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Blurbs and rants about graphic design

How Big Is Big in Pixels?

An image that is 500 x 600 pixels is probably bigger in inches that an image that is 400 x 300 pixels, you say. Well, in actual fact that might be not true when you print your image. The image size also depends on the resolution of the image. Sometimes a bigger image is smaller than a smaller image. Now that I have confused you enough, let’s have a look at this carefully.

Take this example: you have an image that is 300 x 400 pixels. When you view that image on screen it will always look like an image that is 300 x 400 pixels indipendently from the resolution. And you say: “D’oh! OBVIOUSLY it will.” Have a look at what that means though: if you view an image on screen that is 300 x 400 pixels with a resolution of 72 ppi (pixels per inch) it will look the same on screen as an image that is 300 x 400 pixels with a resolution of 300 ppi.

The size in inches has to do with the printed size of your image. An image that is 300 x 400 pixels with a resolution of 72 ppi will print bigger (5.5 inches x 4.1 inches) than an image that is 300 x 400 ppi with a resolution of 300 ppi (1.3 inches by 1 inch). However the image at 72 ppi will look worse than the image at 300 ppi (this is taking in consideration the fact that you are resizing and NOT resampling your image).

To know how big your image will be in inches take the dimensions of your image and divide them by the resoultion. So with an image that is 400 x 300 pixels with a resolution of 72 ppi do the following:

400 / 72 = 5.5 inches
300 / 72 = 4.1 inches
So your final size is 5.5 x 4.1 inches.

Desktop Publishing & Prepress

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