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They say you start to see the pixels in an image when it is printed around 200 dpi/ppi or less, right? I'm looking at some images here at 100% view in photoshop, and when I open the image size window, it tells me that the images are between 70-100 ppi each. However, I measured the images on my screen and they are both larger than the shown print size, AND I see no pixels or other signs of poor quality in the image being displayed on my monitor.

So my question is: Why would the image print in less quality/smaller size than it displays? Is it really necessary to print in 200+ ppi (or the more recommended 267-360 for HQ) to get a quality print, or am I missing something here?

Since many are unique designs that I've spent a fair amount of time on, I'd hate to have to discard, upsample, or restart from scratch. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.

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Well I'm no print expert by any means, but I'm pretty sure it isn't a 1:1 comparison between what you virtually "see" on your monitor and what's physically printed. Paper is not equivalent to a monitor. But I'll let someone else give you an actual answer, because again, I'm not experienced. I just know 300 ppi is the way to go for quality prints. –  Johannes Jul 12 '13 at 21:03

2 Answers 2

However, I measured the images on my screen and they are both larger than the shown print size, AND I see no pixels or other signs of poor quality in the image being displayed on my monitor.

This is due to how images are rendered on a screen vs. how they are rendered in print. On a screen, 300 pixels gives you 300 individual points of resolution on the screen.

On paper, though, it'd different. 300 pixels of information need to be printed using a dot pattern (screen) so that the four CMYK colors can be visually blended. So it's not really an equal comparison.

Is it really necessary to print in 200+ ppi (or the more recommended 267-360 for HQ) to get a quality print, or am I missing something here?

It really depends on the printer and the image. Sometimes a photo with only 150ppi of data can look just fine on paper. But a detailed pen sketch my look horrible at 200ppi.

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Ok, well first off I'd like to debug the misconception you have about screen resolution. 100% view doesn't always necessarily equate to the same size in the real printable world. Depending on the monitor and the calibration this comparison can be extremely different and isn't an accurate measure of things.

Secondly, as good as monitors are these days, you'll never get a true representation of the quality of a print. For example, most images on websites are optimized at 72dpi and they look fine on the monitor, but I would never consider printing these images because they'll never produce a professional print even if they look fine on a website. Printing brings out all the blemishes of your digital images and that's why it's important to design on resolutions above 300ppi.

I hope that doesn't significantly affect all the work you did, but I wouldn't recommend printing anything under 225ppi (depending on the medium of course)

The best thing you can do is just focus on making sure your settings are ok in the future.

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Thanks for the help. Unfortunately, I'm now in the unavoidable position of either discarding or upsampling some of the images. Some may be reworkable, but others involved images that came to me at only 96 ppi. I hear that Photoshop CC has vastly improved upon the upsampling system in CS6 so maybe I'll take a look into that. Either way, I'll definitely be more careful with my res. in the future. –  Will Jul 13 '13 at 17:20

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