In the past few weeks, I have been trying different free tools to create a poster. But I have limitations. I don’t have a large scale printer. I can only print 8.5″ x 11″. The space I need to fill is 2 ‘ 9″ x 3’ 8 inches. The file size I created this work in is 8.5″ x 11″. If I start to work with a larger file, my computer will blog down and I could crash my file and/or computer. Not very productive or helpful. So how can I create a large scale poster with a printer that only prints letter size? Easy. Depending on look, style (just image or image w/ text), and Operating system, one of these tool might be what you’re looking for.

First, I saved my poster out at 8.5″ x 11″ in .png format from Inkscape. Then I tried this list of tools.. (read reviews for ease of use, platform, etc.):

 

“Picasa is a free software download from Google that helps you: Locate and organize all the photos on your computer, Edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks, and Share your photos with others through email, prints, and on the web: it’s fast, easy and free.”

Mar 14, 2007 by

angelb

Picasa

★★★★☆

Picasa is one of the many brain children of Google. Used the Create menu to make a poster. The set-up was very simple. It asked me how big (in percent) I wanted to blow up my original image. I blew it up by 400%. I also checked overlap images so I could but the image pieces back together and have references. After that, it saves the blown up 8.5″ x 11″ parts of the poster in the same folder as the original image. Then, I just selected all the images, then hit print. Saved as one big PDF with 16 pages. Very simple.

Drawbacks: It’s Windows only. I work on a Mac. I had to use remote desktop to use it. It’s not Open Source. It created some pixels around some of my text, but this is to be expected (since it’s 400% bigger than the original). It also was scanning for all the images in my folder on my computer. This slowed down Picasa. By default, Picasa does not import .png’s or .gif’s. I had to go into the preferences to change that. If you work on a windows platform, check it out.

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“The PosteRazor cuts a raster image into pieces which can afterwards be printed out and assembled to a poster. “

Mar 14, 2007 by

angelb

PosteRazor

★★★☆☆ PosteRazor is the Mac OS X alternative to Picasa. You can also use PosteRazor on Windows XP. The wizard walk through is very easy to follow and its easy to install. You have more control in the output settings than you do with Picasa (borders, image orientation, etc.). You can choose your overlapping position. A nice feature is you can choose the output image size in either Absolute size, Size in pages, or size in percent.

Drawbacks: A little slower in creating the PDF than Picasa. I also had a little more pixelating in the image compared to the Picasa output (this might depend on the image as well).

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“The Rasterbator creates huge, rasterized images from any picture. Upload an image, print the resulting multi-page pdf file and assemble the pages into extremely cool looking poster up to 20 meters in size.”

Mar 14, 2007 by

angelb

Rasterbator

★★★★☆ Rasterbator uses circles not pixels to print out your image. This helps keep the integrity of the images intact when you resize the image to a very large size. You can use this program on-line, so you don’t even need to download the stand alone version of the software. You can Rastorbate an image saved on your computer or from the web. You can crop the image, choose the paper size you’ll be printing on. When you re-size, it displays the number of sheets you will be printing to create this image. You can choose colors or black and white. The prompts are easy to understand each step of the way.

Drawbacks: Do not use if you have text in your image! Its very hard to make out the letters to read. You can only make the circles so small (on the online version anyway). The downloadable version is hard to get running on a Mac OSX and help files are hard to come by. Max file size for uploading on the web is 1MB. You need Flash Player installed (for on-line version).

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“The Rasterizer is a Java software that generates pdf files from images (jpeg, gif, png, tiff) by converting the image into a huge raster image spreading over many pages.”

Mar 14, 2007 by

angelb

Rasterizer

★★★☆☆ Rasterizer uses circles not pixels to print out your image. This helps keep the integrity of the images intact when you resize the image to a very large size. It is Java Script based. It is Open Source and you can use it on Windows or Mac OSX. It is fast and easy to download. It has a lot of controls . It asks for page format. the max dot size is 4mm, unlike Rasterbator, which is 7mm. You can choose the color and crop marks. You can set the page numbers and the paper size.

Drawbacks: Do not use if you have text in your image! Even though you can make smaller dots, it’s still hard to read. Its not the most ideal. It’s a little on the slow side compared to the other tools.

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