Creative professionals utilize design software tools to invent exciting and effective large format print products. Here, real life artists share their experiences with design software, which helps them translate their work on a large scale.
Sandra Selle-Rodriguez is an independent designer and digital fine artist from Palm Springs, CA. She produces digital fine art for magazines, catalogs, and posters and digital fine art paintings for photographic prints and giclées on canvas or archival watercolor paper.
Selle-Rodriguez’s clients, Sarah and Keith Khorey of Palm Desert, CA, requested a large-scale desert scene for their remodeled mid-century home. She utilized Adobe Systems Incorporated Photoshop CS3 and Illustrator for the initial graphics. To achieve big results, she used Alien Skin LLC’s Snap Art and Blow Up programs.
"Originally, I tried to enlarge the photos in Photoshop, but after seeing that this would not work, I enlarged the images for the project using only Alien Skin’s Blow Up 2 software," she says. Here, she outlines what it took to accomplish this design project.
First she color corrected two photos and made them a consistent size of a 15 by ten inches at 300 dpi.
Second, Snap Art filters were applied to create an impasto painting effect, while keeping a consistent look on both paintings.
Third, the filtered photos were merged, seams cloned together, and the file enlarged using Blow Up 2, creating one image at 48x18 inches.
Next, she divided the file into six eight- by 18-inch panels. Finally, each panel is enlarged to the final size of 24x48 inches using Blow Up. "Trying to enlarge the full panel would be difficult because of memory constraints on my system," she explains. The final project was printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 using Breathing Color’s Chromata White Canvas.
Photographer Eric Schneider uses Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Alien Skin Blow Up to mock-up installations using original photographs, architectural renderings, and three-dimensional visualization. He designs for interior architectural installations, gallery exhibitions, and not-for-profit fundraising events and is the sole proprietor of the Optixa Gallery based out of Raleigh, NC.
A project with architect Bret Page, a mural in NC-based restaurant SONO, called for major interpolation. The mural features a life-size photo of a woman holding orchid as a backdrop for the restaurant.
Schneider shot images in raw file format to retain a wide latitude of color and minimize compression. "The original file size of 28.9MB was appropriate for a continuous tone image of 150 dpi at 16x24 inches. This application was intended for a dimension approaching 36 by seven feet, or 1,800 percent. To accommodate the actual proportions and tight tolerances, as well as matching the composition of the final image selected by the customer, some creative scaling was required," he explains.
Blow Up 1.0 took Schneider to 72 dpi at 100 percent of 428ix100 inches. Two passes were required after several bracketed conversions were tested and compared, until the optimal level of detail and pattern was achieved.
Schneider is satisfied with the design software he uses, but admits designing and adjusting photos for large format printing has its challenges. "The SONO restaurant job was challenging because I had to compose a photograph live in the studio that matched the ratio of the large format application. The lesson learned was to add crop and registration marks," he adds.
The beauty of design software is its ability to maintain clarity and sharpness in large format prints. The advancements made in these products leads to new opportunities for graphic designers looking to sell their designs. Whether it is housed in a recently renovated living room or restaurant, large format designs are unique works of art fueled by the quick run, one-off nature of digital print.