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What is DPI and When Does it Matter? (Also DPI vs. PPI)

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This video goes over what does DPI mean and when it matters.

DPI, or Dots Per Inch is a printing term that is used to define the print resolution for typically a physically printed item. Think something like a poster or a sign.

PPI or Pixels Per Inch is a digital term for screen resolution at a certain size of screen.

DPI / PPI is often used incorrectly when applied to a pure pixel measurement, so this video dives into the topic and explains the differences.

Have additional questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section!

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22 thoughts on “What is DPI and When Does it Matter? (Also DPI vs. PPI)

  1. Thank you! I understand now the difference between ppi and dpi, but i have a question. If I export from Lightroom (raw into jpeg) and choose highest quality (100) and in “Resolution” should I do 300 ppi or which one for printing? What happens if I dont input any amount in “Resolution”? (pictures will be printed on no more than A4 format). The lab told be the pictures will be printed at 2,400 dpi…

  2. Well done. Incidentally, the antiquated number 72 ppi for estimating on-screen image size is irrelevant today because modern screens have a resolution that is significantly higher than 72 ppi.

  3. Hey Matt, thanks for the info. I have one question, I have this 3840X2160 @ 300DPI image that I want to print on Metal on a 48X36 inch format. Right now I am trying to figure out how I can achieve the best result. I know a great deal about digital imagery, but nothing on printing. Any idea?

  4. Basically, "society6" staff are morons to allow the information like "an elephant has 4 arms and 2 tails" to be on their page.
    PPI belongs to a digital image on a digital screen, DPI belongs to the Printer settings.

  5. Thanks so much for the video. I'm still very green to this and trying to understand how the two translate then if Illustrator will only allow saving at ppi, and a print house is asking for an image at a certain (let's say 300) dpi?

  6. Great Video. I've just started using Affinity Designer for iPad and I see that when one sets up a new document the resolution is set to DPI and not PPI. Based on your video, this is incorrect? I would expect PPI as per Illustrator and Photoshop document setup. What is your opinion?

  7. Hey, I have a question. What effect does DPI make to digital art if you have no intention on printing it? Example, is there any difference in drawing with a document that is 1920 x 1080 between DPI being 72 or 300? Also thanks for the awesome video!

  8. I'm taking a large image and shrinking it down to say 8" by 10" and shrinking it to 2" by 3 ish" and then printing it. I don't want to lose my image quality since it's already rasterized and the words won't be legible. Would making the ppi higher make the prints come out better once they're shrunken down? Also if my printer is 600 x 2400 dpi, do I need to make the ppi higher than 300 to get the best quality image?

  9. Excellent explanation, ALMOST answers my question. I know my pixel count (16 megapixel camera). It's not, but for simplicity let's say the image is square, 4000×4000 pixels. The jpg file shows 72 dpi in the EXIF data. When I develop the RAW file in Lightroom or ACDSee I have the option to export a jpg file with different dpi. Does it matter? What difference does it make? It seems to me I can take either jpg file (the original 72 dpi jpg from the camera, or a 300 dpi file exported from the RAW software) to a print shop and ask for a printed image any size I want – say 10×10 inches or 40×40 inches. Seems to me regardless of the EXIF dpi of either file, the dpi of the 10×10 print will be 400 and the dpi of the 40×40 print will be 100. So specifying the dpi of a file to be printed is just as irrelevant and redundant as uploading, as you explained, assuming that the quality/resolution of the output is satisfactory for viewing at the intended distance. Am I right?

  10. i need a a7 iii have 921,600 Screen dots.and nikon d7200 have 1,228,800 screen dots.. both camera are 24 megapixels….what the different? if i buy nikon d7200 ,what benefit i can get?

  11. Why won't my DPI change to 300. For createspace even when i tried all the DPI changes i even tried changing pixels didnt work help me! I have 2400 and 3000 for my photo with 72 DPI but i changed it to 300 DPI still won't work

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