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Monday, April 28, 2008

Printing Panoramas


Printing Panoramas


Q) I have an Epson Stylus Photo R2400 printer—great printer, but I can’t coax it into printing a panorama of any significant size with the 13-inch x 32.8-foot roll of Epson Luster paper. The print preview looks fine, but it only prints a short segment of the image at the desired width.

A) The length of a panoramic print is limited by at least two factors. The first is the printer. The consumer and prosumer printers from Epson, up through and including your R2400, are limited to 44 inches in length, no matter how long the roll of paper is. This limitation can be overridden with the use of one of several after-market suppliers of RIP software with which you can print to any length. The software can cost more than the printer, however, so for most people the limit with the Epson printers is 44 inches.

Epson’s professional wide-format printers, such as the 4880 through 11880, will print to 90 inches in length. These boundaries, too, can be overcome with the use of RIP software. Canon’s wide-format printers have a length limit of 59 feet.

Unfortunately, another limitation may present itself. To work with an image in Photoshop, its size can’t exceed 30,000 pixels in either dimension without going to Adobe’s Large Document Format. In this format, the limit is 300,000 pixels in either dimension. In reality, the Photoshop program most often limits you to a 90-inch length. The way RIPs and Canon solved this problem is that the software takes the sized image from Photoshop and interpolates it to the size you’ve requested.

This panorama of a Monterey shale formation in Montaña de Oro State Park can be printed as long as I want it to be (up to 59 feet) on the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100 professional printer. Note that mounting large prints on half-inch gator board and coating them with a lustre laminate is a low-cost and lightweight way to display them.

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