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If you've ever reproduced a photograph with an inkjet printer, you have most likely learned the lesson that as output size increases greater image resolution is required. Most of us learned this lesson by printing the low-resolution image at a large size. The result is a blurry rendition of the image that looked sharp and crisp on screen. The prevailing rule of thumb is that a photograph destined for printing must contain sufficient resolution for output at a specific size. These are wise words when printing a photograph, but you'll be surprised to learn that you can cheat this supposed commandment when interpreting a photo into a painting.
Now I have got an image on screen that if this were going to be a photograph that was going to be printed, it's lacking in resolution, and I will show you what I mean. Let's go up close here. And you can see this is soft and blurry, and it just lacks quality. In fact, this was shot with an iPhone camera, so it's not a super high-resolution image. And you would think, well how can I use this image in order to print out a nice resulting image? Here is the crux of the matter.
A digital photograph is composed of pixels; however, when you are doing a digital painting, it is composed of brushstrokes. So the high resolution that's required for print is not the same as the resolution that is going to be required out of that image when it's interpreted. And I will show you what I mean. Let's zoom up here, and of course this image is lacking, but you've got to remember, in the way we are going to be working, this is only a reference. We are going to be using the underlying image, in this case this image of fruit in a bowl, as a reference, so that the brush will pick up the colors, but the resolution is going to be determined by the actual painted strokes.
So even though this image looks soft and blurry, if we switch now to the painted version of it, this is the same image, the same resolution, and if I go up and look close at this, now you'll see that there's plenty of resolution in this image, because we've exchanged those individual pixels that were making up the photographic rendition of this image, into brushstrokes, that do have crisp sharp edges at this resolution. So, we've really violated, in a way, this supposed rule of, you have to have a certain amount of resolution in order for a photograph to print.
But we are not printing a photograph; we are printing an interpretation of a photograph. And as a result, these brushstrokes, as I kind of move around and show it to you, you can see there's plenty of fine detail and resolution found in this image. So the conclusion to this really is that it's entirely possible to use a less-than-high-resolution photograph as a source image for interpretation into a painting. The usual rules for printing a photograph at high resolution go out of the window because when you're painting, the brushstrokes are what define the resolution.
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