Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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I want to print a collage for my first photo-a-day project. I have 365 photos to place together, so it's going to need to be at least A1 size (594mm x 841mm).

Neither Photoshop CS3 nor Illustrator CS2 will let me make a document this big, what else can I use?

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I saw someone accidentally setting his canvas size to 1024 x 768 inches instead of pixels. He noticed because his text was coming out too tiny. Now that would accommodate a large photo collage. –  jfklein13 Oct 1 '10 at 18:45
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Just how large are you making your document?

An A1 print is 7015 x 9933 pixels at 300 dpi, or 69.1 megapixels, a size that PS cs3 most definitely can handle.

If you're trying to open all 365 photos at once, and each photo is ~10mb, then you're going to most likely have RAM problems if you're on a 32 bit system. 32 bits ~= 4 billion, of which 2 billion is usable, and 10mb * 365 > 2 billion (ie, that would use too much system memory at once). Maybe just open them one at a time to resize and position them?

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Hmmm, I must have been half asleep or something. It does seem to work fine. I'm sure it wouldn't let me yesterday. –  Wilka Sep 30 '10 at 20:44
    
If you do end up taking the Photoshop route, a batch resize performed on copies of the images (not the originals) would certainly speed up your workflow. –  Sean Sep 30 '10 at 23:16
    
I don't think you need 300 dpi if you're going for sizes like A1; 180 dpi will do nicely. –  stevenvh Oct 1 '10 at 7:01
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Picasa will do it.

As an experiment, I opened a folder of 423 jpegs (about 6 MB each) and pressed the "Collage" button. It produced a collage in less than a second. Task Manager indicates it never used more than 129 MB RAM total. You can choose different formats for sizing and arranging your collage and you can drag and drop the pieces around as you wish.

Picasa outputs collages at 5120 pixels on the long side (for A4 page size). If you print at A1 size this will translate to a resolution of at least 155 pixels/inch. At A0 you are now as low as 105 ppi. From a distance, 105 ppi may be fine but for preserving detail close up you will want at least the 155 ppi resolution.

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I am adding my vote for Picasa, it is simple and effective. –  labnut Sep 30 '10 at 21:45
    
I think I'll have another look at this, I uninstalled it a while ago when I switched to using Lightroom, and I Keep forgetting it has features like this. –  Wilka Oct 1 '10 at 14:42
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You could try AutoCollage 2008 from Microsoft Research. On some Windows 7 PCs it is even already preinstalled (though I got no idea on which).

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That looks like some interesting software, but it seems limited to 50 images per collage but I want to use 365. Still, I'll keep it in mind for the future. –  Wilka Oct 1 '10 at 14:41
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In FastStone Image Viewer (free), there is a feature called Contact Sheet Builder. It's highly configurable and I believe you can achieve something nice with it.

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