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Resolution

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Resolution is important for the clarity of your image. This will give you brief understanding and help you make better decisions in your images or artwork.

Raster Images

As we learned in Image Types, raster images are made up of tiny dots called pixels. The more dots you have, the more detailed the image will be. It will also make the file size larger because the image must keep track of more information. Web images are generally 72 pixels per inch. While a web image may look sharp and clear, it is only clear at the size on your screen. If you were to increase the size, you’d increase the distortion of the image.

 
A raster image can have 1000's of pixels, the more pixels it starts out as, the clearer the image

What’s a good resolution? 72 tends to be the bottom end of the usability and is only good for web use. Designers design their work in 200 – 300 pixels per inch. Or about 3-4 times clearer than web images. Local Hero recommends not increasing the size of any image under 100 pixels per inch. If you have a web image, it’s safe to assume that it is 72 pixels per inch.

Can I put a web image into Photoshop® and increase the resolution to make it clearer? NO! This will not work. It has to start being designed in a higher resolution. You cannot make a blurry image clearer by increasing the resolution. YOU CAN’T ADD INFORMATION THAT WASN’T THERE BEFORE.

 

Vector Images

Designers create graphics in vector format. This is the preferred method for any artwork because it uses points and lines to create the image. A vector image the size of a business card can be increased to a bus without any distortion because there is no resolution, just a few points and lines. The tradeoff is that vector images have to be simple. Signs, lines, and some simple artwork that have solid, clearly defined lines can be vector images. The Mona Lisa cannot.

How can I convert my image to a vector format? You can’t……kind of. If you save your web image to a vector format (.ai, .eps, .dwg, .dxf) it won’t format it. If you bring the vector-like raster image into a program like Adobe Illustrator®, there are things you can do to convert it with minimal image loss. That is beyond the scope of this lesson.


A vector image has points and lines. The lines and points can be resized without any distortion

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