What Is High Resolution Or Hi-Res?
A colleague asks you for a photo, and you email her one. Then comes the question: “Do you have that in a higher resolution?”
Is that so important?
Yes, the colleague is right. There is a quality difference between low (Lo-Res) and high resolution (Hi-Res). The resolution decides whether the company logo looks blurry or pin-sharp. To judge better when a Hi-Res image is necessary (e.g., for printing out or enlarging), we should first explain the term resolution.
Density – An Essential Quality Factor
Hi-res stands for “High Resolution” – high resolution and image quality. Images are made up of many tiny pixels (picture elements) or color squares. You don’t usually see the individual pixels because they all play together to form the image we see. However, the pixels are present in the picture. When you zoom in close or enlarge an image, the pixels become visible.
Lo-Res images look good at their original size (100%), but they blur when zoomed in or enlarged.
In this case, we also speak of “pixelation” because each pixel can be seen in a kind of block pattern. Anyone who can remember old smartphones knows what they used to look like on those low-resolution screens.
The first video games had this pixelated look because only the minimum number of colors saved memory and computer resources.
Count The Pixels
Lo-Res images are typically 72 pixels, or squares of color, per inch (ppi). These images look good online because most computer screens can display this pixel density anyway. Fewer pixels also mean smaller files and, therefore, shorter loading times for a website.
Hi-Res images are at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi). This resolution guarantees good print quality and must print company brochures or other vital materials.
Bad printing results can be avoided! Use Hi-Res photos for crisp prints and to avoid blurry border lines. Tip: Make sure your cell phone camera is set to high resolution so that the printouts look good too.
How Do You Determine The Resolution?
Just because an image looks good on the computer doesn’t mean it’s high resolution. The height and width alone say nothing about it, and the file size is also not a clear indication of high resolution. Open the image in an image editor, then see the underlying resolution in the properties. Most computers have some standard image editing program installed.
Lo-Res For Web, Hi-Res For Print
It depends on where you want to use an image and whether you only want to show it online (low resolution is acceptable) or print it (high resolution is required).
The resolution also determines how much you can enlarge a photo, and this also helps decide the maximum size that something can be printed with good image quality (4×6 or 8×10?). A rule of thumb: Divide the image’s pixel dimensions by the resolution (minimum 300 ppi) to get the maximum print size in inches. If your image is 2,000 pixels high (at 300 ppi), then you can print it up to six inches (2,000 divided by 300).
Hi-Res files are a great thing. They have more pixels, the file is bigger, but they print beautifully—the much better quality more than compensates for the extra storage space and the slightly higher loading time. Only as Hi-Res files will your images have excellent quality everywhere.
Also Read: Virtual Reality: Future And Current State