Billboard File Setup For Print - Help Needed


Wondering if anyone can please advise.

I an creating a billboard to the below dimensions, not something I have worked with before so wanting some expert opinions please:

I have set the file up to 1/2 scale following the instruction. It’s a CMYK 8 bit Photoshop File, canvas size 12.415” x 6.29” - i have then added an extra 0.125” around each edge to allow for bleed.

I’ve dropped my artwork in and have then exported as a Photoshop PDF. There are no crop or bleed marks/guides to show where the live area ends and the bleed starts as there would be in Indesign or Illustrator.

Does this sound correct based on the brief? Second guessing myself

Thanks in advance!

There are some large format people on the forum that will be more helpful than I. The way I am reading the table, it looks like they’re saying bleed is not applicable – which seems odd. The other odd thing is the delta in PPI between 1/2 scale art and full scale art. I don’t get that. I get that half scale needs to be higher res since it is getting enlarged, but 408 PPI vs. 17 PPI seems like quite a difference.

The only thing odd to me is it says to include bleed, but the table just above shows the live area and the safe area but in the bleed/trim/finishing section it says N/A so it doesn’t actually call out how much bleed to include even though it says to include the bleed.

I would try to clarify how much bleed is needed and then provide the final file set to those dimensions (the live area + the bleed) and send the file over.

@Steve_O I thought that was a little odd too. The terminology.

1/2 inch for every foot of art is not 1/2 scale. That is 1/24th scale. Which is why at full scale being 17 dpi, 24 x 17 is 408.

And like Steve I would definitely like to hear what some of our large format folks have to say, because not listing a bleed seems odd.

Well, at least one of us is paying attention. I saw “1/2 scale” and figured they meant … you know … 1/2 scale.

Ha. I wasn’t calling you out. The screenshot they include calls that 1/2 scale. It’s not 1/2 scale. It is definitely 24th scale.

Thanks so much all!

Agreed on bleed, i’ll try clarify - also have never set up artwork for a 24x12 foot billboard in Photoshop?! Usually always an ID file with bleed and crops on export so throwing me off

I do also have another brief - slightly different specs but includes bleed details if you think this helps clarify anything? @CraigB @Steve_O

Really appreciate your advise

All good. You looked more closely than I.

Having specs that show the bleed size makes a lot more sense. That combined with @CraigB’s clarification make this seem pretty straight forward. It doesn’t look like you added enough bleed, though, since you said you added 1/8" inch to the “1/2 scale” dimensions.

That other screenshot makes much more sense. Set up your file at the 12.75" wide by 6.625" high at 408 dpi but draw guides to show the live area and safe area (mainly for you to make sure your art and text, logos, etc. are in the safe space and especially within the live area.)

If you’re more comfortable you could always set it up in InDesign, make sure any placed images are 408 dpi or higher at the “1/2 inch scale”. Then you can export a PDF with bleed (but no crops) and make sure it’s set to not compress imagery. Then you can open the PDF in Photoshop at the final 12.75" x 6.625" bleed size at 408 dpi. Save as a TIFF, Photoshop PDF or JPEG set to 12 compression and be good to go, IMO.

Amazing @CraigB @Steve_O - thanks so much both, makes sense now - appreciate the help!

What type of printer are you printing this to?
You can tile it with overlap and bleeds in the rip software.
But if I were you I’d just concentrate on the full size file with no bleeds if you’re not doing the printing

Sounds like Craig and Steve-o got you all set.
For the record, I hate that 1/2"=1’ scale. Too much Math.
We always ask for 1:10 scale for large stuff. Work in inches, just move decimal point. :slight_smile:

How odd that they are asking for a CMYK file, especially in this era of digital billboards. To be safe I would make sure all your type is transformed to Outlines.

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They’re looking for completely rasterised file from the looks of it.


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@Smurf2 @PopsD @PrintDriver thanks all, to clarify it’s a Print billboard

Will send over as you’ve all suggested above and hopefully shuld be good to go! Such a strange brief

It isn’t odd any more smurf. The photoshop generation arrived 10 years ago. We have been doing really large format raster output (on 5-meter machines) since around 2008 and for the largest stuff we do, it’s almost all raster.

We generally do billboard sized stuff using 1:10 @ 300ppi with an 8" bleed all around. For broadcast and stage, it drops to 250ppi. Quite often for broadcast, a good bit of gaussian blur is added too. HD cameras can do really weird things to sharp vector stuff on printed backdrops.

Ha - landed more than 10 years ago.
I’ve seen whole magazines designed in photoshop, page by page with PSDs for every page.

I don’t really care if someone wants a single flat image to print - it exhonerates them from any errors with paths/clipping masks/fonts not embedded etc.

A completely flattened file for large format is pretty odd for me - because typically I’d send over a properly layered PDF in the usual way - live text - and all that.

Just to me when I see specs like these it feels like I’d be dealing with someone that hasn’t updated their equipment in 20 odd years.

I don’t really care - I’d just set it up that way.

I’ve seen a lot worse.

At the end of the day - it’s not a deal breaker. Just to me sends thoughts of this being a little bit outdated in their workflow.

But hey - if it works who cares, right?