Printing large image files

[Michael][Michael] Registered User regular
I'm looking to print a large image file to make a wall-sized poster (6 - 8ft tall, 8.5ft - 11.3ft wide).

The file sizes I'm looking at are (PNGs):

- 17000px by 12000px / 42mb
- 33000px by 22000px / 137mb
- 64000px by 42000px / 400mb

They're all of the same thing (world maps) at different zoom levels for different levels of detail, but I only need one of them printed.

My only experience with printing large things is with Rasterbator, buut I'm not having much luck with these file sizes, even with the standalone version. Either uploading or processing fails.

I've got a pretty standard printer at home, and I'm not opposed to more professional services if it won't cost an arm and a leg.

My questions are:

1. What applications can I use to try to get some printable files? I've tried exporting / printing using Rasterbator, Paint, Paint.NET, GIMP, and even Word with no luck. Crashes, errors, unresponsive, etc. I can open it up in GIMP and manually split the image up in the smaller images myself, but I was hoping for something a little less time-consuming / error prone.
2. What image dimensions / printing resolutions (I dunno what it's called) should I be looking at for decent quality at the physical dimensions I'm looking at? http://auctionrepair.com/pixels.html has me thinking using the medium sized image at 300DPI, which will supposedly get me the 6ft height I'm looking for.
3. Do I have options for printing aside from my home printer? Google searches mostly brought up crazy expensive custom poster printing or banners for events. Maybe I'm just searching for the wrong thing, though.

Posts

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    Its a bit hard to give printing advice because its very much based on what services are around you. For large scale printing like that, it would probably be best to contact some local printers but not many are going to have plotters that big. It will probably end up being cheaper to print separate portions of it on a 'smaller' plotter printer and combining it on the wall rather than printing it whole scale.

    A PNG should be fine, but if you find a place to print it, you can ask them what file format they would prefer. Jpg or Tiff are probably going to be what they suggest. The colors will probably change somewhat in the conversion process from rgb to cmyk but if they are naturalistic maps, it should be ok. Its largely in really saturated colors or blacks that the changes are really really apparent. If there are a lot of blacks in these maps, you might need to do some image editing to have them come out at the nicest quality.

    300 dpi + is probably what you are looking for. Just think of it like a cell phone screen talking about ppi or retina display. Its basically the same thing. Lower than 300 dpi and there is a noticable quality drop. But it also depends on how close to this thing you are going to be. Billboards for example are not printed very high quality because no one is going to be right next to them.

    [Michael]
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    at least when printing large posters, a lot of shops like PDF since they are easier to scale but that might be because most scientific posters are ppt files

    camo_sig.png
    [Michael]
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    For the lower end of your range, the middle size should be fine, for the upper end you'll want the largest size.

    For the size you're looking at, yeah, any place that can print that large is going to be pretty expensive. You could probably get away with 2 large banners on a large format printer at a place like Kinkos for about $280 minimum (or 4 3'x4' poster sized prints for a similar price).

    On a standard printer the smaller end of your range is going to be around 90 individual pages.

    How much memory do you have in your computer? I've worked with high res stuff when doing some 3'x4' or so posters in the past in Photoshop, and while it occasionally had issues, I was able to work with 100-200mb images on a computer with 4GB of RAM, so I'm surprised that GIMP won't work at least on the small or middle size.

    [Michael]
  • [Michael][Michael] Registered User regular
    Those are about the prices I was seeing from online print shops, so I guess those are out for me; home printing it is. The plan is to mount it on foam board and riddle it with pins for planning routes for a trip

    I've got 24gb of RAM. With GIMP, I was trying both print (which never actually did anything, no errors though) and export as PDF (which throws an error after a few seconds). Maybe I'm going about it the wrong way? Maybe I should split it into a few smaller files first (like cutting it into fourths) then print or export from there?

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    [Michael] wrote: »
    Those are about the prices I was seeing from online print shops, so I guess those are out for me; home printing it is. The plan is to mount it on foam board and riddle it with pins for planning routes for a trip

    I've got 24gb of RAM. With GIMP, I was trying both print (which never actually did anything, no errors though) and export as PDF (which throws an error after a few seconds). Maybe I'm going about it the wrong way? Maybe I should split it into a few smaller files first (like cutting it into fourths) then print or export from there?

    You could definitely try that. Though before splitting it up, you'll want to figure out how large you want to print it in terms of number of sheets, and split it into smaller sections that are whole sheets, so you're not splitting right in the middle of a page.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    @[Michael]

    Convert to PDF and Acrobat will let you print as a multi-sheet poster. It will even let you add trim lines and set an overlap. If you'd like, you can upload the highest res image you've got to a dropbox and I can convert to PDF for you. In terms of resolution of your file, I wouldn't bother trying to save higher than 300dpi if your image is to scale.

    But for the sake of your sanity, I'd seriously consider a local or online printer. It's going to look much better and not take you days to print and assemble. Vistaprint will do a 4' x 8' banner for $80 USD, so you'd need 3 of those.

    And if these are full spread images on each sheet, you're going to go through a few ink cartridges here printing on your own. Those aren't cheap.

    Figgy on
    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    You could try a local sign shop. Our shop has a printer that can print about 5 feet wide by however long you want. I'm not on the sales end of things so I'm not sure how much it would cost. Just printing on paper, I can't imagine it would be that much.

    If you do go that route, you might want to just give the native .png files to the printer (jump drive preferable, but google drive or whatever is also fine). Running it through other programs without knowing what's up is a good way to mess things up.

    Steam and CFN: Enexemander
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Figgy wrote: »
    @[Michael]

    Convert to PDF and Acrobat will let you print as a multi-sheet poster. It will even let you add trim lines and set an overlap. If you'd like, you can upload the highest res image you've got to a dropbox and I can convert to PDF for you. In terms of resolution of your file, I wouldn't bother trying to save higher than 300dpi if your image is to scale.

    But for the sake of your sanity, I'd seriously consider a local or online printer. It's going to look much better and not take you days to print and assemble. Vistaprint will do a 4' x 8' banner for $80 USD, so you'd need 3 of those.

    And if these are full spread images on each sheet, you're going to go through a few ink cartridges here printing on your own. Those aren't cheap.

    If you are estimating based on manufacturer provider coverage (pages per ink unit) then realize that industry standard is for 5% coverage (which is something like 10 pt Times New Roman, no bold, and 1-1.5" margins - more or less, I'm not a printer). Printing out a full sheet of color image is 100+℅ coverage depending on how it is being measured. Very good chance it will cost you more to self-print but you won't know for sure unless you did a test print and that would burn some money.

    My experience in printing full coverage large prints is consumer inkjet is more expensive than a print shop.

Sign In or Register to comment.