Assume we are idiots- that may help!

We have been asked to cover /wrap the inside of an exhibition trailer's walls (approx 8m length and 1.5m height) with the image/s of sky (above the clouds) .

First question: Choosing the image, as we don't have any flight arranged to take photographs above the clouds (ha) we have decided to purchase good res photos from shutter stock. Is this a good start?

our image purchased - 43.89cm x 51.34cm pixels 5084x6064 PPI 300

Second: How to we resize without causing the mac to lag etc we are using photoshop. One colleague as already resized it and it is 10GB! Surely this is far to large to work with?? It just seems far too painful for this to be the answer there must be a better way of re-sizing, keeping good quality and isn't so slow. Also then we have ONYX Rip, which will we print from.

Thirdly: we have a latex HP printer at hand, the max width this can fit to print is 60 inch. What is the best way to break our image down for printing, The rip software can tile the image but if the image is too large to begin with do we have to create a tilled image in photoshop instead and rip individual files?

HELP!!! Many thanks :D

  • 2
    In general you do not need 300ppi for large printing. This may help: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/487/…
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:19
  • When I have created images for trade show displays (2.5m x 3.25m - 8 feet x 10 feet), the printer has always requested 150ppi images.
    – Voxwoman
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:22
  • @Scott I've had a look at this article before i asked this question - but i'm still not sure where to start
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:27
  • @Voxowoman we think the viewing distance is about 3/4ft would 150ppi be suitable quality ?
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:28
  • Rachel, if you read the link I posted above (all the answers, not just the selected answer), that last comment question would be answered.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:29

3 Answers 3


Commonly a resolution of 100dpi (real size) will do the job, all the printers had some kind of interpolation system integrated, and also, if you stay close to a 100dpi image and a 300dpi one, you will no see the differences between, just take a portion of the image, resize to the final size, and print two tests to 300 and 100 dpi, and them you tell me...

  • Thanks will try that- but i take your word for it
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 21:17

Question 1: Yes, stock photography is a good start, although you can do better than the image you picked. For a somewhat similar project (trade show backdrop, 3 panels each 10 ft by 8 ft from one image), I used this Fotolia image, which is 10616 x 3744 px. You can see one panel of the finished result here.

Question 2: Don't set up your artwork full scale. It's completely unnecessary and will cause exactly the kind of problems you outline. Instead, use 1/5 or 1/10 scale with appropriate resolution so that when the image is scaled up to the size of the vinyl it ends up at around 50 to 75 dpi, then output as a PDF (be sure to uncheck the "Preserve Photoshop Editing..." box, which will save a PSD inside the PDF if left checked). My example was 1/4 scale at 300 ppi, yielding 75 dpi. They wanted jpegs for printing, and they were only 23 MB or so per panel. PDF would have been about the same size or smaller.

An 80cm document at 600 ppi will be perfectly adequate. You're printing clouds, which by their nature are fluffy. A high dpi number isn't needed to preserve detail, since there's none to speak of anyway.

Question 3: I'm not familiar with that equipment, but tiling should not be an issue if you follow the answers to 1 and 2.

Question 4: Which you didn't ask, but I'll throw in as a bonus. Prefer InDesign for this kind of layout. You have more control over cropping and bleed settings, and output than Photoshop provides, and if you're going to overlay text or vector files you have WAY more control.

Good luck with the project!

  • say we set it out 1/10 scale, do we use indesign to scale it up to the final size then save as pdf?
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 20:33
  • No, it's simpler than that. You export at the 1/10 scale and tell the printer to scale it up. I can't imagine any grande format printer software that couldn't do that. I have never submitted a PDF for a billboard at 1:1 scale. (PDF doesn't accept the full dimensions of large billboards, even if InDesign or Illustrator could output them). Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 2:08

Modern computer should be able to work with such large files (I'm working with 100Gb and bigger since 2009) - don't use apple computers they have not the necessary power anymore (since 2006 no server systems)...

don't use too low resolution! it makes a real difference if you use high or low resolution... you should at least use 100ppi images (in Photoshop called dpi) that would be around 220 megapixel in your case... printer can print max 240ppi but the trailer walls will possible not hold such high resolution... but 100ppi is no problem at all... this 100ppi are really nessesarry, the human eye (in good condition) needs a resolution of 175ppi at a distance of 1m - if you use less than 100ppi your image will have pixel you can see all over the place...

here is a stock portal with high resolution images with at least 100 megapixel and going to multible gigapixel: http://large-format.photos/?page_id=37&artikelId=3047 There are no images of clouds photographed from above but many sky images with clouds... this page is in German so search for "Himmel" that means sky... the price they like to have is reasonable for this resolution and quite cheap in my eyes... there is a possibility to pay with paypal... maybe send them a mail or something when German is not your thing, I'm sure they will help you... they are professionals in extreme high resoltion images

I hope, I could help you

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