AuthorTopic: [Question] High quality small images?  (Read 2206 times)

Offline pastuh

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[Question] High quality small images?

on: July 22, 2014, 05:38:20 pm
Hello.
Can someone give some tips or links how create small but HQ images.
Example:


I dont get how reduce such image without losing quality..
I see sharp, blured and shiny corners..

Its pixel art with FX?

Offline Mathias

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Re: [Question] High quality small images?

Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 07:00:43 pm
I see you want to create relatively small images that have dense and clear details.

Here's a few, from me:


It's simple - start bigger than needed, shrink down, then clean up.

Draw the original image at something like 200% or 400% of your intended, end result size. Once done, shrink it down by the corresponding factor. In this case: 50% or 25%.
I always use an easy scale factor like this because I can zoom out at any time and get a quick preview of how the final, shrunken image will look.

When you shrink it, don't use sharpening interpolation. You'll want to sharpen things selectively to avoid excessive sharpening halos, etc. You might use the pencil tool or even brush tool with a 1px brush for pixel level detail now.

Every image is different, but often times you'll want to use precise pixel snapping. This is when you use vector paths snapped to the pixel grid so all edges stay crisp.
See the Iconjar icon set for an example.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 08:00:06 am by Mathias »

Offline Pix3M

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Re: [Question] High quality small images?

Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 08:12:06 pm
From experiences of having images shrunken down to size, I would also like to emphasize strong, clear value contrasts. Shrinking an image will generally lower its contrast, so a strong contrast helps maintain clarity when an image becomes smaller. (Mathias' images does have plenty of contrast too :y: )

Offline pastuh

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Re: [Question] High quality small images?

Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 03:07:24 pm
But maybe.. can someone give video tutorial?
Somehow i cant believe.. enought only reduce image and edit some edges.. ^^

When reducing what settings need to choose:
 Nearest Neighbor (preserve hard edges) or Bicupic Sharper (best for reduction)?

Offline Mathias

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Re: [Question] High quality small images?

Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 03:18:19 pm
. . .
When you shrink it, don't use sharpening interpolation. You'll want to sharpen things selectively to avoid excessive sharpening halos, etc.
. . .

. . .
When reducing what settings need to choose:
Nearest Neighbor (preserve hard edges) or Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction)?

I recommended not using sharpening interpolation. "Bicubic Sharper" does exactly that - arbitrarily sharpens.



Sounds like you have yet to try for yourself. I suggest you do.

Try something. Anything. Do something. Just . . . try.

Post your attempts and I may have more advice for you.

Offline pastuh

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Re: [Question] High quality small images?

Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 03:33:16 pm
My bad english..
I thought shrink down means reduce image automatic.. not with hands (aka redraw..)

I have only this:
But looks ugly.

Ok.. so now fast created sample image..
150x150px
And.. in photoshop with ctrl + - shrinked image to 50%
And.. another 25%

So.. you sayin about this technique?
Just shrink in program and edit in real size (150x150) and later just print screen shrinked image??
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 04:23:17 pm by pastuh »

Offline Mathias

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Re: [Question] High quality small images?

Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 03:25:52 pm
Yes, I am talking about simply reducing the size of an image, by using interpolation. NOT redrawing anything.
But instead of a transform (CTR+T), it's much safer to use Image > Image Size and scale the entire document. This way, your CTRL+T transforms don't fall in between pixels and cause unnecessary blurring.


Both of your examples - the small icons and the diagonal lines should both be drawn with vectors to ensure maximum edge control/crispness. Easy solution.
Especially those icons. You should almost never draw stuff like with the pencil tool, or any other raster tool. Vector is what you need. I draw this sort of thing in Illustrator, then bring it into Photoshop later. I hate Photoshop's vector tools.

If vector, all edges will stay crisp no matter what. And if you carefully control your paths, you'll have ZERO anti-aliasing on straight lines.

Look at this:


Four high quality icons. Drawn in vector. All lines are snapped to the pixel grid.

So, that would solve your silhouette icons problem.


As for your diagonal lines example you posted above, I think it looks just fine. Your final result isn't blurry and there are no sharpening halos.


But here's the problem - both your silhouette icons and your diagonal lines only need to be drawn in vector to be high quality. This is NOT how you'd go about creating the examples you included in your first post. Except for the bullhead, those small images are most likely going to be 100% raster.
In this case, just do like I've already described - start big, then scale down and clean up if needed.