photoshop pixel art issue

I'm trying to set up Photoshop cc 2014 for pixel art graphics, but I have this weird issue where my pixels don't align to the grid. I can't work out if it's my pencil which is creating pixels too big, or the grid is somehow wrong. I've set the grid to 1:1 so I'm not sure how that could be any different.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

I'm on a Mac if that makes any difference.

  • Whats the resolution of your file?
    – Rosenthal
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:16
  • 72 pixels/inch, standard photoshop setup.
    – Phil
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:37
  • @that's the problem
    – Rosenthal
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:39
  • 1
    How is that the problem? looking at this video youtube.com/watch?v=hFZBUWHVSrM he sets it up the same way.
    – Phil
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:40
  • Standard photoshop setup
    – Rosenthal
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:45

6 Answers 6


Because the resolution of your file is so big for pixel art Photoshop is showing you the other Grid (not the pixel grid), You have to disable the Grid:

View > Show > Make sure Grid is unchecked and Pixel Grid is Checked

enter image description here

Also: Reduce the resolution of your file to something like 24x24 and select a square brush.

  • Are you talking about the resolution or the pixel width/height? the res is 72 px/inch and the width/height is 100x100, what difference would making it 24x24 make?
    – Phil
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:46
  • Where is "Pixel Grid" ? I can't find that.
    – Phil
    Sep 13, 2014 at 23:36
  • The resolution of your file is irrelevant as long as you are viewing it at actual size (or larger)
    – DA01
    Oct 9, 2014 at 2:36

You have to go to Edit → Preferences → Guides, Grids and Slices and then change gridline to 1 pixel (from the drop down menu) and subdivisions to 1. Then your grid will align with your pencil and canvas

  • Thanks for the contribution and welcome to GraphicDesign! Let us know if you have any questions Feb 24, 2015 at 17:47

If you want your "Grid" to match the "Pixel Grid" just set it up like this:

Gridline Every: 2 Pixels

Subdivisions: 2

  • It doesn't make any sense but it worked, thanks Jan 12, 2016 at 11:59

I have tried like @josh said, thought the pixels where 2 pixels big now. I have changed it back to 1 pixel and this time it worked.

I still don't know how this worked but I'm happy with the result.


This post is old but the solution is - switch everything to 2 - the pencil, as well as the grid divisions and subdivisions. Then switch back to 1 in everything. This happened in Photoshop CS5 for me in spite of everything being already set to one. So I switched everything to 2 then back to 1

  • Is that the same effect for the current CS? And what is the difference to the answer of Josh?
    – Mensch
    Oct 10, 2015 at 1:25

The correct answer is that you are zoomed out on the grid to far. Photoshop changes the grid size if the pixels are to small. Its not really a problem, just zoom in if you want to see the true grid size.

  • Wrong. That is the grid (which you can setup to whatever size you want) as stated in the accepted answer.
    – Luciano
    Apr 30, 2018 at 13:39

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