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02 Apr
03 May

ISA International Sign Expo

Reflections from the eyes of a graphic artist

Last Friday I attended the ISA International Signs Expo in Las Vegas. The primary goal was to meet Darek Johnson from Signs of the Times magazine.

Darek and I made fast friends through email but this was our first opportunity to meet in person. Darek was a popular guy at the show. Seemingly everyone we passed wanted a few seconds to speak with him. He graciously greeted them and then introduced me as “Theresa, The Award Winning Adobe Expert.” I hope I didn’t look as overwhelmed as I felt.

I also meet Darek’s lovely wife Li, and spent some time exploring the show with her. Li and I share a love for photography so we had fun looking for compelling imagery. After the show I joined Darek and Li for dinner where we spent some time getting to know each other a little more. Well, truthfuly I ate dinner and they drank coffee, saving room for their later dinner plans. I enjoyed their company so much that I wished I didn’t have to catch a flight back home.

Show Highlights

The show was large. Anything and everything related to signage was represented, from banner grommets, LED lights, channel letters, mobile cranes and more. I tried to see everything but focused on things related to print.

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29 Jun

Using Photoshop and Illustrator Together

Creating drop shadow and glow effects in Photoshop while keeping the vector art in Illustrator

If you are unfamiliar or a little unclear about the differences between vector and bitmap art, it might be helpful to read When Vector Art is Really Vector before starting this tutorial.

Setting Up Your Files

Start by determining your art board size. If I am working on a wide format project I like to work in quarter scale. Illustrator has a maximum canvas size of 227 inches, so projects larger than that have to be created at a smaller scale factor. See Large File Format File Resolution for a guide to scale factors and resolutions.

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23 Jun

When Vector Art Is Really Vector

Understanding the differences between Illustrator and Photoshop

Vector versus Bitmap

When designing anything for print it is important to understand the difference between vector and bitmap. This is especially important for large or wide format. Vector art is completely scalable to any size without pixelating. Bitmap files have a fixed resolution and will pixelate when the resolution does not support the print size.

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15 Apr

InDesign for Large Format - Bad Idea!

I work in InDesign but my printer wants Illustrator files. What do I do?

InDesign is a great application for page layout, but not so good for large format. I haven't found a large format printer who will accept inDesign files. Illustrator is the perferred layout application for large format printing.

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08 Apr

Working With Really Large Files

My project has over 1 gig of files. Can I reduce this without sacrificing image quality?

YES! Following these steps will significantly reduce the final size of your production files. I will illustrate using examples from a 40-foot trailer wrap project.

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08 Apr

Large Format File Resolution

Just how big do my files need to be for large format printing?

It depends on the substrate for your final output and viewing distance. A building graphic or a vehicle graphic does not require the same resolution as a retail banner. In any case you'll probably be surprised at just how low a resolution you can get away with.

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