What Really Impacts Image Quality

When it comes to printing images, there are a multitude of factors and steps that can affect and change the image’s quality.

Images can widely be categorized as vector or raster. Vector images are composed of basic geometric shapes and are mathematical in nature, allowing the same image to be re-sized without causing any sort of distortion. Raster images, which include digital photographs and scanned images, are made of dots or pixels. In general, a raster image can be decreased in size without issue, but not increased in size.

Another factor in image quality is the resolution. Spatial resolution, which relates to the number of pixels or dots per inch that make up an image, dictates the output quality. An image with a higher spatial resolution contains more pixels per inch than an image with lower spatial resolution. Tonal resolution or bit depth is the amount of bits (smallest unit of information) used to display the color value of a pixel. A pixel with a 1-bit depth can display white or black in color. As bit depth increases so does the image’s ability to reveal other colors. An image printing in grayscale has 8-16 bits per pixel; at 8 bits, the image has potential to produce 256 shades of gray.

Different types of printing can also change the output quality. If you have questions or concerns related to your printing project, we can help determine what is best for your project, just ask your sale representative.