How Big Can I Print My Digital Picture?
How big you can print your digital picture depends on the number of "pixels" in your digital picture file. Pixels are the "dots" of color that make up your digital picture. The greater the number of pixels, the bigger you can print your image with quality results.
Easy Print Size Calculator
Use your digital picture pixel dimensions to easily find out how big you can print it. If you don't know how to find the pixel dimensions of your digital image see more here.
* Calculated for quality at typical large format viewing distances of 3' or more.
Finding the Pixel Dimensions of a Digital Picture
You can find the pixel dimensions of your digital picture by opening it in your favorite image viewer program and then finding the image properties in your program's menu structure. Alternately, you can also find your dimensions in these ways:
- Windows XP - open your image using Internet Explorer, or Firefox. To do this, from your browser choose the File menu, then "open file". Once you have the image open in your browser, click your right mouse button on the image and choose "Properties" (IE), or "View Image Info" (Firefox)
- Windows Vista - Locate the image using Windows Explorer. Click your right mouse button on the image file name, and then choose "Properties" from the menu. Go to the "Details" tab. The dimensions will be listed there.
- Windows 7 - Locate the image using Windows Explorer. Click your right mouse button on the image file name, and then choose "Properties" from the menu. Go to the "Details" tab. The dimensions will be listed there.
- MAC - use the finder to locate your image. Click on the image name in the finder. The image and information about it will display. The last line of the file information is the image dimensions.
More About Digital Printing Sizes
You can calculate the size in inches of the possible print output of your digital image by dividing its pixel dimensions by the print "dpi" (dots per inch) desired.
For example, to get a 100 dpi print from a 3600 x 2400 pixel image, you simply divide each dimension by 100:
3600 pixels / 100 dpi = 36"
2400 pixels / 100 dpi = 24"
For poster printing a print resolution of about 100 DPI is sufficient to get a "good" quality print. A higher DPI (150, or 300) will yield a very crisp, very high quality print. A lower DPI will require "interpolation" up to 100 DPI (minimum) before printing.
"Interpolation" is a digital process of "scaling up" the pixels of the image. Interpolation is performed when a digital image has less than 100 pixels per inch of print output. Most printing systems require a minimum of 100 DPI to print.
In the interpolation process, a computer program uses a math algorithm to scale the image up, "estimating" what color of pixels it should use to fill in gaps between pixels created in the scaling up process. Modern technology allows for good quality interpolation if the scale up is double or less the original image size. However, when interpolation occurs it does reduce the "crispness" of the image, and often results in some loss of clarity or sharpness at close viewing distances.
About Viewing Distance
"Viewing Distance" describes the typical distance from which a printed image will be viewed.
For small photos, magazine prints, etc., the typical viewing distance is 10" - 18". As a result, these types of prints must have a high DPI output in order to appear crisp and detailed.
Poster prints have a typical viewing distance of 3 feet or more. As a result, they require less "precision" in the print to appear sharp and detailed. A 100 DPI print output is typically sufficient to have a good quality poster print.
Vivyx Printing's ProQuality+ system ensures the highest possible DPI print output from your source image. Rather than simply printing at a single output spec, our ProQuality+ system determines the highest possible print resolution possible from your image. This way, large, hi-res source images result in very sharp, clean poster output.