What is the Best Canvas Resolution For Digital Art?

What is the Best Canvas Resolution For Digital Art?


– [Aaron] Thanks for joining me. (upbeat music) I’m Corel Painter Master Aaron Rutten and in this video, I’ll help you determine the best resolution to choose for your digital canvas. The amount of detail in a digital painting is defined by the resolution of the canvas you’re painting on. The higher the resolution,
the finer the detail in an image. An image with low resolution
lacks fine detail. Typically you’ll want
to favor high resolution over low resolution, but things get a little more complicated when you’re dealing with large canvasses. First let’s consider the distance at which someone will be observing your artwork after it’s printed. While small and medium
canvasses are typically viewed at arm’s length, large
canvasses are often viewed from far away. The billboard you see
by the side of the road is an extreme example of a large canvas. Believe it or not, billboards are printed at a very low resolution. So, why is that? It’s because the farther
you are from an image, the less resolution is required
to see that image clearly. Because billboards are not
intended to be viewed up close, it would be a waste of
ink to print billboards at a high resolution. Notice how blocky this
low resolution image looks when we view it up close. Now, watch as I zoom out or
move away from the image. It suddenly becomes a lot clearer. This is because as you
move away or zoom out, the pixels in the image
converge or get closer together, making it more difficult to
see each individual pixel. As you get closer, the pixels spread out and become more noticeable. Let’s look at some real world examples of printed artwork in my studio. This is a 90 by 40 inch
multi-photo collage. While it’s fine to appreciate
the amount of detail up close, in order to see the whole image, you have to step back quite a ways. This is the distance most people will view this artwork from. Here’s another example of a large canvas depicting a gold heart. Again, the intended viewing distance is from far away, not up close. Small and medium canvasses, however, are typically viewed at arm’s length. Since the viewer will be
very close to your canvas, you’ll want to make the
image crisp and clear. Let’s look at the digital
version of one of these paintings and discuss the dimensions
and resolutions I chose. Here’s the original digital
painting for the 90 by 40 print. If we look at the
dimensions and resolution, you can see it’s set to
62 by 38 inches at 72 dpi. I painted this piece years
before creating the print so at the time I had no
idea I would eventually be creating a print
that was 90 inches wide. I chose 72 for the
resolution because I knew if I were to print the
image, it would be viewed from far away. In addition to that, there
were several other reasons why I didn’t chose a high resolution, but we’ll come back to that in a minute. It’s important to note that resolution and the image dimensions
are really describing the same thing, the number
of pixels in an image. The number of pixels determines
the size and the resolution of the image. This image is 4,464 pixels wide by 2,736 pixels tall. Since I chose 62 inches for the width and 72 pixels for the
resolution, there will be 72 pixels for every inch of the artwork or in other words 72 times 62 is 4,464. So, even though this image
is currently at 72 dpi, I could lower the dimensions
and that would create some extra pixels that
can either get thrown away or converted into resolution. Unfortunately, resizing
is a one-way street. It’s easy to scale an image down because all you have to
do is convert the pixels from inches to resolution
or simply throw them away. However, enlarging requires adding pixels. And, since pixels equal detail,
the computer’s not capable of adding something that’s not there. You, as the artist can add detail. The computer cannot. Since this tutorial is
focused mainly on resolution as it applies to canvasses, I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about how resolution works
when resizing images. If you want to learn
more about that subject, you can check out my video on resolution. So, if my original was only 62 inches and I printed it at 90 inches, why does the print still look good? Well, again it comes
down to how far you are from the print while you’re viewing it. At a distance, you don’t
notice that the computer inflated or multiplied the pixels to make the print dimensions larger. However if you look
really close, you can see the image is a bit blurry and there are some aliased
or jagged edges in the piece. That’s what happens when you enlarge. For a canvas this size,
it’s less noticeable from a distance, but for a smaller image that will be viewed up close, blurriness and aliasing will stick
out like a sore thumb. So, if high resolution looks the best and it’s the most flexible
for reduction and enlargement, why wouldn’t you just paint every image at a high resolution? To answer that, we need to look
at some of the pros and cons of high versus low resolution
to help you understand how resolution affects more than just your print size and quality. So, if we start with the
pros of high resolution, we know that we can scale
high resolution artwork down without compromising the image quality, that the resolution can be reduced easily without degrading the image quality, that a high resolution image looks clearer and has more detail. A high resolution image prevents aliasing in fine lines, curves, and diagonal lines. And, a high resolution image looks great when you zoom in. The cons, however, are
very important to consider. A high resolution image
takes up a lot of memory which slows down your
computer and your software. It takes a lot longer to process effects, and a high resolution
file takes up more space on your hard drive. And, because a high
resolution image is so large and memory-intensive, it’s
also more likely to crash or become corrupted. As we mentioned earlier,
the fine, up close detail of a high resolution image
gets lost at a distance while you’re zoomed out or
while the image is down-scaled, and it also takes a lot more time to paint a high resolution image. That’s more detail that you have to add. And then last, but not least,
a high resolution image requires more ink when printing. Now let’s take a look at some of the pros of working at a low resolution. A low resolution image
takes up less memory which is less demanding on
your computer and software. Effects also take less time to process on a low resolution image
and the low resolution image takes up less drive space. Because a low resolution image
is less memory-intensive, it’s also less likely to
crash or get corrupted. Low resolution images are easier to share on the internet because they’re smaller. And low resolution images
take less time to paint. And, of course, since there’s fewer pixels in a low resolution
image, it uses less ink when you’re printing. Now, let’s talk about some of the cons of working with a low resolution image. We know that a low resolution
image cannot be scaled up without compromising the image quality and that the resolution
cannot be increased without degrading the
image quality as well. A low resolution image has less detail and it promotes aliasing
and fine lines, curves, and diagonal lines. And, of course, a low
resolution image looks horrible when you zoom in or enlarge it. So, now that we’re more
familiar with how resolution affects your artwork, you
can see why I didn’t make my 62-inch wide painting at 300 dpi. It would have crushed my computer. And, just like the billboards
you see along the roadside, a lot of the detail I would have added would have been lost
while viewing the painting from a distance. It’s important to note that
there isn’t a magic resolution that works for everything. But, there are some guidelines
that’ll help you choose the best resolution for your painting. As a general rule of thumb,
use a lower resolution for large canvasses
and a higher resolution for small or medium canvasses. For something like an eight
by 10 or 11 by 14 canvas, I use 300 dpi. For anything at or above 24 by 18 inches, I use 150 dpi. If you want a higher quality result, you can chose 240 dpi for large canvasses and 600 dpi for small or medium canvasses, but again, the detail you’ll
be adding is not noticeable to most people. Also anything for the
web needs to be 72 dpi because that’s the
standard for most screens. However this is quickly
changing as high dpi displays become more common. It’s not unusual to need
to format your artwork in a variety of sizes and resolutions. When scaling down the
dimensions or resolution of our artwork, make sure to save copies of your work so you don’t overwrite your high resolution original. So, that brings us
(upbeat music) to the end of this tutorial. I hope this tutorial has helped
you make better decisions when choosing a resolution
for your canvas. If you found this information helpful, take a quick second to like this video. And, if you’d like to learn more tips about digital painting,
subscribe to my channel and check out my video training courses for Corel Painter and Photoshop. Thanks for watching and
I’ll see you next time.

25 thoughts on “What is the Best Canvas Resolution For Digital Art?

  1. Thanks. I have just started out making "art" (it will come with practice) and i wasn't sure What resolution to use. 😉

  2. My newest speed paint (terrible) has some weird resolution. If you could, could you tell me your thoughts on its resolution? Thanks for the very helpful video!

  3. This was supremely educational! Thanks a bunch! May the Eternal Mushroom always treat you kindly.

  4. I had that issue of it being too high. I got this sense of it not being good enough. I think because I've always drawn on paper, and every little detail stays there. so when I zoomed in, I did not like seeing pixels. Thank you for this. I had one at 4500x 3000, but at 500 ppi. My computer, a custom gaming pc, crashed 3 times before I figured this out. This computer has never crashed before. My picture, come to find out, was 28mb. so this really helped. I guess it's just a transition you have to get used to. Don't over think it.

  5. Just thought I'd come back here and say this.
    I used a reference sheet, and took screenshots of the size and dimensions, and saved it to my desktop.
    I found an easy reference to base off of, from deviant arts website.
    http://help.deviantart.com/132/

    Has a list of the print sizes, minimum and maximum. Along with the sizes from this video. I took screenshots of this, and put them on my desktop in a folder for easy reference.
    Just thought I'd share that.

    I'm a noob and this is all self learning, so this is what's helping me at the moment.

  6. So… Increasing the PPI in the image sizing settings… Does it increase the definition on the screen? Or just when printed? Like; will I have more pixels in a square inch on the canvas on my screen?

  7. I've never thought about size and resolution so much until I watched this. Thanks for the video Aaron! It was really helpful!

  8. Very informative tutorial for beginner i see it for curiosity.. I have a pretty powerful machine i usually use the higher DPI i can that still don't slow-down the software, for general rules it's always better to make the original painting in higher res … you can convert it to lower resolution later in case . I like to switch software for every particular project i work on also for this reason but you are right 300 dpi for printing resolution it's already enough . I hope that in the future they will make some improvement on Corel Painter i like a lot the software but it's always very annoying to use and very low performance with big canvas and brushed compared to Photoshop , Clip Studio Paint and even Krita is faster on windows that it's native for a different Os … Keep up the good work i will check other videos too 😄

  9. Cheers for this Aaron, I didn't actually find this video through being a subscriber I literally wrote in the search bar "what size should my photoshop canvas be digital art". It was the first hit i believe in the search results. Not sure if that is due to me being subscribed to you or not. Anyway great video and exactly what I was looking for.

  10. FINALLY!!!!!!, I have found a video that explains digital art canvas resolution like no other.
    Thank u for the in-depth teaching. I will definitely b subscribing to your channel and watch your vidz. I 👍🏼 this vid.

  11. I feel its very important to compliment you on how useful this video is, I have been on the internet for over an hour looking for information you explained in 8 minutes. you're doing amazing! and thank you !

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