I have a very large poster that is 98" by 90" and I would like to know some good tips for making edits to the file

I tried to make it a smart object and then decrease the image size, only to increase it later. This method works of when handling most of the layers and functions (laggy but managable)

But when transforming the smart object layer itself, it is unbearable

Any ideas?

  • 2
    Get a faster CPU, big GPU, and loads of ram ;) Jul 27, 2013 at 17:15
  • 1
    This is why its a good idea to design posters/banners in Illustrator or a vector based program.
    – user9447
    Jul 28, 2013 at 0:07
  • 1
    Can you decrease the resolution? Jul 28, 2013 at 13:31
  • @Lauren Yes, I brought it down to 150ppi and it was a bit better.
    – MJP
    Jul 28, 2013 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


The best workflow I've used that addresses this problem is the use of a duplicated guide file. On a high level, you are duplicating an image, applying layer adjustments to the smaller image, and then scaling those adjustments to the master file.

Pros: You can work faster and lightweight, there is less crashes, easier modifications.

Cons: You can't modify pixels and you can only use adjustment layers. Pixels modifications must be done on the master file.

Here's how you can improve your workflow for large scale

  • Duplicate the file and decrease the image size so that the file size is manageable. This is usually in the 200mb - 300mb range, which should be easily handled by most computers. This duplicated file would be your guide file.
  • Apply expressive adjustments. These are layer adjustments that can be found under Layer -> New Layer Adjustments
  • When you are ready to apply those adjustments to the master file you want to upscale your guide file to match the same exact dimensions as your master file. For example, in your case if you are working with a 7" x 6.483" guide file, you would then scale back to the 98" x 90" dimensions. This will cause some interpolation, but it won't be a problem because you are getting rid of the upscaled image.
  • You then replace the blurry image with the image from the master file and the adjustments should be equivalently applied to the master file.
  • You could then apply pixel adjustments like cropping, sharpening, etc. if you needed to.

It should be noted that aside from getting a ridiculously better and mind-numbingly faster computer, which is highly recommended, you should also consider your viewer in this process. From what distance will they be viewing your banner? This is a significant question because it can change the ppi considerations. As @Alan Gilbertson answered here, the suggested dimensions for a 4 x 6 meter billboard are under 30ppi/dpi. Although I understand your banner is considerably smaller, it might make sense to lower your ppi to a more reasonable number throughout the modification process. This would help your file size and workflow considerably as well.

  • Perfect answer. Thanks so much! Nothing I didn't already know but now i know that there are no better options.
    – MJP
    Jul 30, 2013 at 14:18
  • Sorry it couldn't have been of more help-- I almost feel like Adobe doesn't address this because as computer speeds increase it becomes less important. Jul 30, 2013 at 14:20

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