Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Sizing image resolution for output, part of Painter 11 Essential Training.
Depending on where your image is going to end up, you'll need to consider the document's resolution and knowing this can avoid potential disasters later. And I can tell you a little story that I've heard many, many times and that is working with people, they were confused by resolution or they didn't consider it, and they created a file that they later on wanted to reproduce, typically at a larger scale. And when I find out what the actual data of the file was, I have to tell them the sad news that image is not going to reproduce at that scale.
So I happen to know, I hate to say it, but probably dozens of people have patches of hair torn out around the world that have gone through this experience and I want to help you not to go through that experience. So let's talk a little bit about resolution. Now resolution is critical because it directly relates to the image's output medium. The output could be the web, an inkjet printer or offset four-color printing like in magazine. Those are typical forms of output, and each of these output mediums has a different resolution requirement.
So the first thing to consider is that in Painter, imagery is made up of pixels. That's a contraction for picture element. They are the little squares that you see when you magnify into an image. And the resolution is based on the density of those pixels and that is normally expressed in pixels per inch or you'll see it abbreviated as ppi. We are now going to go up to the File menu and we are going to go to New, which is Command+N or Ctrl+N, and I'm going to talk a little bit about what we are looking at here. So first of all, you'll see that we've been talking in the last movie and currently it's set to pixels.
We are going to go ahead and switch this to inches, and Painter isn't automatic. Like if you are a Photoshop user, you need to set each of these manually. I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to set this to 10 inches, 10x10 square at this point for demonstration purposes. Now 72, that's a perfect resolution for the web. I'm going to just slightly up it here because we are going to do a little math and I want to keep it in a number that's going to be easy to work with. So I'm switching this to 75 pixels per inch. Now let's go ahead and look at this in pixels because now I have got this information in here.
I can't temporarily switch back. And if we go to pixels, we'll see that is 750 pixels on an edge of that image and you can notice here it's 10 inches at 75 ppi. Most apply that. That's where this 750 pixels come from. So for web work, if you want an image that is acceptable for web, you'd probably work in pixels, but I'm doing this in order to give you an idea of how the different resolutions affect the size of the image. So this is a perfectly acceptable web image.
Now, let's change this. And I'm going to say I'm going to double it. I'm going to go to 150 pixels per inch, which gets into the range of acceptability for say inkjet output. Now, let's look at this and look at the pixels. Well now it's 1500 pixels. So it's actually 10 times larger and once again, 10 times 150 gives us that 1500-pixel wide or tall image. Let's go one greater. Let's take this up to 300 dpi, which is in the range you do for offset color or magazine quality output and once again we'll look at this and switch from inches to pixels.
Now it's 3000 pixels. So you can see how the difference in the density of the pixels per inch is going to change based on your resolution and that's why now we are up to a 3000-pixel image. So each one of these resolutions is very different based on what your resolution setting is at. So ultimately the computer and Painter only know about pixels. It has no idea that you want it to be a 10-inch large image, say, in print. You have to tell it that and that's why it's very important to know what your output medium is and what you are intending the size of that image to be because it all starts here.
And if you don't consider that and say you wanted this to be an image destined for the magazine and you didn't consider the resolution and you put it down here, well, all of a sudden, you are going to have a image that's only 750 pixels across. And that, as you can see it's only a quarter of the resolution necessary for a good image. In fact, let's go ahead and create this image. And the other thing is when the image opens, sometimes it will open up and it would look exactly like this, but you wouldn't be obviously aware of the fact that you are dealing with a low resolution image.
Now I'm just going to draw a little bit here, and that looks a little funny because it wasn't at 100%. So I'm just putting something in here. So let's say now, I found out, oh, this is going to a magazine, I'll go ahead and res it up, which means you are going to somehow resize this image. And you certainly can resize it, but let's change this now to inches and I'm going to say well, geez, I want it at 300 dpi. Okay once again, if we look here in pixels, oh good. It's going up to the resolution I need. Well, when I res that up, as they say, you can see what's happened here is it's gotten very soft and so you can't necessarily go back retroactively and re-res an image up for the proper resolution, because what's going to happen is you are going to deteriorate and soften that image up and it would be unacceptable quality.
So the real lesson here that I want you to learn is when you are going to work on a project, if at all possible, find out what is the output medium and what is the size that is destined for that output, because with that information, you'll know-- say it's a magazine illustration. You want it to be four inches wide by five inches tall. And oftentimes you can even ask in the situation that you're working with the person responsible, "What resolution do you want this at?" and they'll say, "Well, do it 300 dpi." So that will automatically set it up for you so that you'll have an image that is the proper number of pixels or pixel resolution for that output medium.
So find out that required resolution and find out what the final size is going to be and with that information, you will not find yourself among the ranks of people with patches of hair missing from their scalp. So follow my directions and you'll maintain a nice healthy head of hair.
Download the Painter/Photoshop Consistent Color Management PDF and the Brush Troubleshooting Checklist PDF from the Exercise Files tab.
- Understanding the Painter 11 interface
- Exploring Painter's brushes and painting styles
- Creating and using templates
- Working with layers and channels
- Adding text to a canvas
- Designing captions and text for photos
- Integrating Painter projects with Photoshop
- Creating animation sequences with Painter