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

  • 2
    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. Commented Jul 22, 2011 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
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 16:05
  • Okay. Fair enough. Commented Jul 22, 2011 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...
    – ptim
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 12:49

7 Answers 7


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.

  • 8
    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. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 19:22
  • @AlanGilbertson: I know this in an old question, but thanks for this! Good tip; should be an answer. Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:18
  • This worked for me. I haven't used Illustrator in a very long time, but was wondering if that app is better suited for this type of resizing? Or does it matter that they are .png vs. .gif -- vector vs. pixels is why photoshop is being used. Sorry, I forget...
    – Chris22
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 19:25

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

  • Thanks for sharing. I'll try this out next time I'm working with pixel-stuff!
    – Mohamad
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 21:37
  • This is also useful for anyone making images for small LED dot matrix panels. Also setting the text anti-aliasing to none is good.
    – Bodo
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 17:30

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).


  • Original Image:

    Original image

  • Resized to 50%:


  • 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

  • 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
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 17:01
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 17:30
  • great examples, tx!
    – ptim
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 12:45
  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

I will explain another option that is not currently given. for one thing when the image is sized down Photoshop attempts to smooth the image out resulting in more colors. because its adding pixels to the edges of the object and these pixels are different color to give a smooth effect.

so as others said you can turn on the nearest neighbor but after that is done you will still have more colors than you originally had

to fix this you can go file save for web devices and choose GIF within this interface you can manually choose how many colors the image will have

this will help remove unwanted colors and in theory also give a more jagged or pixelated image

after you save this image you could always reopen and save under a different file type if GIF isnt the desired type


File → Open the vector art in Photoshop will present for the full input dialog including an option to set anti-aliasing on or off.


On the transform tool active, set the "Interpolation => Bicubic Automatic" on the tool bar, and resize the image. enter image description here

  • Already mentioned in another answer, and Automatic doesn't give the same result.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 14:13

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