Large size printing on wall

Hi guys
a client of mine asked me to design a graphic to cover the wall behind the reception of his shop. Is a big wall, around 6x3m, and he specifically asked me to insert a photo of a forest. On stock image sites I can buy pictures no bigger than 90x60 cm at 300 dpi: definitively I wouldnt print less than 150 dpi, therefore it means I can cover just 2 meters. So, actually I told him is impossibile covering the whole wall with just one photo.
Just in case, do I missed anything?

You should have talked to aprinter first.
For a wall mural your imagery can go as low as 75ppi if the original stock you purchase has not ben up-rezzed in any sort of way. You never know what kind of crrap you are going to get on a stock site these days. Be prepared to ask for your money back. I’ve returned more images for bad quality files than I should have had to over the last 5 or so years.

There are also any number on online resources for Forest Imagery already printed on wallcover that are very nice resolution. GET A PROOF.

Just a personal perference but I prefer a UV-printed, suede textured, flock-back vinyl for this type of installation, but that’s just my opinion. It has a nice satin-matte finish that works well with the usual high-angle wall lights and the UV inks don’t scratch when using normal installer tools.

Thank you so much for your answer.
Well, I ve no opportunity to know where my client will print the graphic, so I suppose I should just care to give him a good work. 75ppi I am afraid is a bit low as resolution, as the wall can be seen from 2 meter distance… do you know any stock that sells bigger images? To be honest, I m really afraid to strech a 90x50 300 dpi image till 5 meters of lenght…

2 meters is 6 feet.
Print out a fairly large piece of your image at full scale (tile and tape if necessary) and stand back 6 feet and look at it.

Or find someone with color chrome photography work that can be drum scanned. My best source is offline (NatGeo Creative.) Sorry.

or try one of these places:

There’s a fine line between Good Work and overkill when doing large images.

Btw, I print these things day in day out. Just did an install of eight 10’ x 12’ pieces yesterday, and an install of a 12’ x 45’ piece last week. The 45footer was 75ppi, but it was a photoshop construct of several overlapping images to make a fictional panorama of a garden space.

  1. Don’t send a .psb file.
  2. a 600x300 CMYK image at 150ppi is going to be 2.34GIGS. Most printers aren’t gonna rip that even if you interpolate your image up to be that. And they don’t like .psb files… You can’t put them in to a layout program to drop in the alignment crops.
  • 100ppi is going to be 1.04gigs, slightly more manageable - if you use InDesign to do the alignment crops. You will wait all day for Illustrator redraws and saves. Waste of billable time.
  • 75ppi is going to be just under 600mb. While you might lay this one out in illustrator, i wouldn’t recommend it.

While some rip software might put in the alignment crops on tiling, I wouldn’t guarantee they all work on .psb files. We always do them in a software program so we know exactly where they are going. Especially if any text is involved. I hate seams thru text. We also like the panel widths to be nice numbers with no decimal points so if we have to measure in to start with a panel other than the left one, we can do that with a tape measure.

DO NOT FORGET YOUR BLEEDS. I’m talking inches here not mm. Your bleeds at minimum would be 2" around the entire perimeter of your actual measured dimensions. A six point dimension is used on walls for murals: left side height, right side height, top and bottom width, and corner to corner. That last tells you if the wall is relatively square rather than an off-trapezoid that might run you out of bleed in a thing triangular sliver. That stinks. If you think the wall is off kilter, up your bleed. If the wall is other than a rectangle, up your bleed. If you didn’t measure the wall yourself, add 6" all around. Not kidding.

If the printer has an installer in mind, they will set the actual bleeds and seam overlaps to the way their installer wants them. If the client is supplying the installer, the printer will, or should, want to speak with them directly. Installers have their own systems and for the best looking finished piece you try to cater to their needs.

PrintDriver knows more about this particular subject than anyone I’ve ever encountered, so as far as I’m concerned, what he says on these sorts of things is best accepted at face value.

So the only thing I would add to any of this is that from personal experience I’ve noticed that nobody expects a wall-sized image to be perfect. Even if they do walk to within a couple of meters to look at it and see that it’s not razor sharp, there’s a psychological thing that occurs and they just back up a bit to see it better. 75ppi from typical reading distance is just a whole lot different from 75ppi at two meters.

I went to a photo exhibition a couple of years ago, where the portraits of people were shot at ultra-high resolution then printed at high resolution at somewhere around 4 meters high. People could walk right up next to the prints and the closer one got the more detail was seen. Get up to within typical reading distance and the oil in the pores of their skin became readily visible. Seeing that level of detail was sort of unsettling and creepy, which, I think, was the point since it was an art show. In other words, for your purposes, from two meters away using an otherwise sharp photo at 75-90ppi is probably good.

Thank you so much for the tips, guys!
I already designed the smallest walls for the same shop: main files are .ai and the placed photos (1,5 mt at 150 dpi) are external. The average is 800 mb each, not so much (maybe I can reduce a bit the dpi also in this case). Btw, after unchecking the “pdf preview” option in the save settings of Illustrator, saving the .ai requires only few seconds.

But yes, you are right, a 6 meter photo at 150 dpi would be crazy to manage. Maybe I can reduce the dpi to 90, in this case I can cover a surface of almost 3x1,8 mt, based on the stock image I can buy. Not exactly what the client wants, but better than nothing. Maybe I can use 2 different photos to cover the full area.

Thank you for the bleed tip, for sure I wouldnt think to leave 18cm each side more!

Unfortunatelly on I didnt find the picture I need, so I m buying on 123rf…

Yes, you can turn off the PDF save function in Illustrator and they go much faster after the first one. However, much over 600ppi in an image placed in Illustrator will slow you down. Add any effects and the slowdown can get to a get-a-cup-of-coffee wait.

well to be honest, ANY effect of illustrator are slow like hell… :\

Another doubt. I was supposing to place my 100dpi photo in Illustrator, so to include it in a vector graphic frame. Unfortunatelly, I discovered there is a limit of 5 mt for the canvas in Illustrator.
Therefore, I suppose I ve just 2 options (in addition to install Corel Draw): working in Photoshop and placing there vector elements (but the .psd has a 100 dpi resolution, no idea how vector elements will be affected) or scaling the size in illustrator (but what about the raster picture included?)
Best solution?

Thank you so much!

Its pretty standard to design at a scaled size for larger pieces, such as 50% final size. Just remember if you are designing at half the final size, 1) mention that to the printer and 2) adjust your DPI of placed raster images accordingly. For example, if you are designing at half size, your photo should be 200 dpi at “100%” of the half size canvas.

thank you for the tip! :slight_smile:

I don’t think it’s doable even with large format printers.


Moderator note: I’m sorry, but the forum rules prohibit what appear to be promotional links in the posts — especially those that aren’t directly related to the subject being discussed. I removed the link.

Wallcover is doable with a 60" printer. The media is usually 54" (unless you use the 60" or 70" for a specific reason, but only available from one vendor in limited textures.) Pritable vinyl wallcover is always seamed in some fashion.

It could be done as a fabric stretcher frame wrap (it would be a hellaciously large and heavy metal frame.) I can get seamless fabric murals printed at 12m x 50m (approx 40’ x 160’.) Yes that big, seamless. Not quickly mind you. And not cheap. But it can be done.

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