# File Resolution - Adobe Photoshop

Knowing the terms and their implied aspect ratios, how do you determine what size your matte painting or texture should be? Resolution is actually a misnomer, because in the strict sense, resolution refers to the pixels per unit length. Artists also refer to resolution as document’s pixel dimensions.

Common resolution terms for textures are 1 K, 2 K, and 4 K.Kilo(or 1000) is what K stands for, but since you are dealing ultimately with binary digital machines, K is actually equal to 1024 (or 2 to the power of 10).
1-K texture is 210 or 1024×1024 pixels
2-K texture is 211 or 2048×2048 pixels
4-K texture is 212 or 4096×4096 pixels
half-K texture is 29 or 512×512 pixels

You may be asked to make things to half K for small textures or television. Or you may have to make something 256×256, which is usually just called 256(not quarter-K) and 128×128. These are all powers of 2:29, 28, and 27, respectively.

Occasionally you hear someone refer to a 3-K map, which is a break in the math. You don’t get 3 K from a power of 2. This just means that someone wants a 3072×3072 map. It won’t be optimized, since it is not a power of 2, but is still a common texture size.

That all seems clear until you hear someone asking for a 1-K render or comp, and you are supposed to know that you are to deliver a 1024×778 image. If you are a genius, you probably looked at that and realized, “Hey, that’s a 1.32:1 ratio based on a 210 image width, so it’s probably because we’re working with Academy Full Aperture!” Yeah. The rest of us have to resort to memorizing the most common resolutions. Better yet, make a copy Table below and keep it near your desk.

Common Image Ratios and Resolutions

Even with these resolutions memorized, determining texture map dimensions takes a bit of calculation. You must know how close to camera your 3D object will get or how much of the frame your rendered object will take up.

Take a look at the following two images in Figure below.

Where will your textured object be in the frame?

At the 2-K film resolution, the texture for the right ball must be larger than the texture for the left ball. You can make a guesstimate by figuring out the proportion of the texture map seen in the context of therender, then apply the size to get the final texture dimension. This is a bit easier to understand with pictures. Take a look at one of the pictures from and approximate the pixel size of what is showing. Then take a look at the portion of the map that is seen in the render and approximate what ratio of the entire map is seen. Correlating these values, you can safely guess that a 2-K map works fine in this case. Doing the same calculations, you also see that you could have gotten away with a 1-K map in the other setting.

What portion of the texture map is seen?