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Setting up a new canvas for optimal results

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Hello, everyone! This is my very first post, although I've been poking around here for a while. That said, I'm a self-taught graphic artist and have learned much from this forum. My thanks to all for sharing your knowledge. OK, on to my question...

One of the things that is somewhat confusing to me is how to create my renderings in order to obtain the clearest, crispest result. For example, I created an invitation in PDN with a finished size of 3.7" x 6.7". I started with a canvas size of 11.1 x 20.1 so that when I reduced it down, it would retain the same ratio and as much clarity as possible. I did a "save as" in png format, then reduced it down to the finished dimensions. My final png was still really grainy looking, especially the text.

I am wondering if the original canvas needs to be set as something other than the default resolution of 96 pixels per inch. Should I have set that at a higher resolution setting? If so, what is appropriate? How large should the original canvas be in proportion to the finished size? What format will be best for clarity when producing the final image (i.e. png)?

Sorry if this question has been asked a million times, although if it has, I've not been able to find either the question or the answer here via the search function.

Many thanks to all for any suggestions, tips, etc, you are willing to throw my way.

Kind regards.

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This is recommended reading:

I am sure that this would be most helpful. Changing the DPI from default probably won't really do the trick. Starting the canvas at 4 times the finished size does help a lot. It seems that the best quality is achieved by upping the size in multiples of 4.


Knowledge is no burden to carry.


April Jones, 2012

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Actually, multiples of two probably work best without making the image absolutely huge. From the DPI link:

[NEW] Another thing to keep in mind - you'll probably want to work at 200%, 400%, 800%... (keep doubling) because pixels look best when cut in half, rather than in thirds or fifths. 200% or 400% should most often be big enough. For instance, sigs on this forum will eventually be 500x150, so working at 1000x300 is the simplest way to resize. It looks the best when it goes down exactly 50%. So, when you start off a project, increase canvas size by 200% or 400%, and when you're done, resize down to 50% or 25% to get your desired size. The computer works best that way.

(my emphasis in bold)

Remember it's nice & easy to divide by two, less easy to divide by 1/3's (as you did) ;).

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