View Full Version : Sizing to print - some questions

02-09-2001, 02:38 PM
I am getting ready to start another character, since the gnome is almost done. If I am successful, I am thinking about possibly getting some of these actually printed for framing. My history is web stuff, so I am clueless as to where to start.

Generally speaking, what dpi and sizes should I be making these in if my goal is to get them printed up nice and framing them? I have never made anything that was supposed to go on a real wall! (I don't even know what the standard sizes for frames are.)

My gnome is 2.75in x 5.513in at 300dpi. How big could I probably get him printed out before I start losing clarity?

02-10-2001, 03:41 PM
I've heard that 300 dpi is about where you want to be, assuming your printer can handle it. I used to work at a newspaper, and that's about the dpi they used. In other words, print it at the size you've got it and let us know how it works.

"Art is anything you can get away with." -- Marshall McLuhan

02-10-2001, 06:26 PM
it all depends on where and with what you output your image, of course. 300ppi (pixels per inch) is more then reasonable for most printers (even if the printer says it does 600-1200dpi [dots per inch]). But if you are using a true high quality printer, then you might find you want to go larger. The problem is, if you are at 600ppi to cover a 600dpi printer and your image print size is 11" x 17" (which isn't all that large), you might be surprised to find out what the file size ends up at.

Are you printing these off yourself, or sending them somewhere? Let us know what results you come up with!


02-10-2001, 08:52 PM

There are 3 types of measurement in print language, "dpi", "lpi" and "ppi":

dpi = dots per inch
How many dots in a halftone screen. For example, you've seen newspaper pictures with visibly big dots? These newspaper images are only at about 60-100 dpi, which just means how many dots per a given inch. A magazine photograph on the otherhand is usually about 2500 dpi, a very fine screen. If you use a magnifying glass you can see the very fine dots.

lpi= lines per inch
How many lines per inch. The same newspaper photo above is typically only 85 lpi, while a magazine photo is at about 150-175 lpi; again very fine.

ppi= pixels per inch
How many pixels per inch. Now we're talking computer or digitized imagry. A Web image is at 72 ppi, a magazine photo is at about 300 ppi.

The resolution you need for your "print" depends on the type of printing you'll be doing. If you are printing for magazine publications, or limited edition prints, you want your ppi to be at 300 and your lpi to be at 150-175 or so. So if your original digital image physically measures 2.75 x 5.5 at 300 ppi, then I would only print at that actual size. You could resample the image in Photoshop, but I would not go more than 1.5x the physical size while maintaining the 300 ppi since the program has to fill-in or interpolate colors that are not really there.

If you have started with a vector image in a drawing program however, you could scale it up by clicking and dragging to any size, then "rasterize" at 300 ppi in Photoshop with no loss in quality.

If you will be printing one of these out on a less expensive inkjet printer, then I would print at 1200 dpi with approx. 250 ppi and lpi of about 120-150.

The very best bet is to speak to the print company you'll be using to print your piece. Ask them the process they use, the output settings you should use, and the file format they prefer (I would highly recommend not using jpg format, but tiff or eps instead for printing, since jpg is a "lossy" format, you'll lose pixels.) Once you have the numbers in hand, you can decide how big you can print your image optimally.

This can all be a bit confusing but is really very simple once you get a handle on resolution vs. quality vs. type of printing method used.

Hope this helps.

L. Diane Johnson (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/) NAPA, PSA
Plein Air Workshops (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/workshops/)

02-12-2001, 09:28 AM
Thank you for all the replies!

I am going to experiment at different resolutions and see what I can come up with. I dont know what my poor computer can handle. We are like the mechanic who needs an oil change. My husband works in the industry, but we seem to be the last ones to get the upgrade http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

If I can get something that looks presentable to hang on my "art wall" I will be happy. I have some graphite drawings there sitting lonely. Since a good part of my work is on the computer, it would be nice to have it represented there as well. It's fun to look at them and see how much progress I have made from "day 1" to "yesterday".

I lost an entire 4 gig drive of art. That is another reason it would be nice to get some of this printed up. It would have been nice to have something to show for all the work I put in.

Again, Thank you for all the information!

[This message has been edited by Shehaub (edited February 12, 2001).]

Mike A
02-12-2001, 04:50 PM
Hi Shehaub, and all...

My first post to this forum, so please excuse me jumping in http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

dpi, lpi, ppi etc is quite a complex area. (made worse by the fact that some of these terms were used differently 'before PC').

Anyway, the bottom line is that the ppi you need will depend on the type of printer you get your image printed on. You will need something between 150 - 300 ppi for acceptable - to - excellent quality

If you print on something like an Epson inkjet, you might well be able to go as low as 150ppi - ie, print your gnome image at 5.5 x 11 inches. The 'normal' rules don't really apply here because these printers don't use normal halftoning - they use a method called stochastic screening...

The other thing you need to consider is how long do you want it to last...

Standard Epson (inks) can fade pretty quickly, but there are more specialist inks and papers that can be used in these printers to give longer life.

There are other technologies... probably one of the best is a machine called a Durst Lambda. This, and a few others, use conventional photographic chemistry. Your digital image is written by laser onto the photopaper. The quality is excellent and the life of the print is just as long as a conventional colour photo...

Decide what you need in terms of quality and lifespan first...

Hope this helps...

Mike A.