Do you have any advice and recommendations for printing my family portrait once I’ve created it?

There are quite a range of options – it all depends on your needs, the quality you prefer and whether you’d like to print via an online shop or a local walk-in shop.

The large department style stores such has Walgreens, Walmart, Officeworks etc often have a walk-in service or online upload options. I would only use them for quick prints. If you’re looking for a higher quality print, I would rather opt for a more specialised shop where its core business is printing!

There are some great online print shops that offer various options for wall art. Here are a few suggestions*:

*Please note: I have no affiliation with the above companies, they are businesses I researched and thought you might find useful. I cannot guarantee the end results.

Smaller dedicated print and frame shops often offer the best quality, so definitely look at your local printers too. If you need to get the files to a printer, simply download the file onto a USB stick from your computer. Or use a cloud service like Dropbox to upload and send the link to your printer. If possible, ask to see samples of previous wall art they have printed to give their quality a once-over.

How big can I print?

Adobe Illustrator users:

If you are using the Adobe Illustrator version of the Portrait Creator you can enlarge your portraits to any size without losing quality as Adobe Illustrator is vector based and doesn't rely on resolution. Here's a tutorial on how to combine your portraits into one document for Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Photoshop users:

If you are using the Adobe Photoshop files I recommend enlarging the characters no more than 150% to 200% of the original size. Adobe Photoshop is a raster based app and relies on the resolution of the image to determine the quality - although the Portrait Creator is at a high resolution (300dpi), there are still limitations as to how large you can scale them before losing quality.  It's important to do a quick test print before committing to any expensive paper or canvas to make sure you are happy with the quality of the enlarged artwork.

Your final design will also determine how big you can print. For example, if you are designing a family portrait and combining several characters onto one artboard, you will more than likely be able to print that at 11x14 inches without having to enlarge the characters too much as the many characters will easily fill the 11x14 artboard. On the other hand, if you were only printing a child character on their own, you probably won't be able to keep within the 200% maximum enlargement to fill an 11x14 inch artboard.

I recommend creating a document in the size you'd like to print and build your design on that - if you need to enlarge the characters too much to fill the size you will have to reduce the document size. Here's a tutorial on how to combine your portraits into one document for Adobe Photoshop.

Saving your artwork

When saving your artwork for printing make sure you’ve saved it as a high resolution RGB JPEG file (300dpi) for best results.

Adobe Illustrator users:

If you are exporting from Adobe Illustrator to send to a printer, I still recommend saving the final artwork as a JPEG file instead of a PDF (unless the printer sends you their PDF settings) - this minimises any postscript glitches and technical anomalies. 

To do that, go to menu File > Export > Export As… Choose JPEG from the dropdown menu and make sure “Use Artboards” is ticked.

In the next JPEG Options window choose RGB, Maximum quality (10) with the Compression Method set to Baseline Optimized, Resolution at 300 ppi at least and Anti-aliasing must be set to Art Optimized (Supersampling). You can leave the Embed ICC Profile unticked. Then hit OK to save your final JPEG ready for print.

NB: be sure to set-up your file at the actual size you will be printing. For example, if you are printing an A3 (420mm x 297mm) wall art print then your Adobe Illustrator document must be set-up to A3 (420mm x 297mm) exported at 100% 300ppi.

Choosing your paper

I recommend printing onto a think paper stock. For even better results, print onto a slightly textured uncoated card stock. This will give the finished print an authentic look that mimics an original art piece. I often print my work onto 300gsm watercolour paper, the results are fantastic!

If you prefer a non-textured paper, I recommend a satin finish card stock. Going full gloss will give the artwork a printed photo look, unless that’s what you’re going for. Local print shops often offer a variety of paper stock and quality with sample prints for each. I recommend looking through their catalogue and choose the paper based on your preference.

Hope that helps!

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