(1) What types of digital images can I make posters out of?
(2) How many megapixels does my source digital image need to be?
(3) What type of printer do you recommend?
(4) How do I print my poster at a photo lab?
(5) How important is it to select the right paper size and margins?
(6) When do I need to use Edge Calibration?
(7) Why can't I get my entire source image to fit in my poster? For some images, the top/bottom or left/right edges are outside of the frame.
(8) What does the "image quality" mean? What minimum image quality do you recommend?
(9) What software should I use to print the poster images that Poster Buddy produces?
(10) What are the most common poster sizes?
What types of digital images can I make posters out of?
Poster Buddy can make
posters from any digital images from any source. This includes
digital cameras, scanners, internet, etc. The only thing to watch out for
is that the image is not very low resolution. Also, Tiff format
files should be saved without compression before they are used in Poster
Buddy. Gif files should be resaved as jpeg, bmp, or tiff format before
using with Poster Buddy.
How many megapixels does my source
digital image need to be?
In general, the higher the
resolution (megapixels) of the source image, the better the quality of the
poster that will be created. The image quality of poster depends on many
factors, including how far away the poster will be viewed from.
For digital camera images, a
2 or 3 megapixel image is generally the smallest size recommended for
posters. Although a 7 or 8 megapixel camera image will produce better
results, it is not absolutely necessary for all posters. Even a one
megapixel image can be used and could produce decent results, depending on the
type of poster that is created.
Very low resolution images
(e.g. internet thumbnail images or small email attachment images) can be
used to make posters, but the amount of detail in the poster might not
be as great as you would want.
What type of printer do you recommend?
Poster Buddy works with all
types of printers. This included inkjet, laser, thermal (dye
sublimation), etc. Poster tile images can also be
printed on photo lab printers. There are pros and cons to using
each type of printer.
Some inkjet printers can
produce borderless prints. Using borderless printing can
make creating posters easier. With its Edge Calibration feature,
Poster Buddy works well with borderless prints. Also, assembling a poster
made from borderless prints is quicker and easier than assembling
non-borderless poster tiles.
Inkjet and laser printers
also have the benefit of being able to print out larger poster tile
images. That means that larger posters from fewer poster
Printing poster tiles at a
local photo lab is another option that has some real benefits. The print
and paper quality of from a photo lab is very high and the cost is fairly low
(as low as 15 cents or less for each 4x6 inch print). Some
other obvious benefits are that you don't need to have a home
printer, and you can have your prints in as little as an hour or less
without doing any printing yourself. The biggest possible downside of
printing poster tiles from a photo lab is that the photo lab printers typically
automatically adjust the color and lightness of each print separately.
This can sometimes cause a visible color or lightness mismatch between
adjacent poster tiles.
How do I print my poster at a photo lab?
If you are printing your
poster at a photo lab, then all you need is:
The digital image that you
want to make your poster out of
A computer to run Poster
Some way to transfer
your poster tile images to your photo lab. Options include:
Use a digital camera memory
card (e.g. SD card, Compact Flash card, etc.)
Burn your poster tile
images onto a CD to bring to your photo lab
Transfer images to your
photo lab over the internet
Basically, you just run Poster Buddy
on your source digital image (paper size = 4x6 inches, borderless), then copy
the resulting poster tile images onto a memory card or CD to bring to the
photo lab. If the photo lab can accept print orders over the internet,
then you can transfer the images that way.
The poster tile images should be
printed just as any other photo prints would be. The only special
instructions that you might want to give is to tell the photo lab is for them
to try to turn off their "auto adjustment" feature which adjust the lightness
and color of each print automatically.
One other thing to keep in mind is that
Edge Calibration should probably be used when making photo lab prints (because
they are borderless and probably cut off parts of the edges from images).
You can make a custom Edge Calibration profile by printing an Edge
Calibration test image (generated for you by Poster Buddy) and then inputting
the results into Poster Buddy. Otherwise, you can use one of the
default photo lab Edge Calibration profiles that come with Poster
How important is it to select the right
paper size and margins?
It is very important to
select the correct paper size and margin sizes that are being used.
Without this information, Poster Buddy might not produce poster tiles that
fit together seamlessly.
It should be easy to select
the paper size that you are using. Poster Buddy presents you with a list
of the most common paper sizes. Poster Buddy even allows you to enter
custom paper sizes.
Poster Buddy automatically
compensates for the margin size that you enter. If you aren't sure what
margins your printer produces, then it is always better to overestimate the
margins. If you enter a margin size that is smaller than your printer can
print, then your poster printing won't work well. Using a margin
size of 0.5 inches should work with most printers.
When do I need to use Edge
Calibration? What is an Edge Calibration Profile?
Edge Calibration is needed
primarily when making borderless prints. In order to make borderless
prints, printers print over the edge of the paper. They do this to
be absolutely sure that the entire paper area is covered. The problem
with this is that you lose a small part of your image. When printing
posters, this causes adjacent tiles to not come together smoothly.
Poster Buddy uses "Edge Calibration Profiles"
to keep track of how much a printer clips off of the edges (top, bottom, left,
right) of images. You create an edge calibration profile by printing
an Edge Calibration Test Print. The test print is supposed to have
four colored lines around its edges. By telling Poster Buddy how
many lines exist on each edge of your test print, you are telling Poster Buddy
how much the printer is cutting off of each edge.
You can make a new Edge Calibration profile (or
simply adjust the numbers in an existing profile) any time. You
definitely should make a new Edge Calibration Profile for each new borderless
printer that you use. You should probably make a new profile for each new
size and type of paper that you use in your printer.
Even loading a new stack of paper can sometimes
change the amount of clipping of the edges of prints, d epending
on how your printer feeds paper. You should reprint the Edge Calibration
Target any time that you think that things might have shifted in your printer,
or any time that you think that poster tile prints aren't aligning as well as
they should. You can use the new Edge Calibration Test Print to
adjust the existing Edge Calibration Profile or make a new one.
Edge Calibration section of the Detailed How To page for
more information on Edge Calibration.
Why can't I get my entire source image
to fit in my poster? For some images, the top/bottom or left/right edges
are outside of the frame.
This is normal. If the
aspect ratio (ratio of width/height) of the poster doesn't match the aspect
ratio of the source images, then it is impossible to both fill the poster and
cover the whole area of your source image.
A similar situation occurs
when you bring a digital camera picture to be printed at a photo lab on
4x6 inch paper. Most digital camera pictures have an aspect ratio of
4/3. That means that the width is 4/3 times (1.333 times) as long as the
height. 4 x 6 inch paper has a width that is 6/4 times (or 1.5 times) as
long as the height. You really would need 6 x 4.5 inch paper to exactly
fit your digital camera picture. Since the paper is only 4 inches tall,
the photo lab cuts off a 1/4 inch from the top and bottom of your digital
To make sure that your
poster contains the most important portion of your image, Poster Buddy allows
you to adjust the poster shape (by changing the paper size,
margins, and number of poster tiles high and wide that you poster will
be). Poster Buddy also allows you to pan and zoom into your source image
so that you can select exactly what portion of your source image will be
included in your poster.
(8) What does
the "image quality" mean? What minimum image quality do you recommend?
The "image quality" rating
that is listed in Poster Buddy is an estimate of how good the poster will
look. This estimate is based on the resolution (dots/inch) that the
poster will be printed at. The higher the print resolution, the more detail and
the sharper the poster will be. This print resolution is affected by
several factors, including the resolution of the source image and the size of
the poster being printed.
It is difficult to put an
absolute value on image quality. Perceived image quality depends on many
things. One of the primary factors is how far away the final printed
image will be viewed from. Posters are typically viewed from much further away
than normal photos. Because of this, a print resolution that would seem to
yield poor image quality for a 4 x 6 inch photo print, could likely produce
acceptable quality for a poster.
(9) What software
should I use to print the poster images that Poster Buddy produces?
You can either use your
favorite imaging program or even Windows XP's built in print function
to print out your poster images. For more information on printing, see
Poster Tile Printing section of the How To web page.
(10) What are
the most common poster sizes?
You can really print any
size poster with Poster Buddy. Framing a poster or mounting it on poster
board often produces nice results. You can see what size frames or
poster board is available at your local store and make a poster to fit
For example, a common frame size is 16 x 20 inches. You can buy that
size frame in any department store or crafts store. To make a poster
to fit that frame, you can print a 2 x 2 tile poster with 8 x 10 inch
prints (i.e. 8.5 x 11 letter sized paper with .25 inch left/right margins and
.5 inch top/bottom margins). This is fairly easy. It
requires only four prints and can produce a nice, framed small poster in
as little as 10 or 15 minutes.