I know that working with digital images can be frustrating sometimes… OK, a lot of times. I mean there is just so much to worry about. Is this image large enough? Is the resolution high enough? Should it be in RGB or CMYK? It’s enough to make anybody go crazy! In this post I’m going to shed a little light on the mystery of image size and resolution.
Resolution in an image is basically, the amount of pixels (PPI) or dots per inch (DPI). The more pixels there are per inch, the better an image will look in larger scale. If the image has a very low pixel density, the pixels will start to show at larger scales. Some might say it looks like a “brick wall”.
Here’s the deal. First, ask yourself, “Is this going to be used in print or on the web?” If it’s going to be used on the web the resolution only needs to be 72 DPI (the standard resolution of a computer screen) at the dimensions you will be using it at.
If the image is going to appear in print, decide how large you want it to be, let’s say 4″ wide by 6″ tall, make sure it is 300 DPI at those dimensions. In Photoshop, you can do this under the image size menu (Image > Image Size).
Also note, you can always make an image smaller, but not larger. Keep this in mind whenever your are taking photos on your digital camera or scanning an image in. On your camera you should have it set to the highest mega-pixels possible. While scanning an image, you can scan it at it’s normal size at 300 DPI, or you can blow it up a bit. If you need to blow it up, figure out the percentage larger it needs to be and adjust the scan settings accordingly. Your scanner manual should be able to help you more with that.
I hope that this post, though short, has been informative and helpful. Resolutions aren’t just for New Year’s celebrations. Now go out and conquer the visual world with your new-found knowledge!