Similar to pulse-echo ultrasound, optoacoustic imaging encodes the location of optical absorbers by the time-of-flight of ultrasound waves. Yet, signal generation mechanisms are fundamentally different for the two modalities, leading to significant distinction between the optimum image formation strategies. While interference of back-scattered ultrasound waves with random phases causes speckle noise in ultrasound images, speckle formation is hindered by the strong correlation between the optoacoustic responses corresponding to individual sources. However, visibility of structures is severely hampered when attempting to acquire optoacoustic images under limited-view tomographic geometries. In this tutorial article, we systematically describe the basic principles of optoacoustic signal generation and image formation for objects ranging from individual sub-resolution absorbers to a continuous absorption distribution. The results are of relevance for the proper interpretation of optoacoustic images acquired under limited-view scenarios and may also serve as a basis for optimal design of tomographic acquisition geometries and image formation strategies.