DPI and resolution explained

Resolution & DPI Explained

A question we often get asked here at Blue Horizon Printing is about DPI (dots per inch), the term is often mentioned but rarely explained, for example for us to print an image we require an image to be at least 100 DPI, this ensures that the quality of our canvas prints always meets our customers expectations. The easiest way of working out how large your image can be printed is to use our sites ordering system. However I thought it was about time I sat down and wrote a clear explanation of what exactly is meant by DPI.

Dots Per Inch usually refers to the maximum number of dots a printer can print per inch. It often is used interchangeably with PPI to describe the resolution of digital images and scanners (which produce digital images).Generally speaking the more DPI the higher quality the print will be. The term DPI usually refers to the image when it is being printed for example on canvas. In canvas printing less than 100 DPI and the image starts to show pixellation:

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With the common inkjet printer, DPI represents how many dots of ink are placed within the span of a linear inch on a printed image. Every pixel output is made up of a limited number different coloured inks, some printers have 3 colors (magenta, cyan, yellow), others have 4, and some have 6 or more. These colours must then make up all the millions of colours possible in a photograph / canvas print. To compensate for the limited number of colors, each pixel of the digital image is represented by mixing many tiny dots of ink together.

So to put this into perspective, every camera will have Megapixel ratio, for example these days most quality cameras will have at least 10 Megapixels. The word megapixel can be broken up into two words, in this case meaning 1 million, and an abbreviation for picture element. The “pix” part arises from the common abbreviation for picture. A pixel is basically a little dot that when combined with a bunch of other little dots, (one million in the case of 1 megapixel), produces what our eyes recognize as an image. Obviously it takes a lot of these little dots to produce a sizeable image.

When printing your image, a printer attempts to recreate it on paper by translating megapixels or image resolution to dpi (dots per inch). Dpi is the printer’s measure of printing resolution; in particular the number of individual dots of ink a printer can produce. At around 250 dpi and above the human eye has trouble seeing these individual dots of ink and the printed picture appears as one large image.

So a 1200 dpi printer uses 1200 dots of ink in every inch to make up the colours. A lower DPI would have fewer ink dots making up each pixel, which would make the colour look less clear. A higher DPI would have more ink dots for each pixel and should give more accurate colour definition (especially under close examination). In canvas printing less than 100 DPI and the image starts to show pixellation:Kidspixellate1


Calculating DPI

To calculate DPI, simply divide your images pixel dimensions by the size of the photo on canvas you’d like. (For example, if your image is 1200 pixels wide by 1600 pixels tall, and you’d like to order a 12″ by 16″ picture on canvas, your DPI would be 100. This number is ok as the dots are still pretty small (there is 100 per inch), but it would be better at 150!

At half the DPI (50DPI) the image would be twice as big however there are now only 50 dots per inch and these dots are starting to become visible.

Demystifying Resolution and DPI: Achieving Clarity in Your Artwork

In the realm of digital art and printing, two crucial terms often emerge: resolution and DPI. While seemingly technical, understanding these concepts is pivotal in ensuring the quality and clarity of your artistic creations. Let’s delve into the world of resolution and DPI, unravel their meanings, and explore how they shape the visual appeal of your digital artwork.

Resolution: The Essence of Detail

Resolution refers to the number of pixels that compose an image. It directly influences the clarity and sharpness of your artwork. A higher resolution signifies more pixels, resulting in finer details and smoother curves. When you’re working on your digital masterpiece, the resolution you choose determines how crisp and defined the final output will be. Higher resolution is particularly important if you plan to print your artwork, as it ensures that the image remains clear and captivating, even at larger sizes.

DPI: Dots That Form Brilliance

DPI, or dots per inch, pertains to the number of ink dots that a printer places on a square inch of paper. This metric influences the quality of printed output. A higher DPI means more ink dots per inch, resulting in smoother gradations and finer detail reproduction. When your artwork is destined for print, a higher DPI setting ensures that the printout accurately represents the intricate nuances and vibrancy of your digital creation.

The Relationship Between Resolution and DPI

Resolution and DPI are interconnected factors that play a vital role in achieving remarkable print results. For instance, if your artwork has a high resolution, it allows for a higher DPI setting when printing. This synergy ensures that the printed output accurately translates the details and colours you’ve meticulously crafted in your digital artwork. For digital artists, it’s essential to create your work at a resolution that supports both digital display and print without compromising quality.

Balancing Size, Resolution, and DPI

As an artist, finding the right balance between image size, resolution, and DPI is crucial. When preparing your artwork, consider the intended output. For digital display on screens, a resolution of 72-96 DPI is typically sufficient, as screens have a lower pixel density. However, for high-quality prints, a resolution of 300 DPI or more is recommended. Keep in mind that larger print sizes require higher resolutions and DPI settings to ensure optimal quality.

Practical Considerations

When starting a new digital artwork, consider setting the resolution based on your intended use. If you’re uncertain, it’s advisable to start with a higher resolution, as you can always scale down without losing quality. On the other hand, scaling up a low-resolution image often results in a loss of detail and pixelation. As you work on your artwork, periodically check its appearance at various sizes and DPI settings to ensure it maintains its visual appeal across different platforms.

Enhancing the Viewer Experience

Understanding resolution and DPI goes beyond technicalities; it’s about delivering an enhanced viewer experience. A well-crafted digital artwork with optimal resolution and DPI settings ensures that your audience can appreciate your creativity in all its glory. Whether your work is displayed on digital screens or brought to life through print, the combination of resolution and DPI elevates your art, making it a captivating visual experience for all who encounter it.

Striking the Perfect Balance

Resolution and DPI are key ingredients in the recipe for exceptional digital artwork. By comprehending their roles and interplay, you empower yourself to create visuals that transcend screens and pages, engaging your audience with stunning clarity and detail. As you delve into your creative process, remember that finding the perfect balance between resolution and DPI is the gateway to producing digital masterpieces that leave a lasting impression.

Find us at  https://www.bluehorizonprints.com.au/wall-art-online