What Is Image Resolution and Why Is It Important?

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Knowing what exactly image resolution is and how to work with it ensures that your visuals turn out the way you expect them to, even in large formats. Increasing image resolution can become a lifesaver for those who work with visual branding, digital content, and responsive website designing. Read further to learn how exactly image resolution works and how you can increase it without quality loss.

What is a high-resolution image?

Raster images consist of pixels—colored squares, positioned in a certain way to create an overall picture. An image resolution is the number of pixels or, in other words, their density in the file. The more pixels a photo has, the higher its resolution. 

The resolution defines how clear the picture looks at the moment and can predict how good it will look when enlarged. If you take a small photograph and put it on a business card, it will look great. However, if you take the same image and try to use it in an advertising banner, it will look blurry and pixelated. 

This happens because basic, manual enlargement doesn’t increase the pixel density, it only makes them bigger. So, you have to either pick high-resolution visuals in the first place or try changing image resolution in other ways.

What is a low-resolution image?

A low-resolution image has fewer pixels and looks good in its own size, which could be 300x300px or even 750x750px. If you try to enlarge it by simply changing its size, it might still look appealing for some limited purposes. For instance, you can slightly upscale a 500x500px visual and use it in social media design, while the photo retains a nice, visible quality. However, it won’t look sharp on a large poster.

The easiest way to avoid such problems is to pick high-resolution images from online stocks. Here’s how you can distinguish high-resolution visuals from low-resolution ones:

  • by viewing file properties and paying special attention to the pixel density. This parameter is called DPI (dots per inch). High-resolution images have at least 300 DPI;
  • by zooming in on the photograph or enlarging it without proper AI upscaling. If you see that the visual’s edges become distorted, this means that the initial resolution is low.

Using low-resolution images affects the way the audience perceives your content. Blurred or pixelated images look more unappealing and fail to attract user attention. That’s why it is always a good option to try making an image resolution higher using special tools.

How to increase an image resolution

#1 Use online image upscalers

A quick, easy, and affordable option is to increase your image resolution online. There are plenty of online picture quality enhancers that run on AI-based technology and, therefore, produce high-quality results in seconds. AI-powered tools don’t increase the size of pixels but add new ones, predicting their color and position based on the closest existing pixels. That’s why images processed in smart web-based programs look like they were manipulated by professional editors. Moreover, web-based tools that change image resolution are great for those who don’t have enough resources to spend on manual enhancement.

Depositphotos Image Upscaler is a completely free online tool available for netizens of all skill levels. You can check it out at https://depositphotos.com. It doesn’t take a lot of time to figure out the whole picture enhancement process, as it consists only of two simple steps. Although, you need to create a free account to download the upscaled image. To process your files, follow these steps:

  1. Upload a JPG or JPEG picture up to 15 MB in size. 
  2. Preview, download, and rate the result. 

#2 Enhance pictures with the help of graphic editing software

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular editing software used for manipulating and designing striking visuals. If you’ve already been using Photoshop for your content creation, it might be easier for you to upscale your photos there instead of trying new tools. 

Nonetheless, if you are new to the program and want to try to upscale your files manually, here is how picture enhancement in Adobe Photoshop works:

  1. Open the visual you want to enlarge in the software.
  2. Pick an Image Size option and click on Resample. 
  3. Choose to Preserve Details in the dropdown menu.
  4. Check the resolution; it has to be 300 DPI or bigger.
  5. Set the pixels’ inches or Width and Height and increase the image size. 
  6. Save the result as a Smart Object.
  7. Duplicate the image layer and set the copy’s blend mode to Soft Light.
  8. Go to the Filter section and click on Other → High Pass.
  9. Adjust the filter’s radius once you can see the preview. 
  10. Save your result.

Mind that if you haven’t used Adobe Photoshop before, it might not be the simplest upscaling option. Firstly, you must purchase the software and learn how to use it. However, if you plan on working with it later, this could be a worthy investment.

To sum up

Image resolution is an important aspect to consider if you want to ensure the image will display well on different screens and carriers, from business cards to vehicle prints. If you want to work with large images, you have to either pick high-resolution files in the first place or use AI-powered tools to upscale average-quality pictures. As an alternative, you can opt for graphic editing software where you can manually manipulate your visuals. Try out several options and see which one fits your needs and requirements.

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