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I'm fairly new to graphic design so there might be some basic vocab misunderstanding around resolution and pixels but I haven't been able to problem solve this:

PNG created in Procreate on a 5000 x 5000 pixel canvas set at 300 PPI. After export, that PNG looks great at max zoom. When I place it in InDesign on the same size canvas and/or frame, it becomes pixelated. It's pixelated regardless of scaling or fitting settings. Below is a screenshot of the Link Info. My Display Quality is set to High, and when I export it from InDesign at max quality and 300 DPI it's still blurry so this is not a display issue.

It's also confusing because the image looks tiny on my canvas and the W: and H: says 1200 px, so I'm not sure how it's both that and the 5000 shown on Link Info. When scaled up to fill the 5000 canvas, the effective PPI reduces to 72.

What am I missing? Why isn't a 5000x5000 image the same size as the 5000x5000 canvas and - more importantly - how do I place a perfectly fine PNG in InDesign while maintaining its sharp quality?

placed in InDesign - Link Info showing

original PNG

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  • What is the physical size you are wanting to use.. as in cm, inches, mm? 5000x5000px isn't really a measurement. I'm assuming this is for print production. (Otherwise, why 300ppi?)
    – Scott
    Mar 30, 2023 at 6:10
  • I'd also point out that such a stripe pattern could be created directly in Indesign as vectors...
    – Scott
    Mar 30, 2023 at 6:13
  • This may not be an "actual" problem in that inDesign "greeks" images: they preview at a lower res for performance reasons (prioritizes fast document navigation for working rather than image fidelity). While this can be adjusted in preferences and "display performance" menu option somewhat, you can export a PDF of the page with the "for offset print" preset to get a better idea of the quality. Do that and update the Q if you feel there is still an issue.
    – Yorik
    Mar 30, 2023 at 17:37
  • also: the "actual ppi" listed is just a flag in the image metadata (a suggestion for software). The "Effective ppi" listed below it in your screencap is the actual ppi as calculated by the number of pixels in the image and the size of the image as placed on the page. Effective PPI is the important number: 100x100 px at 1 inch is 100ppi, 100x100 px at .3 inches is 300ppi; at 3 inches is 33 ppi
    – Yorik
    Mar 30, 2023 at 17:42
  • Thank you for your replies! The Display Performance is highest and I confirmed that it becomes grainy after placing because the exported PNG is still grainy. The stripe pattern was just my test example to make sure I'm working with the right dimensions, programs, etc., I'll be creating more complex artwork (hence Procreate). It's ultimately a digital png product but all the guides I've read said to use a 3000 x 3000 or higher canvas set at 300 PPI. Since I'm inexperienced with the digital specs of graphic design that's what I went with.
    – Charlie
    Mar 30, 2023 at 19:00

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