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High quality printing file is too large!

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  • High quality printing file is too large!


    I specifically made an account to ask this question. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read!

    So, I have an artist client who wants me to help her create a collage piece using artwork that I have taken photos of. She is planning to print these 80 x 60cm on canvas.

    I understand that for great quality the images need to be 300dpi. The issue is that when I duplicate these images (possibly 100 copies on one file), the file size gets too huge. Just saving this .ai file is taking 10-15 mins.

    My question is: if I create the document say 50% of the required size (40cm x 30cm; or even smaller!), will the image quality deteriorate when printed at 100%? Vectorizing the images isn't an option either.

    Or have I done something completely wrong and is there an easier way to go about doing this?

    Thanks for your time!


  • #2
    (80 x 60cm is 31.5" x 23.6")

    You cannot work at half scale and halve your resolution. If you work at 1/2 scale and want to output 200%, then you have to double your resolution. So if you want 300ppi at full scale, at half scale you have to be working at 600ppi.

    No, vectorizing the images is not an option.

    You need to back up a little bit.
    - Exactly HOW is the artist printing these to canvas? What type of printer is being used, and what type of canvas (as in gesso smooth, a canvas texture, or one of the rougher fake brush stroke ones?

    - How much bleed is needed (ie is the artist wrapping the image onto the sides of the stretcher frame or is a frame covering the sides.) Your bleed could be inches, not millimeters. If a frame is being used that captures (covers) part of the face of the canvas, you might want to ask what the frame's visible opening is and use that as a safety. Don't put anything important in the (usually) 3/16" to 3/8" frame capture (at this size.)

    - Are your native images CMYK or RGB? I ask because a lot of fine art printers use machines with up to 9 ink colors. That allows for a much wider color gamut from the normal CMYK. A lot of these print vendors prefer native RGB in order to apply their custom machine/media profiles to get the most vibrant color profile possible. And RGB images are smaller. Once you convert an image to CMYK, the color is lost forever. You can't get it back by converting a CMYK image back to RGB.

    You carry a common misconception regarding the 300ppi number. Especially when doing this kind of print output.

    If these are giclee prints, the resolution should be somewhere in the 150 to 400ppi range. But you have to ask the printer. There comes a point where resolution vs machine output becomes a point of no gain. The printer, if they are a fine art printer, should be able to tell you what your maximum full scale resolution should be. Don't be surprised if they say 150ppi to 200ppi. That is fairly common for prints on a linen or rough canvas media as the roughness of the media helps with the apparent resolution. It might be 200-300ppi maybe for gesso smooth but you might pay a ''fine art'' surcharge because the rip time will be longer. Typical production art (as opposed to fine art) on such a printer is run anywhere from 75 to 150ppi.

    I've only ever seen images in the 300 to 600ppi range on fine art photo prints that are printed on photo paper, not canvas. And there is a serious upcharge for that. Normal production resolution on that kind of printer is 200ppi, and again, it is not used to print on canvas.

    Do you have access to Indesign? Because Illustrator is the wrong tool for this type of layout. Illustrator is really dumb about how it handles placed images. Plus if you are saving with PDF preview turned on, you are working with a mightily bloated file. You could do this far faster and with better control in InDesign. You could try turning off the Illustrator PDF save function to see if that helps. It doesn't hurt the file and can always be turned back on later. it does have to be turned back on if you are outputting the .ai as a placed image in InDesign for any particular reason (it's fairly common to do that too.)

    You are placing the images, right? DO NOT EMBED THEM. They should always be placed as links.

    Another option might be to do this completely in Photoshop, if your computer has the ram/processor/scratch space to handle what sounds like about 100 layers. Photoshop is an acceptable tool for fine art but you don't have as much control over the final output as you would with InDesign.

    Again, Do Not Forget your bleeds.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 08-14-2016, 11:38 AM.


    • #3
      Hi Chrstna and welcome to GDF.

      We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
      Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


      • #4
        Layer and combine all the photos and images in Photoshop and flatten it. Now you will have one photo to place in your poster design. Add text in either illustrator or in design.


        • #5
          Kayekaye have you ever done photo work for an Artist? They aren't like regular clients. You have two artists potentially fighting over aesthetics.
          I'm betting that there is going to be more than a little bit of, ''can you move this image 3mm to the left and that one 1mm up?'' so the thing has to be kept live until print ready.
          Plus the designer has to be sure of their color balance and profiling on all of the images before incorporating and flattening.
          The computer being used has got to have the balls to hold multiple layers open in Photoshop. I'd pretty much shut the history off, and make sure the thing was pointed to a dedicated scratch space with close to 200 gigs available.

          It is a possible solution though.

          I'm not at all understanding the purpose to this collage and the ''duplication'' of images to 100 copies.
          Maybe the OP will get back to us.






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