How do I set up a painting for printing? Understanding DPI

Category: ArtRage Vitae Desktop FAQs

The Short Answer

When you create a painting that you want to print in ArtRage for Windows or macOS, follow these steps to make sure it will be the right size when printed:

  1. Select the ‘Print Size’ tab at the top of the New File panel.
  2. Enter the physical dimensions you want the printed image to be.
  3. Enter the DPI value the printer requires when printing.

ArtRage will then calculate how many pixels are required to make the canvas the right size.

For more information, keep reading!

In More Detail…

The size of a painting on your computer screen is not necessarily the same as its size when printed. This is because the number of dots (‘pixels’ on the screen) per inch of space is often different between screens and printed documents.

The trick to creating your painting at the correct size on the screen for the size you want it to be when printed is to use the Print Size option in the ArtRage New File panel, and to understand DPI.

What is DPI?

DPI is an important concept when you want to print. You may see it when you look at the technical specifications of the printer you are using, or a print shop may refer to it when you ask them to print an image.

‘DPI’ stands for ‘dots per inch’ and refers to the number of dots (which are the same as ‘pixels’ here) a printer will place in each inch of space. So, when someone refers to the DPI value of your image, they are referring to how many of its pixels will be placed across an inch of space when printed.

An average computer screen might be 72 DPI, while a high quality print might be 300 or even 600 dpi, so you can see that many more pixels can be required per inch of space when printing an image.

If I create a painting in ArtRage that is 800 x 600, it might be a reasonable size on my screen but if I print it on a printer that applies 300 dots per inch, it will only be 2.6 inches wide by 2 inches tall.

So you don’t really care about DPI when you create an image on your screen – you just create an image that looks the right size while you’re painting it. But you do need to think about it if you are going to print that image later.

Now you know what DPI is, we can look at the two ways you can set up the painting.

Ensuring the Painting is the Right Size When Created.

When you create a painting in ArtRage you can choose to create it using either Screen Size or Print Size by selecting the appropriate tab in the New File panel.

The Screen Size option lets you select how many pixels wide and tall the painting is. This is good for if you will be showing your painting digitally, sharing it online for example, but we want to set up for printing. Note that when you select Screen Size, the info bar below the width and height entry boxes will show you what size that painting would be if printed using a specific DPI value.

The option we want is ‘Print Size’. Print Size lets you select the actual printed dimensions your image will adopt when printed.

When you set the values in Print Size, choose the physical dimensions you want and set the DPI value the printer you will be using requires. ArtRage will then calculate the total amount of pixels width and height the painting requires.

Note: In some cases this may result in a huge painting that has so many pixels ArtRage slows down while you work on it. In these cases, it’s easier to create the painting at a smaller size then export it as an image and increase the size after you’ve painted it in another application.

Further Support.

Understanding print settings can be tricky if you’re not used to it. If you have any problems please Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help!