Large Format Printing (Laptop Freaking Out) (Down Sizing Advice)

I’m working on a banner in Photoshop that is (33,5X79in)
and I set it to 300dpi which gave me a PSD of (10083x23733px).

My laptop is not handling this very well…
Every change either takes 5min to process or freezes.
I’m not ready to buy a new computer just yet, for this one project.

I would like to reduce it to a smaller size,
and then increase it back up once complete.

I’m just not sure…the best way to do this…
I decreased the resolution to 100…which also decreased the pixel size…
but then I noticed that If I decrease the pixels…the resolution does not go down.

Should I be leaving it at 300 Resolution for print quality,
and reducing the pixel size?

Or should I be decreasing the actual physical dimensions…
Ex. 80In into 40in.

Cause Even at 100 Resolution (I think that’s PPI).
It’s slow…and sluggish…

I mostly do digital graphics (72 resolution) usually no higher than 2 000px
Never had any issues…though I rarely print anything…so I don’t have much experience
with how something on screen translates to paper…

This is my first post…
sorry if I’m rambling…
I’m not sure if I can upload a picture?
I’ll try…This is a picture of the “image size” in photoshop.,

Size Reduction

There are a few large format gurus around that can speak to what’s needed for printing.

Regarding the pixel to resolution question, pixels are what matters as that’s what makes your image data. Reducing the number of pixels in the document, reduces the overall document size. Dimensions and Resolutions are merely just units of measurement in the document, and only used to translate the size of 1 digital pixel to the real world (hence Pixels Per Inch).

FYI photoshop defaults to having Resample Image on, when this is off you will see that altering Width, Height, Resolution has no impact on document size (number of pixels being used)

1 Like

The first thing to do is contact the print provider for minimum specifications. Surely you don’t need 300 ppi.

Next, don’t do any part of the graphics for this in Photoshop that could be done in vectors. Unless there is a raster image that covers the whole banner, treat it like a mixed-format layout and compose it in InDesign. (That’s how I’d do it even if there is a full-width raster image.)

Also, make sure you ask about bleeds, mounting considerations, etc. A large-format banner isn’t a good fit for someone inexperienced with print design; the output provider is your best resource for making sure you’re doing it right, or at least the way they need it to be.

You should be doing it in Illustrator and any rasterized images could probably get away with being 150dpi.

Illustrator sucks at handling large images. I’d use InDesign, simply because it does large image handling faster.

That said,
33.5" x 79" is tiny in wide format printing.

Your image should be 100-150ppi at final print size, assuming you have that to work with (usually you won’t.) Depending on your viewing distance, for a banner this size, I wouldn’t recommend below 75.

Your placed image should include bleed. What that is depends on what kind of print this is.
You say a banner, but you need the finishing bleeds. you may need an inch each side for hemming and up to 6" top and bottom for pole pocket finishing. Web and grommets would only need an inch.
Make sure your image has that bleed.

Be aware of your safeties. Banners are stitched. You don’t want that stitching going through important content, especially not your text.

I don’t understand your photoshop screenshot. Your image is only 76.1megabytes. That is more than small enough for most computers to handle, assuming you have at least 8 gigs of ram. Images this size are scratch hogs though. If you don’t have the hard drive space available for re-writes, your computer is going to lag - or crap out completely.

Eh six of one Illy pdf, a dozen of another Indy pdf. When I worked in large format I would be ecstatic to get an Illy file.

300 ppi (not dpi) is for arms-length reading. Unless people will be standing 18 inches away from your banner and reading 12-point type on it, 300 ppi is total overkill. 100 to 150 ppi should be fine.

If you throw away half the file’s data, it’s gone. You can’t magically make it reappear by sampling up the image. Sure, you can take a lower-resolution image and make it higher resolution, but you’ll just end up spreading out the same information over more pixels, which is pointless.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you decrease the number of pixels, the resolution will go down. Or maybe you’re lowering the resolution while simultaneously increasing the physical dimensions, in which case the number of pixels stays the same — there are just fewer of them per inch.

As has been mentioned, make the physical dimensions the size you need at a resolution of somewhere between 100 and 150 pixels per inch. You can also make the physical dimensions half the size that you need, and make the resolution (pixels per inch) twice what you need. That way, when the printer prints it out at twice the size, the number of pixels per inch would be cut back to the right amount.

The whole logic behind image resolution is difficult to explain. I’ve always had a hard time explaining it to people. Once the whole concept clicks, it’s easy, but until you really understand what’s going on, it seems a whole lot more difficult than it really is.

1 Like

receiving is not the same as working on.
I’ll take any file you want to send me. But the files I hate most are Illustrator files with any image over 600mb and any more than one gaussian-type effect applied. The more of either used in Illy only make me hate it more. Besides the color control in Illustrator S.U.C.K.S.

In an industry where time is money, selecting between InD and Illustrator can save the bottom line, on both design and on output. We charge set up time by the hour. I’m just trying to save you money at the expense of my paycheck.

1 Like

Work in inches not pixels

Inches for print = 300 dpi or even picas.

Pixels for web = 72dpi

Say you cut the project half the size 50% than you need your print to be 600 dpi because the printer needs to double the size.

You can reduce it further to a third then you will need 900 dpi.

Then you can tell your printer.

First ask your print what the specs are and go from there.

Large format can all so be 150 dpi

Like I side ask your printer.

If you are just giving the camera ready file to your client then find out what printer they use and call them.

Sometimes your printer will recreate your graphic for a fee if you are have problems.

Learn from your mistakes and keep on designing.

For this kind of work use illustrator or indesign. Photoshop is for photos.

We were all here at one point.

Good luck.

For large format you do not ever need 300ppi.
As in almost never, with a very few Fine Art applications.

For anything read at arm’s length, or something on the small side like this banner, 150-200ppi is optimum but you can go as low as 100 with fairly good results.

Things viewed from farther away can drop to 50-75ppi (say 10-plus feet)

Billboards are done at 30ppi

And for backgrounds in a broadcast medium, 25ppi is standard.

The thing you have to be careful with is bleeds and finishing. They are much larger than the standard 3mm and you may find that PDFs do not add enough (not to mention setting crops that invade that bleed!) so you may need to do your crops on the artboard.

A slight tangent here, but in so many threads on this forum people say, “Ask your printer.” I even say that myself, but honestly, as often as not, I haven’t gotten good advice from printers.

There are obviously people at good printing company who have the information. Many are also eager to share information. However, like I said, good advice from printers is hit-and-miss.

It’s mostly due to three reasons I’ve noticed over the years:

  1. I’m talking to a sales person who’s more interesting in getting the job than in answering questions. Besides, sales people are sales people — they’re not necessarily the most knowledgable individuals at the company when it comes to answering technical questions. Many of them don’t like to admit they don’t know the answers and most seem hesitant to direct you to someone who does — like a prepress expert. Instead, they say they’ll get back to you, but when and if they do come back with an answer, half the time they’ve scrambled it or don’t know the answer to any follow-up question I might have.

  2. I finally reach a prepress or production person and half the time they seem annoyed to be talking to me. They’re busy. It’s not their job to field calls from people, and they have work to do. They work behind the scenes because they want to be behind the scenes. Half the time, they assume I won’t understand what they have to say, so they give me a standard, easy-to-explain, rule-of-thumb answer, which as often as not is, “Just make it big. Make it CMYK at 300ppi and we’ll deal with it.”

  3. I’m talking to someone who really doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Maybe it’s just the guy who answered the phone who knows which buttons to press to make something go. Maybe it’s a customer support person who’s filling in and normally sits at the front desk answering phones. Maybe it’s the new guy who just graduated from the corner quick print shop and hasn’t quite gotten the hang of greasy offset ink yet. Maybe, it’s someone who just doesn’t care all that much and wants to get back to the YouTube video he’s watching. Initially, it’s hard to tell.

I normally avoid using these printers. I’m only mentioning this because asking a printer a question doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a good answer. It’s almost as though you need to know enough about what you’re asking to make a determination on whether or not you’ve gotten good advice.

1 Like

A lot of the really good printers now use customer service individuals to interface between sales rep and pre-press. I work with several companies like this where the sales guy makes the sale, then the job is handed off to customer service and they run it like a project manager. You talk to them and if they don’t know the answer, they do get back to you because that is their job.

I’ve found most wide format places to be like that.

1 Like

Yes, customer service and sales reps typically don’t know much more than a few common buzz words.
I always ask to speak to the art director or whoever is in charge of the production artists. But even then, you are correct, you need some level of printing knowledge for your questions to be taken seriously and answered seriously… a phone call isn’t exactly the best way to educate someone on the intricacies of printing.

The majority of what I know about printing was learned by attending the press approval on the scheduled production date. Even if its a smaller printer, ask if you can come in for press approval. You can even get a free impromptu crash course on printing by simply asking “This place is so cool! would you mind giving me a tour of your facility?”. Press operators love talking about how their machines work!

I don’t do as many press checks as I used to, but you’re right, it’s a great way to get first-hand exposure to the whole process. The same people who would have avoided a phone conversation seem totally engaged in a face-to-face conversation where they get to show off their work.

1 Like

I guess I’m just in a weird corner of the industry. The CSRs and Project Managers that I’ve spoken to in places across the country do indeed know their stuff. The salesmen too for that matter. Maybe cuz it’s bigger they want less mistakes. I dunno.

Yeah, but people like you and me are old hands at this sort of thing, know our way around and tend to use better vendors. My initial post about this was aimed more at the newer designers who come here looking for answers to basic questions and who we routinely advise to ask their printers who might or might not, for various reasons, answer their questions.

1 Like

There is nothing stopping newer designers from using better resources, other than inexperience, which just means they aren’t ready to be freelancing.

Perhaps, if they can’t get answers from their printers, that’s a sign they should look elsewhere for getting their printing done. And that goes all across the board. These days a business really can’t afford not to supply a service to their clientele.


Thanks everyone,
Sorry I forgot to answer…

It was working Ok at 100dpi.,
I chose photoshop cause my idea involved extensive use of the blur tool,
This project is on hold currently for various reasons.

©2020 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook