Geek Girls Society: Welcome!

I've decided to start one of my New Year's Resolutions early this year! Welcome to one of my new regular posts for 2014! I hereby officially (ok, unofficially) form the Geek Girls Society, and invite you to become one of the founding members! (Blog badge to follow).

Here's what I'm thinking. We are the women who love and embrace technology, not only because it is shiny (mmm! shiny!), but because tech has a real and lasting influence for good in our lives. Let me rephrase. Technology enables us to do more good FOR and WITH the people in our lives. Which matters so, SO much more. Right?

So, if you:

  • Have ever named your computer, printer, camera, or external hard drive
  • Find yourself randomly daydreaming about how to organize your digital photos and/or digital supplies
  • Will freely admit to asking for RAM for Mother's Day
  • Blog, or wish you blogged more often
  • Consider as lifelong friends a bunch of people that you've never actually met
  • Know or can easily find the exact dimensions of the images you need to update your Facebook profile and header
  • Have more computers in your house than people
  • Hoard fonts
  • Own AND have installed, AND have used Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • Have created gifts, crafts, or home decor with the help of your computer
  • or wish that any or all of these were more true in your life,


The Geek Girl's Guide to Pixels & Resolution

To begin, let's talk about a subject I get a lot of questions about: Pixels & Resolution. This is an area that is critically important for getting great images in different contexts, but it isn't a subject that is easy to get your head around. Here's an infographic I think will help (click on the image to enlarge it).

Geek Girl's Guide to Pixels & Resolution.

The key thing to remember about size of an image is that it has TWO measurements: 

  • The number of pixels on each side of the image (1000+, big image; 600-, small image)
  • The resolution of the image (how many pixels are squeezed into each inch of space)

The main reason why this is important is that there are two contexts in which we use images - print and online. To get a great, crisp print, your image will need a lot more pixels at much higher density than a great, crisp image for the web

Big Images: Print great - way too huge for the web

The same image - let's say 3600 pixels wide - will appear 50 inches wide on a computer monitor (72 pixels per inch), and only 12 inches wide printed out. 

If you try to squeeze a huge number of pixels into an image for the web, it will either spread out to vast distances, or get squeezed down automatically by Facebook, your blog, whatever, and end up less crisp than it could be if you posted the image at its exact dimensions. There's just way too much data there.

Small Images: Look great online and terrible in print

Conversely, a small image - let's say 700 pixels wide - will appear 8 inches wide on your computer at 72 pixels per inch, but only 2.5 inches wide if you print it out. 

Worse though, is trying to print a very small image. If you try to spread out the 700 pixels to get your image to print larger, it will look gross. There's just way too little data there, so you'll get pixelated, grainy images.

And there we have Pixels and Resolution. Feel free to comment or ask questions! 

Next lesson: How to find the size & resolution of an image.