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What Resolution Should Your Images Be? The best way to determine the optimum resolution is to think about the final use of your images. For publication you’ll need the highest resolution, for desktop printing lower, and for web or classroom use, lower still. The following table is a general guide; detailed explanations follow. Use Projected in class Pixel Size About 1024 pixels wide for a horizontal image; or 768 pixels high for a vertical one Resolution 102 DPI Preferred File Format JPEG Approx
  1 What Resolution Should Your Images Be? The best way to determine the optimum resolution is to think about the final use of your images.For publication you’ll need the highest resolution, for desktop printing lower, and for web orclassroom use, lower still. The following table is a general guide; detailed explanations follow. UsePixel SizeResolutionPreferredFile FormatApprox. FileSize Projected in classAbout 1024 pixels widefor a horizontal image; or 768 pixels high for avertical one102 DPIJPEG300–600 KWeb siteAbout 400–600 pixelswide for a large image;100–200 for a thumbnailimage72 DPIJPEG20–200 KPrinted in a bookor art magazineMultiply intended printsize by resolution; e.g. animage to be printed as 6”W x 4” H would be 1800x 1200 pixels.300 DPIEPS or TIFF6–10 MBPrinted on alaserwriter Multiply intended printsize by resolution; e.g. animage to be printed as 6”W x 4” H would be 1200x 800 pixels.200 DPIEPS or TIFF2-3 MB Digital Camera Photos Digital cameras have a range of preset resolutions which vary from camera to camera. DesignationResolutionMax. Image size at300 DPIPrintable size ona color printer  4 Megapixels2272 x 1704 pixels7.5” x 5.7”12” x 9”3 Megapixels2048 x 1536 pixels6.8” x 5”11” x 8.5”2 Megapixels1600 x 1200 pixels5.3” x 4”6” x 4”1 Megapixel1024 x 768 pixels3.5” x 2.5”5” x 3 If you can, you generally want to shoot larger than you need, then sharpen the image and reduceits size in Photoshop.  2 For Screen: Classroom Use and Web sites. For images that will exist only on screens, it’s better to think in terms of pixel dimensions only.For classroom use, the guiding factor is the presentation equipment. Your monitor might be ableto show 1800 x 1440 pixels, but you won’t be able to project that. The Hitachi CP-X430Wprojectors we have installed in the Schermerhorn classrooms project an image of 1024 x 768pixels (what’s known as XGA resolution). This is pretty standard for high-end digital projectorsthese days. Any image you’re showing that’s larger in pixel dimension will be resampled downby the projector. So if you’re saving an image for use in the classroom, there’s no need tomake it much larger than 1024 pixels wide . (Of course if you’re going to zoom in on a detail of the image, you’d need it that much larger.)If you use PowerPoint to project your images, you might notice that a 1000 pixel wide imagelooks tiny on the PowerPoint workspace (or perhaps unexpectedly large). That’s becausePowerPoint measures its images according to the Document Size, not the Pixel Dimension asPowerPoint is made to work at the highest resolution possible for whatever device will ultimatelydisplay the slide show. (See below for more about Document Size and Pixel Dimensions.) ThePowerPoint slide is 10” wide and 7.5” high. So an image with a Document Size of 10” x 7.5”anda resolution of 50 PPI will fill your PowerPoint screen, but when it’s projected it’ll look fuzzy (inpixel terms, that image is only 500 x 375 pixels). Conversely, if you have an image that’s 4” x 3”at 300 PPI it will import into PowerPoint as rather a small image on the 10” x 7.5” field, butsince the image is actually, 1200 x 900 pixels you could scale it up to the full width of thePowerPoint slide without any loss in image quality when it’s projected. (You could think of it asthe projector having an effective resolution of about 102.5 PPI.)It’s best to look at the pixel dimension of your images as you’re making them. As long as they’reat least about 1024 pixels wide (for a horizontal image) they should be fine for teaching.The standard resolution for web images is 72 PPI (often called “screen resolution”). At that size,the pixels you see on the screen are all the pixels there are; an image that’s 4” long at 72 PPI willtake up about 4” of your monitor. (Obviously there’ll be a lot of variation here, as most monitorshave a range of resolutions they can be set at.)Most web sites are built to be visible on many different kinds of monitors. Usually a web sitewould be about 700-800 pixels wide. That means an image that’s about 400 or 500 pixels wide will take up a good chunk of the web page, and look pretty big on a monitor. You might want abigger image on your site, but remember, some users might only have screens that show 800 x 600 pixels. For Print: The dot and the line. A bit about printing: images are printed using a halftone screen, made up of a mesh of tiny spotsof varying sizes. In the old days, these patterns were formed by exposing a photograph throughscreens etched on glass, which were measured by counting the number of parallel lines to theinch. Thus the traditional measurement for the resolution of a printed image is still “lines perinch” or LPI.  3  A halftone image screen. Newspaper images are generally printed with a very coarse screen, about 90 LPI. Magazines areusually printed with a 133-150 LPI screen, and book illustrations at least 150 LPI. Photo qualityink-jet printers print at the equivalent of about 133-150 LPI, and most laserwriters can handleabout a 100 LPI screen.Digital images are usually measured by counting the number of individual pixels (dots of imagedata) in an inch. Thus he resolution of digital images is often given in “Dots per Inch”(DPI) or,more precisely, “Pixels per Inch” (PPI).[The terminology gets confusing as laserwriters are also measured in terms of Dots per Inch,referring to the spacing of individual dots of toner in making up solid forms, such as letters, orhalftone spots. Since it takes a certain amount of laserwriter dots of toner to make up a halftonespot, and since the halftone spots vary in size while laserwriter dots are all the same size, a 600DPI laserwriter can print a halftone screen of about 100 LPI.]The higher the LPI resolution of the final image, the more image data a digital image requires.But the computer needs to create the halftone screen from the image before printing it, and ittakes more than one pixel to make a halftone spot. The usual rule of thumb is: 2 pixels for everyfinal halftone spot. That is, to print something at 150 LPI halftone resolution, you need an imageof 300 PPI. However, most image processing software can get away with less. Anything withinthe rage of 1.5 to 2 times the final LPI resolution should be OK. So, realistically, to print animage at 150 LPI, you can use a digital image anywhere from 225 PPI to 300 PPI . (You can,of course have more image data, but it doesn’t give you any better a final result, and just takes upextra disk space and clogs your image processing software upon printing.) Document Size and Pixel Dimensions Image editing software, such as Photoshop, can adjust many variables in your image. Some arerelative variables, and some absolute. The absolute size of the image is the “Pixel Dimension.”This is the number of individual little dots of color in the image. The Document Size (in inches orcm) and the resolution (in PPI or pixels per cm) are relative to the Pixel Dimension. TheDocument Size tells you how big your image can print at the given resolution.For example, if you have an image with a 6” x 4” document size at 300 PPI resolution, you canprint that image comfortably up to 6” x 4” at 150 LPI. The absolute size of the image would be  41800 x 1200 pixels, that is the document size multiplied by the resolution (6 x 300 = 1800; 4 x 300 = 1200). You can also do the calculations in reverse. If you have an image of 1800 x 1200pixels, and you know the magazine it’ll be published in prints at 133 LPI, then you know you’llneed a resolution of 2 x 133 or 266 PPI, then divide: 1800 / 266 = 6.77; 1200 / 266 = 4.51. Sothat same 1800 x 1200 pixel image could also be printed as a 133 LPI image at about 6.75” x 4.5”.That also means that if you have a scan at 72 DPI which is, say, 900 x 600 pixels, you could sendthat file to the printer as long as it was going to be reproduced as a 3” x 2” image or smaller (900pixels / 300 PPI = 3”; 600/300 = 2).If you scale the image down, Photoshop will decrease the number of pixels in the image by resampling them (averaging the values of neighboring pixels to make new pixels), if try toincrease the number of pixels in your image Photoshop will interpolate new pixels (inventingnew pixels based on surrounding ones) giving you a bigger, but fuzzier, image.The way to control this is with the “Resample Image” option in Photoshop’s Image Size dialoguebox. If “Resample Image” is on, and you change a document Size measurement (Width, Height orResolution), it will adjust the number of pixels accordingly, either scaling down the image, orresampling it up (decreasing image quality). If “Resample Image” is turned off, you cannotchange the Pixel dimension, and changing the Resolution will affect only the Document Size andvice-versa. Image Size dialogue box in Photoshop Saving Images There are a multitude of image file formats, but the most common, and most cross-platform areJPEG, TIFF, EPS and GIF. JPEG (or .jpg) is named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group which established the fileformat. It’s one of the most portable formats, which means that Macs and PCs, both read JPEGs.Most image processing applications can handle them, and all web browsers can display them.JPEG, however, is a compression scheme, which means that saving images as JPEGs will resultin some loss of image quality. You can often compress an image to about 1/10 of its srcinal sizeby saving it as JPEG.
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