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DPI - What it is, and why it's important!

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January 19th, 2007, 12:01 PM
Athey's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Bend, Oregon
Posts: 3,257
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I thought I'd throw this in to help out anyone who doesn't know about this.

DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and plays a role in printing digitial images and pages.

Programs like photoshop use the term Resolution in the image size field, for dpi.

The DPI plays a huge role in how good or bad your image looks when it's printed.

Digital images are sized in pixels. A 500 pixel wide image will always be 500 pixels on a computer, but will print to a different size depending on how many of those pixels, or DOTS, fill an inch.

1 inch with 300 dots is 300 pixels wide.

1 inch with only 72 dots is 72 pixels wide.

72 is the default for most web graphics and is (unfortunetly) the default DPI of most graphics editing software when you create a new image.

The problem is that it means that for each inch, you will only have 72 dots. That may sound fine, but believe me, it looks bad.

The standard for printed materials is 300 dpi. If you create a new image and have the DPI set to 300, it will look good when it's printed.

The down-side to working with 300 dpi is that it means that the image is a lot larger on the computer as well.

For an 8 x 10 printing, the pixel size has to be 2400 x 3000. On older or slower computers, this can start to be very slow and system intensive.

If you're computer is older; doesn't have a lot of RAM; etc. it may be nessecary for you to use a slightly lower dpi setting. 200 is still acceptable, and it should still look okay when printing. So if you have to, setting the image to 200 is fine as well.

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January 19th, 2007, 03:41 PM
pattyandthemoos's Avatar Administrator
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 61,857
Thanks for posting this. I had a friend that I designed a birth announcement for and I made it a really high resolution. So when I sent it to her it was huge. She proceeded to tell me it was too big and I tried to explain dpi but I don't think I did a very good job explaining it. LOL.

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January 20th, 2007, 09:21 AM
Madeline410's Avatar Maddie
Join Date: Mar 2005
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That makes a lot of sense, thanks!

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