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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard Another Designer's Avatar
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    Poster Size Question

    I want to start making Posters in Photoshop and Illustrator. I might bring them into InDesign but I am not sure yet. Here is the question I have always had.

    If I want to make a poster at 20x40 inches, should I design it at that size within Photoshop and Illustrator? That's going to be a large size file. Or, should I design it at a smaller size that fits to the ratio of 20x40 and print it out blown up? If I did it that way wouldn't it pixelation? I'm kind of confused about this. Is there a rule I am missing?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Utopia, Inc. silver trophy
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    I'm no expert myself, but in Photoshop I'm sure that if you make the image smaller than the print size, you'll probably be able to count the dots in the resulting poster.

    Illustrator however uses vector graphics, so in theory you should be able to print images from this program as large as you like w/o any quality loss.

    InDesign I don't know, can't help there, sorry
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast scorpionagency's Avatar
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    Only way a poster will stay 100% upscaleable from a smaller size in Illustrator without quality loss is if it's 100% vector lines / paths / curves. Meaning, if you use ANY raster images in the poster, be sure to convert them to vector before saving the final file.

    The Raster images you do not convert to vector will end up becoming embedded bitmap rasters in the output file, thus making them susceptible to quality loss when upscaled. And you don't want blury / pixelated images in your poster.

    So here's the deal. if you use photoshop, you'll need to do your poster on a canvas of the actual dimensions & export no less than 300 DPI. If you use Illustrator, make sure & convert all images to vectors prior to export, in doing this, you can use smaller sizes relevant to ratio & the file can be upsacaled without any quality loss.

    Hope that helped

    Note: it's normal to lose quality when converting a raster to vector, so play around with illustrators vector trace features to get the best results.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast atsa's Avatar
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    I will suggest you to use Corel Draw X3 for this purpose because its a complete vector design software. You can also use illustrator but i will always suggest Corel for vector graphics

  5. #5
    Night Elf silver trophybronze trophy Varelse's Avatar
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    20x40 inch poster in raster format would be a killer.
    For larger dimensions, the resolution can be reduced to 266/150/120dpi, but the for the exact value you'd have to contact the printers and ask (it's usually 2/1.5 x screen ruling resolution).

    If you have no raster artwork, or just a few photos, it would be best to design it in Illustrator, as it's already been mentioned.
    For a single page poster, there's no need for InDesign, unless you feel much more comfortable with it than with Illustrator.
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  6. #6
    Design Addict helix7's Avatar
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    For most printers I've worked with, something in the neighborhood of 40" could be done at lower resolution. It's sort of borderline in my opinion. If file size isn't a concern, and both your system and the printers are at least fairly modern and can handle the processing, I don't see any harm in keeping the resolution. On the other hand, at 40" if you were using a photo you are likely going to have to scale up the photo anyway, losing some of the quality.

    Beyond 40", if you're getting into larger displays, banners, trade show elements, etc, most printers would expect you to produce artwork at lower resolutions. For example, a trade show booth I recently worked on was produced at 150dpi according to the printer's specs.

    In any case, as mentioned the best possible solution would be using as many vector graphics as possible. You wouldn't want to lay out type in Photoshop. Do it in Illustrator or if you do go with InDesign, the font output will be vector. That is really ideal.


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