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FAQ's on Digital Printing

Basic requirements for digital printing:

- Set the color mode to RGB.

- Your images must be scanned or created at 150dpi at the final output size.

- Text: Rastersize all text in PhotoShop or convert to outlines in Illustrator.

- Flatten all layers (Photoshop).

- Do not embed any color profiles when saving.

- Save your files in either TIF, EPS, PSD, PDF or JPG format.

- Mail us the CD or DVD.


Questions & Answers

Q: I copied a picture off a website, wondering can you guys make it into a poster for me?

A: Sorry, we can't. First of all, it is illegal to reproduce someone else's work without a release from the copyright's owner. Second, most images on the Internet are compressed then saved at 72dpi for faster page loading purpose. The resolution is just not high enough for printing.

 

Q: I use Illustrator to create my graphics, what format should I save them into?

A: Simply outline all the text, then save your design in EPS format.

Q: When saving my image files from Photoshop®, what format should I use?

A: You can save them in either TIF, PSD or JPG format. Please note: If JPG format is your choice, please do not compress the image, otherwise the image quality will be degraded. If you choose to use TIF, you may also select the LZW compression method to reduce the file size, yet without  losing the image quality. (See Fig. 1)

Fig. 1

Q: You say the image should be created at 150dpi (pixels per inch) at the final output size. Just what does it mean by final output size?

A: For example, if you were creating your artwork with Photoshop® and would like us to print a 24" x 36" poster for you. 24" x 36" would be your final output size and 150dpi would be the resolution that we need to produce a photo quality print for you. So before you begin, you should create your file by setting the height and width as 24 inches by 36 inches and the resolution at 150dpi. (See Fig.2)

Fig.2

Q: I use a digital camera, how big can I enlarge my photos?

A: You can simply use the following equation to calculate that.

Number of Pixels divided by 150 dpi = Maximum size of the print.

Example: The dimensions of your photo is 2048 pixels tall x 1536 pixels wide.

Step 1) 2048 ÷ 150 = 13.65 inches tall

Step 2) 1536 ÷ 150 = 10.24 inches wide

Therefore, the maximum size of the print can be as large as 13.65" x 10.24".

You can refer to your camera's owner's manual for the maximum pixel dimensions.

Q: Should I create my artworks or scan my color photos in RGB or CYMK color mode?

A: You should use RGB color mode for all your color projects. It gives you a wider color gamut then CYMK does. Also, we're not a offset printer, we do not need to perform color separation.

Q: Do you guys do B&W prints?

A: Yes, we do. Simply save your images in Grayscale mode.

Q: I have created an 8" x 10" image in Photoshop® at 200dpi, can I enlarge it by resizing it?

A: Sorry, you can't. The 8" x 10" at 200dpi is your artwork's physical size, you cannot enlarge it without sacrificing the image quality. Photo editing software enlarge an image by resampling it. Since the size of the image will increase, but the number of pixels will not. So during the resampling process, the software adds pixels to your image by guessing in order for it to fill in the gaps. The resulting image quality is poor. (See samples below)

 Sample 1

 Sample 2

Click on the samples above and save them into your hard drive, then use your photo editing program to view each sample at 100% and you'll see what we are talking about.

Sample 1 above is in its original size and resolution, and Sample 2 demonstrates what will happen when double its size and resolution by resampling. Notice the artifacts? These artifacts will appear in the print also.

Q: I want to scan my own photos and turn them into large prints, what scanning resolution should I use?

A: You have to determine how many times you wish to enlarge them to. For example, you have a 4" x 6" photograph and you want to enlarge it to a 16" x 24" poster. Which is 4 times larger than the original. Then the scanning resolution would be 150 dpi x 4 = 600dpi. So you should set your scanner to scan at 600dpi.

Q: My scanner has the maximum optical resolution of 600dpi but its software says I can scan pictures at 4800dpi, does that mean I can enlarge my pictures many times bigger?

A: Not really. Because in the printing industry the only workable resolution is the optical one. This is the maximum resolution of your scanner can achieve. Everything else are generated by the software itself and which will produce undesired results. For the best result, stay within the optical resolution range. Or you can simply mail your pictures to us and we will scan them for you.

Q: I'm a painting artist, I want to make copies of my works for sale, can you help me?

A: We certainly can. Take pictures of your artworks then send us the photos or scanned images and we can make as little or as many copies as you want. However, if you are not comfortable with photography, we highly recommend that you locate a professional photographer who is specialized in this field to assist you.

Q: We own a sign shop, once in a while we have some print jobs come through the door, but not enough for us to go buy a printer, can we sub it out to you guys?

A: Yes, you can. Please contact us for more details.


If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

Photoshop® is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Adobe product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated.