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Viewing Distance for Fine Art Giclee Prints

I wanted to talk a little bit about viewing distance. I get asked all the while about ppi & dpi and how this relates to image quality, but I’m rarely asked about the third point which is viewing distance.

Those of you who have come to see me at my studio and those who have had telephone conversations with me will have heard me bang on about viewing distance.

PPI or Pixels Per Inch, is the screen resolution of your image file, this is important, as fewer ppi’s make smaller images, higher ppi’s make finer better quality images.

DPI or Dots per inch, is the bit i do when i print. An image that has 300ppi printed at 1440dpi will be 4.8 dots per pixel.

So artwork viewed from less than 60cm or 2ft in old money is best printed from a 300ppi image file.

Artwork viewed from 1metre away or 3.3ft can be printed from a 180ppi image file.

However, If your artwork is to be hung where someone can walk right up-to it and effectively stick there nose on the print I would always recommend an image file of 360ppi in resolution.

The Chart Below is based on someone with 20/20 vision, in good lighting conditions.

Viewing Distance Min Resolution
30cm (1 ft) 360 ppi
60cm (2 ft) 300 ppi
100cm (3.3 ft) 180 ppi
150cm (5 ft) 120 ppi
2m (6.5 ft) 90 ppi
3m (10 ft) 60 ppi
5m (16 ft) 35 ppi
10m (33 ft) 18 ppi
15m (50 ft) 12 ppi
50m (160 ft) 4 ppi
60m (200 ft) 3 ppi
200m (650 ft) 1 ppi