File Size, Dimension, and Resolution

A major difference in the creation of graphics for the printed piece versus the Web is size and resolution. Typically, web graphics are to be kept small not only in physical dimension (inches or pixels) but also in resolution (dpi/ppi—dots per inch/pixels per inch). The reason for this is for downloading purposes. The smaller the file, the quicker the download. For print, file size is generally not an issue. Graphics for printed pieces can be dimensionally enormous if the environment they are being created for calls for grandness. Whether large or small, size in print is important simply because you must prepare your document and graphics accordingly.

For print, you are using Photoshop to create a graphic that will be imported or placed into a page-layout program such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. Within your page-layout program, you have most likely established the dimensions for the final piece (for example, 8.5x11 inches or 20x30 inches). Knowing your "live" workspace will help you create appropriately sized graphics.

Depending on the method of final print output—this will often be prespecified alongside your client and printer—you should set up your document accordingly. The reason I am emphasizing this is that it is imperative that you set up your Photoshop file to reflect these requirements. Nothing is more frustrating than to have to go back in and re-create your graphic because the dimension or resolution is incorrect. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration by creating your original Photoshop file based upon your final page-layout specification.

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