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Image Resolution, Quality, Output and Size

Image Resolution, Quality, Output and Size

Here are a few tips to follow to get the most out of your images in print and on the web:

Image Resolution

Image resolution is also referred to as "DPI" (dots per inch). It tells us how many dots or pixels a digital image contains per inch. The more dots per inch, the higher the detail and quality of the photo, and the larger file size. Different type of output devices require different types of resolution. Always discuss the DPI requirements of your project with your printer or graphic designer if you are unsure of the DPI requirements. If you are going to use a variety of devices, it's best to create your images as high as possible, around 300 DPI as a starting point.

Image Quality and Size

Is it okay to attempt to res-up an image to 300 DPI?
If your original image is less than 300 DPI and will be used at 100 percent or more, increasing the resolution up to 300 DPI will generally degrade the photo and make it look pixellated or blurry.

What about downsizing?

If you have a good quality image that is a lower resolution but is large in dimensional size, then it will generally be okay to increase the resolution while you are downsizing, as long as the image will be used at a much smaller size. It is always better to down-size an image versus up-sizing. The example below demonstrates two ways to get a good print result at 300 DPI for a photo:

  1. A 3x5 photo at 300 DPI is used at 100 percent.
  2. An 8.5 x 11 photo at 72 DPI is reduced 50 percent while the resolution is increased to 300 DPI.

Follow these tips to get the best results for your images:

  • As a general rule, try to originate your images the same size as the final output (so that you will be placing and using your images at 100 percent, without scaling up or down.
  • Web or computer art needs to be 72 DPI.
  • Desktop printer art needs to be 150 DPI.
  • Professionally printed art needs to be 300 DPI.
  • Do not res-up, or add DPI, to your art unless you are also scaling it down.
  • The color of an image (black and white, RGB or CMYK) does not affect the resolution.
  • Vector images (.eps files) are scalable to any size without losing quality.
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