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I'm currently working on some very small images in Photoshop. It always tries to anti-alias the edges, but this makes them really blurry on this scale.

Is there any way to turn this off, so I can draw sharp edges?

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Edges? For which tool? – iglvzx Jan 6 '12 at 17:55
Most of them. Most annoying are the brush and when deleting a selected area. When I have a black object, on a a white background and try to delete a part, the edge will become grey. – Simon Verbeke Jan 6 '12 at 17:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

To the best of my knowledge... Photoshop doesn't anti-alias most things. (I believe font layers are... but that's another subject) I believe you're referring to "feathered edges" or are working with "semi-transparent areas". You either need to remove the alpha-channel from the layer... (meaning no transparency) or be sure not to use tools that select/create soft-edges or have a feathered edge.

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For what it's worth, here's a good explanation of anti-aliasing. – TheCompWiz Jan 6 '12 at 18:40
That page shows exactly what's happening. The image near this Title shows it (…). The left is what I want, the right is what I get. – Simon Verbeke Jan 6 '12 at 19:01
You're working with semi-transparent pixels. try grabbing the pen tool... with a 1px square shape... (make sure it's not a feathered edge or something weird) and color that one pixel. You'll quickly find it's not black or white... or grey... but rather black... with 50% transparency (or so) The paintbrush tool typically has a feathered edge... to make it behave more like a "real" paint-brush. – TheCompWiz Jan 6 '12 at 19:03
You meant the pencil tool? Because the pen only makes a path. The pencil seems to work fine, thanks :) – Simon Verbeke Jan 6 '12 at 19:11
yeah... sorry the pencil looks like a pen... but you know what I meant. :D – TheCompWiz Jan 6 '12 at 19:14

For those who come after, I believe that the issue here is that your shapes are not aligned to the pixel grid.


  • show the ruler, and right click it, set to pixels
  • zoom to 100% so that:
    • nudging with arrows moves exactly a single pixel, and
    • Holding shift constrains guide movement to the currently selected ruler units.
  • when free transforming, click the top left (any but centre, really) anchor point and set the x/y values to whole pixels
  • right click the dimensions and set to pixels, then set to whole pixels
  • when creating shapes, click the options drop-down and set 'snap to pixels'

More details:

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