Quicktip bigprint freeform

Pencildrawing of a team of horses by Anja Nolte.

Think big. How to prepare an artwork for bigsize freeform print on Alu-dibond.

Preparing drawings for freeform bigprints has its special challenges. In the following a possible –my– way to realise this in Photoshop CC:
  1. Generate a psd-file in the endsize-printformat 100 dpi, f.ex. 200 x 200 cm.
  2. Divide size through 4= 50 x 50 cm, multiply dpi with 4= 400 dpi
  3. Change image size to 400 dpi, 50 x 50 cm, save as new psd ( I name it „Montage“-psd)
  4. Scan your artwork with (minimum) resolution of 400 dpi (depends on size of artwork).
  5. Copy and paste the scanned image into your „Montage“-psd, name the layer „Original“.
  6. Create a new group above: „Montage”.
  7. Create a path with the pathdrawing tool exactly outside/ along the drawing line of your motive.
  8. Save path as „motiv-path”
  9. Add cutouts within the path if wanted.
  10. Create a selection with the motiv-path (path panel).
  11. Copy the selected artwork and paste (in original position)  in the group Montage, name the layer „Motiv”.
  12. Next you need a bleed difference of 5 mm (devided through 4).
  13. Create a selection of your „Motiv-path”, expand the selection with 20px.
  14. Create a new layer „trim“ below your artwork.
  15. Fill the layer – using your expanded selection – with black
  16. Create a new layer „corrections“ above your artwork.
  17. Carefully soften the hard edge between bleed difference and artwork with a soft brush (black, half covering power) on this layer.
  18. Add color and or tonal value adjustments (use filter icon on layer panel).
  19. Hide all layers ( background should be transparent) except your group „montage“ with the layers trim, motiv, corrections.
  20. Select all, copy as reduced on one layer, paste “in same position” in a new layer „print”.
  21. Activate your „motive“-path, create selection, expand selection with 8px.
  22. Use the path panel create a new working path from this selection, save path as „cut path „.
  23. Save file as „PRINT“ file.
  24. Change the size (multiply with 4) to 200 x 200 cm, the dpi to 100 dpi (divide through 4).
  25. Delete alle layers and paths except the layer „print“ and the path „cut path”.
  26. Change the profile to cmyk, make last color adjustments.


Pencil drawing team of horses.

Possible questions:
Why photoshop and not In-Design?
Printhouse print data delivery specs.
Why a black trim?
In this case, because the artworks are printed on Alu-Dibond with lateron black reverse and edges.
Why not directly work in the 100 dpi end-resolution?
In 400dpi you can make better corrections in the artwork (f.ex. with copy stamp or repairbrush) and at the trim-edge.
Why a 5 mm trim?
Actually its not really 5, its 3 mm. But the diameter of the rotary cutter has an intolerance of 2 mm. If I would create my cut path directly at my f.ex pencil drawing line it might happen, that it cuts my pencil line away – not good :-)

Of course my explanation is quite rough, there are multiple other possibilities and it depends always from the Printhouse specs. But this is the way I found out best working for me. I hope this helps, best way is to try out ! :-)
Of course you will need a good printhouse – my recommondation: Dinkela Druck München. They are just great.

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