Contest requirements confusion: pixels vs. DPI

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
pixelgenius Senior Member • Posts: 3,040
Re: Contest requirements confusion: pixels vs. DPI

PPI has absolutely no role in quality per se. It is simply a resolution tag. The tag could be 72PPI or 180PPI but it doesn't have an inherent meaning, only what you could produce with the number of pixels you have at your disposal. Work with pixels! For example, let us say you have 1000x1000 pixels to keep the math simple. And to simplify this further, let's only consider the horizontal axis. If you have 1000 pixels and divide that by 72, that is, you provide 72 pixels per inch, you could end up with 13.8 inches using that division (1000/72=13.8). Let's now say you divide up your 1000 pixels using 180 instead. 1000/180=5.5. In both cases, you had 1000 total pixels. The document itself doesn't have a size, other than what space it takes up on your hard drive. The sizes above are examples of what could be produced if you divided up the total number of pixels you have, with some number of which is just a tag within the document. In Photoshop, if you use the Image Size dialog, turn resample OFF (do not allow it to create more or remove pixels), you can enter any value, 72, 180, 1000 into the resolution field and the resulting size is calculated for you. But you haven’t changed the document or the data at all. You just changed a theoretical 'size' if you output your 1000 pixels using that resolution. So again, it's meaningless until you output the data. At that point, lets say you print the image, you can decide how big you wish it to appear and/or how many pixels you want to devote to the output. You have 1000 pixels and someone tells you that you must use 300DPI (which isn't true but that's a different story). 1000/300 would produce a 3.3 inch print. You want a bigger print? Lower the DPI (within reason). You set the DPI for output to use 180 of your pixels to produce 180DPI? You get a 5.5 inch print (1000/180=5.5).

Work with pixels. That's a fixed attribute of the data unless of course you resample that data (add or remove pixels).

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