It looks great but could you make it a little bigger?
December 10, 2012 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I bought a print of a painting I love in the only format available: A full bleed art show poster on glossy 11"x17" bond. The painting reproduction is approximately the top half of the poster, say 10"x8". I can clearly see the grain of the canvas in the print, and it is entirely possible that the original painting is not much larger than the reprint. So my question is, is it feasible to have this print blown up to twice or thrice it's size without sacrificing quality?

I'd like to mount a big version of the print/painting and hang it on my wall*. Would that be possible to do with such a small representation?

And if it is indeed possible, could you recommend a place in Los Angeles (preferably somewhere between Beverly Hills and Downtown) that would do the whole shebang for me? I have a suitable frame, but would need the image blown up, matted, and then mounted in the frame.

*I'd like to keep the (signed, precious) poster print in its tube for now.
posted by carsonb to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
You probably could, but it probably wouldn't look all that great. I mean, it wouldn't look like shit, but it might not achieve the desired affect.

The main obstacle is going to be scanning, as there aren't many (cheap) places that can scan an 11x17 original without scanning it in pieces and photoshopping it together.

I'm confused as to why you don't want to hang the poster you already have. Buy an archival acid-free frame for it, or have it framed to those specifications. Having a poster framed doesn't damage it in any way as long as you're willing to do it right.

I had an appointment on Wilshire in Mid City (sort of by LACMA, maybe Wilshire between San Vicente and Fairfax?) recently and passed at least five high end copy and print shops that would probably be able to scan and print an enlargement, if you're really set on doing that. These were places that cater more to people who want to have signs and posters printed, and less Kinko-ish places for people who want copies of their script or resume or the like.
posted by Sara C. at 10:17 PM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: Yep, there's about 8 million of those little shops in this part of town. I was hoping for a rec (won't hold out for a name, but) from someone who had some really nice signs printed.

I bought the poster because it had the painting on it. I'm happy to own a signed print but I'd rather not have the bottom half of it hanging out on my wall; I just want the painting. If it's not going to be cheap to do it well, that's fine. I will save my pennies to do it right, if it can be done.
posted by carsonb at 10:22 PM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: Problem with enlarging the 10x8 portion to 16x20 is if the print was made using an offset process (conventional printing) then you are dealing with a half-tone, which looks awful when enlarged. There are filters and techniques that can reduce the effect. Scan it at 600dpi, run the filters, and you'd be able to print it at 300 dpi at twice the original size.
It may be worth a try putting a 200dpi version through Google Image Search or Tineye which may find other better quality versions.
posted by Sophont at 10:59 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

This is going to depend a lot on how the poster is printed. Scanning an offset print won't produce anything of quality, usually. The halftone is going to look terrible once it is blown up. The scanner sees things our brains just gloss over.
posted by looli at 11:01 PM on December 10, 2012

You might be able to get away with the enlarged dot pattern if you were only doing a slight enlargement. At three times scale, the dots are going to be very annoying and distracting, unless you only view the print from a long distance away (much like the dot pattern on billboards is actually very coarse, but at their usual viewing distance, it all blends together)

However, any reputable shop is probably not going to do a scan and print of the poster, due to copyright issues.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:14 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The halftone is going to look terrible once it is blown up.

This is what I was afraid of, I just didn't have enough knowledge of printing techniques to be sure. Thanks for the suggestions! I seem to recall a fairly high-quality scan floating around the 'tubes. Maybe I'll look into that more.

I have access to a medium-format flatbed scanner at work that would handle the poster no problem. If I scan that at some mighty high dpi would that be better? I could take the resulting file to a print shop and work from that, perhaps?
posted by carsonb at 5:22 PM on December 11, 2012

Response by poster: OK, I have a 600dpi TIFF image I'm pretty happy with. Just looking at it in the monitor I can zoom in well past my desired output image before I'm disgusted by the halftone dots. The canvas pattern is easily more distracting. What I *don't* have is Photoshop.

Anyone have a link to instructions or filters for what I'll need to do in GIMP to get this print-ready?
posted by carsonb at 5:19 PM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Descreen GIMP plugin may help. Instructions.
posted by Kabanos at 12:01 PM on December 18, 2012

Response by poster: I wound up taking a perpendicular route to a passable solution for the present: I upgraded my monitor to a 32" 1080p screen and just used the giant .tif as my desktop background.

It's downright glorious.
posted by carsonb at 11:09 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

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