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Help Needed! Photo resizing to print on full scale

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hey there! 


I'm trying to print out an image to fit on full scale, the only problem is i don't know how. A bit more information is needed so you can understand what i'm trying to do.


I'm making a wooden race-circuit for a friend of mine and i have a silhouette of the track that i want to make out of wood so i need a template, it needs to be around 80 cm tall. The only method i know is through Paint, selecting 'page setup' and then you can select the image to print on how many pages wide and high. It's not very specific and requires trial and error to get it around 80 cm high. Is there another way to print in full scale (80cm) on multiple pages?


Thanks in advance!

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You should look to Inkscape or software along those lines. Something used to create prints. CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator if you have access to commercial stuff. Basically you want something that can be printed or saved in canvas size of your choosing. Preferably something your printing solution supports. So if it's normal paper sizes, you can save as PDF (like A1 or A0).


I have Office Pro from school so I would be using combination of Gimp and Publisher for doing this. I've used CorelDraw at work to prep and rescale images for A0 printer.

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To be honest, I have never printed anything from Inkscape.. But it's probably worth a try to see if that works for your purpose (so print a 2-3 page test before embarking on the full adventure of making this, I guess).

In the (free/open-source Vector) program Inkscape you can set a custom page size:


These are the regular A4 dimensions, so just multiply the height by whatever you need.


You can also resize this stuff in mm measurements (red) and also place it on the page in mm (blue).


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Option A) What has been said is the best way specially if you can send the file to a print place where they can print in this medium formats. Using a vector software (inkscape, corel draw, affinity designer, xara, illustrator, etc) , as always that you export for CNC cutting, or make a template of any kind, for 3D print too, or cloth cutting or etc, vectors are better in these cases (accuracy and scaling flexibility, plus perfect curves). You create a canvas of the needed full size (ie, 90cm tall per whatever width), and you can already set the canvas properties, as (though not key in a vector file, but is good for other reasons) the resolution, that is, the DPI at which your print service prints (ie, typically 300 dpi). You might want to set the exact "bleed" asked in the default specs (usually downloadable at some point in the print service's site) of your print service, as well as establishing the specified margins, safe zone, etc. The easiest way with such services is just to download the template they actually provide, for illustrator, corel draw, etc, and use that template to make your file, as there you will have pre-made the bleed and cut line, margins, safe zone, etc.   Then, just making/drawing with the node tool your actual track design. Then adjust the scale of your drawn race track with the proportional scaling tool till you match that canvas of about 80 cm tall, if you hadn't it filling all space already.  Scaling up in vectors is not an issue, as is not about pixels, you have infinite scaling down or up. Once is all of your liking, can save the vector file and provide it in the format that the print service requires (PDF/X, EPS, etc). And that's it.


Option B) Now... the "dirty way"... hehe.  As u can do it in any raster software, too (photoshop, gimp, Affinity Photo, clip studio paint. Probably even in the free Krita). And as you mentioned "paint", the simplest tool ever, and raster... might be that u feel lost with vector apps. Also because it does seem to me that all you are doing is printing at home, with a cheapo 50 dollars A4 home printer.


I'd just be sure to see at what DPI is your printer set at (if you are using a home printer and not a POD digital printing service) . 

For simplicity, I'd just set the image at 90 cm tall . Hopefully, you can set your printer to print border-less, without margins. But if not possible, you will need to cut away the exceeding empty paper, the printer margins. The  canvas, this new image, needs to be at the same dpi (resolution) of your printer, or the one that you are setting in your print dialog. So that the file wont stall your computer, I strongly recommend 300 dpi, also the usual res in case u'd send it in the future to a printing service.


Of course, it would have been important that the canvas created as new, would be big enough to fit all your track's drawing. For example, if is enough, with 9  A4 sheets (~ letter size) forming a 3x3 grid, as A4 and letter size are usually printable in any home printer.   Forming this grid, 3 (A4s) for the width, 3 for height. In Photoshop or whatever similar, an easy way for this is just create the new canvas as an A4 (or "letter" size). You could now (is optional)  hit ctrl + a or however you do there a "select all". And then "save selection", call it for example "A4 selection". So you keep a selection exactly the A4 size. Then (most image editing apps allow this) set the "canvas size" to a new size  (or image resize if there's no such option in your app, as now does not matter yet, is a white canvas) , and change it to be " 300%" in Width, and 300% in height.


Now make your 80 cm tall drawing of the track covering well the whole canvas, or just paste it there if you have it created already. If after pasting it is much smaller to cover the real state there of 80cm tall in this 300dpi (I repeat, matching your printer dpi)   canvas that you  have now, if is smaller, I recommend making the track again from scratch, as scaling up always results in blurry results, in raster (pixels). Once you have your track drawing finished (maybe using the (Photoshop, or Photo, or etc) vector tools is the very best option for this case), what you have is a giant canvas with a track over it, filling well all the 3x3 (A4s) sheet. Now, to print and then stitch together the printed pages, I'd first set snapping ON, and also set the setting to snap to document bounds, selections, and layers (very important for ease and speed for the following). You now load the selection we made (which happens to be exactly an A4 in size). Move the selection towards the canvas left border and bottom border. As snapping is on, the selection will snap to both. Now make a new layer. In Photoshop (sorry, is the one I know everything from memory, lol) , or equivalent in other tool, hit shift F5 and pick any color to fill this selection, (is just fill it with pixels) whatever you want. Now you have a filled layer the size of an A4. Deselect (ctrl + d in Photoshop). Now, you will duplicate this layer in the fastest and easiest way possible in your software. In Photoshop, is keeping pressed ctrl, the press and keep also pressed ALT, without releasing those, drag the layer with the left mouse button, just drag it, will move a new copy of the layer, duplicating it so. As you move it, let it snap to the side of the existing layer, and do it again with the resulting one, and then the same with the row of the grid you will be forming above, and so till you have your 3x3 grid of A4 "pages" done, and perfectly (magnetic) snapping each rectangle with the next (ALL "tutorial" till here this is done in 15 seconds. Seriously).


Remember you had already your track designed in another layer.  Now, in Photoshop, and I think this has been recently added to Affinity Photo as well, you can ctrl and LMB (left mouse button) click on the layer thumbnail of one of the A4s rectangles you've made, in the layers list window, so to select fast the layer's full content, the A4 rectangle (or select that layer in the layers window, and hit in the menu/select/ or layer contextual menu : "load layer transparency" ). Be sure now to save your final version of the file, right now.  Now "crop to selection" . Hide all layers now except the one containing a part of the racing track, so only that is visible now. As I told you, I hope your home printer allows a setting called "border-less" printing, so to not produce margin, gaps between pages. As you will print this cropped thing as one A4 of the grid. Then ctrl+z or ctrl alt z until you get back to the global view before cropping to selection. Ctrl click over the layer's thumbnail of another A4 rectangle to have that selection for that grid rectangle on, and hit again "crop to selection", hide all except the racing track part, print. And repeat. Till you have all your 9 pieces printed. then stitch them to form the plan / blueprint.


Another way is using just guides, snapping and the crop tool. But whenever I explain guides to whoever, people get lost, lol.


All these methods, pretty similar across the main raster apps : Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Photo Line, Paint Shop Pro... Gimp is a different animal but have a lot of Photoshop's functionality, just in quite a different way.


I explained it in a humongously long way, as is longer to explain than to do. It might take me like 20 second to make and print all except actually drawing the track, as depends on if you are making a complex track of many curves or just a circular or simple shape track.


Might sound cumbersome, but the drag and copy layer, with snap on (and particularly, with smart grid on in photoshop or Affinity Photo's snap system) it is darn fast, seconds. And when you have more "cell" grids, and a very complex overall drawing, this technique becomes very handy. It is NOT the way I print anything of large dimensions, as I always send it to a POD printer, a service online, print shop etc, and print it in the final size format as many are capable to print in huge formats. Have done event posters of 6 meters wide, and theater scenery of 8+ x 2 meters...no stitching required :D


Also, for more advanced solutions, whenever making grid based things, can be advantageous to create macros, Actions, scripts, whatever supported by the 2D app.  


And as mentioned, anything to be cut on wood, any CNC stuff, or 3D print, or etc, better if done by a vector based program, as they recommended above. I just provided the dirty ways as a non standard way for those allergic to vectors  ;) 



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