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Hey, welcome back! Now in order to get good at digital imaging, it's helpful to have a working understanding of resolution. So what exactly is resolution? And why do people say, you know, you should print your images at 300 pixels per inch? What they're referring to is an actual physical inch. So if we were to measure an inch by inch here, we would have 300 pixels across and also vertically. So why then this magic number of 300? Well, actually, resolution is a little bit more varied than that magic number. Let me explain.
Let's say, for example, take this print, a smaller version of the same image on a different paper type. Well, here with this photograph, I printed this at 240 pixels per inch, whereas the image in the background-- this big huge photograph--I printed at 180 pixels per inch. Well, why is that? Well, many times the larger the print size, the lower the resolution. Now I know that that sounds counterintuitive, but let's exaggerate this even further. Say, for example, a billboard. Now are we going to print that at 300 pixels per inch? No way.
You would have irrelevant information. What we want to do is have enough information so that we have something which looks like continuous tone and photographic quality. Yet so in order to achieve that we typically say the viewing distance of an image is twice the diagonal. So therefore, to enjoy and appreciate this photograph, typically we're going to be back quite a distance. With a billboard, we'll be back even further. Therefore, that viewing distance, in a way, will determine what resolution we choose. Now the point here isn't to say one resolution is better than another, yet the point is to begin to get you to think about this and also to experiment.
Here is what I want you to do. Pick one of your favorite photographs and then print that at different sizes and also use different paper types. What you'll discover is that certain images will look good at different resolutions, at different sizes, and with different paper types. And by doing this exercise or by taking the time to do this, what you'll do is develop an overall working understanding how resolution actually works and how you can select the best resolution in order to create the most compelling prints.
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