What's the Difference between DPI vs. PPI ?
Differentiating DPI ( Dots per Inch) and PPI (Pixels per Image) is really a cumbersome task and has become a matter of great confusion for many people.
Both DPI and PPI are two important terms that define the resolution of both on-screen and print images but each refers to separate media. If you are among those who get confused about how different DPI and PPI are, then this short blog post is for you. We will hopefully clear up any misconceptions and also show you how to get the best printing possible no matter what camera you use. People often use PPI and DPI in error interchangeably when they shouldn’t be. Understanding the differences between PPI and DPI and how each is applied in your projects will BE THE KEY to your design success and empower you to optimize digital images for your web. Before diving into how they are different, it’s important to deconstruct what they mean.
What are DPI & PPI
DPI (dots per inch) describes the density of points in a printed inch. The more dots the image has, the sharper and more detailed the print is.
Whereas, PPI (pixels per inch) refers to the fixed number of pixels displayed on a digital image. Each pixel is equivalent to a point of light coming from any monitor. The greater the number of pixels provides more details and a better definition of the image. An image with low resolution, on the other hand, will have fewer details and definition as well.
What are the differences between PPI & DPI?
The remarkable difference between them is that DPI represents a physical characteristic of a printer, while PPI is a characteristic of a digital image. DPI relates to the output from printing, while PPI relates to the input. The reason that people use the terms DPI and PPI interchangeably is the number of dots and the number of pixels are usually more or less the same.
PPI (Pixels Per Inch)
Whenever working with digital images, you use PPI, which is most useful in preparing files for printing. An image with a higher PPI resolution tends to be sharper and more detailed because it has a greater pixel density, but the standard quality of exported PPI is supposedly 300 PPI.
Because changing the PPI can lead to the changes in the size of your file, you should use a high PPI only when necessary. For example, if you intend to print many fine details on a glossy surface, then using a higher resolution is the best consideration. But it isn’t required when you print an image on canvas because details get lost in the texture of the material. PPI doesn’t affect the distribution on the web because the pixel density of your monitor is fixed. That means a 72 PPI image and a 3,000 PPI image will be displayed the same on your screen. What really matters the size and detail of your image is the pixel dimensions (the number of pixels from left to right, top to bottom)
Within pixels are sub-pixels, red, green and blue light elements that we can’t see with the naked eyes as they are blended into a single hue which appears on the pixel level. This is why PPI utilizes the RGB (red, green and blue) color model. This only exists in the digital display of images like a television screen and computer monitors.
DPI (Dots Per Inch)
While PPI is not difficult to manipulate in an image, DPI is a whole different story. DPI printers with higher DPI produce clearer and more detailed output. As the DPI measurement depends much on the model and style of printer it uses, there is no fixed DPI for prints. Inkjet printers produce a resolution around 300 to 720 DPI, in comparison with 600 to around 2,400 DPI in a laser printer. As long as the DPI of the printer is equal or higher than the professional PPI, the printed image will be at a high quality. An image with a 300 DPI resolution already packs 90,000 dots of color; going above 300 DPI will not change the output too much.
To sum up, you’ve learned the differences between DPI vs PPI, why they are often misused and how they affect the success of your design. Is this article helpful for you? Tell us your thoughts!