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When you're working in Photoshop, it's always a good idea to know where your image is going to be displayed, because if you know where your image is going, then you'll know how large of a file you will need to work on. In this video, we'll be looking at the three most common ways of presenting or sharing your images. The three categories are halftone, continuous tone, and screen. We'll look at halftone first. When we talk about halftone, we are talking about printing on the printing press. Halftone is not continuous tone, but it might start as a continuous-tone image such as a photograph, but along the way it's converted into a halftone pattern for the printing press.
This halftone pattern is made up of a pattern of dots, some large and some small, and you have a series of dots for each of the CMYK inks so the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks. When these dot patterns are printed, when they're overlaid one on top of each other, they actually create the illusion of continuous tone, but it's not in fact a continuous-tone image. If you look at anything that's been printed, like a newspaper or a magazine, especially if you look at it under a loupe or a magnifying glass, you will see the individual dots.
So, what resolution do you need in order to convert your image from a continuous- tone image in Photoshop in order to go to the printing press? Well, that depends on the line screen of the printer. As a general rule of thumb, you need two times the line screen, or the LPI. And the LPI, or the line screen, is going to be dependent on the paper that you're going to print to. So for example, when you print a newspaper, you can't print with a very high line screen; typically, they use 85 LPI.
Whereas if you're printing to a really high-end magazine or book, they might go as high as 300 line screen. So as soon as you know the paper that you're printing to, then you can work with your printer and come up with the line screen that you'll need. Then you simply double that, and that would be the resolution you would want in Photoshop. The second category is continuous tone, and probably the most common example of that would be an inkjet printer. An inkjet printer usually needs a resolution in Photoshop between 240 and 360 pixels per inch, and this is sort of an aesthetic choice.
What I would recommend is that you print the same image to the same printer at 240 pixels per inch, and in 300, and again at 360 pixels per inch. I think you'll find that most people can tell the difference between 240 and 300 pixels per inch. The 300-pixels-per-inch image will look as if it's a higher quality. But it kind of drops off after 300 pixels per inch. So you'll have to see if you can see the difference between the 300- and the 360- pixel-per-inch printout.
Another continuous-tone output would be photographic paper. Maybe you're a photographer and you want to send some images to the lab. The lab then should recommend a resolution that they want their images, because they've optimized their printing process, and they'll know exactly the quality or the resolution of the image that you'll need to send them to achieve the results that will look good on that photographic paper. Again, it's typically around 300 pixels per inch.
Now, backing up for just one moment to the inkjet printers, we do call them continuous tone, but they are in fact a series of dots. But it is not the same dot pattern that we discussed previously in the halftone pattern that you would use to the printing press. All right, finally let's talk about if you're going to display or share your images on a screen, like a monitor or a tablet or maybe a projector. In this case, the actual resolution of the file doesn't matter. You could have a resolution at 72 pixels per inch, or 96, or 300. That doesn't matter; what matters is the total pixel count.
Because each one of these devices can display a set number of pixels, and you want to make sure that your image is large enough, or is at the correct size to display properly on that device. Now, in the next video, we'll actually see examples of how to resize or resample your image to change the resolution so that you can prepare it for either a halftone or a continuous-tone printer. Or we'll actually change not the resolution, but the actual pixel count in order to prepare our images for an onscreen display.
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