Steven Powers (SMP): Aspect Ratio ...Simplified

Aspect Ratio ...Simplified

Aspect Ratio (AR) is just that, a ratio between the width and the height of an image.  There is an in-depth wiki on the matter HERE.  But most artists really just want or need the simple version and how it relates to us.

Basically there are two Formats and AR's that you should know; Full Screen (FS) 4:3 (1.33:1), and Wide Screen 16:9 (1.85:1 or 1.77:1).  For example, an AR of 4:3 (1.33:1) means, for every 1 inch tall the image would be 1.33 inches wide.  Keep in mind you will also see other AR's.  Another common one which falls into the Wide Screen format is 2:35 which again will equal 1 inch high for every 2.35 inches wide.

The importance to know these is that if you are tasked to create a matte painting for a project or are given a specific AR, one must create an image that fits the shot. It is akin to knowing what frame your art work is designed for such as 8x10, 9x12 etc.

Other considerations to know from the beginning is if there will be any camera movement.  This way the painting can cover the entire shot and you will know what needs more detail and what doesn't.  An artist must be proficient at time management as well as constant results in regards to quality.  Also don't confuse Aspect Ratio and Resolution either.  Aspect Ratio relates to canvas size not quality (amount of pixels) which relates to resolution is DPI (Dots Per Inch).

I hope this helps you to avoid some pitfalls that a lot of people run into,

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