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Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size

From: Inkjet Printing for Photographers

Video: Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size

By now you should be comfortable with the idea that resolution affects print size. For example, as resolution goes up, print size goes down, because you're packing pixels closer together. You should also understand that as you interpolate an image upward, you run the risk of softening image or introducing other little artifacts that result from the upsampling process. The good news is that there's another factor that affects your perception of the quality of a print, and that's viewing distance. As you stand farther away from a print, you don't notice a certain level of detail loss or artifacting.

Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size

By now you should be comfortable with the idea that resolution affects print size. For example, as resolution goes up, print size goes down, because you're packing pixels closer together. You should also understand that as you interpolate an image upward, you run the risk of softening image or introducing other little artifacts that result from the upsampling process. The good news is that there's another factor that affects your perception of the quality of a print, and that's viewing distance. As you stand farther away from a print, you don't notice a certain level of detail loss or artifacting.

In general, you can assume that as print size goes up, viewing distance also increases. So if I make a 24 x 36 inch print, I'm probably not going to view it at arm's length. I am going to stand far away from it, at least several feet. From that distance, my eye will be very forgiving of detail loss. In fact, the only people who are going to walk up to a large print, stand a few inches away from it, and assess detail and resolution from there are printing nerds and geeky photographers, so you just shouldn't let those people into your house. A small image, an 8 x 10, one that you have to get close to to be able to see, needs a higher resolution than a large image that you view from far away. A billboard is probably the best example.

A billboard has a resolution of just two or three pixels per inch because it's designed to be viewed from a distance of a few hundred yards. Now, as I mentioned in the last movie, you'll ultimately be resizing your images to your printer's native resolution. So, in the end, all of your prints will have the same resolution. I am simply discussing viewing distance here, so that you'll understand that even if your camera has only, say, 12 mega pixels, that doesn't mean that you can't produce a large quality print. Yes, you'll have upsample to get a larger print and yes, that upsampling might result in a softer image, but because the print will be viewed from farther away, the resulting print will probably be fine.

Sizing, then, involves pixel count, resolution, image size, and viewing distance. Those are a lot of parameters to juggle, but don't worry; you're about to see an easy way to understand how they all interrelate.

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This video is part of

Image for Inkjet Printing for Photographers
Inkjet Printing for Photographers

68 video lessons · 13524 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 50s
    2. Exploring why we print
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding what you need for this course
      3m 25s
  2. 13m 29s
    1. Why inkjet printing?
      4m 36s
    2. Understanding ink types: Dye vs. pigment
      4m 26s
    3. Discussing considerations for black and white
      1m 48s
    4. Reviewing the features
      2m 39s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Printing and your workflow
      3m 3s
    2. Printing black-and-white photos
      6m 49s
    3. Understanding the histogram
      7m 37s
    4. Understanding what localized adjustments are used for
      2m 38s
    5. Explaining the histogram with a practical example
      6m 51s
    6. Making a localized adjustment in a practical example
      5m 30s
    7. Evaluating a localized adjustment in a practical example
      2m 29s
    8. Refining a localized adjustment for effect
      13m 36s
    9. Making a gradient adjustment
      6m 47s
    10. Paying attention to viewing conditions
      4m 49s
    11. Summing up
      1m 50s
  4. 54m 36s
    1. Understanding pixels, printer dots, and resolution
      2m 44s
    2. Understanding resolution
      2m 33s
    3. Defining resampling and interpolation
      3m 41s
    4. Understanding where resizing fits into your workflow
      2m 12s
    5. Defining native printer resolution
      2m 39s
    6. Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size
      2m 1s
    7. Reducing image size in Photoshop
      9m 11s
    8. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using Canvas Size
      4m 34s
    9. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using the Crop tool
      5m 15s
    10. Enlarging an image in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    11. Creating a triptych
      3m 55s
    12. Creating a triptych using Automator on a Mac
      4m 5s
    13. Exploring the aesthetics of print size
      4m 39s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding how sharpening works
      3m 18s
    2. Sharpening in JPEG mode
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring sharpening workflows
      3m 47s
    4. Sharpening in Camera Raw
      6m 17s
    5. Looking at noise reduction
      1m 46s
    6. Sharpening output with Smart Sharpen
      11m 52s
    7. Understanding selective sharpening
      4m 25s
    8. Sharpening through an edge mask
      7m 17s
    9. Reviewing high-pass sharpening
      4m 30s
    10. Applying aggressive sharpening
      8m 53s
    11. Exploring advanced sharpening techniques
      9m 7s
    12. Exploring the Print dialog
      11m 35s
    13. Proofing at smaller sizes
      3m 3s
  6. 53m 9s
    1. Exploring how color works
      2m 5s
    2. Reviewing color models
      2m 56s
    3. Defining gamut and color space
      9m 55s
    4. Reviewing when colors go out of gamut
      4m 54s
    5. Configuring Photoshop's color settings
      5m 47s
    6. Changing color space in Camera Raw
      4m 7s
    7. Working in an advanced color space
      6m 13s
    8. Assigning a color space in Photoshop
      2m 20s
    9. Correcting a color image
      9m 17s
    10. Printing a color image
      3m 30s
    11. Evaluating the print
      2m 5s
  7. 34m 46s
    1. What is color management?
      4m 16s
    2. Profiling a monitor
      8m 45s
    3. Evaluating a monitor profile
      4m 37s
    4. Exploring paper profiles
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding soft proofing
      11m 51s
  8. 24m 33s
    1. Understanding how paper quality affects the appearance of black in prints
      3m 26s
    2. Looking at third-party papers
      3m 46s
    3. Looking at paper finish
      3m 44s
    4. Understanding paper traits
      6m 31s
    5. Discussing paper choice and presentation
      7m 6s
  9. 23m 18s
    1. Printing a black-and-white image
      11m 45s
    2. Printing a color image
      11m 33s
  10. 1m 16s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 16s

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