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dolphin842
Feb 1, 2007, 01:58 PM
Hi all,

I'm heading to a conference in April and have been given instructions to create a 46" x 40" poster to display my work. It will consist mostly of text and perhaps a few graphics.

I've not made such a poster before so I was wondering how best to go about it, i.e. what software to use, what settings (such as dpi) to use, what format to output for the print shop, etc. I have access to the Adobe Suite in the campus lab.

Any advice would be much appreciated!



mustard
Feb 1, 2007, 02:11 PM
Hi all,

I'm heading to a conference in April and have been given instructions to create a 46" x 40" poster to display my work. It will consist mostly of text and perhaps a few graphics.

I've not made such a poster before so I was wondering how best to go about it, i.e. what software to use, what settings (such as dpi) to use, what format to output for the print shop, etc. I have access to the Adobe Suite in the campus lab.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Depending on how you want it printed (material) Kinkos & most large local print shops will charge between $8 & $15 per sqft. I would use Illustrator if possible; if you must use Photoshop I would suggest a 300dpi file (you could probably fudge as low as 180dpi depending on the viewing distance)

dogbone
Feb 1, 2007, 02:24 PM
It depends on whether the graphics you intend to use are of a photographic nature or they are already in a vector format. If it's all vector (ie, smooth lines that don't pixelate when you enlarge) probably Illustrator is the way to go. You won't need to worry about dpi at all.

So it depends on how familiar you are with the software. What sort of and graphics are you using.

If you're comfortable with it, InDesign might be best to use as all the text will be easy to manipulate and give you enough control. The graphics, whether photographic or vector are easily imported in their own boxes.

You might want to prepare the photos first in photoshop to have them at or close to the size reqired and save as cmyk.

For a poster 150 dpi for images is more than adequate.

You may also consider preparing the entire job in Photoshop and saving as a CMYK pdf, if you do that you *will* need to set the dpi at 150, this will be a big file maybe about 150Mb but it's not that big really. Photoshop may be easier to use if you are not familiar with laying out in InDesign.

My gut reaction (in your particular case) would be for you to do this in Photoshop, you'll be able to do more interesting and fun things with the text and graphics.

dolphin842
Feb 1, 2007, 02:39 PM
I've had a bit of Photoshop experience but none with InDesign so I'll probably try the former first.

Thanks for the replies! :)

heehee
Feb 1, 2007, 02:41 PM
I would suggest less text and a few nice graphics. It's a poster, no one is gonna stand there and read it all.

balamw
Feb 1, 2007, 02:46 PM
Do they really mean that you must have a single sheet poster that big, or just one that fits in that space? Do you know anyone who has been to the conference before you could ask?

The common approach I have used in the past is to make a series of 11x17" (~A3) panels each mounted on separate poster boards and mount them as a mosaic at the conference. Each panel can then easily be deisgned in Powerpoint/Keynote and reused for oral presentations.

This approach has another advantage besides removing the difficulty of creating the single sheet in the first place, in that you can reuse panels if you have another poster to present.

I would suggest less text and a few nice graphics. It's a poster, no one is gonna stand there and read it all.
Agreed. Don't forget the main reason for poster presentations, meeting other people in your field and selling yourself. The goal of a successful poster is to get the other people at the conference to talk to you, so give them enough room to ask questions and entice them with text and graphics that are readable from some distance. (Don't just pin up an archival paper).

B

dolphin842
Feb 1, 2007, 10:55 PM
balamw, thanks for the idea about having multiple smaller pieces. The conference is sketchy on what is or isn't allowed... they just provide the dimensions of the space they give you to velcro the poster to.

It's my first conference poster, so I appreciate the style tips as well!

Lovesong
Feb 1, 2007, 11:28 PM
For some of the meetings that I go to we need to have posters of our work. Last year I made a 3' by 4' by simply making a custom size slide in Keynote (some of my co-workers were using PowerPoint), and making the entire poster there. Then we had it printed on a large-format printer. Worked well.

darkwing
Feb 2, 2007, 08:45 AM
Scribus is a decent publishing program that's open source. I used it to make a poster for a graduate research class.

http://www.scribus.net/

mkrishnan
Feb 2, 2007, 08:54 AM
This is a technical conference and a research poster, right? You can actually do pretty well at this just using Powerpoint (and presumably either pages or keynote can do this too). And it'll be a lot less painful editing primarily text in PPT than it will in Photoshop.

Take a look at my research website...

http://phhp.ufl.edu/~mkrishna/

All the posters at the bottom are done in powerpoint.

The other thing is that you can often print these posters on plotters, if you're at a university -- ask the campus computing labs. Here at Univ. of Florida, it only costs $3 to do so. Usually, this means you end up with 36x48, but typically at conferences, 75% of people ignore the conference recommended size, and use that one.

Nuc
Feb 2, 2007, 09:14 AM
This is a technical conference and a research poster, right? You can actually do pretty well at this just using Powerpoint (and presumably either pages or keynote can do this too). And it'll be a lot less painful editing primarily text in PPT than it will in Photoshop.

Take a look at my research website...

http://phhp.ufl.edu/~mkrishna/

All the posters at the bottom are done in powerpoint.

The other thing is that you can often print these posters on plotters, if you're at a university -- ask the campus computing labs. Here at Univ. of Florida, it only costs $3 to do so. Usually, this means you end up with 36x48, but typically at conferences, 75% of people ignore the conference recommended size, and use that one.
I suggest using powerpoint as well. I had to do a poster presentation at my university and they said to use powerpoint.

I remember that it cost a lot to get it printed. Luckily I didn't have to pay for it.

Nuc

macaddict23
Feb 2, 2007, 11:46 AM
Check www.bamagazine.com. It's the fifth article down.

dolphin842
Feb 2, 2007, 02:17 PM
Thanks again all for your suggestions!

Mohan, thanks for pointing to your posters... it's good to see that you can get that type of output just from powerpoint.

uaaerospace
Jul 19, 2007, 12:08 AM
I love Macrumors....you guys are great!

LeviG
Jul 19, 2007, 05:14 AM
ok I'm going to suggest something that has not been suggested as far as I can see.

Speak to the company/people who are doing the printing, they should know their equipment better than anyone else. You can also get an idea of what software they have available (they may not have keynote/powerpoint for example), what formats they prefer for printing etc.

Spending 10-15mins speaking with the printer could save you a lot of wasted time if you pick the "wrong" program.

However as a general rule, the 150dpi etc I agree about (seems to be about right for the larger prints in my experience)

In regards the work less text more pictures is probably the best approach.

dolphin842
Jul 19, 2007, 07:16 AM
Hi all,

In the end, I used OmniGraffle to create the poster... the alignment guides, paper size/margin specifications, and other niceties came in handy. The engineering department on campus had a large-format printer and was able to print it out (in color, no less!) for free. I just handed him a PDF generated from OmniGraffle and everything was good to go.

mkrishnan
Jul 19, 2007, 07:44 AM
Sounds nice. Picture? :p

GoCubsGo
Jul 19, 2007, 07:51 AM
This is a technical conference and a research poster, right? You can actually do pretty well at this just using Powerpoint (and presumably either pages or keynote can do this too). And it'll be a lot less painful editing primarily text in PPT than it will in Photoshop.

Take a look at my research website...

http://phhp.ufl.edu/~mkrishna/

All the posters at the bottom are done in powerpoint.

The other thing is that you can often print these posters on plotters, if you're at a university -- ask the campus computing labs. Here at Univ. of Florida, it only costs $3 to do so. Usually, this means you end up with 36x48, but typically at conferences, 75% of people ignore the conference recommended size, and use that one.
O/T your work is impressive. :)

oscuh
Jul 19, 2007, 08:05 AM
Use Phototshop or InDesign. if you go PS, you can build it at half-scale at 300-400 dpi. If you have text, you'll want this resolution to keep it looking crisp. And for the love of God, do NOT go to Kinko's. They're a rip-off. Check out local service bureaus that do large format color output.

Oh, and use PPT if you feel like making the people printing your poster very mad at you :p

Also anyplace that does blueprint output will generally have a color device. $8-15 a square foot for posters? WAAAAY too high. $15 psf is what you should expect for high-coverage, full coverage inkjet banners on vinyl, not a small poster on paper. Expect to pay closer to $4-5 psf, assuming a typical 40-60# bond. You can save it as a .jpg or .tif.

If you create in InDesign, a hi-res PDF will be sufficient, just make sure either way that you include bleeds if the art bleeds. Good luck!

(Oh, and I know this is an old thread, but I thought my $.02 might come in handy who wanted to do a similar thing, but didn't have access to a free plotter)

Claytoniss
Jul 25, 2007, 05:01 PM
I have made several very large displays in the past year(a couple of 8x10ft displays and a couple of table top 5ft) and helped with a 82 foot big rig truck wrap. Rule is working full size at 150dpi. Like previous post check with your printer on what to use. My printer runs at 48in wide, and as long as the roll. And Kinko's is the herpies of the graphic design world!:eek:

on a side note about big graphics
If you have photoshop there is also a really sweet technique I found in a digital photo book. It always depends on the quality of the photo but the bigger the better(at least 300dpi 5x7in in the book it says poster size from 3x5in), If you increase the image size by 10% at a time(under image/imagesize increase by 110%), you will not loose as much quality on the photo when you blow it up. I blew up a 8x10 photo (digital from a canon 20d) 4 ft high and lost almost no rez. Its a sweet trick. Make a action out of it in PS and assign a shortcut, and its saves a lot of time. No one believed me and my 1700 display graphics and a free lunch was on the line....I got a free lunch and the people liked the display

astrostu
Jul 25, 2007, 05:24 PM
I've always used PhotoShop in the past. I use 144 dpi and have never had a problem with the print quality. The reason I don't go up to 300 dpi is that it takes A LOT of RAM since I usually have several dozen layers.

I strongly recommend AGAINST PowerPoint. This probably sounds arrogant, but I have never really seen a PowerPoint poster that I like from a design standpoint. Most people just stick stuff in text boxes and have at it.

I would also recommend doing a test print so that you can see what the colors look like (it will look different from on-screen) and if the font is readable. The poster should be readable from at least 3 ft (1 meter) away.

Here are some posters that I've done in the past (and I realize that I've now opened myself up to criticism because I criticized PPT above):
http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/me/images/poster_aas2004.jpg
http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/me/images/poster_aas2005.jpg

Note that in mine, you can still read the text even though the poster has been reduced to 12"x12", the section headings are very clear, and the images stand out from the text. It's also clear how your eye should travel throughout the poster since there's no giant blob of images in the middle drawing your immediate attention. There's also white space that helps break it up, and space between paragraphs and lines as opposed to a bulletted list that just runs on.

mkrishnan
Jul 25, 2007, 05:28 PM
O/T your work is impressive. :)

Thanks! :)

I dunno...maybe I should try using something like PS or something one of these days, doing all the pre-work and text and everything and then just laying it out. Although I do have to say I've found PPT quite adequate for research presentations.

guifa
Jul 25, 2007, 06:43 PM
I work in a print lab on campus. We always have people coming in with Powerpoint. Half the time Powerpoint screws up printing it large-formatted and we just have to print an 8.5x11 to PDF and scale it up in Illustrator. I would strongly recommend using Illustrator. Whoever decided that Powerpoint was a good program for making posters needs to be shot.

mkrishnan
Jul 25, 2007, 07:12 PM
Whoever decided that Powerpoint was a good program for making posters needs to be shot.

Excuse me? I need to be shot because you don't know how to use a printer? :rolleyes: My posters always print out correctly.

guifa
Jul 25, 2007, 08:58 PM
Excuse me? I need to be shot because you don't know how to use a printer? :rolleyes: My posters always print out correctly.
There's more than just the scaling aspect. Powerpoint has no native color management and our school's colours are a dark navy blue and burnt orange. Which unfortunately from RGB almost always prints out a lovely LSU purple with a Tennessee orange. There's only so much we can do control the RGB->CMYK conversion, especially given the way our lab and printing is set up (which is not a for-pay printing lab, for university related functions we're free, so people come in and literally print out five different "proofs" of their posters and each time come back in to reprint with one single letter different), thusly clogging up print queues for the people who have actually taken the time to use smaller letter-sized proofs and care about colour management and design, etc. The only surefire way to get the colours spot on is to load the file up in Illustrator and change the colours. Granted it's a lot easier now with CS3 to change all the things in colour X to colour Y, but before in CS2 you could see the disgusting output from the PP->PDF converter, and though I'm not sure which side is the culprit (MS or Adobe), based on Word's HTML output, I'm leaning the former.

ezekielrage_99
Jul 26, 2007, 12:20 AM
Excuse me? I need to be shot because you don't know how to use a printer? :rolleyes: My posters always print out correctly.

If it works I can't see how it's a bad idea either.

guifa
Jul 26, 2007, 12:52 AM
If it works I can't see how it's a bad idea either.

Just because something works doesn't mean it's the right way to approach something. You could do the poster in Microsoft Paint and it would work. You could also draw it by hand, scan it in, and send it to the printer. That would also work. You could also cut out sheets of construction paper and use sorority-girl-style lettering with crayon pictures. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the way you should do it, although the latter would probably look better than 90% of the conference posters I've seen. Illustrator is not that hard to learn for basic things required for the average run of the mill poster conference, and the resulting poster is far better.

The OP mention he has some experience with PhotoShop, therefore Illustrator or InDesign would have small-to-nonexistant learning curve depending on what he's wanting to do, and certainly no more of a learning curve than trying to figure out where X is buried in Office 2007. Being able to have better colour management, finer control over vector graphics, linked files, etc, increase productivity immensely, and said features take only about 5-10 minutes to learn. Plus, as my understanding of the oh-so-confusing-you-have-to-actually-pay-to-have-your-articles-published-and-you-do-poster-presentations-instead-of-real-conference-proceedings-and-publishings (seriously, I don't understand it, I'm not being sarcastic here) science world goes, you'll be doing poster presentations probably almost one a month if you go into the field or go on for graduate studies, so learning Illustrator and other similar programs could in a short time result in some breathtaking poster displays to really capture attendees' attention.

I know I sound pissy about this, and it honestly is because I am. When you deal with literally 30 or more new people coming in to do posters every single day with charts that they've made in Paint and imported into PowerPoint who then yell at you because their charts or other picture came out blurry, you start to wish people would just do the right thing and hire a designer. Most people hire plumbers to do their plumbing, lawyers to handle legal issues, and architects to design houses, yet they do their own design work.

I should say though, the fact that the OP has even asked about the best approaches says he cares more about his presentation than most all the other science folk I've come in contact with, and ergo all the more power to him.

oscuh
Jul 26, 2007, 08:44 AM
Just because something works doesn't mean it's the right way to approach something. You could do the poster in Microsoft Paint and it would work. You could also draw it by hand, scan it in, and send it to the printer. That would also work. You could also cut out sheets of construction paper and use sorority-girl-style lettering with crayon pictures. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the way you should do it, although the latter would probably look better than 90% of the conference posters I've seen. Illustrator is not that hard to learn for basic things required for the average run of the mill poster conference, and the resulting poster is far better.

The OP mention he has some experience with PhotoShop, therefore Illustrator or InDesign would have small-to-nonexistant learning curve depending on what he's wanting to do, and certainly no more of a learning curve than trying to figure out where X is buried in Office 2007. Being able to have better colour management, finer control over vector graphics, linked files, etc, increase productivity immensely, and said features take only about 5-10 minutes to learn. Plus, as my understanding of the oh-so-confusing-you-have-to-actually-pay-to-have-your-articles-published-and-you-do-poster-presentations-instead-of-real-conference-proceedings-and-publishings (seriously, I don't understand it, I'm not being sarcastic here) science world goes, you'll be doing poster presentations probably almost one a month if you go into the field or go on for graduate studies, so learning Illustrator and other similar programs could in a short time result in some breathtaking poster displays to really capture attendees' attention.

I know I sound pissy about this, and it honestly is because I am. When you deal with literally 30 or more new people coming in to do posters every single day with charts that they've made in Paint and imported into PowerPoint who then yell at you because their charts or other picture came out blurry, you start to wish people would just do the right thing and hire a designer. Most people hire plumbers to do their plumbing, lawyers to handle legal issues, and architects to design houses, yet they do their own design work.

I should say though, the fact that the OP has even asked about the best approaches says he cares more about his presentation than most all the other science folk I've come in contact with, and ergo all the more power to him.

Hey now, it almost sounds like you're saying you know what you're talking about. That could get you in trouble around here .... People don't seem to like it when you say you have, dare I say it, experience! Trust me, I know.

That being said, I've been in PrePress, design and Large format for over 10 years, and you really hit the nail on the thumb.

Just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you SHOULD. High-end graphics apps serve a distinct and necessary purpose, and professionals exist for a purpose. We've dedicated our time, money, blood, seat and tears into learning what we know, and yet, you're right, people seem to think that because they have a scanner hooked up to their crappy PC that they're suddenly a photo-editing expert, or because they have Paint they're a graphic designer. I have sharp knives at home; doesn't make me a surgeon.

balamw
Jul 26, 2007, 08:55 AM
Just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you SHOULD. High-end graphics apps serve a distinct and necessary purpose, and professionals exist for a purpose.

This is what's most frustrating about this to us "old timers" we are professionals in science and engineering. Somehow, we spend a lot of time learning how to do drafting, page layout (since apparenty the journals no longer employ anyone that does that during the editing stage, so everything needs to be "camera ready"), etc... It's just a huge distraction to do something which we will never be as good as the professionals at.

At least if you are doing thinks in LaTeX you can largely divorce the look and feel from the content, but not so in the WYSIWYG tools.

B

guifa
Jul 26, 2007, 11:38 AM
This is what's most frustrating about this to us "old timers" we are professionals in science and engineering. Somehow, we spend a lot of time learning how to do drafting, page layout (since apparenty the journals no longer employ anyone that does that during the editing stage, so everything needs to be "camera ready"), etc... It's just a huge distraction to do something which we will never be as good as the professionals at.

At least if you are doing thinks in LaTeX you can largely divorce the look and feel from the content, but not so in the WYSIWYG tools.

B

You know I actually was talking to my dad about LaTeX and publishing the other day. He mentioned that it used to be very expensive to publish math articles, and most of the time the burden of payment would be with the article writer. Before LaTeX, they had to hire an specialised type-setter who would inevitably make mistakes, and the type setter and the writer would have to go through at least three or four revisions to get it right. Now though, it costs them virtually nothing to get a journal ready for publication after its articles have been reviewed.

In the literature world, we rarely have that many fancy layout features, and most journals just take straight-up RTF, Word, or WordPerfect files, there's not really a single common format. But, we don't pay anything to have our stuff published. If anything we pay a few bucks to cover the shipping expenses, but the rest is covered by the journal.

A friend of mine has to pay sometimes over a thousand dollars just to have a single colour figure included in one of his publications (he's in biomed research), and the research involved for each figures costs in the tens and hundreds of thousands. You'd think they could set aside a hundred or two to have a designer do the figures (which I'm going to be doing for them soon hehe).

balamw
Jul 26, 2007, 11:45 AM
Now though, it costs them virtually nothing to get a journal ready for publication after its articles have been reviewed.


There is a cost, though in the case of LaTeX can be fairly minimal. Training the authors to use LaTeX and become typesetters is a real cost. This is why I still end up using Word for any document I need to interact with anyone on, teaching them LaTeX would be more ineffective short term, even if the long term benefits might be big.

LaTeX is awesome, but it's not a panacea.

Physics journals user to take LaTeX input and translate it to their own tool so any minor tweaks were done at the editing stage, and there are now many journals that still will prefer Word input. :(

B

astrostu
Jul 26, 2007, 12:09 PM
In the literature world, we rarely have that many fancy layout features, and most journals just take straight-up RTF, Word, or WordPerfect files, there's not really a single common format. But, we don't pay anything to have our stuff published. If anything we pay a few bucks to cover the shipping expenses, but the rest is covered by the journal.

A friend of mine has to pay sometimes over a thousand dollars just to have a single colour figure included in one of his publications (he's in biomed research), and the research involved for each figures costs in the tens and hundreds of thousands. You'd think they could set aside a hundred or two to have a designer do the figures (which I'm going to be doing for them soon hehe).

In astronomy, it really depends on the journal, but page fees can get pretty expensive. An article I published in Solar Physics was free unless I wanted color figures, which was then $25/page. But I think The Astrophysical Journal is more like $100/page. But that's what grants are for. Which of course has nothing to do with posters.

ezekielrage_99
Jul 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Just because something works doesn't mean it's the right way to approach something.....

I wasn't saying the approach was right or wrong, however I think the "who ever suggested Powerpoint should be shot" remark to mkrishnan was a little over the top and out of line. The main point of my comment was the say that if it works for him and gets the desired results then what is the HUGE problem.

Whenever I am creating artwork it's done in either Photoshop or InDesign, that's what I use and I know they are industry standard tools, personally I don't use M$ Office I hate it. Lately I have been using Inkscape and Intaglio which are also very good tools for graphics work.

guifa
Jul 26, 2007, 07:51 PM
I wasn't saying the approach was right or wrong, however I think the "who ever suggested Powerpoint should be shot" remark to mkrishnan was a little over the top and out of line. The main point of my comment was the say that if it works for him and gets the desired results then what is the HUGE problem.

Whenever I am creating artwork it's done in either Photoshop or InDesign, that's what I use and I know they are industry standard tools, personally I don't use M$ Office I hate it. Lately I have been using Inkscape and Intaglio which are also very good tools for graphics work.
It wasn't meant to be a shot at him personally, and if it sounded that way I apologise. I meant the original person, ten years ago, who first thought up the idea should be. And that was a hyperbole at that.

ezekielrage_99
Jul 26, 2007, 09:06 PM
It wasn't meant to be a shot at him personally, and if it sounded that way I apologise. I meant the original person, ten years ago, who first thought up the idea should be. And that was a hyperbole at that.

NP, I hate M$ Office as well and 50% of my day consists of being sent very bad Powerpoint files that I can't salvage for screen designs let alone storyboard, I really do think most people are suckered into the "it has to be M$ Office or nothing" POV.

For the record I use Openoffice.org and iWork and have never had a problem with people opening files I have sent to them. I find as long as it's a PDF with CMYK in there I've had very little problems.

koobcamuk
Sep 11, 2007, 03:56 AM
Probably a bit late to this discussion - but I just wanted to say that I always use Omnigraffle for my posters. The auto guides are just fantastic and the app is snappy and easy to use. ;)