Resolution, Print Size and viewing distance

Started Apr 18, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Pedagydusz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,472
Resolution, Print Size and viewing distance

I have posted this on the "Open Talk" Forum, but perhaps this is a more adequate place.

Note that, in the following lines, when I mention "Resolution" I mean the number that appears (in Photoshop) in the "Image Size" menu, that is related to "Width" and "Height" if the "Resample" box is not checked.

When printing to A4 size paper (roughly 8x12") the image resolution that I have seen generally advised (as a minimum requirement) ranges from 200 (or may be even 180) to 240 ppi. That, naturally, depends on the printer and the subject, and takes into account that these prints are supposed to bee seen from a distance of one arms length, or roughly 50 to 60 cm (2 1/2 to 3 ft).

What I don't know, and would be very grateful if someone could enlighten me on this, is: what effect has print size on the advised resolution?

The reason I think it would be different from the above mentioned size to larger ones is because the viewing distance also changes, generally speaking:

a A3 size print (or 17 x 12 ") will be viewed from about 1 m away, at least (3 ft)

a A2 size print (or 17 x 24") will have to be viewed from 1.5 m to 2 m (5 to 6 ft away)

It looks to me that the need for resolution can be relaxed somehow; but by how much?

I am sure that some forum members with large exhibition experience will know a lot about this. Would you care to share?
Thank you!

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