I have an image of Wang Ximeng's A Thousand Li Of Rivers And Mountains which currently resides in the forbidden palace in Beijing. I fell in love with this painting and searched high and low for a suitable image which i could digitally sample and which i have painstakingly restored with Photoshop to clean it up and get it to a point where i could print it at a reasonable size. The original picture sampled is 39974 × 1600 pixels can you tell me what the largest image it could be printed at without loosing definition or becoming pixilated Also a further question is, will i be infringing any copyright laws if i was to get a large scale print of the said image either for personal or resale purposes. Thanks

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    The largest you can resize it without losing definition is 39974x1600. In other words, any enlargement loses definition (in raster images). For the "further question" we're not a legal forum.
    – Ryan
    May 7 '15 at 17:39
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    The question was what size can it be printed without visibly losing quality - which largely depends on how far away you intend it to be viewed from. There's lots of helpful info at this answer to another question - graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/1115/3327 May 7 '15 at 20:37
  • Hi Andrew, welcome to GD.SE and thanks for oyur question. scratches back of head Please refrain from asking two very different questions in the same body. your first question is a clear duplicate of this question, but the second isn't. It would help tremendously if you could edit this question to contain only one problem, and make a second question for the other. Thanks!
    – Vincent
    May 8 '15 at 10:35
  • And if you want to know more about the site and how to write good questions and answers, have a look at the help center or feel free to ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation reaches 20. Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    May 8 '15 at 10:36
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    I have worked in a business with pre-20th century art before. At least for American works in the the US, it pretty much works as @Voxwoman says. I am also not a lawyer.
    – Yorik
    May 8 '15 at 14:48

Ryan is correct about enlargements. All enlargements will lose quality but one common way to enlarge a print is using the "Photoshop enlarge 10% trick". There are also proprietary enlarge photo software out there like Perfect Resize by OnOne or like Scott has said, Photoshop has increased their enlargement algorithms.

For the size you want to print is up to you. Based on your resolution I would suggest printing at around 8" high at around 200ppi for an ok picture quality. You will either need to find a custom frame or crop the image to fit a standard sizes of 2:1 to 3:1.

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    Actually... Photoshop's own interpolation has improved a great deal over the years, especially since content-aware technology came into being. Today, those third-party apps for resizing, if they are still in business, are really no better than using Photoshop in my experience.
    – Scott
    May 7 '15 at 17:59
  • @Scott O really, thanks for mentioning that. I used to use Genuine Fractals a long time ago when I was printing Photographs. The program now goes by the name Perfect Resize by OnOne. But it would be more of a hassle to use different software if the current software you own can do it.
    – AndrewH
    May 7 '15 at 18:05
  • Yeah GF was great back in the day as was Blow Up. Never used the OnOne plug in. Photoshop really does do a fantastic job by itself any more.
    – Scott
    May 7 '15 at 18:08
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    It's not about content-aware, @Scott - according to Julieanne Kost, as of (at least) CS6 "bicubic smoother" (or bicubic auto and upscale, which is the same thing) actually does an interative (implied 10%, but not stated explicitly, so don't quote me on the percentage) upscaling automatically. May 7 '15 at 18:16
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    @Jongware I am not the same Andrew, I have had this account for awhile now. I only have and use this account.
    – AndrewH
    May 7 '15 at 19:30

Determining the optimal output size for a given image is a simple process. First, determine the optimal output resolution. If you don't know it, your vendor or key op should be able to help you out. As a rule of thumb, 300ppi is the standard for magazine-level printing, while large format printing tends to be 150ppi (in my experience). Once you know the desired output resolution, you simply divide each of the image's dimensions by that number. For example, your image is 39,974 x 1600, so:

39,974 / 150 = 266.493" wide.

1600 / 150 = 10.667" tall.

Therefore, the optimal output size at 150ppi is 266.493" x 10.667".

Keep in mind that "ppi" and "dpi" are very different measurements. "Pixels per inch" (ppi) is the measure of pixels in one inch and is a purely digital concept that represents the concentration of detail sent to the printer. "Dots per inch" (dpi) is the number of dots the printer lays down on the media. This is usually hard wired into the printer and cannot be altered. A printer's dpi dictates the maximum amount of detail that it is capable of producing. Different printers have different dpi ratings, but no matter how much ppi you have, it can never exceed the printer's dpi when printed due to the physical limitations of the output device.

  • Like others have mentioned, this is not the right forum to answer legal questions. However, if you can find the artist's copyright license, it should tell you everything you need to know.
    – 13ruce
    Nov 23 '15 at 13:32

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