Is there a "best" DPI for backgrounds?

I’ve started doing some backgrounds in an external program and am had a question about DPI settings for the drawing. I’m using the default (600dpi) and wondered if there’s a preferred value for that. I’ll be importing the drawings into scenes and, since they’re background, just have the camera pan around them.

First of all DPI is not the right concept unless you scanned them in. The number of pixels is what we have to discuss.

Normally you should adjust the size of the background so that the tightess zoom in that you intend to do is equal to the output resolution of your project.

For example if you are in HDTV (1920x1080) and you think you will go from a 12 to 6 fields at some point, then the resolution needed would be around 3840x2080 (12/6*1920x1080). This is a fast rule that you can use. Sometimes you can have a bigger resolution but you have to be careful not to overdo it because you will run out of memory with huge images.

Thanks, Steve. I asked because the software that I’m using asks for DPI in addition to the height & width. I’d always used the defaults (600dpi for print, 72dpi for web) and was wondering if it makes any difference to Animate.

Sounds like you’re saying that Animate will ignore the DPI and treat a 6" by 3" by 600dpi image as 3600 by 1800 pixels. I’ll do some tests today to confirm that.

Thanks again,

DPI makes sense only when scanning or printing because it’s Dots per Inch and in most cases the size in inches of your screen (or the tv or film screen) is not relevant. HDTV monitor for example is concerned with pixels (1920x1080).

Hey, I completely understand the question worded in DPI. I’ve been a visual media professional for the past 15 years, and most of the time I work with people (and software) that don’t know anything about ‘fields’ (other than in respect to interlacing). Photoshop (the industry standard for visual design) asks for DPI and pixel dimensions when creating files, so DPI is a natural part of the conversation. Most people understand that and don’t expect you to translate it into fields.

That being said, the standard resolution for video (SD and HD) is 72 dpi. So, if you’re creating a background image for Toon Boom or After Effects, and you have no camera zooms in a scene, the image size needs to match your frame size (720x480, 1920x1080, etc.) and the minimum resolution would be 72 dpi. Increasing the number doesn’t necessarily increase the image quality, either. Personally, when I’ve used images with a super hi dpi (like 600), some of the finer details will artifact when played back on different devices - like TV or mobile.

At our studio, we don’t really do a lot of algebra to figure out what looks good. In our pre-pro we plan out how the camera is going to move, and use that information to decide the resolution of all the pieces that will appear within the 1920x1080 frame size. We like to keep things fluid, retaining the ability to tweak placement if something better is discovered during production.

Short answer - 72 dpi. And most people (clients) expect to communicate in those types of terms.

Happy Animating!

This is working the way that I’d expect it to. I saved a PNG file, 8.5"x11" at 600dpi. That’s 4961x7016 pixels. I imported it into Animate Pro 2 in a scene that is 1920x1080. On the import, I used project resolution.

I expected the image to be about twice as wide and 7 times as tall as the scene. Seat of pants measurement shows the image about 3 times as wide and 7 times as tall. Close enough for me.

I need to work with the line weights in the image; they’re coming out way to heavy in the scene.

At our studio we use 200dpi resolution to scan. BGs and characters. The whole bed is scanned. The compositors, when building the scenes determine the field size based on the storyboards and sometimes refer to the original layouts. One trick we use when we truck in is we make a whole new BG. If we truck from 12 field into 7 field for example, we use the information in that 7 field area, but we enlarge it to the original field, say 12 field, and continue the truck to the next close field. You can do that quite a few times with some patience. And if you maintain the same camera speed, you won’t notice the jumps. If there are any jumps they can be edited out in post, or you can choose to redo the camera work.