Just imagine you are creating a beautiful piece of digital artwork and want to sell it at a convention. You upload it to vistaprint or cafe press or whichever online printer and eagerly wait for you work to come in the mail. Finally, the big day comes and you have your awesome piece of work you spent hours and hours on. You open the package and...WTF!? YOUR PICTURE IS BLURRY AS CRAP! You could have sworn your image size was correct for the print. So what the hell went wrong?
Glad you asked! It's probably because of one reason. You didn't check your DPI settings! What is that you ask? Glad you asked. D.P.I. stands for dots per inches. This means for every inch on your computer monitor, there is a number of pixels or dots presented in the image on the screen. This might explain it better:
As you can see between the inch, there are lines. Each line would be a representation of 1 dpi. So for the ruler above, this would be 25dpi at the top and 16dpi at the bottom. THESE ARE GOD AWFUL DPI SETTINGS by the way. Don't EVER make an image this small.
Even though you can make your DPI any amount, there are 2 common ones that you need to know about. 72dpi and 300dpi. 72dpi is small and great for saving file size. They are usually the images that you would post online or if you ever right clicked and download an image off a website, this is usually the size they are. However, these are NOT to be used for printing.
See the images above? The one on the left is 72dpi. Would you want to use that as your print? OH COURSE NOT! You need the image to your right! That is 300dpi. This is the preferred dpi for all printers and the safest one to use to get a clear image. Now, you can go above 300 dpi, but the human eye won't really know the difference. It'll still look just as clear and at that point, you're just making your files bigger for no reason.
So now that you know, you won't have any problems getting your clear prints back. Now go! GO MAKE MORE ART! Do my bidding!! MUaauahahahahuauahaahaha.a....--cough-cough-