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Old Oct 23, 2012, 09:49 AM   #1
kvdv
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my photoblog on a RMBP : fuzzy photos

Hi,

I recently went to a shop and looked at my photoblog on a retina MBP. Guess what? Although I expected sharper images or at least the same sharpness as I see on my old MBP, the photos looked fuzzy!

I compared it, side by side, with my old MBP and with a regular MBP from the shop connected to a Cinema Display. The photo looked sharp, except on the retina screen. What a bummer. Does this mean my online photoblog and portfolio will be obsolete in the near future when everyone is using retina-like displays? I hope not.

For everyone who's already using retina, below is the link to the photo that I used as a reference to compare. So, once again, this picture is crisp and very sharp on a regular screen, but not on the retina:
http://krisvdv.net/pixelpost/index.php?showimage=839

But the story continues.. the guy from the shop opened a jpg he downloaded somewhere and the dimensions and DPI were about the same as my photo : 1200x800 and 72dpi. And for some reason, that particular jpg did look sharp on the retina?! How is this possible with the same dimensions and dpi?

Thanks,
Kris
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 11:08 AM   #2
anikgol
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its the way pixels are doubled on a mac. the images appear sharp on a windows on MBPr since windows shows 2800.. resolution something the mac osx doesnt since its not resolution independent like windows.

setting the resolution higher on a MBPr will sharpen your image but making it smaller.

welcome to the retina transition age.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 04:51 PM   #3
nontroppo
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Are you sure; I have a 2010 15" MBP and 2012 15" rMBP side by side, and if I pixel-peep this image (chosen for the specular reflections in the eye and detail of the fluff on the right edge of the jumper):

http://krisvdv.net/pixelpost/index.php?showimage=833

My retina is not more blurry; I can see the resampling differences -- if you take the specular reflection in her right eye I can see pixel edges at ~ 20cm from the screen on the MBP and a smoother non-pixellated image on the rMBP. I can't say the MBP is sharper except in the sense that the pixels are visible and that makes the edges more defined. But pixel edges are not detail of an image but aberration of a display medium.

If you open that image in Preview (which does not interpolate but uses 1:1pixels) then the image displays identically in sharpness (but at half the size on screen as expected).

I'm not sure why you thought the rMBP would be sharper -- it cannot do magic for free. If you export your images at better resolutions then of course the retina display will work its magic. And if you edit on a retina, wow!!!

Some nice portraits by the way!

Last edited by nontroppo; Oct 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:52 AM   #4
kvdv
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Originally Posted by nontroppo View Post
My retina is not more blurry; I can see the resampling differences -- if you take the specular reflection in her right eye I can see pixel edges at ~ 20cm from the screen on the MBP and a smoother non-pixellated image on the rMBP.
Blurry, fuzzy... smoother ?

So, if I understand it correctly, from now on, it's best to upload my photos twice the resolution (2400x1600 for example). But then a website needs to be written to 'see' the difference in resolution between a retina laptop and a regular laptop and adjust the scaling accordingly?

I'd love to see all those online portfolios on a rMBP, curious to see the sharpness.

Kris

Last edited by kvdv; Oct 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 02:59 PM   #5
nontroppo
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Lightbulb

Yes, somewhat confusing. When I say smoother I mean the following (comparing a non-retina image in a web browser on a cMBP and rMBP):


link

Note how the linear interpolation has smoothed the edges of the pixels on the rMBP. The pixel edges in the original image are an aberration, they are a consequence of downsampling and sharpening for export an image to look good on a ~120DPI display. The rMBP interpolated result is smoother, but it is hard to say it is "worse", the high frequency detail (the "sharpness") is partly the blocky edges of the pixels themselves in the original. Of course in your photos you have optimised your image to look good at 120DPI, so linear interpolation will change that, sometimes with little impact and sometimes with more. Note it is really only web browsers that use linear interpolation, the OS itself uses very simple nearest neighbour.

To make your site retina-ready, you need to simply understand the difference between abstract and physical pixels. CSS uses abstract pixels and you can use media queries to allow retina devices to get high DPI images and older displays to get downsampled versions of the same image.

http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2...ds-retina-web/

There are many ways to achieve this and that article outlines some of the options...

Last edited by nontroppo; Oct 24, 2012 at 03:14 PM.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 06:56 AM   #6
kvdv
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nontroppo, that's it, the example shows perfectly what I mean.
So, the conclusion is that we all have to re-upload images in higher res if we want to avoid the fuzzy look.

I'm not sure if all those photobloggers and Flickr users out there, who have uploaded their photos in lower-res (to save bandwith, to prevent theft, to have a better layout on the screen, whatever the reason...) will now have to re-upload all pictures if they want to keep the same sharp look.

Because it's only a matter of time before other vendors (besides Apple) will start producing laptops with hi-dpi 'retina-like' screens.

Kris
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 07:20 AM   #7
leman
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I did side-to-side comparison of a 2009 MBP and my rMBP and on rMBP it looks better to me (subjectively of course).

nontroppo's explanation is excellent and I don't have much to add to it. I also suggest that you implement a HiDPI and a non-HiDPI version of your resources using media queries.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 08:15 AM   #8
kvdv
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Originally Posted by leman View Post
I did side-to-side comparison of a 2009 MBP and my rMBP and on rMBP it looks better to me (subjectively of course).
I think it will depend on the photo. Some will look the same, some will look too fuzzy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leman View Post
I also suggest that you implement a HiDPI and a non-HiDPI version of your resources using media queries.
Yeah, this is the bad news.. it will take time and/or money to export higher res versions of my old photos and especially to re-code the current website. I guess that's the price we have to pay for the transition..

Thanks for all the info guys!
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 10:11 AM   #9
SkilletZA
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Kris

Love your photos!
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 03:19 PM   #10
kvdv
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Originally Posted by SkilletZA View Post
Kris

Love your photos!

Thanks, I appreciate this!
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 07:51 AM   #11
intz2nu
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So with whats been said here I take it that while some pictures could end up looking fuzzy on someones RMBP it will look just fine to the majority of people without a RMBP? And that commonly viewed photos or pics off of google or something will look or (could) look fuzzy on a persons RMBP unless the same pic is at a higher resolution?

Mean while if a person on a RMBP with higher resolution pictures was to send someone without a RMBP a higher resolution picture it won't look as good as if it were displayed on a RMBP vs a more common or lower resolution display?

This would mean that people doing photo work would need to do a little more work if they're work was being done a RMBP so that lower resolution versions of the same photo work being done can be made at a lower resolution for the majority of people without a RMBP. And this would also mean that all major photo work should viewed in both a more commonly used resolution display and the retina display before dispursing photo work?

That would be like me thinking that the high resolution photos I view on a daily basis on my RMBP would look crappy to someone with a lower resolution display?
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 08:12 AM   #12
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Fo us the rMBP screen is something for use in the field for initial culling and editing. Final photo editing is done on large calibrated screens at home.

A laptop, even a rMBP, is not a great substitute for a large calibrated monitor.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 08:31 AM   #13
BeachChair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvdv View Post
Blurry, fuzzy... smoother ?

So, if I understand it correctly, from now on, it's best to upload my photos twice the resolution (2400x1600 for example). But then a website needs to be written to 'see' the difference in resolution between a retina laptop and a regular laptop and adjust the scaling accordingly?

I'd love to see all those online portfolios on a rMBP, curious to see the sharpness.

Kris
An easy thing you can do is go to an Apple store, find a rMBP, and check out the product pages on www.apple.com. Apple's own website looks pretty damn amazing on a retina display.

The next thing you can do is go to www.interfacelift.com and pull down some 2880x1800 wallpapers, then make sure to display them at 1:1, and enjoy how beautiful photos look on a retina display.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 11:30 AM   #14
kvdv
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Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
Fo us the rMBP screen is something for use in the field for initial culling and editing. Final photo editing is done on large calibrated screens at home.

A laptop, even a rMBP, is not a great substitute for a large calibrated monitor.
MCAsan, sorry but this isn't relevant. Why? Because those large screens you are using, have the same resolutions as a MBP. So this makes no difference, text and icons and all just look a bit bigger, that's all.

I did a test in the store : a nicely processed image (1200x800 px) showed a spot-on sharpness on my regular MBP 17", and it was looking as good on a big cinema display. But.... on the retina MBP the image was looking a bit fuzzy. This is because the actual resolution from the retina is rescaled from 28801800 to 1440900 to avoid very tiny text on the screen, and this rescaling will cause the photo to be shown fuzzy or less sharp.

Kris

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachChair View Post
go to www.interfacelift.com and pull down some 2880x1800 wallpapers, then make sure to display them at 1:1, and enjoy how beautiful photos look on a retina display.
Absolutely... no doubt about it! And that's just my point : many photobloggers, Flickr/500px users and photographers with online websites and portfolios have uploaded a large amount of photos in a lower resolution of about (approx.) 1200x800, about half of what is needed to look great on the new retina.

If those people want to achieve the same quality with their current portfolio/archive/Flickr stream, they will have lots and lots of work re-uploading all photos, maybe even re-editing photos, etc.

Because a lot of those people, won't have the time or motivation to do this work, I suspect that the web will keep on looking less than perfect for a number of years to come, for everyone on a retina (including myself pretty soon) ...
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 11:35 AM   #15
MCAsan
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MCAsan, sorry but this isn't relevant. Why? Because those large screens you are using, have the same resolutions as a MBP. So this makes no difference, text and icons and all just look a bit bigger, that's all.

Sorry i thought my comment was spot on. Don't try to do final editing on any laptop screen...including rMBP.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 11:41 AM   #16
kvdv
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Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
Sorry i thought my comment was spot on. Don't try to do final editing on any laptop screen...including rMBP.
I know what you mean. Most people have a preference for large screens, because of better color calibration, because of having more real estate, bigger icons, higher resolution, etc..

but this is an entirely different discussion which has nothing to do with hiDPI/retina screens vs regular screens, and with the fact that retina screens don't always do a good job with lower resolution images.

Also, this discussion is in fact not mainly about editing on retina, it's more about displaying/viewing photos on retina. My online portfolio doesn't look good anymore on retina. And we're trying to figure out why and how to avoid this in the future.

Last edited by kvdv; Oct 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 11:43 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by kvdv View Post
MCAsan, sorry but this isn't relevant. Why? Because those large screens you are using, have the same resolutions as a MBP. So this makes no difference, text and icons and all just look a bit bigger, that's all.
"same resolution" does not equate to larger and much more manageable screen real estate to work with. working within shrunken down sizes is hardly ideal.
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