Deke’s Techniques 013: Simulating Subpixel Rendering
This week's technique covers a topic so arcane, you'll either lose interest seconds into the movie, or be sucked into the topic as surely as you might draw an unfamiliar but addictive soda flavor into a straw.
The idea is this: Regardless of the rendering intent---Sharp, Crisp, Strong, or Smooth---Photoshop has a habit of rendering very small type like Garbage. Whereas that same very small type looks nice and legible when rendered by your operating system or as editable type by a browser.
The reason is subpixel rendering, which permits an application to rasterize text and other vector objects, on-the-fly, to each of the three color channels (RGB) independently. Here's a diagram to help things make slightly more sense:
As long as you're working with standard HTML type, all is well. But as soon as you render that text to pixels, subpixel is not an option. It's not Photoshop's fault; JPEG, GIF, PNG, and other Web image formats don't support subpixel rendering.
In this movie, I tell you not only how subpixel rendering works, but also how to simulate it in Photoshop. For those of you who make small type for your screen images---whether Web, kiosk, or presentation---it'll make all the tiny difference in the world.