I would like to ensure maximum quality of my images after downsampling. The downsampled resolution will be 300 DPI for print. I need the source graphics to be ever so slightly larger for use in an app. I can pick the source resolution ahead of time, so I'm wondering if some numbers will yield better results when downsampling? 320, 352, 360, etc.

  • 2
    Are you sure that you have to downscale for print? Maybe if you are printing directly from Photoshop, but normally the image would be placed in a layout program (InDesign/Illustrator or free alternatives) so why limit the amount of information beforehand? It might be scaled again, ruining your fine tuned scaling. On printing your pixels will be translated into some kind of raster dots which will further obscure the original pixels. I'm not saying that the downsampling ratio has no significance, but in most cases the effect is negligible.
    – Wolff
    Apr 2 '19 at 16:29
  • Like @Wolff I don't know why you are downsampling images for print. I wouldn't recommend that at all. Here's my recommendation: Don't do it!
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 3 '19 at 9:52

It really all depends upon the image itself. And the software perhaps. You don't mention what software you may be using.

The thing to keep in mind, with Photoshop at least, is that interpolation of data happens with any resampling. So if you need to drastically resample an image the greater the steps you do that in, the more interpolation occurs.

The theory is to to it in 2 or 3 steps. That allows for more targeted interpolation in stages rather than everything at once.

So, I generally down sample in 2 steps... one to 50% of the necessary down sample, and then again for the remaining 50%. If the image merits that. i.e. a 360ppi image doesn't need 2 steps to down sample to 300ppi. It's such a small jump that 1 step is fine. But for a 600ppi image, I'd down sample to 450ppi, then to 300ppi.

And all this is even if down sampling is necessary. Much of the time, any image above 300ppi will be down sampled by PDF job options or output option. So, direct down sampling of the image isn't really necessary. The only time is may be necessary is when there are critical details in the image one is trying to ensure are preserved as much as possible. And in that case, it's really on an image by image basis. Some images may require 1 step, others 10.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.