PDA

View Full Version : Research Poster for Science Conference




SurfinSHELL23
Apr 15, 2006, 12:15 AM
I have a question for all of you graphically inclined folks.

Here's the situation. My school requires all students to perform an independent science research project their sophomore year. About a third of us decided to go on to either traditional science fairs or an oral presentation or both (as most did). The oral presentations are given to the New Jersey Academy of Science. Almost every state has a state Academy of Science, where the junior members (high schoolers) can present their research to actual scientists. Those who get first, second, and third place in their cateogries are invited to the national meeting of scientists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org). The meeting (http://www.aaas.org/meetings/Annual_Meeting/) is in San Francisco this year and our school district will pay the way for anyone who gets first place.

So we present a poster and an oral presentation here. They provide us with a four foot tall by eight foot wide bulletin board space for each poster. I've been advised that it is advantageous to nearly fill this space.

Now our school has a plotter that handles up to 42" paper. I need to find out if we order 42" paper or just 36". For my trifold display before I printed on ANSI D (22" x 34") and used a paper cutter to cut out large pieces. We use PowerPoint to lay out everything and print. It works suprisingly well. The difficulty is this: Powerpoint only allows a maximum size of 56" - but I'd want around 84".

So I have a few choices:

Photoshop
I was told that someone else used Photoshop and experienced lackluster results. I was told that it looked like there was some kind of resolution problem.

Question: Should I decide to use this, can you give me advice about how to setup the resolutions and other parameters? This is an HP DesignJet Inkjet plotter.

Powerpoint
Maybe somehow I can have it print two slides in a row on the paper without cutting the sheet. But optimally I'd want the title in about the middle and then it would probably end up split.

Quark/Indesign/Etc
We have indesign on the Macs at school, but the plotter is in a PC lab. I could probably get Quark and get Indesign on my laptop from school or connect to the plotter from the Mac lab. Would this make things easier?

So how would you go about doing this? As far as the content, it's text and some photos - much like any research posters you might have seen around universities. Nothing fancy.

Thanks so much.

Brian

PS - The good news is I have around 10 months to figure this out. The conference isn't until February 2007.



mkrishnan
Apr 15, 2006, 12:26 AM
Does your plotter allow you to scale a document to fit the (cut) sheet size? Ours does. So I typically print from PPT or else make a PDF and then scale the PDF up to page size....

live4ever
Apr 15, 2006, 01:11 AM
Do you get to use the plotter for free? I know at our school the cost to print to the plotter was nearly the cost of getting a professional printer to do it - so our lab just went with the professional print shop. The results were so much better than anything we got on the plotter too. I would also recommend using a layout app like Indesign if you have access to it.

cazlar
Apr 15, 2006, 07:13 AM
I used to use PPT for my posters, but switched to Pages when it came out to do my layout (obviously InDesign would be probably be better though). It can slow down a bit though when you have a full load of text/images.

Also, are you sure of your allocated size? Every conference I've been to has had approx between 1m and 1.2m squared. (~40-47" according to google). I also seem to remember printing to Oversize (ISO) A0, but that might be printer-specific.

So if you do have the full 8 foot, maybe two 4 foot square posters would be easier?

As for content, I suggest not too many words if possible. Better to have nice and clear figures than lots of cramped text. But enough text to tell your story of course!

mkrishnan
Apr 15, 2006, 09:29 AM
Also, are you sure of your allocated size? Every conference I've been to has had approx between 1m and 1.2m squared. (~40-47" according to google). I also seem to remember printing to Oversize (ISO) A0, but that might be printer-specific.

My U.S. experience (conferences featuring physics, engineering, psychology, social science, and medicine... I haven't been in other scientific fields...) is that 4'x8' is pretty standard, and that a poster that is about 3' x 4' is the most common, and is almost always acceptable everywhere. That's the poster size I most frequently use here....

Blue Velvet
Apr 15, 2006, 09:47 AM
...Quark/Indesign/Etc
We have indesign on the Macs at school, but the plotter is in a PC lab. I could probably get Quark and get Indesign on my laptop from school or connect to the plotter from the Mac lab. Would this make things easier?


If I were you, this is the route I would follow. If the artwork size is too big for InDesign, then do it at 50% (48in x 24in) and when you're happy with it export a PDF (press or high quality which embeds the fonts).

The image resolution for something that will be read at a distance could safely be between 240-400 pixels per inch in the 50% artwork bearing in mind that it will be sized up when printed thus lowering the resolution.

Once that PDF is done, if the PC with the plotter has Adobe Reader you can then resize it up to 4' x 8' in the page setup/print dialog making sure it fits to page.

You can download a fully-functional demo of InDesign CS2 here (250mb).
http://www.adobe.com/products/tryadobe/main.jsp#product=31

If the plotter's output looks rubbish, then that same PDF should be OK for taking elsewhere.

SurfinSHELL23
Apr 17, 2006, 05:22 PM
Thanks for all your advice.

I will answer the specific questions you posed when I get back to school. As of now I'm busy finishing up things I need to hand in tomorrow. Thanks again.

Brian