I design sales advertisements for low resolution outdoor video displays, for example 180 pixels by 126 pixels size. The actual sign is more like 8ft tall, but from afar it looks small.

When I save my graphics in Motion, After Effects or Photoshop to this resolution the result is blurry. I have tried doubling the size to 360px by 252px, but sometimes the sign editor software does not resize it proportionally.

Is there a better solution for editing the video and/or sequence of animations? The sign only seems to like mp4 files, it's a Daktronics display.

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    180 x 126 is small, I don't think there's a way around it. That's just how much pixels you have to work with. – Luciano Apr 17 '18 at 15:34
  • Graphics for signs can not only be governed by number of pixels in width and height but also physical pixel width and height or pixels per inch. Do you know what specification of image the sign editor software produces or needs for imports? – Chris Rogers Apr 17 '18 at 15:49
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    @Chris, the physical size and resolution is nice to know when designing the ad, but to make the output file don't you just need the pixel dimensions? (Btw, the OP says the sign is about 8 ft tall => 1 px = 3/4 inch) – Wolff Apr 17 '18 at 16:31
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    Maybe this is more of a design question than a resolution question? If you scale down images and text to a very low resolution they will get blurred using any kind of bicubic interpolation and unpleasantly chunky using nearest neighbor interpolation. Your design has to fit the pixel grid somehow. Almost pixelart. – Wolff Apr 17 '18 at 16:41
  • @Wolff - ah it looks like I was complicating matters with information such as shown in the image at 2.bp.blogspot.com/-PpWNJk0mRIc/UgSytivRCXI/AAAAAAAAAeE/… – Chris Rogers Apr 17 '18 at 17:08

I'd advise the usual for any small resolution graphics: more contrast between element/background, less details, larger subjects, more color contrast, less use of gradients, less text / larger font size (big enough to make the text legible at that resolution).

I also suggest that you have a preview window at 100% size so you can actually see how clear/blurry the final graphics are.

I don't know any magic way to export a 180x126px video that is as sharp as a larger one. You simply don't have enough pixels on the screen to add more detail.


Try to make the video taking into account two things.

Fonts need to be sharp. Try using pixel fonts.

Increase the sharpness rendering the video lets say 4 times larger.

180x126 => 720x504

Then use a program to resample the video. VirtualDub can resample it using only nearest neibourgh, dropping 3 of every 4 lines.

It only saves AVI but you can convert it later.

Try different scalings. Probably your 2x file is enough.

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