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I want to size down an already small rasterized layer in Photoshop. I notice that Photoshop distorts the layer by applying anti-aliasing after the resizing is applied. During the resizing, when we can mess around with the resize handles, the anti-aliasing is not rendered and the layer looks exactly the way I want it.

Is there a way to stop PS from applying the anti-aliasing after the "apply" button is pressed?

I've attached a snapshot to explain what I mean. Notice that star labeled after has anti aliasing applied, which the same star, this time labeled during looks more jagged.enter image description here

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1  
I have to say, I actually prefer the after over the during. The look in during is very jagged. If you are going for a certain effect, I would suggest looking elsewhere to accomplish it. –  Philip Regan Jul 22 '11 at 15:28
    
@Philip, so do I, in general. But I'm working on something that requires a "pixely" effect, and the anti-aliasing keeps ruining it for me! –  Mohamad Jul 22 '11 at 16:05
    
Okay. Fair enough. –  Philip Regan Jul 22 '11 at 16:46
    
hmm.. i believe that PS /is/ antialiasing in the during stage, just at a lower resolution. Zooming in on the during example shows ~5 levels of red... –  memeLab Jun 4 '13 at 12:49

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is not an option to turn off the anti-aliasing when you resize a layer.

However, a workaround is to copy that layer to a new PSD, and do an image resize on the new PSD.

resize image with nearest neighbor option

Make sure for "Resample Image" option, you choose the "Nearest Neighbor" choice.

Once the shape is resized, then copy it back to your original PSD.

Of course this workaround is a bit cumbersome. You don't have the luxury of dragging the object freehand to get the ideal size you want.

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4  
Rather than doing the copy/paste, you can simply change the Image Interpolation preference in > Preferences > General to "Nearest Neighbor". That will then be active during any scaling operations. (Don't forget to change it back when done, though!) To get the best pixel effect, scale BELOW the size you want, apply the transform, then scale up. –  Alan Gilbertson Jul 22 '11 at 19:22
    
@AlanGilbertson: I know this in an old question, but thanks for this! Good tip; should be an answer. –  kcoppock Jul 13 '12 at 3:18

Use Edit -> Preferences -> General and change "Image Interpolation" to "Nearest Neighbor (preserve hard edges)"

I discovered this trick while working on 8-bit assets for a game I was making

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Thanks for sharing. I'll try this out next time I'm working with pixel-stuff! –  Mohamad Sep 29 '12 at 21:37

Photoshop is just taking its best guess at how to preserve the quality of your image over the course of the resize operation. The only reason it shows the more-aliased (notice that anti-aliasing is not turned off while the transform tool is active, just reduced) version is to improve performance.

You can easily restore hard, jagged edges to your transformed shapes (or any other anti-aliased shapes) by using the Levels adjustment tool. (ImageAdjustments ⇒ & Levels, shortcut Ctrl + l).

Example:

  • Original Image:

    Original image

  • Resized to 50%:

    Resized

  • Adjust levels (when the min & max values are closer together, this will produce harder edges. Left-to-right positioning will alter which colors get wiped out.)

    Level adjustment tool

    • Voila, hard edges:

    Resized & leveled

Edit: Level adjustments do change the color and would have to be eyeballed to get the right approximation. If you have a solid shape with edges that need finely-tuned aliasing, you can create a desaturated & leveled version of your shape to use as a layer mask. This will give you a lot of control over exactly how jagged you want your edges to be.

Leveled masking

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This seems to work only if there's no transparency in the layer. Also, it doesn't keep the original coloring(you'd have to eyeball it). –  Jin Jul 22 '11 at 17:01
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@Jin good point about the colors - I forgot to put the caveat. The original question was essentially RGB 255,0,0 which would be quite safe to use level –  Farray Jul 22 '11 at 17:30
    
great examples, tx! –  memeLab Jun 4 '13 at 12:45

When using the scaling tool there is an interpolation option, set that to nearest neighbour.

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  1. Make a new psd thingy
  2. Throw the low res thing in there
  3. GO to the image size, make it to nearest neighbour
  4. Size it from their
  5. CLick ok
  6. Drag your new thing into your project
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