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Large poster but small image

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  • Large poster but small image

    I'm new at large print design and need to create a 3m x 6m poster at a minimum of 100dpi or I can make a 1.5m x 3m poster at 200dpi.

    The problem I'm facing is getting a photo large enough! The photo we want to use is 2848 x 3875px and it's very small in comparison to the poster canvas. I'm afraid enlarging it so much is going to look awful in the final print.

    What size images do people tend to use for these large scale projects? Will it be ok to enlarge an image that much or will it look terrible?

    The poster is going to be suspended in the air in a shopping centre so I'm guessing the resolution can't be too low.

    Many thanks for your help

  • #2
    Is your 39"x53" image at 72ppi? Or some other resolution.

    Who is giving you the minimum of 100dpi?

    When it doubt print it out. Enlarge the image and print as large a section of it that you can on your office printer, stick it to the wall and step back. Don't squint.

    For a banner going up in the air at a shopping center, if I knew it was going to be at least 15 to 20 feet of viewing distance, I might try 50dpi actual (not interpolated). Possibly 35 depending on the image but that might be pushing it.


    • #3
      I've never printed anything at a resolution as low as PrintDriver is talking about, but we have printed a lot of large banners and signs at 125-150 and they look fine at 5-10 feet away or more.


      • #4
        A good portion of the tradeshow graphics I do for my company are in the 125ppi range, and most are viewed from 5 feet away or so. They look really good. All of my text and line art are vector, so they print at max printer resolution.


        • #5
          We enlarge our magazine covers for shows/events all the time and usually they are about 3' x 4'. I've used pics as low as 120dpi for this and they are seen fairly close up, with no problem.

          So I agree with PD if you are going to be hanging it from a ceiling or far away then you are okay to go with 100dpi at least.
          I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. ~ Kurt Cobain


          • #6
            I wouldn't do tradeshow graphics or anything you can walk up to and touch at anything under 100dpi real (not interpolated.) Finding imagery is half the battle.


            • #7
              Sorry for not replying sooner - and thanks to all those who replied! The printers recommended the DPI to be 100 if it was at 3m x 6m.

              I've attached a screenshot example of how much I'd have to enlarge the image by. It's over 400%!

              So the red block is the size of the photo I would have to stretch to cover the majority of the canvas. Surely this is going to look terrible?


              • #8
                If the file is a unique image that you cannot go back and reshoot, then you can probably res it up a step at a time with "Genuine Fractals". You likely can get away with 72 dpi since the viewing distance will be great.
                If you can go back and reshoot, start with a 10 or 16 megapixel camera.
                Or if you can stitch multiple images together to create the final, this might be an option.
                *sorry, no self-promotion*


                • #9
                  Way back in school I remember the term "aesthetic distance" being used. I've never heard the term used since then, but I've always remembered it and factored it into my work.

                  What it refers to is designing something to match the distance from which it's usually viewed. For example, a wall-sized photo will rarely be viewed from 12 to 18 inches away, like a magazine or website might be viewed. Instead, the ideal viewing distance might be several feet or, in the case of a billboard, a couple of hundred feet. Consequently, from these "aesthetic distances," the resolution doesn't need to be especially high — just high enough for the image to look sharp from that distance.


                  • #10
                    ^exactly <b>

                    And I've given up long ago on arguing about the step conversions using any type of pixel generating program. Viewing distance vs time to muck around with stepping something up isn't ever worth the effort. It doesn't work too great at short viewing distances and for anything over 15' just save yourself the time and use the correct Photoshop bi-cubic interpolation. We have on occasion done some LVT to rescan on some images just to get something to go really huge but even that option is going out as the LVT machines slowly die. I only have one vendor with one (the same one who still has a working drum scanner )

                    edit: I will admit to having used pixel-generating software and I know a guy who's a whiz at making silk purses from sow's ears but it takes billable time, and far more than just punching a button that says "Make My Photo Larger."
                    Last edited by PrintDriver; 06-15-2012, 06:27 AM.






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