Professional graphic designers and hobbyists need to ensure their work is created at high production levels so it's ready for printing, publishing, and editing across different formats. One of the most common standards to consider is print resolution, or the number of dots that standard printers deposit on each inch of printed material to create an image. The universal print resolution for most applications is 300 DPI, or dots per inch. Learn more about how to keep this standard for high-resolution output in mind during your next graphic design projects.
If your graphic designs and images are going to be printed on physical products — ranging from paper and banners to t-shirts and mugs — adhering to the standard of 300 DPI is critical. However, that doesn't translate directly to pixels if you're producing your designs on artist software or through video editing programs.
To ensure you meet that standard, or the even higher standard of 1200 DPI, you need to know the expected dimensions of the final output in inches and the optimal size in pixels of the initial artwork. Pixels are approximately 1/96 of an inch, so simply having a one-to-one ratio of dots to pixels will result in a blurry, low-quality production that won't showcase all the detail of your work; dots per inch (at either 300 DPI or 1200 DPI) are roughly three to 12 times smaller. By converting pixels to inches before you begin your work, you can easily ensure it meets high-quality standards and fulfills the requirements of any project — big or small.
Converting pixels to inches also helps ensure standardization across multiple different screens before printing begins. Computer screen sizes can range from 400x800 for small mobile devices to 1680x1050 for 22-inch screens. In addition, every device can have different dimensions, picture quality, and ratios that complicate sharing and working on designs across multiple devices. Using inches instead of pixels makes an image display consistent, regardless of a specific device's screen resolution.
Follow these steps to convert pixels to inches:
First, determine the resolution of the image. For example, you are probably operating on a 96 DPI screen (which is the standard pixel size). Then divide the number of pixels along the length and width of the image by the resolution. For example, a 1000x750 pixel image would be 10.42 inches by 7.8125 inches.
Work backward. First, determine what the size of the finished image needs to be in inches. Then multiply those dimensions by your resolution so you can determine the right size in pixels. For example, a 10-inch-long image would need to be at least 960 pixels.
Consult your computer's manufacturer specifications or the manufacturer's guide to find the screen resolution for your specific device.
Don't forget aspect ratio! In your graphic design or photo-editing software, look for options that allow you to lock and manually toggle the controls for the aspect ratio so you can alter the dimensions of the image without skewing or deforming it.
One of the most important aspects of creating high-quality images is creating high-definition images. Knowing what pixel resolution you need to have and what size in inches the finished product should be is crucial for both virtual displays and printed works. Download CorelDRAW today for illustration software that helps you manage the technical aspects of your projects so you don't have a blurry or pixelated finished project.
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