Understanding Resolution – Digital Printing from Digital Photos

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 @ 03:48 PM

In our previous blog post, we started our New Year’s Resolution of “Understanding Resolution” (if you missed it, just click the link to check it out.)  This time, we’re helping you put this information to good use by helping you get better images from the very beginning, starting with your Digital Camera.  Maybe you just got a new one over the Holiday Season, or perhaps you’ve had one for a while now.  It’s never too late to review your settings and make sure that your getting the best your camera can offer.

How MEGA are YOUR pixels?

Guess what?  Megapixels don’t matter!  That’s right… I said it, and I’ll stand behind it.  Of course, we need to really know what a “megapixel” is.  “Mega” stands for million, as in 1 million “bytes” is 1 “megabyte.”  So 1 million “pixels” is 1 “megapixel.”  The digital cameras of the late 80’s / early 90’s started out as 640 pixels X 480 pixels (i.e. 640 x 480 = 307,200 pixels). 

So now, let's consider your amazingly impressive HDTV.  Maybe you have a 38" screen or even a 50" screen.  The size of the screen doesn't matter, because it simply means larger pixels.  Even at the highest 1080p, you're looking at 1920 pixels wide, by 1080 pixels high. So you're amazing HDTV, which is sharp, clear, and crisp in your living room, is only supporting an image that's... wait for it... (1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600) 2 megapixels! 

Camera manufacturers know that any print larger than 12" x 18" is going to be viewed at some distance.  It's generally understood that anything over 3 megapixels is adequate at that size, so when we start talking about 5 megapixel, 6 megapixel, 8... and so on; it's more about the hype and sounding impressive.  At the end of the day, it's really all about the quality of the image.    I GREAT photo taken with a 3MP camera will always outshine a blurry, unbalanced, unfocused photo taken with a 12MP camera.  For another point of view on this check out this blog by David Poque of the NY Times.

Get the best resolution from your camera:

If you have not yet taken the digital image, adjust your camera to the highest quality setting.

Taking the photo on the highest setting will maximize both the quality of the image, as well as the range of sizes at which you will be able to use it in printing projects. If possible, save your image as a lossless TIF or EPS file before doing any editing to best preserve color and sharpness.

Determine the resolution and maximum usable dimensions for any images you want to use in your project. Images should have resolution of 300 dpi at their final size in the file; 400 dpi if the image includes text. Resolution and image size are inversely proportional to each other. In other words, enlarging an image will decrease the resolution and shrinking an image will increase the resolution.

2 x 2" image @ 300 dpi = GOOD

...enlarged to 4 x 4" = 150 dpi = BAD

17 x 13" image @ 72 dpi = BAD

...reduced to 4 x 3" = 300 dpi = GOOD

To determine resolution from pixel dimensions, divide pixel width and pixel height by 300. This will give you the maximum size that you will be able to use your image, while maintaining a quality resolution of 300 dpi. Divide by 400 for images that include text.

Example:

  • Start with 1200 pixels x 1600 pixels as the dimensions for an image with no text.
  • Divide your dimensions (1200 ÷ 300 = 4 and 1600 ÷ 300 = 5.33). If the image included text, then you would divide by 400 instead.
  • So, the maximum usable dimensions for the image are 4" x 5.33". It will print crisp & clear at this size or smaller.

Digital cameras primarily use the RGB color space. To print on a four-color printing press, all RGB images need to be converted to CMYK.  When we receive RGB images, we do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking. You're welcome to convert it yourself to control the color in ways that matter more to you.  For a better understanding of the differences between RGB and CMYK images, check out More About Color: RGB-vs-CMYK

 

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, business solutions, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, Digital camera, cross-media marketing, Photohop

Universal Printing's Elite Eight!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 @ 03:15 PM

NCAA March Madness 

"It's NCAA

Tourney Time,

Baby!!!" 

- The Legendary
"Dickie V"
Dick Vitale

Yes... Universal Printing produces a bunch of of projects and ships them all across the country and throughout the world, but our base of operations is smack in the heart of North Carolina. Specifically, the Triangle — That happy bustling region that includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but also encompasses Apex, Carrboro, Cary, and Morrisville. 

Around here, we like our College Basketball!  We're surrounded by 4 of the 12 ACC teams (UNC, Duke, NCSU, and yes I'm counting Wake Forest!) and when it comes down to "Tourney Time," we are right here in the thick of it!

So in honor of "March Madness" and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, we're posting our own "Elite Eight" of our 8 most popular blog posts.  We hope you'll take the time to read or re-read them, or share them with friends and colleagues!  In the meantime, we'll be rooting for Duke and Carolina, and the other ACC teams representing the Atlantic Coast this weekend.

  1. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Coated vs. Uncoated

  2. Tips to enhance your graphic design portfolio

  3. More about Color: Digital Color | RGB vs. CMYK

  4. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Spot Color vs. Process Color

  5. Direct Mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play?

  6. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Metallics and Other Specialty Inks

  7. How to Save PDF files for Better Printing!

  8. Tweet me... Social Media and Commercial Printing CAN work together!

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, Universal Printing, blog, Social Media, direct mail, poster printing, Photohop

Digital Image Editing | Removing an Image From It's Background

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

Photoshop has come a long way since its original release back in 1991.  Sure... I know some of you hardcore Adobe fans will argue and say it first came out in 1988. But let's get real... Photoshop didn't REALLY become impressive until it's version 2.0 release. 

Like most commercial printing companies, we use Photoshop ALL the time.  Probably more than most, since we also offer in-house graphic design. Our art director, John Francis, has put together a super helpful and easy to follow tutorial that shows how to remove the background from an image.Mouse Image from Stock Photography

Once you go through this tutorial, you will be able to take any image and remove the subject from its background.  This will allow you to easily drop the image into another layout from Adobe Illustrator or InDesign without the need to spend a lot of time tracing or created complex clipping paths. This is also helpful if you need to replace the background with another Photoshop image.

Sample of Image placed into a layout

 

More tutorial videos like the one shown below, are featured on our YouTube channel.  Need help setting up a calendar, or samples of the latest tools and effects in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop? Using CS4, or want to learn more about CS5? Maybe you just want to know the fastest way to get those special text effects. Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video responce on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions!

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, Universal Printing, CS5 tutorials, Adobe Photoshop, training video, Photohop