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Poster printing - A0 size

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  • Poster printing - A0 size

    Hi all,

    I have designed this poster using stock photography and overlayed a grungy vector texture on top of the image. The image has also been desaturated with only subtle colour coming through in the background. It's only for personal use and I am planning on getting it block mounted as well. It's my first time doing a large format print, so I'm hoping someone could give me a heads up on a few things.

    Firstly, the image dimensions are 6652 x 4365 at 300ppi, and as I want to get this printed at A0 size I'm wondering if this is a good enough quality to send off to the printer? The text and grunge texture are vectorised so I'm also wondering if there's anything I need to be careful of as far as printing a rasterised image with vector elements?

    Lastly, what would be the correct colour mode/document profile to send this out in? The image has been edited with layer styles and it contains some transparency so I want to make sure the colours come out fairly accurately and the black prints nicely.


  • #2
    With any new print process that you've never used before, the best idea is to talk to your printer before you even begin designing.
    This is so you aren't designing in the wrong color space at the wrong resolution for your imagery.

    Is the whole thing created in Photoslop? Text included?
    Ask your printer how they want to deal with a PS file with vector images. Most would take the layered photoshop file with the vector elements placed as smart objects, and text kept live (with fonts provided) but you have to be careful. A good shop will output this in a format that will preserve the vector art. Others may just flatten the whole thing into a .psd or .tif and print it all as raster.

    In the world of large format 33" x 47" is actually pretty small.
    It sounds like you do not understand the relationship between inches and pixels.
    For a poster this size, optimal resolution for a standard print would be 100-150ppi at final size.
    For an art print, you might push 200 but not with any real noticeable upgrade for the cost of the extra rip time.
    For a gallery print, yeah, you might push 300 to 600 depending on your output.
    What you have at 6652 x 4365 @ 300ppi is a 22" x 14.5" image at 300ppi.
    Since you have to more than double that size to get to your 47" x 33" you are going to be under 150ppi (actual will be somewhere around 130ppi-ish)
    130ppi is actually fine for this size art too, but that 130 is all dependent on what kind of interpolation you may have added to your imagery during creation.
    GIGO rule applies (Garbage In Garbage Out)

    The other question you might have to consider is, is this an exposed-photo-paper type print or an inkjet type print? The former is the only RGB print process out there (Lambda, Lightjet, and assorted other film units). You would want to design and use imagery in the RGB format. It doesn't help to convert CMYK imagery to RGB as the color information has already been lost. The latter process is your typical CMYK process but you should ask your printer what profile to use in order to accommodate their work flow. For most it will be US sheet-fed SWOP v2.

    For mounting you will need 1/4" to 1/2" bleeds for something this size. That's all around.

    For something this size, your bleed equals your safety. Don't put anything you don't want cut off within that 1/4 to 1/2" of your live area. Most printers are also professional mounters and shouldn't be more than 1/16" to 1/8" off in their mounting even on larger pieces. Don't push your luck.

    I'd recommend an overlam if you are doing any kind of paper print. This could be done on an SAV (self-adhesive vinyl) as a solvent print, depending on how archival you want it (most of the photo papers and a few of the inkjet papers are fairly archival in nature, vinyl and solvent inks not so much.)

    As to color, density, contrast etc, if it is that important to you, all I can say is "Get A Proof."

    Last edited by PrintDriver; 02-28-2017, 07:39 AM.


    • #3
      Well, your image at A0 size will end up with an effective resolution around 130 ppi. That's enough pixels in many large format scenarios, but whether its enough here depends on the output method* and the viewing distance. Not that it necessarily applies to the image you used here, but don't make the mistake of thinking that resolution and "quality" are always in direct proportion. It's entirely possible for a very high resolution image to be of poor quality. More specifically to this case, you've already obliterated the image's perceivable "quality" quite a bit with the texture, so some resolution compromise probably wouldn't matter much in the end.

      As for mixing raster and vector, that gets done all the time. The raster image will print at its effective resolution, and the vector elements will be rasterized at the resolution of the output device. Just make sure you take a good look at the "pieces" of that texture at a size near the final output size. Vector-based textures very often enlarge poorly; what looks like relatively pleasing "distress noise" at its original size can become weird, chunky shapes when grown.

      As for color mode, etc., one can really only generalize. My approach is to deliver the widest gamut possible so as to leverage all the gamut of the output device.* For instance, if the output is to be done on a 6 or 8 color inkjet, squeezing it down to CMYK up-front would be a mistake. This particular image is not going to be a major gamut or saturation challenge, but you're correct to be concerned about the blacks.

      *The 3 most important words of advice I can offer: CALL THE PRINTER. Ideally, you'd have done so before even editing that raster image. You'd certainly have fewer questions to ask here, but aside from that, composing a raster-image-based design without knowing everything you can about the output intent constitutes a failure to optimize the final result from moment one. The only way you can get definitive direction on minimum/optimum resolution and color requirements is to CALL THE PRINTER.

      I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


      • #4
        The part where I said ''For most it will be US sheet-fed SWOP v2'' that is for most printers you will run into. Quite a few others, more and more all the time, are requesting image links in RGB so they can apply their custom profiles to the file. As HotButton pointed out, you want to give the printer the maximum amount of color information you can and some will go that extra step of suggesting RGB.
        However, once an RGB image is saved with a CMYK profile there is no way of getting that color back. So if saving an RGB image as CMYK, save a copy of it and keep the RGB image available should you need it later. It's no use trying to change a CMYK image back to RGB. The damage has already been done.

        On the topic of stock images, some stock companies convert all of their imagery into RGB because the file is smaller than a CMYK file, making it easier to transfer online. A lot of times too, they will standardize to sRGB instead of the actual camera RGB profile. In a lot of cases, the camera profile is preferred over sRGB, with ProPhoto RGB considered the standard best. But good luck fighting that fight. The other thing some stock companies do is compress their stock to .jpg for file transfer. You want a .psd or .tif file with no compression applied. Since some stock sites only store jpg files, it doesn't help to ask them for a tif version. They just change the jpg back to tif and at that point the compression damage has already been done. A high quality jpg is still fine for most print use, but if going really LARGE (ie much larger than you working on) you are going to want all the help you can get. Sometimes it requires an email or a phone call to customer service to inquire into higher resolution file types. And sometimes it requires looking elsewhere for your stock image.



        • #5
          Thanks guys for the in depth responses.
          It seems I have showed a little ignorance here but thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I now have a much better understanding of a few things.

          Regarding your question PrintDriver - the image has been done in Photoshop with the text done in Illustrator and kept as a smart object.
          But yes, I will clarify everything with the printer to make sure it all goes smoothly.

          And good advice about checking the texture! I will have a look at that.



          • #6
            A more professional solution would be to Place the image in Illustrator and do the text there and save it for print. Not a photoshop file.


            • #7
              Thanks, will do that instead.
              How do I make sure the image has the widest gamut? The image will be sent as a hi res PDF in Fogra39

              I am new to printing and just trying to get the hang of it, so thanks in advance for the help.
              Last edited by SabrinaN; 03-01-2017, 09:45 PM. Reason: Got it


              • #8
                You need to ask the printer how he wants the handoff files prepped.
                Since you are the EU (?) I'm not much help.
                In wide format, the general rule is native file, not PDF, but that's here in the US.


                • SabrinaN
                  SabrinaN commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm in Australia and PDF is the more common print file here. But yep seeing the printer today. Thanks

              • #9
                PDF is most common in the US too. For conventional printing.
                But you are doing large format. Different animal. Different rules. I deal with a couple dozen large/wide format vendors at any given time and all of them to a man (or woman) definitely want native files over PDFs. Every time.

                I'd check with your printer before handoff.






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