[thelist] hard won vector art tip...

Jacob Stetser icongarden at icongarden.com
Mon Nov 13 05:36:09 CST 2000

Whoa, neither the precious Apple comment nor the MS can't read standards comment are apropos for this conversation. While either might be true, the problem here is that operating systems are operating under a resolution-dependent paradigm and they don't agree.

Having used OS X for about a month and a half now, I know that some of those issues are dealt with in the next version of Apple's OS. I don't know about Windows. The effective resolution of a Mac OS X screen is ~96dpi.

However, as long as we still use bitmap-based imaging technology, we have to account for the fact that displays have differing standards - Macs with 72 dpi and PCs with 96dpi.

Finally, Apple chose the 72 dpi number for a specific reason - using old dot-matrix and laser printers, 72 dots on screen represented both an inch onscreen and on paper. That made the lives of people who worked in print a whole lot easier.

I have no idea what the 96dpi number is based on, and I won't conjecture. Presumably MS had their reasons.

Finally, the issue at stake here is that dpi is increasing rapidly and all current OSes are still using bitmaps for their widgets. Time to use vector graphics :) and to resample on-the-fly for things like web images.

Scary note: how will your web images look on a 200dpi monitor? What if the person ups the text size so that it can be read? The images will be tiny, and if they aren't, they'll suffer from bad pixelization.

On Monday, November 13, 2000, at 12:27 AM, isaac wrote:

> > This is only true for Windows 
> > <tip type='Windows screen res incompatibility'> 
> > MS can't read standards. They 'misread' standard screen res as 96dpi, 
> > not 72dpi, and accordingly ensured that Windows fonts are always too 
> > big (relative to standard). This is why many (designed on Windows) sites 
> > are unreadable on (standards-compliant) Macs. 
> Martin, 
> To what standard are you referring? Will it still be a "standard" to you 
> when your precious Apple starts to license 300dpi display technology for 
> purposes of crisp on-screen text (likely to be very valuable for print 
> designers I'm sure)? 
> We've talked about this before WRT Microsoft's release of IE5 for Mac OS, 
> and their using 96dpi as the default setting for rendering of text. Here's 
> my response then (and now): 
> --- 
> Both PC and Mac rely on stupid assumptions here - that their displays are 
> running at 96 and 72 DPI respectively. AFAIK, neither asks the display 
> subsystem how many DPI it is currently showing and renders accordingly. 
> Incidentally, from what I've read, there are Matrox cards that allow the 
> user to specify a DPI. Why not give users a choice in the browser too? So, 
> by *default* IE5/Mac allows more people to  view more sites as they were 
> indended. Not "all", but "more". Sure, it might screw up people who serve 
> Mac-specific stylesheets, but that'd hardly be a majority... 
> IE5/Mac also allows you to specify whether you want to go by 96 or 72 DPI, 
> so if you're bitter (obviously), and like your small Mac fonts, and mostly 
> unreadable sites, then change away. 
> To recap: they've implemented a "safety" default of 96 DPI so that more 
> sites than ever are immediately readable on the Mac, and they're also 
> allowing anyone to change the sizing, whether for reasons of personal 
> preference, or to simply read a specific page.Yet, you've been complaining 
> for months, and continue to do so. 
> It's interesting to note that Netscape are also adopting 96 DPI as default. 
> Here's a quote from Netscape's Mike Pinkerton: "We`re rendering at 96dpi 
> instead of the old 72 to match the web "standard" which is win32. IE5Mac is 
> doing this as well." 
> And I believe that Mozilla on Unix has a default value of 96 DPI too 
> --- 
> If SCSI became accepted as a "standard", should no one develop USB, USB2, 
> Firewire, etc? Hey, let's go back to dirt tracks instead of bitumen - 
> forever. 
> John's advice, perhaps with an alteration, is still sensible: 
> "for best viewing for the majority of a general audience, export from 
> Illustrator to SWF at 96dpi." 
> That is, if you have a general audience, and hope to give the majority the 
> best viewing experience you can provide, export with Windows users in mind. 
> Note the quote from Mike Pinkerton, whose "-ing of "standard" suggests that 
> there are no official standards with which to comply. So, the best bet is to 
> go with the "web standard" of 96dpi. 
> IBM ships first 22" 200dpi displays 
> http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/11/11/1457202&mode=flat 
> Have fun with your 72dpi... 
> isaac 
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