Why Are Your Photoshop Files Blurry? [6 Common Reasons]

So, you’ve opened your current project in Photoshop and the files load in all blurry and fuzzy. Understandably, this can be quite frustrating to deal with, especially if you’re on deadline. But why is it happening and what can you do about it?

Before you can go about fixing your problem, you need to understand why. Otherwise, you’ll be clicking all over the place, possibly wasting time as you search for a solution. Below, you’ll find the most 6 most common reasons why your photoshop files could be blurry.

What Causes Photoshop Files to Be Blurry?

There are various reasons why your files could be blurry. It could be as simple as adjusting a setting, or something more serious may be going on. While knowing why your files are blurry won’t necessarily fix them, it’s a good place to start.

Here are the 6 most common reasons why files can appear blurry or pixelated in Adobe Photoshop.

1. Your Document is Too Small

In Photoshop, a bigger project size gives you more pixels to work with. A document with a resolution of 800×1200, for example, has twice the number of pixels as one with a resolution of 400×600. You’ll still receive the same shaped document, but when you add text or images, there will be enough pixels to display them properly.

When starting a new project, go to File > New to ensure your document size is sufficient. You’ll see an area on the right of the new project window where you may adjust the dimensions of your document. Make sure Pixels is chosen in the drop-down box next to Width and Height.

You may now enter the desired width and height. It’s best to select anything over 1000×1000 with a resolution of 200 PPI or greater for the best resolution.

2. Poor Scanner Quality

If you are using a document such as a PDF that was scanned from a physical copy, this may be the cause of your blurry files. Sometimes, during the scanning process, the image may become pixelated due to the quality of the scanner.

When scanning, try these techniques if a scanned picture seems deformed or blurry:

  • Check to see whether the original is wrinkled or distorted.
  • Make sure the scanner isn’t tilted or sitting at an angle
  • Do not move the original while scanning
  • Adjust the scanner settings, such as Resolution, Unsharp Mask, and Exposure, and try scanning again

Typically, your best bet is to try re-scanning. However, this isn’t always an option. In this case, you could try sharpening the image in Photoshop and see if that fixes your problem.

3. Camera or Human Error

If you’re working with photographs, there is a slew of reasons why your images may be burry. Much of the time, pixelation or blur in your photographs can be caused by human error or camera mistakes.

  • Burry images caused by camera shake
  • The subject moved when the photo was taken
  • Shallow depth of field
  • The camera was out of focus
  • ISO is too high
  • Poor lens quality
  • Lighting is too low

To fix these types of issues, you need to return to the root of the problem: your camera. You have to make sure to operate your camera properly in order to avoid blurry photographs.

While Photoshop is capable of performing all kinds of magic in terms of editing, fixing a blurry photo is beyond what the program can do. You may be able to sharpen the photo a bit, but you’re not going to see significant improvement if the photo is extremely blurry.

4. The File is Too Magnified

Another reason your files may seem fuzzy is if you have zoomed in too far on the document. As you zoom in closer to your project, the pixels get larger. You can even zoom in to the point that you can see the pixels, making the image or text appear blurry.

Let’s say you’ve downloaded a logo from Placeit.net and would like to add another element to your design. While your logo is 4000×4000, the element you are adding is much smaller. You may have made the mistake of zooming in to make the design appear larger, creating a fuzzy appearance around the edges.

To see how far you’ve zoomed in on the page, go to the tab above your project that displays the project name and a percentage. This percentage represents how far you’ve zoomed into the canvas.

5. You Haven’t Enabled Anti-Aliasing

If your text or image is appearing pixelated or fuzzy, it may have something to do with anti-aliasing.

Anti-aliasing is a technique for smoothing down jagged edges in images. Working with typefaces follows the same logic.

To enable anti-aliasing, first select the text tool. At the top of the screen, you’ll see a menu with settings to change your font. A dropdown menu labeled aa is located to the right of the font type and size dropdown menus.

When None is selected, the typeface will have the most visible pixelation. The other options include Sharp, Crisp, Strong, and Smooth. These will soften the pixelation and make it less obvious from a distance. Smooth is typically the best option, but you may experiment with the others to see how they impact the font.

6. Your PPI is too Low

The amount of pixels in each inch of your image is measured in PPI (pixels per inch). Because of the increased pixel density, an image with a higher PPI has a higher quality. However, because raising the PPI increases the file size, you should only utilize a high PPI when absolutely essential.

Exporting at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (PPI) is considered the industry standard.

On a current project, go to Image > Image Size to verify and change your PPI. Make sure Pixels/Inch is chosen as the default resolution measurement in the pop-up box, then change the value to anything higher than 300.

If PPI was your issue, then this should fix your blurriness problem.

Final Thoughts

It’s aggravating to see fuzzy files when working in Photoshop, especially if you don’t know why. Hopefully, now that you’re aware of some of the most common causes for pixelated, fuzzy, and blurry files, you’ll be able to swiftly resolve the difficulties and get a crisp, smooth-edged design for a stunning end result.