I don't do pixel peeping, but I know a man who does
I suspect that Dag will want to know what monitor and other hardware you are using?
What colour mode you used in Photoshop, and stuff like that.
No need to roll out my pix-o-magic pixel microscope
This is a classic case where you need to view at 100%. That's the solution.
Adjustment and blending previews are calculated on the basis of on-screen zoom ratio. When you are zoomed out, this is a scaled/downsampled version, and therefore softened and blurred.
When the image has sharp pixel transitions, such as very noisy images, very fine detail on pixel level, halftone screens, line art and so on - then this softening produces intermediate pixel levels that aren't there in the original. So you get a false and unreliable preview. Apparent effects may "disappear" when the calculation is done on the full image data.
Viewing at 100% maps exactly one image pixel to one screen pixel. This is the only true representation on screen. This shows all your adjustments and blends correctly.
So again - view at 100% for a reliable preview. With a "normal" photograph this isn't an issue, except in special cases as described above.
These small pixels are unfortunately a big issue when printing it. I work on 2 monitors (1 Mac screen and 1 Huion screen), they're both calibrated. The histogram is also changing when switching between the two images, so it's definitely there and not something my monitor is showing wrong. I'm currently working on Gray Gamma 2.2, I already tried switching to other color modes, didn't work.
Currently I fixed this issue manually by working with levels and masks etc ... a lot of work for these small details, but it seemed like the only option available for now.
Still curious what this problem might've been and if there's a solution for in the future!
You might be right! I always work at 100% view, but never countered this issue before ... Thanks!
In most applications, 100% means print size. In Photoshop, however, it means "one image pixel to one screen pixel", aka 1:1.
Photoshop is a special case in a lot of respects because it works strictly with pixels and nothing else. Pixels don't have a size, they're just sample points. The only true representation is to align those pixels with the screen pixels, in a 1:1 ratio. Every other zoom ratio is a resampling of the data, with all the implications.
Now, we have a couple of regular posters who like nothing better than to point out Photoshop's flaws and weaknesses. In most of those cases it's just a consequence of Photoshop's inherent nature as a pixel editor. But in this particular case, I'm inclined to grant them a good point. This is legacy code intended to maintain performance and not slow things down - but with current hardware it shouldn't really be necessary.
It should, in principle, be possible to calculate the data in full, and then send that to screen in whatever zoom ratio required. Not the other way round. However, it's quite possible that this is embedded so deeply into the code that changing it now really isn't an option.