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Photoshop CC on a High DPI display on Windows 8.1

Nov 2, 2013 3:02 PM

Tags: #high_dpi

I'm using a new Lenovo Yoga 2. The native resolution is 3200x1800. Most Windows applications use scaling to enlarge the menus and other aspects of their user interface. However, Photoshop CC is basically unusable at this resolution because it does not honor the scaling. I have to drop the resolution down to 1600x900 before launching Photoshop CC. Extremenly inconvenient.

 

Anyone else have this issue on Windows?

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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 2, 2013 7:34 PM   in reply to britmansell

    Seems like it's about time Adobe enabled the code that they did to support Mac Retina displays for Windows too. 

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Trevor Dennis
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    Nov 3, 2013 2:03 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    This kind of sucks.  There was a fair lead time between the request for Retina display support and it happening, so add that to the time it has been implemented, and it adds up to significant amount of time.  I can't remember who, but an Adobe staff poster said they were working on a similar fix for Windows open ages ago.   I guess there isn't the same media attention as with the latest Mac Book Pros, so Windows user are a low priority.  It won't be the fault of the Development Team, who will be under instruction what and where to put the time in.  But it definitely leaves a bad taste!

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 3, 2013 6:18 AM   in reply to Trevor Dennis

    The software will come.  I sure hope professional monitors in large sizes and with a couple hundred ppi are on the drawing boards somewhere.  What I would give to have 25 megapixels on a 30 incher.  Imagine being able to see your entire photo at 100% zoom, down to every detail.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 10:50 AM   in reply to britmansell

    Adobe provided an answer in another thread on this forum this week that indicated that the problem is entirely with the unavailability of the necessary Microsoft APIs, and nothing to do with perceived Mac vs. Windows favoritism.

     

    As I recall, resolution independence code also partially existed for a very long time in advance on the Mac but was not fully usable for several versions of OS X; apparently the introduction of Retina displays forced Apple to finally finish the job. So there wasn't a simple switch to throw on the Mac side either.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 3, 2013 1:35 PM   in reply to Conrad Chavez

    No disrespect to anyone involved, but clearly it's already possible to paint high density graphics on a Windows system.  Saying that the OS doesn't provide an easy way to port existing Adobe software isn't exactly putting the horse before the cart. 

     

    Adobe rolls their own UI elements via some kind of platform independent control library, which now knows how to do high ppi on a Mac.  It would have been awfully short-sighted to implement all those changes in a way that only works on Macs.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 2:20 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Adobe has made this excuse for years and years. Maybe it's valid, maybe it isn't. But from my perspective, Photoshop is basically unusable on my MacBook Pro with Retina display running Windows 8.1.  We know it is possible for applications to scale properly to respect high DPI settings on Windows, and Adobe charges a pretty penny for its products. Excuses like this are becoming intolerable.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 3, 2013 2:35 PM   in reply to UnnDunn2

      You're running a system combo no one can buy off the shelf, UnnDunn2.  That's known as riding the bleeding edge.

     

    I'm curious...  How do most Windows applications in Windows 8.1 handle the scaling (you have to dial in a sizing option of Extra Large - 200%, or maybe a custom option of even more, right)?  Does it look nice and sharp in general?  I'll bet fonts are nicely formed.

     

    Is there any way you could grab your desktop on that system showing various applications (e.g., File Explorer, IE, maybe a few older desktop applications, etc.), and post it here?  I'm really curious how things look with the ultra-dense display.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2013 7:38 PM   in reply to Conrad Chavez

    That was a non-answer from Chris. Other applications make it work just fine.

     

    The kicker? InDesign is able to handle it, even if Photoshop and Illustrator can't: Screenshot (ID on left, AI on right)

     

    Why can't they just do whatever they did with InDesign?

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 4, 2013 7:52 PM   in reply to arcataroger

    In all seriousness, I believe the software is completely different under the covers between applications.  Adobe has worked to make disparate applications made by disparate people grow together as a suite, using similar icons and color schemes, but that doesn't mean there's any commonality behind the scenes.  My understanding is that Photoshop is a HIGHLY complex set of source code that doesn't take kindly to being prodded.  Quite likely Adobe really wants to tidy up the interfface but it'll be a LOT more work than it seems it should be.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2013 8:18 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    "In regards to HiDPI support, InDesign and Lightroom work because of X, and the rest of CC don't yet because of Y. We understand that other programs are able to handle HiDPI, but compared to the CC suite, they're different because Z, so we need more time. Nonetheless, we have devoted an entire team to this issue and hope to have a beta fix out by next January. We'll keep you informed." would be a wonderful explanation and an acceptable answer.

     

    "Microsoft's APIs are broken. No timeline.", on the other hand, is just plain ol' evasion because it doesn't answer the following:

    • Why other corporations with complex programs can handle HiDPI despite Microsoft's API
    • Why some of Adobe's own programs can handle HiDPI despite Microsoft's API
    • Why they are unable to provide any sort of ETA -- especially if they're working so closely with Microsoft, a company which plans out its releases months if not years in advance and releases betas and previews pretty consistently
    • Why this wasn't dealt with earlier in the Windows 8/8.1 release process
     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 4, 2013 8:29 PM   in reply to arcataroger

    Don't get me wrong, I agree with you on all points.

     

    Something's clearly harder than it seems it should be.  Maybe that's getting management to devote development resources to keeping the product working with current OSs vs. implementing Gee Whiz new features that sell more products, I don't know.

     

    And don't fault Chris.  There's no question he's limited in what he can say about future plans, and at least somewhat limited in what he can say about how things are.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2013 8:47 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Oh and Noel, here's a screenshot taken from my Yoga 2 with a bunch of programs running.

     

    Scaling is set to 200%. Some programs scale well and some don't.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2013 8:46 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    It's not Chris's fault personally, but Adobe's communication ability.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 4, 2013 8:49 PM   in reply to arcataroger

    Thank you for that, arcataroger.  I like what I see, though it's clear things can get very small for you (e.g., your CMD window or that little system tray pop-up).

     

    Now if the display makers would just get to it and make 30" 200+ ppi display...  And not charge the price of a car for it.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 4, 2013 8:51 PM   in reply to arcataroger

    Adobe is too big to communicate like a small, agile, responsive company.  Not that there should be a difference, but there always is.  And there ARE a lot of good people there.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 5, 2013 12:30 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Noel Carboni wrote:

     

    Thank you for that, arcataroger.  I like what I see, though it's clear things can get very small for you (e.g., your CMD window or that little system tray pop-up).

     

    -Noel

    The CMD window in Windows can be easily customized by right-mouse clicking the window bar, and adjust the settings to a larger font, more lines, etc.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 5, 2013 8:11 AM   in reply to Herbert2001

    Of course, but he didn't have it set as such.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 8, 2013 5:01 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Excuse my ignorance in this area - can I seek some clarification from the Windows HiDPI users... before I buy a new laptop...

     

     

    Take for example the new dell XPS 15 with its QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 screen.

     

    Could I set up the screen resolution in Windows to be 1,600 x 900 - ie 'half resolution'. Does that solve the problem - ie would that look just like a native 1,600 x 900 res screen?

     

     

    Mike A.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 9, 2013 1:11 PM   in reply to Mike_Abbott

    Nope. LCD screens have a native resoltion and look like crap when set to something different.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/119117/htg-explains-why-using-your-monitors-n ative-resolution-is-important/

     

    It'll make Photoshop functional in the meantime, but you'll hate yourself for having purchased a hidpi screen if you go that route.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 9, 2013 4:36 PM   in reply to arcataroger

    Have you personally used one at exactly half resolution, Roger?  That might be an exception to the "rule" and really should be answered by someone who has tried it.  I haven't.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 10, 2013 10:57 AM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Just tried it. Same difference... extrapolated pixels, similar to upscaling in Photoshop.

     

    Looks to my eye as (in)tolerable as any other non-native resolution. Is there something about 1/2 resolution that ought to make it special that I'm missing?

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Nov 10, 2013 11:26 AM   in reply to arcataroger

    Well, yeah, I was thinking there's the possibility the monitor would map exactly one pixel to exactly two on the display, and the result would be as sharp as with a low ppi monitor at its native resolution.  But apparently it's not the case.

     

    No doubt this depends on the monitor and controller.  Thanks for checking.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 10, 2013 12:14 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    I see what you're saying. My guess (and it's only a guess) is that the smoothing algorithms, such as ClearType for text, rasterize and do sub-pixel smoothing for a certain resolution and it doesn't scale up well when you just double the pre-smoothed output at the monitor level. It's like taking rasterized, anti-aliased text and upsampling it instead of rasterizing at a higher resoution to begin with.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2014 10:44 AM   in reply to arcataroger

    The issue is that the internal manifest is reporting to the system that the app is high-dpi aware. And it is not. So it does not get properly scaled. The fix is here: http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2013/12/11/hack-makes-photoshop-and-i llustrator-readable-on-surface-pro It takes a very minor registry hack - adding a single entry to the registry - and saving a text file in your program files dir.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2014 6:50 AM   in reply to BIT-101

    So what excuse does Adobe have for shipping a manifest that incorrectly reports its High-DPI support? Why are we forced to implement registry hacks when Adobe could implement and release this patch with minimal effort?

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Jan 10, 2014 8:04 AM   in reply to UnnDunn2

    UnnDunn2, upon thinking about it that's actually a very good question.  Seems like at the very least it ought to be an option that users could select.

     

    Perhaps Adobe has been exercising a bit of wishful thinking that their engineers would solve the problem in short order, since they HAVE essentially solved it for Apple Retina displays on the Mac side.  It's a bit hard to imagine that the work to do that was all Apple-specific.

     

    Given that the "manifest hack" listed above would cause the document pixels to also be scaled up, there could be potential performance issues as well.  I only booted it up and tried it in a virtual machine to see if it would work; I didn't try running it that way for any length of time.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2014 1:47 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    That hack doesn't entirely work.

     

    Again, we've been working with Microsoft on how to make UI scaling work correctly on Windows.   There were lots of problems to be resolved (not just in our code).  But we've been working on the issue for quite some time.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2014 1:59 PM   in reply to Chris Cox

    The hack works fine. I understand that it scales the entire app up, which is not ideal as it is really the same as just changing the resolution of your screen. You will not be taking advantage of your high res screen. On the other hand, if I can't read the menus or see the icons, the app is useless to me. I have avoided using PhotoShop on this machine because it was so annoying. If you look at the date on a US dime, the menu text was about that size.

     

    I understand that Adobe is working on a solution that will allow it to use the full resolution of a high dpi monitor and yet still be able to scale up the UI elements to a usable size. And I understand that this would be preferable. But in the mean time, the user should be able to choose between these two options.

     

    It's my understanding that the internal manifest is reporting to Windows that the application is high dpi aware, which it seems to me is false, but I don't claim to fully understand what that means. At any rate, if this takes a longer time to fix, I strongly suggest making this a user-choosable feature. It would at least make the app usable to those on high dpi screens until this is fully worked out.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2014 7:08 PM   in reply to Chris Cox

    The 'hack' works, the only thing that does not work is the icons which are blurry.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 5:56 AM   in reply to LukeW

    LukeW wrote:

     

    The 'hack' works, the only thing that does not work is the icons which are blurry.

    No, it doesn't, not if the image is scaled along with the UI. That defeats the whole purpose of a high-resolution display.

     

    Yes, I understand that it makes the application at least useable, which it otherwise isn't, but that's precisely what defines it as a "hack" and not a "solution".

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 7:34 AM   in reply to twenty_one

    The hack works. As long as you understand what it is doing, it lets you choose between an unusable UI that uses the full resolution of the screen or a usable UI that does not use the full resolution. Given that a lot of people are going through the lengths of changing their resolution anyway in order to make the UI usable, the latter choice is preferable to a lot of people. At any rate, it should be a user option until Adobe fixes it fully.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 12:30 PM   in reply to britmansell

    This forum is useful only if Adobe folks follow the threads and realize when it's important to listen and take action. From what I've seen and heard they do neither. My daughter uses Photoshop cc and got a MS Surface Pro which she loves because she travels a lot. But she can hardly read the menus. I'm older than her and to me they're invisible. True it's only a 10" screen, but the 1080 display looks great with everytrhing else. I'm a photographer and longtime fan of Photoshop. I work on a desktop, but would love to buy the Lenovo Yoga Pro2, or the Sony Flip13, etc., so I can work in the field and also display my photos by flipping from one to the next on a tablet.

    With all due respect to Thomas Knoll and the other Adobe geniuses who MAY be working on an elegant solution, here's what i think we need:  An addition to the VIEW menu that toggles on/off an "easy-read" function. When ON, anytime the cursor is moved from the image display up to the menus, or left to the tools, that area of the screen enlarges 2X or 3X until the selection is made and the cursor returns to the image. It can enlarge about 1/3 or 1/4 of the menu bar at a time. This eliminates the need to change screen resolution, which is NOT the way to solve the problem. I want my photos to look great, why would it make sense so spend so much for a high-res screen and then have to dull it down? 

    If anyone out there agrees with me, maybe we should all demand action. I'd love to see someone from Adobe send me a response to prove they're actually listening to users. Or paying attention to the marketplace.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 1:32 PM   in reply to franksavarese

    franksavarese wrote:

     

    I'd love to see someone from Adobe send me a response to prove they're actually listening to users. Or paying attention to the marketplace.

    Did you even READ post # 28??

     

    It says Adobe has been working on the solution for some time with MS.  Getting either company to move quickly is impossible as this is not their only issue.

     
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  • Trevor Dennis
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    Jan 11, 2014 1:45 PM   in reply to Curt Y

    [quote]

     

    There are none so blind as those that will not see.  The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’

     

    [/quote]

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 5:19 PM   in reply to Trevor Dennis

    Just saw it, thanks. But I think Adobe can solve this problem without help from Microsoft. I'm not a programmer,

    but I think temporarily ballooning the menus wherever the cursor is placed is doable, and should be built into

    the next update. High res screens have been around for a while, 4K TV's and 1900 x 3600 13" screens are on sale

    NOW.

     

    Adobe is much more than just Photoshop today, but its your core. Remember Eastman Kodak? And something

    called film? They were so confident in their industry leading position, and the fact that nothing will replace film in

    the forseeable future, they missed the boat as photography went digital. Don't miss the boat. There will always be

    desktops and monitors, but tablets, ultrabooks and convertibles are todays trend. If the next generation doesn't

    find Photoshop convenient, someone will provide an alternative.

     

    But thanks for listening!

     

    Frank Savarese

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 5:27 PM   in reply to franksavarese

    franksavarese,

     

    I am not a programer either, but I do know that quite a few things in PS rely on subroutines of the OS to do the job.  Things like copy/paste and the UI.  MS like Apple tends to go its own way on issues that confound standard programs.  The touch pad of MS is one.  They came up with a new "standard" that does not fit with the old "standard".  I would not be suprised if MS has some screwball way to handle hi def screens for Win 8 that may be a little off of what Win 7 would use.  But that is only a guess.  Trying to get an agreed standard for MS and all the other apps may be the issue.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Jan 11, 2014 9:16 PM   in reply to Curt Y

    I'm kind of glad Photoshop advertises that it knows how to handle a high PPI display.

     

    For one thing it allows my plug-in software, which really DOES handle high PPI, to look its best.

     

    High PPI handling - i.e., application conformance to the desktop "scaling" setting (e.g., 100%, 125%, 150%) is not new.  Even XP supports it.  It just requires care in implementation and inclusion of graphics to take advantage of higher PPI settings.

     

    I suspect most of Adobe's problems are that they have their very own cross-platform library of on-screen controls, which may not have been programmed in such a way as to anticipate the needs of high PPI display users.  It's probably a nightmare to work out how to make them work at any other size than the size in pixels they were originally designed to work.

     

    I don't mean to stir up trouble, but based on my own graphics software development experience I can tell you that it IS quite doable to run a scaled-up graphics processing UI, complete with GPU acceleration, on any Windows system going back to XP.  My software is doing it.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2014 9:50 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    My thoughts exactly. Seems more like a legacy code/GUI library issue than anything else that the devs are having issues with solving.

     

    Ideally the software should have a user customizable GUI ppi settings.

     
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