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Making Large Printouts with Photoshop

August 17, 2008

I can only make prints up to 8.5 x 11 inches, so if I’m going to transfer a digital drawing to a larger size for a painting, the multiple prints will have to be taped together. I thought I’d share my procedure for doing this for the benefit of those you that may be new to the process.

When I’m making a digital drawing, I typically set the image resolution at actual print size (inches.) My pixel-per-inch resolution is usually set at a minimum of 300, since smaller settings can make the lines harder to see clearly. Common monitor resolution is 72 ppi.

Under the View setting in Photoshop, display the Grid, turn on Snap, and Snap to grid. Edit the Grid Preferences where the gridlines are every 8 inches and subdivisions are 4.

Make a selection that is 4 squares across and five down, which will be 8 x 10 inches. Copy this selection to the clipboard, make a new document, and paste your selection.

Select all of this layer, and Stroke the selection. A width of 1 pixel is usually okay for the print with the line location on the inside. You can also alter the line color if you want, which will help you separate it from the rest of the drawing. I sometimes make the stroke in a new layer unto itself, and remove every part of that rectangle except for the four corners, creating a small right-angle mark which is all I need to line up the prints. To do that quickly, select the four corners, invert your selection, and then delete. Now you can print your image.

Return to your original drawing and make another selection adjacent to the previous one, being sure to snap to your grid settings. Make another document, paste, stroke, and print it.

I use a lightbox to see through the printed sheets of paper, and match up the stroked corner lines, but if it’s daylight outside you can hold them up to a windowpane, and then tape them together.

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