Visual Fidelity of Print and Digital

Blogs and other computer-based media do a better job of integrating textual and visual elements than relief printing can because of their ability to reproduce photographs with higher fidelity. Traditionally, relief printing has only allowed for line art, such as printers’ devices or specially carved drawings.

Gold Ink on Type

Developed in the mid to late 19th century, the best photographic reproductions relief printing is capable of are halftone prints. Halftone is the process of converting an image to a set of dots of different sizes, which appear to the eye as an image when far enough away but result in the loss of visual information on closer inspection once the dots become apparent. One does not have to be particularly close for these dots to become visible in relief printing due to relief’s relatively low maximum dot density. While relief printing is at a distinct disadvantage with regards to visual detail, printing is not, as digital offset, while still using a halftone method, allows for higher linear resolution than most digital displays. In the end, however, blogs and digital media in general win out with detail as digital media allows one to zoom in on an image—no magnifying glass needed. In addition, digital displays allow for a higher dynamic range as they are additive color mediums opposed to print, which is subtractive.


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