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I have noticed that the PC version of Photoshop CS5 appears to exhibit a loss in quality whenever an image is opened or when image data copied to the clipboard is pasted onto a canvas. However, it's not really lossy because saving the image as PNG and opening it in another photo editor such as Paint reveals that the quality, in fact, did not change.

See the first image below for a demonstration of this false appearance of quality loss where I created a brand new Photoshop document and repeatedly hit ALT+PrintScreen to copy the window to clipboard and then CTRL+V to paste it into the canvas. Doing this several times reveals the undeniable fact that Photoshop is doing something to the image as soon as it enters the document.

The second image is a result of doing the same thing in Paint. As you can see, each copy of the window is as pixel-crisp as the original.

I know this quality loss is not inherent in Photoshop itself because I can draw wavy lines with the 1x1 pencil tool and I can see every aliased pixel.

Does anyone know what is causing this? Is there a setting that I can change somewhere so that images appear exactly as they really are?

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  • I can't really tell with your post, but sometimes pasting into PS can import the copy as a "Smart Object", usually showing an X like cross over this image before you actually place the image, this sometimes resizes the image. Could this be what you are seeing? Also check "Menu > Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts... > [Edit Tab]" and make sure your "CTRL+C" is "Copy" rather than something like "Copy Merged" and your "CTRL+V" is "Paste Special > Paste In Place" rather than "Paste" (I know, right?!?) and this might give you the expected results. – BillyNair May 31 '15 at 0:31
  • @BillyNair Nope, I am actually pasting the image, not a smart object. I also just tried Edit > Paste and it's doing the same thing. Have you tried reproducing this in your version of Photoshop? – oscilatingcretin May 31 '15 at 0:39
  • yes, I have never seen this before unless it was a smart object. (I have used PS since the mid 80s, Fat Mac days, and both Mac and PC) I have seen the Adobe software controlling your display do some really weird things (show red/blue as maroon/purple) in PS while the rest of the computer looks normal, and if that is your problem you might need to re-calibrate – BillyNair May 31 '15 at 0:47
  • @BillyNair If calibration were the issue, I think that both the saved PNG file and 1x1 lines drawn with the pencil tool would appear just as lossy, but they don't. I also have two monitors and the same thing occurs on both. Thanks for your input anyway. Perhaps someone else has experienced the same issue. – oscilatingcretin May 31 '15 at 1:06
  • The Adobe calibration thing doesn't change the monitor only how the image inside of a PS/Adobe window is displayed, even PS icons on the desktop, but nothing else non-adobe related, so it would look the same in both monitors, even swapping in your friend's monitor. Like I said, it does weird things that I thought were totally unrelated to my problem before. I am definitely not saying this is your problem, just something to be aware of. But yes, hopefully someone else has seen this and knows what to do to fix it – BillyNair May 31 '15 at 1:36

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