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Thread: Printing to larger size canvas – need help with settings/understanding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    3

    Printing to larger size canvas – need help with settings/understanding

    Hi everyone,

    I am a Fine Arts Visual Artist who is used to painting on canvas, or doing other non-computer visual art, I have no digital arts or digital photographic experience (besides pressing the automatic button), nor do I have a digital or mathematical brain. Please forgive me, maybe I am going to ask some stupid or elementary questions. I have ArtRage for sometime but have not really used it, now I would like to, but I am completely unsure about converting my computer made art into a finished printed canvas work. I don’t want to print at home (too small and only have old poor quality printer) I want my finished work on canvas, and much larger than the computer size, so done at some print shop.

    On my normal painting canvas I don’t have to worry about DPI or PPI. I have already chosen the canvas size so that is not a problem, I just need the talent to paint a good and lasting quality “painting” with the right materials on that size canvas. And at the end I know that my painting is going to look the same as I painted it.

    But digital?

    First of all it is less psychical, less sweeping movements of arms and use of body, but okay maybe I can deal with that.

    But I can’t quite figure out the bit about printing (I want all my works to be printed later - at some print shop - on canvas at a larger size).

    When I start a new painting do I have to make the settings to the size I am going to get it printed out at (say 100x70 cm)? (But then I am working on my computer with my canvas in a zoom minus – is this not going to affect my work somehow?)

    Or can I work at screen size and change the printing size when I have finished and before exporting (without altering the painting in some way)?

    And do I have to set the DPI (which are at 72) and if so to what?

    But the ArtRage painting is small (monitor screen size) so what is it really going to look like if I get this printed out professionally on canvas at a larger size? Is it going to look the same as I see on my computer screen? I find it hard to imagine this as I have no experience of this !

    How do I make sure it looks the same (print shop) printed on a larger canvas size as it does on my screen? (and how – and what - do I set things so that the two will be the same?)

    And what should I save/export it as (PNG, Photoshop, JEPG, TIFF, or?) since manual says some formats (such as JEPG) do not save all the details of my painting?

    Are there any tips about getting the painting printed at a print shop, should or should not’s best types of printers, etc.?

    Painting on real canvas I use many layers, of certain colours, so that the layers underneath reflect the light through the top layer and effect this layer. This playing with light is, I guess, no longer possible with digital printing. But ArtRage has layers, so how and for what do I use them in a digital work? How exactly do the layers affect my top layers in digital (in the finished canvas printed result)?

    Any other guiding tips and tricks or things I should know or watch out for in the digital vs. actual on canvas painting?

    Really grateful for any help and tips (please, as simple, clearly and as detailed as possible so my brain doesn’t blow a very weak digital intelligence fuse)

    It’s a lot I know, but Thanks
    pagerg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    50
    There is no right or wrong way to achieve this but there are pros and cons.

    Talk to your print shop, let them know what size in cm and quality of print you want. They will tell you what DPI they need the file and perhaps give you a colorspace file. So now you know the size in cm and the required DPI.

    But your monitor may not show you the whole document or your computer may not cope with a document that large. So the next step is to find a compromise size. You may find that you can have a document the same cm size but less DPI or you may need to have a smaller document and less DPI.

    You need to be aware that a monitor displays about 72 DPI and the printer will print at a larger DPI. This means if you enter the higher DPI at 100% it will appear larger. A 5 cm @ 300 DPI looks 14 cm on screen.

    Once you have finished your masterpiece and if you have a version of AR that lets you resize it you can change the size and export it.

    You will want to export it in a format your printer wants, and can also resize it at this point with another utility, if you haven't done it in AR. On the Mac you can use Preview. They will probably ask for JPG, but if they accept PNG it's a better format. TIF is good too, but a lot bigger.

    Resizing is one of the major problem areas, because you didn't paint every dot when the computer resizes the document it has to guess what colours to put in the gaps as it enlarges it. Different software uses different methods to guess the missing information, you need to experiment to find what you're happy with. You can also leave this problem up to the printer, if you pass in a 72DPI document to a 300DPI printer the Printer Driver may also fill in the missing information. Check with your Print Shop.

    I always do print samples that have a good range of colour and complexity, small files that are exported and resized by different methods and amounts.

    So you are dealing with a complex issue, with many many variables.

    Finally I find that you may need to shop around for a good printshop, their equipment and understand varies a lot. Once you find a good one where you get good results, stick with them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    50
    Layers are way cool, although you will find some "purists" who don't use them.

    Start by reading up in the help file as there is a lot to them.

    But they aren't really like the layering of real paint when when it comes to opacity and reflected light.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    oregon usa
    Posts
    62

    thank you for the thread and questions

    These are all questions I had in my head..........and some questions I hadn't formulateds. So thank you for the questions and thank you Caveman for some of the answers.

    Caveman, when you print a trial, on what do you print it? photo paper, plain paper, canvas sheets?
    Janet

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    3

    still some things I don't quite understand - printing

    First of all I would like to express my deep thanks to you Kaveman for taking the trouble to reply at all, but especially for your detailed explanation, which I really appreciate a lot. I am still trying to get my head around some of the things you have explained, and I am also open to other views and experiences if anybody wants to write them. If it’s okay, I still have a few questions, but first let me recap to see if I have understood part of it correctly.

    If I paint at computer screen size (and presuming 72 dpi) then later when I blow this up to a larger canvas size (say 100x70 cm) there are going to be a whole lot of unpainted spaces, and ArtRage is going to paint these empty spaces for me automatically (whether I like what it does or not). And the bigger I blow it up the more painting (filling in spaces) ArtRage is going to be doing for me (which must surely – adversely - visually affect the finished product, particularly if I go from monitor size to very large printing?).

    I think I have understood this bit correctly!

    I understand that the dpi between a monitor and a printer is different, and that a monitor is only 72 dpi.

    The bits I have more difficulty in getting my head around are:

    “....You need to be aware that a monitor displays about 72 DPI and the printer will print at a larger DPI. This means if you enter the higher DPI at 100% it will appear larger. A 5 cm @ 300 DPI looks 14 cm on screen.....
    ....Once you have finished your masterpiece and if you have a version of AR that lets you resize it you can change the size and export it....

    ....I always do print samples that have a good range of colour and complexity, small files that are exported and resized by different methods and amounts....”

    Sorry I forgot to say, I have the ArtRage Pro Version.

    So how do you go about it Kaveman?

    Do you choose just a larger AR canvas size (and could you give a typical for you example please)?
    Or a larger dpi size but screen size AR canvas (example if you can)?
    Or do you use normal screen size and normal dpi and then resize it later with AR when you export it? (And does this work out with your size printing – I mean with AR filling in the spaces, does it look okay)
    Or do you use both a larger AR canvas size + a larger dpi (could you give a typical for you example please)?
    And what sort of sizes are you printing at?
    Is my own desire for a printing size of 70x100 cm not realistic (on an average computer with no large screen)?

    Don’t quite understand this bit “....small files that are exported and resized by different methods and amounts...” which methods and amounts? Do you then print them at home, or...? Would it be possible to elaborate a little here, if that is possible?

    I know a lot of questions, sorry, I am a real dummy at this sort of thing, but thanks for the great help you have given so far, and if you (or anybody else) could give some more I would be really grateful (maybe I should stick to real live canvas painting, but I would like to give it a go if I could just understand it better)

    P.S there was a thread under Technical that talked about printing and dpi and there something was said about dpi being overrated or falsely understood and that it was more important for the printer than for us...maybe I understood it wrong, (can’t find the thread again)

    My many thanks

    pagerg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    50
    No worries, when high quality colour printing was new I rushed to our nearest city, 300 km and a 3 hour ferry trip, to get paintings that made my PC labour, printed. Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and found a series of postage stamp sized images

    ". This means if you enter the higher DPI at 100% it will appear larger. A 5 cm @ 300 DPI looks 14 cm on screen"
    The easiest way to see the difference is to make 2 new documents, File New then Click Print Tab enter 5cm x 5 cm one at 72 DPI now measure the document on the screen then do the same but make the other at 300 DPI. You can see that the 300 DPI document isn't 5 x 5 on the screen, because the DPI of the document doesn't match that of the screen. AR maps the pixels of the document to the pixels of the screen. The 5 cm x 5cm doesn't get used until you print the document. So at 100% each pixel on the screen represents a pixel on the printer.

    My printer goes up to 1200 DPI and on my large 27" screen it only shows a 5cm x 3cm document. So what you need to get your head around is the relationship between what you see on screen and what size that is going to printed out.

    I print at all sorts of sizes, and need to choose the DPI to suit. I wish there was a rule that I could offer, here are some key things to decide. How close are people going to look at it, the closer the higher DPI. How detailed is the work, lots of little details v large flat planes, more detail higher DPI. If you plan to print on a Canvas with lots of tooth then lower your DPI, very smooth fine paper or film up the DPI lots. Something very detailed that would be view closely, very high detail. A huge render viewed from the dance floor in low light, lower DPI. DPI is Dots per Inch, if your work features big brush strokes. If the stroke, dab and movement are important lower DPI, if your work is finely detailed with etching and hatchings types of details then high DPI.
    Also gradients if you use subtle gradients and colour mix, then higher dpi, lower DPI and you may get banding.

    Over the years I have sent so many things to get printed and then the finished work returned un-useable because size, colour, lost detail, Murphy's law, LOL.

    What I mean by different methods and amounts is to different starting DPI, different final DPI, getting AR to do the resizing or use Photoshop. See if TIF, PNG or JPG file type make a difference. Anything you think may effect your final art should be tested.

    Always get the proof from the Printer using the same settings, and materials as your final work, nothing else matters. If you are unsure what setting is going to be best, then you need to prepare different files and have these printed. I suggest smaller samples as printing 10 full painting to find the one best one would cost a lot, while the good Printer may not even charge for a set of 10 smaller samplers. With the top quality printers different canvas/paper can have a huge difference.

    IMO, a multi layered 70 x 100cm at 300 DPI would make AR struggle, it is not 64 bit and doesn't make use of the modern multi-threading processors. On my Quad Core 8 Gig system, most of the processors and RAM sits idle as AR grinds away. Again the only true way to know is to do tests, I tend to start with a go for broke top ended, so make a 70 x 100cm 300 DPI document and start painting, you will soon know if you computer can handle it. then bring down your DPI until you're happy with the workload. Then once you have finished flatten the layers and resize back to the full DPI, print the samples to see if it's good enough.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
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    P.S. Understand DPI and its effects is very important, IMO.

    But I suffer for Pixel Perfect Syndrome
    When looking closely at prints of my work I can see the difference between 300 and 600 DPI, but it's a case of diminishing returns.

    Having high DPI documents depends completely on the goal of your print.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Berlin
    Posts
    3

    getting the idea finally

    Hello Kaveman

    My deep thanks for all the information and help you have given me, and you really have helped me. I have a much better idea of how to go about this printing business, now it’s time to start experimenting myself
    I also found this Thread under Technical

    DPI and commecial inkjet printing of ArtRage paintings. (I'm not allowed to Link to it so you will have to place the Thread Title into Search)

    so anybody reading this with the same or similar questions should check that out too, particularly the Posts by “arenhaus” (Senior Member) which are very good and like Kaveman really helpful.

    As to the company ambientdesign.com/Artrage:

    I think they/you should put together and issue a truly comprehensive and very informative PDF on this subject, since it is not only of interest (and confusing) to many users but is also a part of the (use of the) product they sell.

    So thanks Kaveman, also to arenhaus, for great (and badly needed) help
    Pagerg

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