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Decoding screen size and resolution

From: Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

Video: Decoding screen size and resolution

Before we start learning how to create web graphics, we need to first understand the difference between something called resolution and something called pixel dimension. For many years, it's been assumed that we should always design our web graphics in a 72-pixel-per-inch or dots-per-inch resolution. And in many ways, that is considered to be standard practice for creating graphics for screens. However, in today's day and age, we have to deal with many device types and screen resolutions. For instance, Apple has a series of retina displays that go in its iPad, iPhone, and now MacBook Pros.

Decoding screen size and resolution

Before we start learning how to create web graphics, we need to first understand the difference between something called resolution and something called pixel dimension. For many years, it's been assumed that we should always design our web graphics in a 72-pixel-per-inch or dots-per-inch resolution. And in many ways, that is considered to be standard practice for creating graphics for screens. However, in today's day and age, we have to deal with many device types and screen resolutions. For instance, Apple has a series of retina displays that go in its iPad, iPhone, and now MacBook Pros.

These resolutions exceed even 300 pixels per inch. There are also many other devices and screens that go even higher than 72, things like 150 pixels per inch, 240, and even higher. The key thing to remember here is that no matter what the resolution, the pixel dimension is what counts and what stays the same. The pixel dimension refers to the actual amount of space an object takes up on a given screen regardless of the resolution or screen size. Take a look at this example that I have opened here on my screen.

I have opened the screen_sizes.psd document, and I have three different screen sizes showcased here: 1024 x 768, 1440 x 900, and 1600 x 1200. Directly in the middle of each one of these screen sizes is a small white circle. The white circle actually takes up 200 pixels by 200 pixels of actual space. But you'll see as I start to move through the screen sizes, the circle looks as though it's becoming smaller simply because it's being lost in the larger screen size. So if I turn off the 1024x768 to reveal the circle in the 1440, you'll see that it looks significantly smaller than it did before, but it's actually the same size as it was on the previous screen size.

Same holds true for 1600 x 1200; if I turn that off, the circle is even smaller, directly in the middle of the screen. This is because there are more actual pixels in the screen, making it look as though this graphic has gotten smaller, when in fact, it's just on a different- sized canvas, making it appear to be smaller than it actually is. Let's switch over to this monitors.jpg document, and look at how the lynda.com homepage is displayed on two different resolution screens. On the left is a higher resolution, and on the right is a lower-resolution screen.

The homepage doesn't change at all. The pixel counts all remain the same. It's just that with the monitor on the right, you have less pixels on screen; thus you don't have as much room to show things, meaning you'll have to scroll around a little bit more to find the things you're looking for. On the left-hand side, everything is exactly the same size on the homepage-- images, text, et cetera--but it looks as though things are smaller, because we have more pixels that are able to be displayed on this higher-resolution screen. So, as we design our web sites, it's important to remember and take into account the pixel value of our images that we create, more so than the actual resolution.

We'll explore retina graphics in a later movie, and how we can adapt our workflow for these new higher-resolution screens to get the best results. But for now, let's worry about the pixel dimensions of the objects we're creating as opposed to the resolution or screen size.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Web Design
Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

75 video lessons · 49501 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 9s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. Using the exercise files
      21s
  2. 25m 50s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 8s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      3m 9s
    3. Exploring the PSD-to-HTML workflow
      2m 25s
    4. Setting up Photoshop for web work
      5m 29s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      2m 36s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      4m 24s
    7. Setting up a responsive web layout
      3m 31s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      3m 8s
  3. 20m 39s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      4m 13s
    2. Understanding web color
      4m 0s
    3. Creating a color palette
      4m 56s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      3m 34s
    5. Applying color to shapes and graphics
      3m 56s
  4. 20m 36s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 9s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 19s
    3. Searching and filtering layers
      3m 11s
    4. Using layer comps effectively
      3m 4s
    5. Using automatic layer selection
      2m 53s
  5. 29m 2s
    1. Using vector shapes vs. pixel shapes
      3m 31s
    2. Creating vector shapes
      5m 2s
    3. Working with fills and strokes
      4m 36s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      7m 47s
    5. Importing images
      3m 57s
    6. Cropping and resizing images
      4m 9s
  6. 28m 48s
    1. Planning your project
      3m 13s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      6m 40s
    3. Using a grid system
      8m 28s
    4. Developing a layout with shape layers
      4m 4s
    5. Making pixel-perfect adjustments
      6m 23s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Using point text vs. paragraph text
      2m 10s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      2m 47s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      2m 41s
    4. Inserting placeholder text
      4m 2s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      2m 37s
    6. Creating and using paragraph styles
      6m 11s
    7. Creating editable 3D text
      2m 51s
  8. 26m 54s
    1. Understanding layer styles
      7m 0s
    2. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 23s
    3. Creating better bevels
      6m 9s
    4. Simulating metallic textures
      5m 8s
    5. Saving and applying layer styles
      2m 48s
    6. Turning layer styles into independent layers
      2m 26s
  9. 50m 23s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      54s
    2. Organizing page structure
      2m 29s
    3. Adding master elements
      5m 37s
    4. Creating navigation
      4m 36s
    5. Working with photographs
      4m 0s
    6. Working with text
      8m 31s
    7. Creating media placeholders
      7m 22s
    8. Creating buttons
      7m 15s
    9. Creating form fields
      7m 54s
    10. Simulating pages with layer comps
      1m 45s
  10. 33m 38s
    1. Understanding slicing
      2m 4s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      4m 15s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      5m 3s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 17s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 56s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      5m 34s
    8. Using the Image Generator (NEW)
      3m 26s
  11. 10m 40s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      1m 25s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      2m 54s
    3. Assembling a sprite
      4m 51s
    4. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 30s
  12. 18m 6s
    1. Creating a basic action
      5m 28s
    2. Exploring batch processing
      2m 55s
    3. Creating droplets
      3m 20s
    4. Using the Fit Image command
      4m 5s
    5. Using the Image Processor
      2m 18s
  13. 6m 56s
    1. Integrating PSD files with Dreamweaver
      3m 22s
    2. Integrating PSD files with Fireworks
      1m 59s
    3. Integrating PSD files with Muse
      1m 35s
  14. 50s
    1. Goodbye
      50s

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