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I'm a beginner so excuse my lack of skill. I'm trying to design a business card. I made a new file and made the dimensions about 3 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. The new image on my screen is the actual real size, so I'm basically working with this tiny image. I was expecting to be working with a very large image.
I increased the size to 200% but then my work becomes pixalated. Am I doing something wrong here? Thanks.
You're not doing anything wrong per-se, just not the best that you could.

When starting a new document forget all about linear measurements. (Inches, mm, yards, etc)
Digital images are defined by PIXELS and pixels ONLY.

There is no such thing as 3" long or 2.5" wide (high).....even though you may think there is....and here is why.

ANY image can be 'dimensioned' to ANY size, (within reason), and to any unit value....inches, mm, yards, feet, parsecs, football fields....whatever.

This is done AFTER you finish the project....either when you want to save it as a digital image for use in the digital world, or print it out for use in the real world.

The ideal workflow therefore is to create a document as big as you or your system can handle......IN PIXELS. The only thing you need to get right is the RATIO of its width to its height....or in other words the same proportions as the final image you need.....in this case 3:2.5.

With that in mind a document 3000px wide by 2500px high would be more than enough to work in, but the bigger the better...system allowing. Even 1500x1250 would be relatively 'big' to work on.

Once you're done you'd then save that project as a PSD file to keep your layers and fx etc etc.

You can then OUTPUT that image to ANY size you want:

Digitally....use the 'Save For Web' option and enter the OUTPUT dimensions in the boxes provided.
For PRINT use IMAGE > IMAGE SIZE and with RESAMPLE OFF set the width to 3".

In this example that would give you a resolution of 1000ppi, well above any requirement of most commercial printers.

You could, if you really wanted to, stick with the more normal 300ppi, resample the image which would make it around 900x750px but its best to do that on a copy of the PSD file just to make sure you keep the original safe.....if you feel brave then use the original but DO NOT save it again.

That's about it really. Have the document as big as you can, (IN PIXELS), in the right proportions and save out to the size you want at the end.

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Thanks MrTom!

I went to Image size and changed the resolution to 300, and now I have a much larger image to work with. Do you think that will do the trick ( give me something large to work with and be high enough res for the printer?) Thanks again.
When you increase resolution you are increasing the pixel dimensions. 300 ppi should be fine for your printer, but do check first.
Well....what you DO NOT want to do is resample the document you already have....which is what it sounds like you have done.

The exception to this is if EVERYTHING is vectored, ie, not rasterized.

The reason for this is that resampling UP is NEVER a good idea, (and should be avoided at all costs)....the image has to be interpolated and loses 'quality' as a result. Resampling DOWN isn't so bad as all the remaining pixels are original....hence START with an image with as many pixels in it as possible and then reduce it to the size you want when you output it.

If the quality of the up-sampled image isn't good enough you could use it as a template to re-draw it.....with more pixels you'll get a higher definition.....especially on curves but its always best to have the right pixel dimensions right from the start.

If you are bound by commercial printer specifications of 300ppi for printing then you can use that to calculate the PIXEL dimensions when you start a new document......type in the resolution you need and the final output size and it will create the right sized document for you.

As I mentioned, this would result in a 900x750px document which to be honest would be a smidge small to work with so you could multiply that by say 3 to give you a 2700x2250px document.....more than enough to work in.

When it comes to the output you just then need to save out the document at the right size (3" x 2.5") and the resolution will be correct.

Documents and output sizes is just very simple maths using the pixels in the image, the output size and the resolution.....A=BxC....which is which depends on your specs and any limitations, (like ppi) you have.

...When you increase resolution you are increasing the pixel dimensions...
Only if RESAMPLE is checked.

Otherwise it's just information written to the Image Header MetaData and has zero effect on the image.

Ok, so the business card I am making is actually 3.5 wide and 2.25 width.
I only have a vector logo that I am working with at the moment. Tks
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In which case you'll be fine.

You can scale the vector to fit the new document size without any loss of definition.

Going to make a new image, so 3500 x 2250 sounds good?

If I do that, what should I enter for the resolution?

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Like I said, whatever your system will handle.

Obviously you do not want to go overboard but yeah, if your system can handle that size then sure.

The main thing is the proportions and you've got that right so yeah....good to go! :thumbsup:

When it comes to the output you may have to re-sample the image to get exactly 300ppi but this will re-sampling DOWN so its OK.....no worries.

Just remember that if you do resample the image then DO NOT save it again....unless its AS another document name.

Thanks Mr Tom.

When you say "system" do you mean my computer? I have a new macbook so I have plenty of power.

So I've made an image as I described, and the image is huge now. Since this is a business card, I'm going to have a lot of text. I've got the text in 12 point font, and it seems I could write a book on this image. My concern is if all this text, once I've written it, will actually fit on the business card?

I've attached an image to show what I'm talking about.

By 'System' I do indeed mean your computer, yes.

Don't use 'points' for fonts sizes.....keep everything in PIXELS!

Digital images are PIXEL based so it makes sense to keep everything in pixels.
If you need to use linear measurements or points, picas, or whatever then PS isn't the right software to use.....its a PIXEL based image editor.

Looking at that image you (nearly) posted, common sense says that text is WAY too small......when that image is scaled down to its right size you'll hardly be able to read it.

Business cards don't usually carry much text....the more simple the better, just relevant facts and that's about all. You wont get much 'readable' text on a card that size.

Scale the text to a sensible size.....its vectored so its size doesn't matter, go by how it 'looks'.

One thing you can do to help with this is to view the image at its OUTPUT size.

You can use VIEW > Print Size to scale the image to the output size but you may have to also adjust this further as your image is not a direct 1:1 300ppi. Its no big deal though as you can type in any scale % you want....its in the lower LEFT corner of the workspace.

One other thing you'll need to do (but only once), is to correctly set your Screen Resolution in the Preferences....otherwise viewing at Print Size will be wrong.

With PIXEL based editors its sometimes best to just ignore any 'measurements' and just do things by eye....if it looks good then it probably is.

Anything more accurate than that and you really need to use Illustrator or similar as this does things in a more 'measured' way rather than with pixels.

For business cards though PS is ideal....you don't need a great degree of accuracy....it just needs to look good.