Resolution is one of the important indicators that directly affect the rendering result, especially when it comes to 3D rendering and 3D animation in the architectural visualization 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 here. In this article, we’d like to introduce rendering quality, aka the resolution of renders with concepts and examples.

 

What is Rendering Resolution?

 

Rendering resolution, or pixel resolution, refers to the level of detail and clarity in an image or video produced by a rendering process. It 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.

 

Relationship between Resolution and DPI

To be honest, both resolution and DPI are referring the same thing: the clarity of a visual. DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, and it refers to the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within one inch. On the other hand, resolution in the context of digital images refers to the total number of pixels in an image, typically expressed as width x height in pixels. That is to say, DPI is not tied to the physical dimensions of an image; it is a measure of density. An image can have a certain DPI setting but still be any size.

The relationship between DPI and resolution becomes crucial when translating digital images to physical prints. The same digital image can be printed at different physical sizes depending on the DPI setting. If you want a higher-quality print, you might choose a higher DPI, which would result in a smaller printed size for the same image resolution. Let’s put it in an example:

An image with a resolution of 3000×2000 pixels.

To print it at 300 DPI: 3000 pixels / 10 inches = 300 DPI;

To print it at 100 DPI: 3000 pixels / 30 inches =100 DPI

Is that clear?

 

Size 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.

rendering-resolution-image-pixel-animation-res-cgi-3d-aimir

 

Worldwide Standards

Here are some of the most widely-used resolutions in the world. These resolutions are commonly used in the context of digital video, television, and display standards, with higher resolutions providing more detail and clarity in the images.

  • 480p (SD) – 854 × 480 – 409,920 pixels
  • 576p (SD) – 1024 × 576 – 589,824 pixels
  • 720p (HD) – 1280 × 720 – 921,600 pixels
  • 1080p (Full HD) – 1920 × 1080 – 2,073,600 pixels
  • 1440p (2K Quad HD) – 2560 × 1440 – 3,686,400 pixels
  • 2160p (4K Ultra HD) – 3840 × 2160 – 8,294,400 pixels
  • 2880p (5K Ultra HD) – 5120 × 2880 – 14,745,600 pixels
  • 4320p (8K Ultra HD) – 7680 × 4320 – 33,177,600 pixels

 

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.

rendering-resolution-image-pixel-animation-res-cgi-3d-aimir

A 1000 pixel images vs. a 300 pixel one. Rendered by AIMIR.

 

 

Screen Resolution and Printer 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.

– Printing magazines

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.

– Newspaper print

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.

– Billboard printing

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.

– Printing photos

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-image-pixel-animation-res-cgi-3d-aimir

A regular rendering vs. a postcard printing rendering with Xmas mood. Rendered by AIMIR.

 

Resolution Recommendation for Architectural Rendering

 

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 2K for preliminary renders. Of course the length and width should be decided based on your project requirements. 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.

rendering-resolution-image-pixel-animation-res-cgi-3d-aimir

 

Conclusion

 

Today, we introduce rendering resolution, its application, and why it is a critical factor in determining the visual fidelity of digital content. Now 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.

AIMIR is an award-wining architectural rendering studio that provides ultra-photorealistic rendering services for architectural designs. If you are looking for high-resolution visuals for your project, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to elevate your design job with our professional 3D rendering services.

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