Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a artwork from PS (non-vector) that I imported into an Illustrator document. At 100% view in Illustrator, it is perfectly sharp.

Is that enough for printing?

share|improve this question
+1 just for making me laugh with the title. :) – Lauren Ipsum Dec 13 '11 at 20:15
lol, I meant at 100% zoomed view. – user1310 Dec 13 '11 at 20:57
up vote 4 down vote accepted

How it looks on screen is not a reliable test. The native size of your image, in pixels, and the actual size on paper/vinyl/whatever, in inches, are what will tell you whether an image has enough resolution. You can't go by what's on your screen, which is always a low resolution and is a different physical size from the output.

Divide the pixel width of the image (from Photoshop) by the width of the image as it will be printed (from Illustrator). For a magazine ad, book, handbill or similar product, you typically want to be around 266 ppi or better. For a poster that will be digitally printed, 150 ppi should work fine. There are several answers to the "how much dpi do I need" that you can look up. Just search on "dpi" and you'll get a screenful.

share|improve this answer
Short version: see what the physical dimensions (inches/cm) of the unaltered raster image in PS was at 150/300ppi; don't exceed those dimensions when dropped into Illustrator. – Lèse majesté Dec 15 '11 at 8:46

Not really an answer (your question is pretty vague), but PS images are raster images composed of pixels.

Printing is often spoken of in terms of dpi (300dpi being preferable for color offset press) and pixels can be thought of as dots.

A 300 pixel wide image is 300dpi if printed 1 inch wide, a 300 pixel wide image is 600dpi if printed .5 inches wide, and a 300 pixel wide image is 100dpi if printed at 3 inches wide.

So the image will be suitable for printing if you don't scale it too high, and even then, depending on context and viewing distance, it may still be.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the tips – user1310 Dec 13 '11 at 20:58

Preview of raster graphics in Ill can be misleading. It's better to control image qualities in Ps. If you'll consider image as "good" in Ps then it'll look right in Ill project, as long as you won't scale it up too much or add some late effects in Ill. You could check results again in exported PDF or any other output file – it's the final check.

As a sidenote I can add that if you're exporting your images to be used in print and you specifically want them "as sharp as possible" you can even "oversharp" them a bit. It's hard to say how much since it comes from experience, but I'd say: until the first sharpening artifacts (like "halos") will start to become visible in 100% view in Ps. That is true for the AM screening which tend to "soften" images a bit.

share|improve this answer
I did no scaling in Illustrator. So it retains its perfect sharpness in both PS and Ill at 100% zoom. I'm wondering if that state is sharp enough for printing. Or if it needs to retain sharpness beyond 100% like vectors do, since they are not bitmaps. – user1310 Dec 13 '11 at 21:00
It depends on printing method and your image resolution (see horatio's answer). A rule of thumb for offset printing is resolution 300 dpi, though in some cases even 200 or less looks properly, but 300 dpi is safe. If it's sharp in 100% zoom in Ps, it's set to about 300 dpi and it looks good to you, then it should be ok. – thebodzio Dec 13 '11 at 21:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.