art it does...

Hence, preference option would be really nice
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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If we used the OS to scale it, it would still look slightly blurry due to interpolation. As such, Apple supported the current implementation - as David indicated.

The recommended workflow is to work/design at 2x the resolution and scale down (interpolate) any 1x renditions that are needed.
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Morten Carlsen

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Hi Jeffrey,

so you're saying that to work on a 1366x768 the recommended way of going about is to create a doc @ 2732 x 1536 ? (Which is what I've been doing)

BTW - makes sense that at some end interpolation has to take place whether that being on the OS or Photoshop. IMO it would make more sense to incorporate that setting in to photoshop or at least make it an option. At least, I can tell you this that I am getting totally wrong sizes from all kids of really great designers from all across the world. Not saying it aint their fault (or mine) but what I am saying is that the confusion has never been bigger :D 

So perhaps you could draw attention to this topic... I mean, in the latest version of Photoshop you have an interactive image/movie displayed when hovering over a world-wide-known Move-Tool Symbol which a 3-year could intuitively figure out but no info what-so-ever about the scaling which is really difficult to deal with...

Thx 
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Yep.

I'm not sure how old you are, but when 'the web' was starting to be a thing in the 90's print designers were befuddled by not having to set the resolution of all their images to something like 300ppi. 

Help tips are for people that don't know the app at all. Photoshop can be pretty daunting to someone brand new to it. If you don't like them, disable them: Preferences > Tools... and disable "Use Rich Tool Tips"
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Morten Carlsen

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I am old enough to have used a Mac since 1995. And Photoshop just about as long as it has been around.

But I don't see what my age has to do with this.

The PPI thing I have no issue with - back then it was clear (to me) as well. However, if you truly believe that the current "solution" in photoshop is adequate and elegant when designing on a 5K display for 1x res. @1366x768, then this is where you and I regardless of age differ very much in opinion. 

Basically, every time a designer purchases a Mac with a Retina display their designs coming off photoshop is off. Where it used to be not. Perhaps we're all dumb and young and wrong. So the question comes down to one thing,  do you write a software to help your users or confuse them ?