A guide to resolution

OR, why we ask for a bigger picture from you! This brief guide will (hopefully) explain why we can’t use certain images for print, and what this Image Resolution thing is all about. We want you to look your best.

Example 1: Images taken from websites (not good!)

Let’s say you have a space in a magazine that is 254mm x 203.2mm (3000 x 2400 pixels) landscape (imagine a typical 10 x 8 photograph).

In a perfect world, and for your image to be usable for this space, it would need to have dimensions of at least 3000 x 2400 pixels or more, and with an image resolution of 300dpi.

In our first example (right) we are given an image that is 352mm x 282mm (1000 x 800 pixels) at 72dpi. Looks big on screen doesn’t it? Its resolution at its current size is not ok for print though. SO in order to get the resolution to where we need it, which is 300dpi, we would have to shrink this image on the page. IF we shrink to acheive the required resolution, this image would end up only 85mm x 68mm (322 x 257 pixels). Although it would be the correct resolution, it’s obviously to small for the space.

We ask you for a bigger picture!

example 2: Image too small (not good!)

Let’s say again you have a space in a magazine that is 254mm x 203.2mm (3000 x 2400 pixels) landscape.

In our second example to the left we are given an image that is 152mm x 122mm (1100 x 880 pixels) at 300dpi. So its resolution at its current size is fine, BUT we need to fill the magazine space, so the image would need to be stretched. IF we stretch the image to the required dimension of the magazine space 3000 x 2400 pixels, the resolution of the image will drop, the image would be the correct dimensions 3000 x 2400 pixels, but by stretching it, you will have lost image clarity and the resolution will have fallen to 180dpi, not usable for print and pixelation would occur on the picture. We don’t want that.

We ask you for a bigger picture!

Example 3: Image too big (perfect!)

Let’s say again you have a space in a magazine that is 254mm x 203.2mm (3000 x 2400 pixels) landscape.

In the third example below we are given an image that is 4000 x 3200 pixels at 200dpi so bigger dimensions but lower resolution than needed for print, BUT to fill the space, we can shrink the image. SO if we shrink the image to the required dimension of the magazine space 3000 x 2400 pixels, the resolution of the image will go up, the image would be the correct dimensions 3000 x 2400 pixels, and by shrinking the image you will have kept image clarity and the resolution will have risen to 300dpi, perfect for print.

We DON’T have to ask you for a bigger picture!

PUTTING IT SIMPLY!

If we shrink an image’s dimensions on the page, the resolution of that image will rise, and oppositely, if we stretch an image on the page its resolution and clarity will go down.

Just because an image appears big on a screen doesn’t indicate that it will be fine for print.

Obviously there are situations where an image is able to take a slight stretch without losing quality and this is sometimes fine. But to get the most out of your article, using the right image will have a much better end result and show you in the best light.

B4

B4 provides platforms for our growing and diverse community of members to connect, learn, raise their profile, inspire and be inspired to become better businesses.

Keith Simpson

Senior Graphic Designer

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