How to choose the right size of a Pet Portrait

Some of the visitors to my shop specialized in Digital Pet Portraits are wondering why there are multiple sizes available.

The size that you choose at checkout is the optimal size when printed at high-quality using premium materials and equipment. 

These files can be easily scaled, but not without a loss in sharpness.

Because I am committed to giving only high-quality artwork to my customers, I have to work on each picture until it looks excellent.

The larger images are more expensive because there is more work to do.

Any imperfection is more visible on larger images, and there are more details. For example, a 16*20” painting is four times the surface of an 8*10”.
I feel that it is fair if the price reflects the amount of work needed.

The rest of this article is of interest only for people interested in printing a digital version of a pet portrait. For the physical version, you can choose a size according to your preferences.

There are two types of digital images: bitmap and vector. Each type comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Bitmap images

A painting or a photo in a digital format is composed of tiny elements named pixels.

A pixel is the smallest part of an image that can be printed or displayed on a screen. 
If there are more pixels in an image, anyone can see more details, but only if the color of the pixels is accurate.


Bitmap image magnified to show pixels

Vector images

Vector images are composed of objects, rather than pixels, like lines, curves, squares, defined by mathematical equations. An object can have different colors, fill, or outlines.
Vector-based images are scalable, and you can print or display them at any size at the maximum quality, but only when using the native format. Almost all images displayed on web pages are already in bitmap format. Some minimalist, modern artwork is available in vector format. 
The real-life is much more complicated, so we have to use bitmap (raster) images.


Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image, usually measured in DPI (dots per inch). Professional artwork is traditionally printed at 300 dpi. If you want to print to a pillow or duvet, you can go to 100 dpi.

An image intended to be printed on canvas or paper needs many more details (pixels) than one that will only be displayed on a computer or phone screen. The quality is even more important than the quantity.

Increase the size of an image

An image can be made larger by resizing it, and it means that the pixels will be larger. The human eye will spot this easily.

A better option is to use interpolation. Many pixels will be added to the image, and the software will calculate the color of new pixels from the color of the surrounding pixels. The results will be better. After making more than 500 pet portraits, I know that the vast majority of pictures need to be enhanced, and the final version will already include a special kind of interpolation.

I am using my own combination of techniques to enhance the quality of the image that includes color and contrast adjustments, hair transplants, and manually painting over with a digital pen.

How to choose the right size of a Pet Portrait

  • If you only intend to use the picture online or on social media, choose the smallest version at checkout. It is more than enough, but it is also the least expensive.
  • If you intend to hang the painting on the wall, you will print the artwork on canvas or paper. In this case, you should choose the size you intend to print.
  • For pillows, blanket, duvet, or other textile material, you can choose a lower resolution of 100 dpi. It will still look great.

If you have sharp photos, made with a DSLR, you may have a pleasant surprise. If I can, I may give you a free upgrade to the next size.


Can a digital painting be printed at a smaller size?

Yes, the image can be printed on a smaller scale without quality loss. Sometimes it will be sharper, but it also depends on the printing device and inks.

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