Sunday, August 08, 2004

     To answer ThePress's question on yesterday comments about DPI and photos:
     DPI means Dots Per Inch. All printers (even laser) print photos by laying down dots of various colors and shades that our eyes combine into continuous color. (Laser printers do this also, but the toner melts and fuses together, mostly obscuring the dots.)You can use a magnifying glass and see the dots.
     The more dots per inch, the finer the detail the photo has. A 600 DPI picture is more detailed and more closely resembles a regular photo than a 100 DPI picture. I typically print 4x6 at 600 DPI and 8x10 at 1200 or 2400 DPI. (At those resolutions, it can take 10 minutes to print an 8x10.)
     Most newspapers print photos at 1200 DPI or 2400 DPI. So if the people who are sending photos to ThePress are sending them in at 100 or 200 DPI, then the resulting prints are going to be grainy and jaggie.
     What ThePress needs to do is specify that submitted photos be sent in at 1200 DPI. The file sizes are going to be quite large, but less than 2400 DPI. 600 DPI might work also as long as the photo was printed at a small size.
     Hope this helps, ThePress.


Erudite Redneck said...

Actually, 300 DPI is preferred at the paper, and 200 DPI is acceptable. What I usually get are 72 DPI. I guess people are using some pretty sorry cameras out there. Give me filml, I say, give me film!! My wife and redheaded stepchild just came back from a week around Charlotte, N.C., going to everything NASCAR. Another NINE rolls of film. Again, it's a good thing she brings home most of the bacon!

TECH said...

Actually it's probably not because of their cameras. 72 DPI is the standard for viewing on a computer monitor. They probably think such a picture, which looks fine on a monitor, is appropriate for printing.

Erudite Redneck said...

And that, buddy, is worth a column. Because what I'm talking about is pictures of houses submitted by Realtors. :-) The great chasm between what's acceptable for print and what's acceptable for online needs written about. Haven't you noticed? The general quality of photos in general-publication magazines and papers is going down, and it's surely because of two forces at work: the uh, democratization of content (meaning more and more readers/viewers are invited to submit material), is crashing headlong into the technical gap.

Trixie said...

Let me toss my "expertise" in here as well -- a lot of the lo-res photos you're getting, ThePress, are because of the photo editing program these people are using. There are so many photo programs and too many of them do not provide folks with the option of determining what DPI they want to use to save the photo. They see what they shot, but then they save it without designating they want 200 or 300 DPI. Those photo programs are particularly stingy with storage space so they make them as lo-res as they can. Nobody ever explained pixilation to the Realtors.

What would be beneficial is having Bill do a seminar for them to explain this whole process and maybe even offer them a photo editing program that will allow them to choose a resolution that's satisfactory for the company. He could do it in-house at the office or go to them. I think there are several other companies/industries that could benefit from a seminar of that type.

Also, you don't want them to send you SUPER HI-RES photos either because the file size will crash your e-mail program and you'll never be able to get them open. That would be great if you received them on a CD, but not via e-mail. And super hi-res would be wasted -- we'll never get such high quality reproduction that it will be worthwhile. 200 to 300 is certainly adequate for this purpose.

(Speaking on 28 years professional experience, from hot type to cyberspace.)