Aspect Ratios - Adobe Photoshop

Aspect ratio is a way of expressing an image’s proportions, which are always stated as the horizontal size versus the vertical size. Therefore, 1.78:1 means that the width is 1.78 times as long as the height. You may also see this expressed as 16:9. The normalized ratio(1.78:1) is often used because it is easier to calculate the dimensions from this ratio. When speaking of the normalized aspect ratios, usually just the first number is recited without the decimal. In that case, 1.78:1 would be recited as “one-seven-eight.”You can see a graphical representation of some common aspect ratios and their relation to each other.

Some common aspect ratios expressed with the height normalized.

common aspect ratios expressed with the height normalized

At one point, television and film shared the same aspect ratio. That is, the ratio of width to height was 1.33:1. This ratio was called the Academy Ratio because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had this ratio as its standard for film. When television was developed, the designers kept the same ratio for the screen.Makes sense, right?

As human ature would have it, people started staying home, watching more television, and fewer people saw any reason to go to a movie. The movie industry decided to make movies “grander” than television by making the aspect ratio different, and now we have to deal with the plethora of film formats.

These two aspect ratios are most common for film today:

  • 1.85:1(also known asAcademy Flat).
  • 2.35:1(also known asAnamorphic Scope).

These are less common but still used aspect ratios:

  • 1.66:1(common for overseas/European releases).
  • 2.20:1(70 mm).

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