Large Format Projects
I have been asked to design some graphics for a tradeshow booth. However, i am unfamiliar with the process of creating large format graphics, especially when dealing with photographs and such. Can anyone give me a procedure breakdown for creating large format graphics: E.g. do you have to uprez photos some how? Or do you need to work with negatives and high end scanners? What would be a standard method of creating large format graphics?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Best bet is to have a chat with whomever will be doing your large-format printing and ask them for advice and specs -- they'll be used to getting that question.
Our shop would request that you build the files at 150dpi and 100%. We would probably accept as low as 72 as long as the text was vector - if you build the file in Photoshop, be sure to submit the file as either a PDF or EPS (not a Tif) so that your type will print crisply. Although a trade show boot will be viewed more closely than, for example, bus shelter signage. So you'd benefit from the higher res.
We use Genuine Fractals to res up photos when necessary.
Never upres your files, they will only get larger with no or quality improvemnt sthat are not visibel to the human eye.
Ask whomever will be printing your files what their minimal and optimalor max dpi requirments are andtry and fall between there. Our 72dpi prints look great of our HP5000s and anything over 150 dpi is extra data that does not improve the detail. For a lamba or lightbox print you can go up to 200 dpi.
Would have to disagree about Genuine Fractals. All those programs including Extensis Pxl Smartscale are placebo's and testing at various sizes/images/settings shows no visible improvement. Yes the images look slightly differetn as if someone applied a median to them, but not better. If anyone can prove me wrong, please send files and let us know what you have found.
In my book "photoshop for Digital Video", I have some printed samples that compare these programs against photoshop bicubic interpolation, and you can judge for yourself if there is a difference. The images do not look any better and in my opinion the reason GF or Extensis do not print a before/after image on the back of their box.
I agree with Kim, the best place to start in setting up the project will be to contact the shop that will be outputting the job to determine their particular requirements and preferred output formats.
In general my experience with Large Format trade show type graphics and a few different printers would be to ship 125-150 dpi files in RGB as EPS or PDF. How to get there will really be determined by what the subject matter is, your computer and available software.
Wherever possible I prefer to work most graphical elements in Illustrator as this will produce much smaller production files and have the best possible out of text and other graphical elements. Typically, I will prepare any needed images in photoshop and then embed in Illustrator.
If you design requires you to work in Photoshop for most of the project, the final production file can get quite large in size and maybe seriously hinder workflow if the computer is not up to it. Where possible prepare the various elements as seperate files and then bring together at the end, with graphics prepared in Illustrator and placed in the final composite, (don't place and the resize as this will result in decreased quality).
Fo any images that require up-rezzing (is this a word?) you have a few choices such as the Genuine Fractals Kim mentioned, Smartscale ( I use it with good results) or make your scaling adjustments via photoshop in 1% increments (I have had very good results with this method. I have a couple of actions setup for this a 1% - Bicubic Sharper and the same action repeated ten times with the sharpen at the end ( I have played with a few different sharpening techinques and this seems to work under most conditions). For starters you might best be to use the photoshop scale method. Images that are up-rezzed will need to be cleaned up prior to final placement, and if compositing with others do all masking possible prior to placement in the final composite.
Overall, these can be fun projects under the right circumstances and be sure to plan out you workflow prior to starting as this can save loads of time as the file size increases. Also use the largest monitor possible,and take into account the final output size and how the elements will relate to each other when making the layout.
Thank you everybody for your comments and advice. What i am having to work with from a design perspective is largely up to me. The final size for the booth is 8ft.High x 10ft.Wide.
It would be nice to work with a product photo or two (which i can take the photo for) but i only have an 8megpix sony digital camera and i dont know how I would make that work. I somehow had it in my mind that you had to use a portrait camera (film) and some kind of high quality scanner that handles negatives, that you could scan the negative in at 12000 dpi or whatever and when added to your 150dpi composite might be of a decent size. As i really dont have access to that equipment, i guess i was hoping someone would offer an alternative when using decent digital images. If any of you are doing similar things with decent digital cameras, please fill me in. Maybe i am just asking too much from that medium?
Thank you again for all your comments, i really appreciate it.
Sorry, i forgot to ask Troy about his photoshop technique for upscaling:
You mention scaling by 1% and doing this 10 times. This equals a size increase of 10% or am i getting this wrong? If this is right, your original photo must be pretty close to your desired size to start with which doesnt sound reasonable to me. Isnt the whole problem that it is hard to get an original image that is 10 feet in size (for example)?
At any rate, I believe i can make the majority of the design elements in Illustrator but would like to add some product photos to the design which i guess would have to be raster images. I haven't found a program that "traces" bitmap images with any real decency, which was another alternative i thought about for a few brief seconds... :)
Thanks for any clarification...
The action is applied multiple times untils you acheive the size desired for the project. Some will apply a 10% scale in one shot, but tests I did a few years ago so somewhat better results with the 1% x 10 method.
You can 'embed the images into the Illustrator file or place into Illustrator using a 'link' to the original (this method is preferred by some printers), with the link giving you a smaller file and maintaining the raster file.
A quick design note... If you have images that 'MUST' be used but are of lower quality, you might try using the image in very large scale as a background element ( faded - monochrome - colorized etc) with a smaller higher quality product shot laid over the background.
Hope this helps,
Thank you for the advice Troy!
Have a super day everyone...