Resolution. The Oxford Dictionary says it is “the degree of detail visible in a photographic or television image.” In simpler terms, it’s how “in focus” an image appears to be. Higher resolution means more detail. Lower resolution means less clarity. However, because of different terms such as dpi (dots per inch), ppi (pixels per inch), monitor resolution, and printing resolution, the subject of resolution can be fairly confusing. Let’s break it down and see what resolution means for our digital scrapbooking.
Keep in mind that resolution is a pretty general term. Dpi and ppi are the units we use to measure resolution. The number of dpi is important in scanning and printing. A higher dpi means clearer images. On the other hand, when we use photos and create digital scrapbooking layouts, we need to understand the effect of ppi.
Here’s why: The images we scrappers work with, both photos and digital scrapbooking elements, are raster images, meaning they are made of pixels. A pixel is defined as an individual point of color, the smallest element that makes up an image. You’ve probably noticed pixels when you zoom in very close to an image you’re working on. They look like little squares. Each tiny square is a pixel.
Note: Some graphics, such as the Custom Shape products in the Scrap Girls Boutique, are vector images which are not made of pixels and are not affected by a change in resolution.
Pixels vary in size. They get larger as we enlarge our photos, smaller when we reduce the size of the photo. If a very large image has the same number of pixels as a tiny image, it will look unclear or “pixelated.” To increase clarity, we must increase the number of pixels in the image – the pixel density – that is, the number of pixels per inch. We need to increase the ppi. In the scrapbooking world, 300 ppi is the accepted standard.
On this paper from the Strawberry Fields Collection Mini, I zoomed way in to show the pixels. By the way, some people like the extremely pixelated look and use it as a fun design element.
There are several ways to reduce file size. Here’s one quick way: Open your image in Photoshop Elements. Go to Image > Resize > Image Size. In the drop-down menu, change the number of pixels per inch.
- 1. It’s always preferable to start with as good a quality photo as possible. Use your camera’s best quality setting. File sizes will be larger, but most camera SD cards have lots of storage space.
- 2. Scan at 300 dpi or more. A photo scanned at 72 dpi might look fine on your computer monitors, but its printed quality will be lacking, especially if you plan to print your page at 12×12 inches.
- 3. If you scan a photo at 300 dpi and use it on a 300-ppi scrapbook page, it will be the same physical size as the original photo. That’s important to know because many heritage photos are physically very small. If scanning a tiny photo, try scanning at 600 dpi or even more to enlarge it. The more pixels a photo has, the larger it can be printed and still look clear.
Resolution can be a complicated subject, but I hope this helped clear up some of the basics so you can get the kind of quality you want in your photos and digital scrapbooking. We always like to see your finished pages, so be sure to upload them (at 72 ppi, of course) to the Scrap Girls Gallery and let us admire your work!
You will find the Guided Edit tab at the top of the Editor window between Quick and Expert. Just click on the tab to move your photo automatically into Guided Edit mode. Once there, you will see an array of options under three broad categories: Touchups, Photo Effects, and Photo Play.
The first of these, Touchups, guides you step-by-step through many basic editing tasks, such as cropping, straightening, and color correction. It can be a great help when you are a beginning scrapper. The other two categories, Photo Effects and Photo Play, are great for guiding you through more complex photo manipulations. You might not want to use every option, but it’s nice to know what’s available.
As one example, let’s work with Depth of Field from the Photo Effects category. Depth of field, to put it very simply, is how much of the photo is in sharp focus vs. out of focus or blurry. We usually want our whole photo to be sharp and clear, but sometimes we might want to emphasize just one part of it. Having control over the depth of field allows us to do that. Digital SLR cameras achieve depth of field effortlessly. Those of us who take photos with point-and-shoot cameras – or our phones – can still achieve the artistic depth of field effect through Guided Edit.
Here’s how it works. This is the original photo of a flower in my yard.
- Notice that you have different View options. Give them a try to see which one you like.
- When working on your photo, if you don’t like how it’s going, just click on the Reset icon to begin again.
I took some time to play with the transfers and Blending modes to see what different effects I could come up with. Sometimes this is where the inspiration for a page comes from! Those serendipitous discoveries that get you thinking….
Here are three of my favorite transfers with the same three Blending modes applied:
• Darker Color (to blend the transfer into the background) removes the lighter color values.
• Pin Light provides varied looks as it removes 50% of the colored pixels based on a 50% gray threshold, giving a brighter look which is ideal for fresh, light pages and Art Journaling.
• Luminosity resulted in a wonderful, heritage feel when placed against the brown paper background I had selected.
If you would like to read more about these Blending modes and how they work, just click here.
I wanted to share how I used Transfer 5 as a photo mat, creating visual interest and anchoring my photo. It looked good in its original form but by using Blending mode: Pin Light, I obtained a light, airy feel, a bit like a watercolor painting – perfect for this photo of a younger me with my sister and cousin.
I think you will find that transfers are brilliant additions to your digital scrapbooking. They allow the base paper to show through, they are already blended, and they have that artsy feel I always look for in Art Journaling.
Be brave, be bold – play around with those Blending modes and create something fabulous using Antiquities today! Don’t forget to share it with us in the Scrap Girls Gallery, so we can be inspired by you!