rMBP showing cMBP screenshots as blurry?

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
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I'm sorry about the vague title, but I'm not sure how to word this properly. Ive gotten my new rMBP, and for some reason, any screenshots from the cMBP (and Airs/iMacs, presumably so) are showing as a bit "blurry" - kind of "out of focus", or perhaps pixelated, if that makes any sense? This is in Safari - and downloading the image does not make a difference.

It's annoying because I know the image isn't blurry/pixelated - it looked just fine on my cMBP.

Does this mean something is wrong with my rMBP? Sorry if it's a stupid question, or in the wrong forum.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I'm sorry about the vague title, but I'm not sure how to word this properly. Ive gotten my new rMBP, and for some reason, any screenshots from the cMBP (and Airs/iMacs, presumably so) are showing as a bit "blurry" - kind of "out of focus", or perhaps pixelated, if that makes any sense? This is in Safari - and downloading the image does not make a difference.

It's annoying because I know the image isn't blurry/pixelated - it looked just fine on my cMBP.

Does this mean something is wrong with my rMBP? Sorry if it's a stupid question, or in the wrong forum.
Does this occur only when full screen or even when normally sized. The cMBP only has a 1280x800 display so if you try to scale it up to the full size of a rMBP there will be some "pixelation".
 

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
1,422
405
USA

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
1,422
405
USA
Very odd... Do you have the latest copy of Safari installed and does it occur in a different browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome?
Latest copy of Safari, yes. Tested on Firefox, same result. What are you seeing on your end (if you got a rMBP)?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Latest copy of Safari, yes. Tested on Firefox, same result. What are you seeing on your end (if you got a rMBP)?
I have a cMBP so they show fine when I go to the site, but when I look at your screenshot I see what you mean. If you download the image does it look fine in Preview? If so it may be that the web programmer locked in a certain size that won't let it scale with the Retina Display's software.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
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It looks pixelated because the cMPB has a lower resolution than the rMBP. You don't see this on the cMBP because they align with the pixels properly, but you do see it with an rMBP.

Also if you take a screenshot on an rMBP and then view it, it would appear 4 times bigger and have the resolution of a cMPB.
 

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
1,422
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USA
It looks pixelated because the cMPB has a lower resolution than the rMBP. You don't see this on the cMBP because they align with the pixels properly, but you do see it with an rMBP.

Also if you take a screenshot on an rMBP and then view it, it would appear 4 times bigger and have the resolution of a cMPB.
Yeah, but this is very annoying when it comes to support issues or whatnot. If users with cMBP's/non-Retina displays send me their screenshots, does that mean they'll be pixelated? Is there any way around this?

Sorry, but I'm anal/OCD when it comes to this kind of thing. If Apple Support personnel move to Retina displays and get support issues with non-Retina displays, wouldn't it hinder their ability to support customers if images aren't clear?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Yeah, but this is very annoying when it comes to support issues or whatnot. If users with cMBP's/non-Retina displays send me their screenshots, does that mean they'll be pixelated? Is there any way around this?

Sorry, but I'm anal/OCD when it comes to this kind of thing. If Apple Support personnel move to Retina displays and get support issues with non-Retina displays, wouldn't it hinder their ability to support customers if images aren't clear?
Not always. If you got emailed a picture from a cMBP and opened it directly as an attachment I would guess it would look normally in Preview. Since there is the web page involved I would try another screenshot.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
53
Yeah, but this is very annoying when it comes to support issues or whatnot. If users with cMBP's/non-Retina displays send me their screenshots, does that mean they'll be pixelated? Is there any way around this?

Sorry, but I'm anal/OCD when it comes to this kind of thing. If Apple Support personnel move to Retina displays and get support issues with non-Retina displays, wouldn't it hinder their ability to support customers if images aren't clear?
Yes they would always appear "pixelated" and there is no way around this besides making the image smaller to match your screen.

If you have a display 4 times more resolution than a retina, a retina screenshot would appear the same way.
 

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
1,422
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USA
Yes they would always appear "pixelated" and there is no way around this besides making the image smaller to match your screen.

If you have a display 4 times more resolution than a retina, a retina screenshot would appear the same way.
How about old pictures I took that were low-resolution/scanned pictures (not screenshots, just general pictures, especially those from older than 2007/90s)? I haven't had a chance to transfer my pictures over yet, so that's why I'm asking.
 

NathanA

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
739
16
Uh, yes, they will look pixelated. This is absolutely normal. Safari is pixel-doubling the image so that it ends up being the same physical size on your rMBP screen (which has 4x the number of physical pixels on it) as it would be on your cMBP. Otherwise the picture would be teeny-tiny and for many people, unreadable.

You may notice that a *lot* of images on the web look pixelated in exactly the same way. You have to understand that when the rMBP came out, it arrived into a world where Retina screens on a personal computer were unheard of, so virtually 100% of graphical web assets out there were made to be viewed on lower-DPI screens. Apple had two choices: render everything in Safari pixel-for-pixel and get complaints from people that web pages were too small (which they would be...install ScreenResX on your rMBP, switch to native 2880x1800 non-HiDPI with it, try to use the computer for a little while, and tell me if you could get by with that day-to-day), or they could pixel-double the images and render everything at the same physical size so that web pages are as legible on Retina as they are on a standard-DPI display.

There are ways to make web sites Retina-ready, and it involves creating and uploading both non-Retina and Retina versions of the same image to the web server, and then using CSS + JavaScript trickery to cause rMBP and other higher-res devices to download and display the Retina versions of the image. (Alternatively, you could upload just a Retina version of the image, but then you would be relying on the browser running on non-Retina devices -- which still constitute the majority of PCs out there -- to scale down Retina images on the fly. The results are not always pretty.) So if you are putting together a web site where you are showing off OS X screenshots and you are unhappy with the blurriness on Retina, you will have to take an identical screenshot on a Retina Mac and then supply both versions on your web site (and use the CSS+JS stuff to make Safari on Retina display the Retina image automatically).

Slowly but surely, many web sites out there are being made ready for Retina, although it is not at the pace that I'm sure either Apple or any of their users are happy with. Still, that is hardly Apple's fault.

-- Nathan
 

KoolAid-Drink

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 18, 2013
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Interesting! This perspective really helped me understand this better. I examined some airline websites I frequently use - such as AA.com, delta.com, united.com, jetblue.com, etc. and saw plenty of pixelated images! I didn't really realize that. Even here at MR, some forum icons look pixelated.

How about my personal pictures (especially baby/scanned pictures)?

Uh, yes, they will look pixelated. This is absolutely normal. Safari is pixel-doubling the image so that it ends up being the same physical size on your rMBP screen (which has 4x the number of physical pixels on it) as it would be on your cMBP. Otherwise the picture would be teeny-tiny and for many people, unreadable.

You may notice that a *lot* of images on the web look pixelated in exactly the same way. You have to understand that when the rMBP came out, it arrived into a world where Retina screens on a personal computer were unheard of, so virtually 100% of graphical web assets out there were made to be viewed on lower-DPI screens. Apple had two choices: render everything in Safari pixel-for-pixel and get complaints from people that web pages were too small (which they would be...install ScreenResX on your rMBP, switch to native 2880x1800 non-HiDPI with it, try to use the computer for a little while, and tell me if you could get by with that day-to-day), or they could pixel-double the images and render everything at the same physical size so that web pages are as legible on Retina as they are on a standard-DPI display.

There are ways to make web sites Retina-ready, and it involves creating and uploading both non-Retina and Retina versions of the same image to the web server, and then using CSS + JavaScript trickery to cause rMBP and other higher-res devices to download and display the Retina versions of the image. (Alternatively, you could upload just a Retina version of the image, but then you would be relying on the browser running on non-Retina devices -- which still constitute the majority of PCs out there -- to scale down Retina images on the fly. The results are not always pretty.) So if you are putting together a web site where you are showing off OS X screenshots and you are unhappy with the blurriness on Retina, you will have to take an identical screenshot on a Retina Mac and then supply both versions on your web site (and use the CSS+JS stuff to make Safari on Retina display the Retina image automatically).

Slowly but surely, many web sites out there are being made ready for Retina, although it is not at the pace that I'm sure either Apple or any of their users are happy with. Still, that is hardly Apple's fault.

-- Nathan
 

priitv8

macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
3,631
476
Estonia
So if you are putting together a web site where you are showing off OS X screenshots and you are unhappy with the blurriness on Retina, you will have to take an identical screenshot on a Retina Mac and then supply both versions on your web site (and use the CSS+JS stuff to make Safari on Retina display the Retina image automatically).
I think you can pretty easily get by with retina screenshots only. You can very easily convert them to loDPI (72dpi) versions with any decent picture editing program. Even Preview.
 

NathanA

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
739
16
Even here at MR, some forum icons look pixelated.
Yep. That's because nobody has put in the time to render 2x versions of those icons. But if you scroll to the top and look at the MacRumors logo, it looks sharp as a tack on Retina, because they supplied a Retina version of the logo. It also looks like the forum "smilies" are Retina-enabled, too.

How about my personal pictures (especially baby/scanned pictures)?
Well, if you look at them in Safari, they are going to look pixel-doubled, because that is the way Safari was written to work on Retina machines. Unless the image is on a web page where it is told to render the image pixel-for-pixel on a Retina display (which is actually done by dividing both dimensions for the IMG tag by 2, on a device that has a web viewport "device pixel ratio" of 2 like the rMBP does), Safari assumes that images should be pixel-doubled so that they appear to the user to be the exact the same physical size on a 15" Retina display as they are on a 15" non-Retina display, because unless it is explicitly told that this is a Retina image, it has to assume that the image was originally intended to be displayed on a non-Retina display.

But if you look at your images in a Retina-aware image editing or display app that has the option of showing you the image at 1:1 (1 display pixel for every image pixel) instead of 4:1 (4 display pixels for every image pixel), then you can see your photographs without pixel-doubling. (Do note that when you do this on a Retina display, your photos will physically take up less space on the screen -- that is, they will appear smaller -- than if you viewed the exact same images on a non-Retina display. This is unavoidable...the pixels are physically different sizes on the two displays.) I don't know what apps those would be; perhaps somebody who is more in touch with the state of imaging apps on the Mac can chime in here. I would be shocked if Photoshop didn't have support for this by now, for example.

Interestingly, the built-in Preview.app appears to have some issues on Retina Macs, at least as of Mavericks. If you go to Preview -> Preferences -> Images, there is an option to "define 100% scale as: 1 image pixel equals 1 screen pixel", which also happens to be the default option. But if you open up an image in Preview and then go View -> Actual Size, it will pixel-double it! Preview did NOT used to do this on Mountain Lion. I actually have Mountain Lion on an external drive that I booted up on my rMBP just a little bit ago to make sure that my memory on this matter is correct, and it is: Mountain Lion Preview.app (and possibly Lion Preview.app as well) properly renders images at 1:1 on Retina/HiDPI Macs, and Mavericks Preview.app breaks this and pixel-doubles the same images.

I have Yosemite Public Beta 3 installed on a separate partition, but have not yet checked its Preview.app to see if they have fixed this on Yosemite. I will do that in a bit and report back on my results.

I think you can pretty easily get by with retina screenshots only. You can very easily convert them to loDPI (72dpi) versions with any decent picture editing program.
Well sure, unless you are concerned about absolute accuracy. For some uses, some people may not be, and your solution would be sufficient. But there are subtle differences between the HiDPI (2x) assets and the standard ones such that they won't look 100% exactly the same if scaled down (also, different image editing apps have different algorithms for scaling down, so you can't expect the same results depending on what you use), and even the versions of system fonts used on Retina displays are subtly different than their non-Retina counterparts; see http://blog.justanotherfoundry.com/2013/10/lucida-grande-retina-optimized-in-os-x-mavericks/ for example. So if you want your screenshots for cMBP users to look *exactly* like what they should expect to see on their own system, then yeah, you will need to take specific non-HiDPI screenshots for that purpose.

-- Nathan

EDIT: Update -- no good: Yosemite's Preview.app is still broken in the same way Mavericks' one is.
 
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