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How can I shrink pictures down to icon size without them going blurry?


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I am dealing with 128 x 128 or smaller.  The more I shrink a picture the more I loose details.  Photo > Sharpen helps a little bit in some cases but in most I am loosing to much detail no matter.  How do I fix this?  If possible my pics need to remain in .png format but I'm open to suggestions.

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Here's a good read for you.

 

In short, you can't. Try different resampling options. Also, it helps to resize by factor of two, so if you are shrinking an image, going from 256x256 to 128x128 tends to look better.

 

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It's a fact of life unfortunately. When you make an image smaller there are fewer pixels and therefore less detail.

You can minimize the loss by reducing by a factor of two i.e. halve or quarter the original size to get your finished size. If your image is rectangluar, and you want a square result, crop it to square before reducing it's size. The cropping should also result in the image being an even multiple of the finished size.

Example: you want to reduce an 1600x1200 pixel image to 128x128 pixels.

1. crop the image to a square 1024x1024 (8x the finished size).

2. reduce the size by a factor of 8 (1024/8=128).

3. run Sharpen at amount of 1 or 2.

4. save it as a png.

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Icons generally have to be finely tuned at each size you want to use them. The Paint.NET icon at 32x32, for instance, is not just the 256x version scaled down. And the 16x16 version is heavily tweaked.

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You will need a dedicated program if you want really good results. I have used a particular one for a few years now. Not going to mention it here.

The suggested help is going to be your best shot. You can't ask more from one of the developers and knows this program intimately. Good luck

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You will need a dedicated program if you want really good results...

^ agrees although in my opinion that program is the one we use, paint.net. (dedicated to graphics editing ;) ) I use it all the time for small scale images with only 2 things, resize with a high resolution setting (usually 500, I donno why but it works for me) and sharpening the image a little. It's a good idea to try all of the suggestions posted as each of them will have the overall desired effect on a task that does sound easy but really isn't. Hope it helps! :D

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RFX5A1.jpg

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RFX - just so you know, the DPI setting is only used to calculate the print size. It has no effect on the quality of the resize operation. Changing it doesn't make your image sharper or clearer in any way.

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  • 1 month later...

Unless your icon is minimalistic (i.e., styles like Token, or the icons used in Google Doc)... it can be easily done if you are careful that the resizing won't cause the edges to have semi-transparent pixellation, in which case you can just easily erase those carefully.

 

Otherwise, I think the smallest icon (16x16) is the hardest to do. You have to compromise some design elements that are present in the largest icon (in your case 128x128). You have to fine-tune it so that it still resembles the largest icon and optimize it so that whoever is viewing your icon won't get confused as to what it represents or get annoyed by elements you forced to shrink. Think of the My Computer icon in Windows 7. The 16x16 size is front-facing with simplified shape and colors. The 526x526 size is very detailed with shadows, chrome and perspective effect.

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