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Illustrator Working with poster sized documents?


Bigfish

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I'm a novice so please bare with me.

I created a film poster sized document. Filled the background with red and attempted to add a grain to it. At that point my laptop began to melt, smoke, wurr and clang for ten minutes before I decided to close Illustrator before I had to call the fire brigade. I'm guessing that the size of the document is too large for rendering the grain. It is going to be a vector based poster so can I start on a smaller document put all my bits in and enlarge to poster size at the end?

Your thoughts are very much appreciated.

Thanks
 

peta62

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Hello, I am afraid if you enlarge the document at the end it will enlarge the grain too. I am not sure this is what you intend. I am sure others will come up with better solutions, the only things coming to my mind is creating grain brush or copy smaller many times with overlapping.

Edit : I overlooked it was Illustrator, I know only Photoshop. What about doing the base with grain in Photoshop and then using it in Illustrator, would that work and help ?
 
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Bigfish

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Thanks for replying Peta62.

I'll do the grain like you suggested in photoshop and see what happens. I'll have a look at creating a brush or similar too. Will let you know.
 

Tom Mann

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There are a couple of important concepts you need to know when printing at this size.

The first is that most people don't put their noses a couple of inches away from a poster this size like they would a 4" x 6" or even an 8" x 10" print. They tend to stand back a bit so they can take the whole thing in. This means that you can get away with designing the non vector based part of the image (...I'll call it the "photographic part") to print at a much lower PPI (pixels per inch) than you are used to. For small prints, one typically wants to have enough *real pixels* so that you can print it at 250 or higher PPI. For a print the size of a movie poster, one can typically get away with 75 to 100 PPI, and depending on the amount of important detail in the photographic part, sometimes even lower. This will dramatically ease the pain and whirring your computer is going through, LOL.

BTW, I emphasized the phrase, "real pixels" in the last paragraph to distinguish them from "fake" pixels which have been artificially generated by some up-rez'ing process.

The second important concept to recognize is that even when the photographic part of the overall image can be much softer (i.e., lower PPI) than usual, people still expect to see very sharp lettering, and sharpness to edges in the pure graphics design part of the image. This typically means that the graphics part of the image must be effectively printed at least at 200 PPI.

The way the above two concepts influence one's workflow is that designers usually create the photographic part of the overall image in PS, but they will almost always create the text and other graphics design aspects using either the vector part of PS (if it is relatively simple) or AI, Adobe Illustrator, if it is complex. Then, at the last step, they will integrate the two together (typically in AI) and output the result to a file format that keeps the two parts of the image separate, eg, *.ai, *.pdf, *.eps, etc. and that their printer will accept. If you rasterize everything at 200 or 300 PPI, you'll need a very large computer and the printer will likely be annoyed by you submitting a file size that large.

With respect to your question about adding some grain to the image, this is almost always done as part of the pixel-based part (the "photographic" part) of the overall design, and follows the PPI recommendations for that part given above. If you don't know how to get good looking grain (...no, it's not just using the "add noise" tool in PS and blurring it a bit...), either use a plugin like Imagenomics "Real Grain", or similar 3rd part solutions from Nik or OnOne software, or just go to Google Images and search for "photographic grain" and only accept images larger than about 4000 px on the longer edge.

HTH,

Tom M
 
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Tom Mann

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PS - Also, don't even think about using brushes or a seamless tiling for the grain. Unless the individual tile size is huge, the boundaries will always be visible ... Sometimes more, sometimes less, but they will always be there.
 

linz

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What type of grain effect are you trying to accomplish? Also how much RAM does your computer have? I'm a graphic designer and I've worked with very very large files and just adding a background file and grain shouldn't make your computer work that hard in theory. My other work computer is pretty awful and does ok even when I have very large files. Maybe it's a computer problem?
 

Tom Mann

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...I'm a graphic designer and I've worked with very very large files and just adding a background file and grain shouldn't make your computer work that hard in theory. My other work computer is pretty awful and does ok even when I have very large files. ...
linz - It's extremely important to be quantitative in such discussions, especially when people with little experience have such questions. For example, if a noob thinks he has to use 300 ppi when he is constructing a poster that is 4 x 6 foot, the dimensions of his document will be 14400 x 21600 pixels, and that will choke many of the minimal-RAM computers noobs might be trying to use for this task, especially if they are using 16 bpc and a bunch of layers. Noobs probably also don't realize that most commercial poster printing firms prefer that you work at 1/2 or quarter scale, if only to minimize the unnecessary transfer of giant files to them. Their RIP engines will happily up-scale what people submit, on the fly, to achieve reasonable resolution (at reasonable viewing distances) without obvious pixelation.

Tom M
 

linz

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Yes, you have a very good point. I could have been more descriptive. I was asking the question about how the grain was being created and how much RAM to see if I could help further and be more descriptive. I wasn't sure what to say about the document until I knew how much RAM the computer had to know what it can handle and what I might could suggest for keeping the computer from working so hard.
 

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