Setting the Bitmap Resolution

When drawing in bitmap, it is important to understand that, contrary to vector artwork, bitmap artwork is stored in pixels. This implies that, where vector artwork can be scaled and zoomed in without issue, bitmap artwork is resolution dependent, and is liable to drop in picture quality and appear pixelated if it is enlarged or zoomed in.

By default, bitmap layers created in Harmony have a pixel density of 100%. At this density, when your scene is not zoomed in and your artwork is not scaled up, each pixel in your artwork corresponds to one pixel in the rendered image. Scaling it up or zooming in will require Harmony to render several pixels using the same bitmap pixel, making the artwork lose quality.

Hence, before you start drawing on your bitmap layer, it is important to consider if you will need to zoom onto or scale up your artwork, and set the pixel density accordingly. For example, if you intend to scale your bitmap artwork up to 300%, or if you intend to zoom in from 12 fields to 4 fields, you should make sure your bitmap artwork's pixel density is of at least 300% before you start drawing.

The pixel density of a bitmap layer affects the amount of pixels it contains, but not its apparent size in the scene. For example, if your scene resolution is set to 1920 x 1080 and your bitmap artwork's pixel density is 300%, its resolution will be 5760 x 3240. However, it will be scaled down to 1920 x 1080, and the extra pixels will be used to preserve the image quality if the artwork is zoomed on or scaled up.

Calculate Bitmap Size

Bitmap layers are also limited by a canvas. By default, this canvas is set to be 200% of the scene's width and height. This means that your artwork can bleed outside any edge of the camera frame by 50% of its size. If you need your bitmap artwork to have a larger canvas, it is possible to change its canvas size. This can be useful for example if you want to create a panning background in a bitmap layer. If you want a background to pan horizontally over three times the width of the camera frame, you would need to set its canvas width to at least 300%, but it is recommended to make your canvas bigger than what you plan to use so as to avoid accidentally including the edges of your artwork in the picture.

You can specify the pixel density and canvas size at the scene level or at the drawing level:

  • Setting the pixel density and canvas size at the scene level will make it newly created bitmap drawings have the specified settings, but it will not change the pixel density and canvas size of existing bitmap drawings.
  • Setting the pixel density and canvas size at the drawing level will allow you to change the pixel density and canvas size of existing drawings in a bitmap layer, but will not affect the pixel density and canvas size of drawings created afterward.
NOTE If you are using textured brushes on a vector drawing layer, you must set the pixel density for vector drawing brush textures instead—see Setting the Textured Brush Resolution.

Since changing the bitmap resolution settings for your scene will only affect newly created bitmap drawings, you may also want to change the bitmap resolution settings for existing bitmap drawings. This is possible. However, if your bitmap layer already contains artwork, it will be resampled.

This is not necessarily a problem if you want to lower your bitmap layer's pixel density, which you might want to do to save on disk space and help Harmony's performance. However, if you want to increase your bitmap layer's pixel density, Harmony will have to generate extra pixels for your bitmap drawing, which will cause the image to lose quality. Hence, it is important to calculate and set the proper pixel density for your bitmap drawings before you start drawing.