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How do I go about creating large and very detailed images for print?

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by mtomsky, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. mtomsky

    mtomsky New Member

    I'm in the process of creating an A0 highly detailed illustrated Map. I have hundreds of small images which have been coloured and cut out in photoshop at 300dpi which will need to be placed on the map with text. I was thinking of using Illustrator for the background map and linking the images (saved as separate PNGs in order to keep the transparency) and creating all the text in illustrator. Is this the best way to go about it? Should I save the files at a lower resolution? If so, how low can I go without compromising quality? Any other advise on how to go about this without my computer slowing to a crawl or creating a ridiculously large file would be greatly appreciated.


  2. If you're creating at 100% then you can reduce the image res to 200ppi (probably further). You won't see a difference between a 200ppi and 300ppi file. Depending on the detail you want in the final item you can probably reduce further still. There's a discussion of image res for wide format output here What resolution should my artwork be? | Hudson Personally I'd reduce to at least 150ppi.

    Another tip - work in RGB. It is absolute nonsense that "if it's to be printed I should work in CMYK" and for wide format work it's often damaging to do so. I argue that from a colour perspective but a nice side effect of working in RGB is that pixel colours are defined in three numbers, whereas CMYK is four numbers. Needless to say, this means your RGB files will be smaller.

    Hope that's helpful.
  3. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Hi Martin,

    I did something very similar recently, and I basically did it by eye - if it didn't enlarge too well on screen, I went back and saved it a bit bigger.

    Do as much as you can in Ai to keep the file size down. Then, in Photoshop, the important stuff I kept at 300ppi (although, as Hudson says, 200 should be ok). Not so important stuff I reduced to 150, and then small stuff like trees were as small as 72, and still looked ok. Not much you can do to keep the file size down, though.

    Good luck!
  4. CritPrint

    CritPrint New Member

    Be clear that if in photoshop, you cannot have multiple resolution in a single file. If your file is created in 300dpi, no matter that image resolution you import into the psd file, all will be converted to 300dpi. (in fact, a 150dpi image will import 50% smaller in 300dpi file)

    Key thing is you need to know how far you'll be viewing the print. I print a lot of architectural presentation posters, those require loads of info on an A1 sheet, I always suggest to my customers that keep it at 300dpi, rough idea is about 20MB per A1 in jpg.

    In my experience, NEVER work in ai if you have large and complex files like architectural drawings, unless is it a simple graphic. You'll be having headache exporting / printing illustrator files. If you are going to have multiple files on a page, try inDesign instead.

    Agree with Hudson, NEVER use CMYK unless you have an accurate CMYK profile specific to your printer. It is pointless to work in CMYK where nowadays large format printers can reproduce more than 90% of AdobeRGB gamut.. which has significantly larger gamut than CMYK.

    Check out our services here: CritPrint 3D - Professional Large Format Printing and 3D Printing (this is our new website, so some info are not uptodate). if you require printing advice, feel free to contact me.
  5. "Agree with Hudson, NEVER use CMYK unless you have an accurate CMYK profile specific to your printer. It is pointless to work in CMYK where nowadays large format printers can reproduce more than 90% of AdobeRGB gamut.. which has significantly larger gamut than CMYK."

    You've made my day there. Someone who gets it :) It is so sad to see print shops shouting about their top end kit, then asking for CMYK artwork - leaving designers who don't know their colour spaces from their elbows to convert in default AdobeCS settings - so everything's in US Web Coated SWOP. Result: Accurate dull colour, or inaccurate colour when the donkey printer feeds the colour numbers straight into the RIP with input CM off.

    I'm going to ring you for printing advice :) Well, I'm going to ring you to see if we might do any business and because I'm nosey about 3D printing, trust that's ok.
  6. CritPrint

    CritPrint New Member

    Also, I had experiences where some potential customers tried to ask me CMYK or RGB, which I told them RGB.. then they never got back to me after hanging up... I generally think using CMYK is good to some extent, but with high quality photographic prints, RGB is the way to go especially with up to date printing machines. unfortunately, it is so common that those who were educated back then, they fail to realise this. Also, there are still loads of designers working with their computer's default colour settings and using uncalibrated machines etc... then yelling at their newest printers for poor colour accuracy :icon_eek:

    As with my printing knowledge, most of them were from what I learnt in photography and from experience, and I think colour management is a topic well worth learning even though it sounds technical.

    3D printing is a new service that I am trying to setup, no idea how successful it will be yet. lol.. but just drop me a line if you would like to find out more. I'm a little bit slow in updating my website though.. haha got tons of other things to sort out!


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