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In digital imaging, a pixel (or picture element) is the smallest item of information in an image. Each pixel is a sample of an original image, where more samples typically provide more-accurate representations of the original. The word pixel is based on a contraction of pix (“pictures”) and el (for “element”).

Image resolution describes the detail an image has. Higher resolution means more image detail. The more pixels used to represent an image, the closer the result can resemble the original.

PPI, pixels per inch, refers to the physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced as a real physical entity, for example printed onto paper, or displayed on a monitor. The resolution of computer monitors is generally 72 to 100 pixels per inch (ppi). High quality photographs usually require 300 pixels per inch (ppi) when printed.

An image may also be resampled to change the number of pixels and therefore the size or resolution of the image, but this is quite different from simply setting a new PPI for the file. In order to properly convert an image with a monitor resolution of 72-100 ppi to an image with a printing resolution of 300 ppi, the monitor image would have to be 3 times the size that you need it for printing.


Example: Start with an image that is 3” w x 3” h with a resolution for a monitor that is 100 ppi. When you scale the image to use it for print you allow the size of the image to change as you change the resolution (ppi). Notice when you scale the image to 1” w x 1” h the image resolution is now 300 ppi. Imagine you are squashing the pixels together as you reduce the size of the image.

In computer graphics, pixilation is an effect caused by displaying an image at such a large size that individual pixels, small single-colored square display elements that comprise the bitmap, are visible to the eye. A picture that this has happened to has been pixilated. An example is below.

Remember any image you post or print reflects on your business. Consult an expert when needed or
if you don’t personally know how to adjust or provide your images at the correct resolution. You always want
to be representing yourself as clearly as possible!


Resolving Resolution !

A picture speaks a thousands words, if it has the right amount of pixels. If you are sending out any copies of your logo, photography, ads or any other visual digital media for your business, you should acquaint yourself with resolution and pixels. “Pixel” is a friendly enough computer jargon to learn about, so don’t shy away from me know.


Dooley Graphics – Graphic Design Services for San Luis Obispo Area