Resizing Images in Photoshop

Resizing images in photoshop is a subject that a lot of people ask questions about. Resizing is very easy with the newer versions of Photoshop.

The correct way to resize an image is through the Image Size window. Go to the main menu then [Image->Image Size] a window with various settings will appear:

When resizing an image you need to determine whether you are enlarging it or reducing it’s size. Using the wrong settings for either can result in non-optimum image resizing.

1. Ensure that the “Constrain Proportions” settings is checked “on”

This will ensure that when you resize your image, it won’t get stretched in any way while resizing the image. If you want to change the image proportions, you can do this later using the crop tool or the canvas size window which I will mention later in this tutorial.

2. Ensure the “Resample Image” setting is checked “on”

When Resample Image is set to on your image actually changes size when you change the image dimensions under “Width” and “Height”. If you try to resize the image with the Resample Image unchecked the only thing that will change is the resolution.

A note on resolution: The resolution of an image can be changed without resampling the image. If you change the resolution without “Resample Image” setting on, all this will do is change the width and height of the image in inches (or whatever measurment you set it to). The images pixel count will remain exactly the same. When the Resample Image setting is on the images pixel count will change. I will illustrate this below.

As you can see, the “Resample Image” setting is important when you want to resize an image.

3. Decide if you want to “Scale Styles”

If you have an image with 1 layer, you can ignore this setting. The “Scale Styles” setting tells Photoshop whether to scale styles on layers. For example, you can put styles on layers, Stroke, Bevel, Drop Shadow, Etc.

If Scale Styles is on, strokes and drop shadows settings will increase appropriately to the new size. If you have a small image with a 1 point stroke and you scale it up, the stroke will get thicker in the correct proportion. If you resize the image with “Scale Styles” off the stroke will remain at 1 point no matter  how big or small you make the image.

The above image illustrates the use of the “Scale Styles” setting. As you can see, this setting is only important if your image has layer styles in it.

4. Set the correct scale setting

Choose from the dropdown a correct scale setting. I will list the settings and when they should be used:

Nearest Neigbor: Use this setting when sizing images with hard edges. Images with solid colors and sharp lines will best be resized with this setting. Do not use this setting for Photographs.

Bilinear: Some pictures can be upsampled pretty well with bilinear interpolation. But we usually use one of the bicubic options below instead.

Bicubic (Best for smooth gradients): Bicubic is the best for photographs and smooth colors. Photoshop gives you 3 different bicubic settings. I suggest using either of the 2 below for resizing your images unless you have a lot of smooth areas in your image with blurred adges.

Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement): Use when enlargement of images, using this setting will produce the best for making images and photos larger because it smooths out the image a bit to produce better detail quality.

Bicubic Smoother (best for reduction): Use when reducing the size of images, using this setting will produce the best results for making images and photos smaller because it keeps the feeling of the original sharpness of the image.

5. Set the new size for your image and press OK

You can change the size of your image in numerous areas. You can change any of the numbers under “Pixel Dimensions” and any of the areas under “Document Size”. You can change any one of these settings to change the image dimensions. Now click OK and your image will be resized.

Image resizing Summary

  1. Ensure that the “Constrain Proportions” settings is checked “on”
  2. Ensure the “Resample Image” setting is checked “on”
  3. Decide if you want to “Scale Styles”
  4. Set the correct scale setting
  5. Set the new size for your image and press OK

An additional Note: You can resize images in your Photoshop file by using the Free Transform tool, be sure to set the correct Image Interpolation setting by going to “General” in the Preferences Window and choosing the right setting as gone over under step 4 above. When resizing with the Free Transform tool hold down “Shift” to keep the image proportions the same (Prevent stretching the image).

Now that I have shown you how to properly resize an image in Photoshop I will show you how the Canvas Size window works, so you know the difference.

Canvas Size Window

The Canvas Size Window allows you to crop an image using the width and height dimensions.

The canvas size window is much simpler than the Image Size window.

First change the width and height to be larger or smaller.

Next set the anchor where you want it. If the anchor is in the center, the width or height will be added or removed equally around the image. If the anchor is on the right in the middle, any changes to the width will happen to the left of the image. You have 9 different anchor positions depending on what you want to do with the image.

Finally, pick a color in the Canvas extension color area. This will set a color to any area you add to the image (See example below)

Below is an example of using the Canvas Size window to alter the left side of an image.

This image shows the original image on the left. The image in the center shows area added to the image with the Canvas Size (Red area added). The image on the right shows the left side of the image cropped with the Canvas Size Window.

Canvas Resizing Summary

  1. Change the width and/or height dimensions
  2. Set the anchor where you want it
  3. Pick a color in the Canvas extension color area
  4. Press OK

Changing specific color regions in an image


Level: Intermediate (can be useful for advanced users)


This is a tutorial on changing specific colors in an image using the color range tool in Photoshop.

You can use this tutorial to easily change regions of color in an image to different colors. This can be very useful if you want to make a part of an image fit into the color scheme of the background or even just changing the color of someones dress or a clothing item.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)


The first step here is to go to the menu [Select->Color Range].

Then click on the area of color in the image that you want to change. Here we are clicking on a red part of the women’s dress.

The end goal for this tutorial is to change the color of her dress.

You can use the plus and minus eyedropper buttons to add more regions of color to the selection. Here we are just using one sampling of red. Adjust the fuzziness. (The amount of similar colors to the one you clicked to add to the range. If you go higher it will select any kind of red, if you go lower, it will only select a ceartain amount of reds similar the the area of her dress that you clicked)

Click ok to see the selected area of the image. As you can see here, we selected her dress but her lips are close to the same color so they were selected as well. The next step shows you how to remove those areas that you want to leave alone.

Click on the “Edit in quick mask mode button on the toolbox. This will bring you into the “Quick Mask” mode which will allow you to edit the selection by using the brush tool.

All of the areas that are pink are the areas that are not selected. Select the brush tool and make sure your foreground color is black. Paint out the area around her lips and head. This will remove the selection from those areas.

Once you have done this, click the “edit in standard mode” in the toolbox. This will return you to standard mode where you can see the dancing ants around what is selected. You will notice that the area that you painted out is no longer selected.

Now you can do whatever you want with her dress because you now have it selected. Here I show you how to change her dress color from red to purple. Go to the Menu [Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation] and set the settings shown here. You can also experiment with the sliders to see what colors you can get.

Here is the finished dress showing the color has been changed.

Quality Image Cutouts

Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)


Have you ever tried to cut an image out of it’s background using Photoshop only to be dissapointed in the fact that it does no look good in its new background?

This is one way to do photoshop masking.

Here I go over 3 simple steps to make your cutout more realistic. This lesson was created for lower level users as well as advanced users. The technique used here to make the first selection is only used to keep the learning gradient easy. Advanced users would replace the selection steps shown below with what they know of with regard to making a selection.

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)

How to:

First select the polygonal lasso tool. Click and drag around the outside of the image you want to cutout.


Next use the lasso tool to cutout the inside parts of the image. You do this by holding [Alt/Option] and click with the lasso, then continue until you have covered the part you want to cutout. For this image you will need to cutout 2 places — the hole for the top ring and the hole for the bottom ring.

Next go to [Select->Modify->Smooth] and enter in a radius of 2 pixels. The radius is how much to smooth the selection. If the selection you made earlier is very jagged you might want to experiment with higher radius levels to smooth out the selection.

Next go to [Select->Feather] and enter in a radius of 1. This will blur the edges of the selection a bit and give it a more real look.


Next go to [Select->Modify->Contract] and enter in an amount of one pixel. This makes the selection a little tighter which also helps in making a nice cutout.


After you have done these steps, just copy and paste the part of the image you have now cutout.

The final image cutout looks like this:
Note: The grid you see in the back is used to denote transparency (Or Seethroughness) in Photoshop.

Mastering the Photoshop Toolbox


Master the Photoshop toolbox. Begin by knowing the basics.

I am writing this tutorial to try to provide an easy way to get familiar with the Photoshop toolbox without overwhelming you with technobable.

Level: Intermediate

Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)

How to:

This is a multi-part tutorial on the Photoshop toolbox. I was trying to think of what the most important thing to know in Photoshop and, I didn’t really come up with anything, but it made me think of the toolbox as the solid base for learning photoshop for real. 

There are those that say they “know photoshop” but are they pro, can they move really fast and do what they want to do? Well, learning the toolbox is a great start to becoming a Photoshop speed demon.

First of all is: What is the toolbox? The toolbox is the window that contains the buttons that control what your mouse does, it also contains the buttons most used when working in photoshop.

I will now list and show each tool from the Photoshop toolbox and what they do. Then I will tell you how to master the toolbox. Note: the toolbox shown is Photoshop CS 2. But learning it will be very helpful, this would be true from Photoshop 7 and up.

NOTE: If you only see the first part of the toolbox tutorial, do not worry, I am working hard at adding more each day. There is a lot to cover.

I am sure you never thought this was part of the toolbox, clicking on the feather will take you to the photoshop website.     

This is the Marquee tool. The tool consists of a number of different ways of making selections. By selection I mean where you can select a part of an image and do something with it, like a filter, a color adjustment, etc,.     

You will notice there are 4 different types of Marquee tool. The first is the Rectangular Marquee Tool. This allows you to make rectangular selections. The same follows with the Elliptical Marquee Tool, it selects a circular area. The way you use this tool is click and hold down the mouse and drag. There is a lot more to cover about selections. I will write a tutorial on this at some time later.

This is the Move Tool, this is the tool you use to move objects around in Photoshop. It is the most commonly used tool. Use it by clicking and dragging items on the canvas.     

This is the Lasso tool. There are 3 different types of Lasso Tool. The regular Lasso Tool allows you to make a selection by dragging and drawing a shape with the mouse. The polygonal Lasso Tool allows you to click and then move your mouse and then click again at a different point, which you can do to create any kind of polygonal shape (a closed object with straight sides). The Magnetic Lasso Tool is special, you start out by clicking it once and then drag your mouse in any direction, the Magnetic Lasso Tool will follow the edges of an image (Where to different colors are contrasted) without you having to do anything.     

This is the Magic Wand. Sounds cool, well, it sort of is. The magic wand allows you to click in different areas of an image and select related colors to where you clicked. For example if you had an image of a person against a white background, you could click the white background and it would select the area around the person.     

This is the crop tool. This tool allows you to crop or cut the image to a different size. You can also use it to make the image larger. Click and drag the mouse to select a crop area. You can adjust it by dragging the handles (The little square boxes on the corners and sides that allow you to change its size).     

This is the slice tool. You use it for creating slices. Sounds repetetive unless you know what a slice is. A slice is a piece of an image. You would use this tool when you want to save the image as different pieces. It is normally used when designing we pages.      

To use the slice tool all you have to do is drag around an area of the canvas. The area you drag around is now a slice. You can later export these slices as individual images. 

The slice select tool allows you to edit existing slices, to use this tool you just click on the slice and resize it by dragging the handles that show up.

These are the healing tools. The first one is called the “Spot Healing Brush Tool” it allows you to clean up imperfections or blemishes in an area of color. Let’s say you have a person and they have a red spot on their face or a zit, then you could click on the zit with the spot healing brush and make it disappear. Make sure that the brush is somewhat larger than the blemish its self.      

The healing brush tool is the same as the spot healing brush tool in that it allows you to clean up a blemish or an imperfection, the only difference is that you have to select an area of the image you want it to use to replace the blemish. For example if you wanted to remove a spot on a car, you would go to an area of the car that is nice and “alt/option+click” the area, you could then click on the blemish and it should disappear.

The patch tool allows you to cover up larger parts of the image than the healing brushes. This is one of my favorite tools when it comes to taking something out of an image or removing some area of an image. All you have to do is to make a selection with any selection tool — or the patch tool (You would select the area you want to be replaced), then you would select the patch tool and drag the selection to a part of the image you would want to use to replace the old part of the image. When you let go, the area that was selected will be blended with the area you dragged the selection to. If you are cloning out a large part of an image, you don’t want to just use this tool. I will be writing a tutorial on cloning out images.

The red eye tool is for removing red eye. Too small functionality for a whole Photoshop tool. But here is how you use it: You just click it on the part of the eye that is red and the red eye will be handled, if you need to you might need to adjust the pupil size to get best results.

These are the painting tools — so to say, they allow you to add color to an image like you are using a brush or a pencil.     

The Brush tool has been in Photoshop for a long time. You use it by dragging it across the image. Do not underestimate the power of this tool. Some artists use this tool only to create stunning images. I will be writing a further tutorial on using brushes in Photoshop.

The pencil tool is for drawing lines. It is mainly used for drawing rough lines, as apposed to the brush which draws smooth edges.

The color replacement tool is a very useful tool for image correction. You use it like a regular brush, but it allows you to change the colors of the area you are painting. There are many settings for this tool which allow you to efficiently change the color of a specific part of an image without ruing the image itself.

These are the clone tools. Hailed as the best tool for removing parts of an image. This is not the case, these tools are best used in conjunction with the patch tool to create realistic effects from artificially removed parts of an image.     

The clone stamp tool allows you to take a part of an image and paint it into a different part. Hold down Alt/Option and click on the area of the image you want to use to paint with. Then start painting in the area you want to remove. By selecting “aligned” in the tool settings bar allows your set part of the image to copy from change as you paint. I will also be writing a tutorial on this as this is a special tool.

The pattern stamp tool allows you to paint an image by using a pattern. You just select a pattern to use and start painting.

These are the history brush tools, they allow you to paint back to some time in the images history. These tools can be very useful at times.     

To use the history brush tool select the part of the history you want to paint back to. (You do this by clicking the history brush icon to the left of the history state) and then start painting, the same image from history will be painted from the point that is selected.

The art history brush does the same thing as the history brush except, you can set paint like options, so that when you paint back the history, it looks like it was painted — or whatever visual effect you choose.

These are the eraser tools, they allow you to remove parts of an image. The most useful tool out of these is the regular eraser.

To use the eraser tool, just select a brush and start dragging around the are of the image to want to be erased.

The Background Eraser tool allows you to erase an area of color that is in the middle of the brush area without erasing parts that are not similar to the color in the middle of the brush. This may be confusing, here is an example: You have a soccer ball on grass and you want to cut the soccer ball out with the background eraser tool. So, you take the background eraser and start to drag around the edges of the ball, ensuring that the center of the brush is in the green grass part. This will erase the grass and leave the soccer ball untouched.

The magic eraser tool is like the magic wand, but instead of creating a selection, it erases. Get familiar with the magic wand and this tool will make sense. As a note, I find it to be a bad tool for quality cutouts.

These are fill tools. Used for filling areas of an image with color. 

The gradient tool allows you to drag over an area of an image and create a gradient. You use the gradient maker tool to create the gradient and then you click and drag on the image to create the gradient.

The Paint Bucket Tool is like the magic wand, but instead of selecting the image, it paints the image (Adds color)

OK, I am a busy man, but I will continue to add more to this tutorial. Someone told me they were reading it and they like it a lot. Feel free to write any comments. If you feel something is hard to understand or needs more clarification, comment here and I will try and fix it. More coming soon.

– Zach

Making an image feel cooler


Make an image cooler, meaning make the overall cast of an image, a bluish color. This can be used to make images look more cutting edge, or even making them look more cold.

Level: Intermediate

Photoshop Version: CS2


First you would open the image you would like to adjust. Here we open an image of a Lexus car.

Next, go to [Image -> Adjustments -> Photo Filter]. This will open the Photo Filter window.

Set the settings as shown here, you can test with different shades of blue or cyan. Here we used a cyanish blue. The density here is set pretty high. Density determines how much the color is applied. If you keep “preview” checked you will be able to see the outcome of the image. Notice the image has a cooler look.

The photo filter can be used in many ways and is a great image adjuster. I use it a lot to give photos the right feeling. You can use any color you want, it depends on what feel you want the photo to have. For example, if you are doing a design that is orangish and you put a photo into it, but the photo sticks out too much, you can apply an orangish photo filter to bring it into better color harmony.

The good thing about the photo filter is that it keeps the rest of the photo details in tact and keeps the rest of the colors there. Before they had this adjustment I would try to use Hue/Saturation, which would ruin the image details and it wouldn’t give a general cast, it would just apply a color over the whole image. The photo filter is good, because it only changes the colors for certain parts of the photo, but keeps the general color composition the same for the rest of the photo.