The Smart Image Tool works with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The AI we're using has studied more than 10,000 images and has made comparisons between different images to predict how image information (number of dots) behaves depending on the changes in image size (resolution).
The AI evaluates the information the user's image has and sees if the image can be adjusted by adding necessary information (DPI) to meet Printful's print requirements. The Smart Image Tool then doubles the image DPI for images with a low range of 38–74 DPI (75-149 for paper products).
For example, when the Smart Image Tool receives an image with 60 DPI:
- It analyzes the image and sees if any information can be added
- It adds the missing information so that the ''Average'' image becomes a 120 DPI “Adjusted” version
- It makes the image larger without losing any quality
Note: Please remember that the Smart Image Tool “adjusts” the image by using existing information to add the “new information.” Some details in your image may look a bit different.
How is using the Smart Image Tool any different from simply scaling up the image size?
When scaling up the image without the help of AI, the computer uses a fixed algorithm to build a bigger image. This means the computer has limited knowledge on how to use the information (dots) to build the image. That's why the larger image looks pixelated (see the image below). The Smart Image Tool, however, is trained to recognize what information needs to be added and does a better job of building the larger image.
Think of these two upscaling methods like two guitar players. One can only play songs exactly as they learned them (upscaling without AI), and the other one can improvise based on the songs they know (upscaling with AI).
Original image made 2x larger without the AI:
Original image made 2x larger with the AI: