Resolution is one of the important indicators that directly affect the rendering effect, especially when it comes to 3D rendering and 3D animation in the architectural industry. Image you’re presenting to your client about your ideas, but the only visual you show is pale and blue. Apparently, the key issue is the resolution of the image. In this article, we’d like to introduce rendering quality, aka the resolution of renders with concepts and examples.
What are Rendering Resolution and Pixels?
Rendering resolution, or pixel resolution, is the number of pixels per unit area, while a sequence of numbers of pixels composes an image, and this smallest unit is denoted by “px”. The pixels determine the picture size. The units of resolution are dpi (points per inch), lpi (lines per inch), ppi (pixels per inch), etc. Resolution is generally divided into image resolution and screen resolution (display resolution), and it affects the fine degree of bitmap image details. For instance, a resolution of 2000×1500 refers to the image has a 2000 pixels width and 1500 pixels height.
No matter what the resolution is, it actually indicates how many pixels are in the horizontal and vertical direction of the image or screen. The combination of pixels and resolution determines the amount of image data. High-resolution renderings contain more pixels than low-resolution ones. Accordingly, the rendering time will be longer. Of course, the resolution quality depends on the situation, the task, and the requirement. Each designer can set the resolution in his way.
Definition of Render Resolutions
Actually, there is no exact size for one single pixel, because the image is digital instead of in physical form. However, in the printing industry, “resolution” can be used to describe the actual size of pixels.
As we described above, resolution is related to the quantity of pixels in an image. And render resolution is how many pixels in one inch. Here, we’ve compared some of the international standard pixels in the image below.
Resolution: the Higher the Better?
The answer is definitely yes. If the resolution is low, the image will look blurred and even you can see some squares. In general, the higher the resolution of a rendering, the more pixels it contains, so more detail and more subtle color transitions can be presented, and the colors on the screen will be clearer. In brief, high-quality rendering requires higher resolution.
We may get confused when distinguishing the resolution because different concepts refer to different objects. Let’s look at screen resolution as well as printer resolution.
Screen resolution is a property that indicates how much information is shown on a computer screen, and it can be measured in pixels. A screen of the same size displays fewer pixels in a larger size when the screen resolution is low (eg. 640×480), but more pixels in a small size when the screen resolution is high (eg. 1600×1200). The resolution of the image is directly affected by its size, measured in pixels per inch (ppi). For instance, since there are 25.4mm per inch, we can know of 72 ppi of the screen image resolution when it is operating in 800×600 px mode.
Printer resolution refers to the maximum number of points per inch that can be printed horizontally and vertically during the printing process. It usually uses the unit dpi (dot per inch). The printer resolution is a key index to measure the print quality, which affects the precision when printing images. That is to say, the print resolution also determines the output quality of the printer.
Image Resolution Requirements for Printing
Different devices and media vary in requirements for basic resolution so that they can represent a good-quality image. Let’s talk about some typical use cases for images.
In general, for an offset image to be sharp enough on high-quality paper, the image resolution should be twice the screen resolution used for printing. Since the screen resolution used for magazine printing is about 150 dpi, the image resolution it uses should be 300 dpi. But for the better quality of products such as 3D renderings, it often adopts higher resolution. For example, when you would like to print a 3D rendering image of brick walls, it usually applies 400 dpi. What’s more, line art images should have a higher resolution. Most printers recommend a minimum of 800 dpi and the resolution from 1200 to 2400 dpi will be better.
Because of relatively low-quality paper and high-speed printing speed, newspaper print does not require high resolution. It usually uses the resolution from 200 to 250 dpi. Besides, it recommends from 400 to 600 dpi if for line images.
Due to a billboard features large size and a long distance of viewing, it only needs a 30 dpi resolution. That means digital cameras are quite able to achieve this. If the resolution is higher, it would be a trouble for the computer loading.
If you want to print a high-quality photograph by using a 1000 dpi printer, 250 dpi will be the best choice of printing resolution. With this resolution, the printer is capable of printing satisfying colors of images.
Rendering Resolution Recommendation
In fact, there are no strict restrictions on any rendering settings. As mentioned above, each designer can set the resolution based on the task, the situation, the quality, and other requirements. In most cases, it would be sufficient when you adopt the resolution 720×480 px for preliminary renders. If you want to go further by using higher resolution, then you can choose 2000×1500 px for draft or sample renderings and 5000×4000 px for final renderings.
Animation Resolution and FPS
When talking about animation, we should first mention FPS (frames per second). Generally the higher the frame rate in the animation, the smoother and more realistic the action. The minimum comfortable value is 30 FPS while a standard viewing quality of a video should not be less than 24 FPS. If you tend to increase the animation resolution, you have to deal with each 3D animation image, so of course, you need more time to render. Meanwhile, with the increasing of pixels, the rendering also naturally requires more graphics processing units (GPU) to process. By the way, you should pay attention to the medium on which it will be projected when you choose resolution because it should be higher than the screen resolution that you use to present.
This article simply introduces rendering resolution and its application, so you know, high resolution plays a significant part in good-quality renderings and animation. You can find answers to what a render resolution is, why use a higher resolution, what resolution for printing, billboard or magazine, and also the guide for animation resolution.