Today i printed a 2.5m print of one of the Hasselblad XPan images that featured in a previous post, A Garota de Ipanema-The Girl From Ipanema. It was quite a stressful event, as 2.5m of image allows a lot of room for things to go wrong. Nothing went wrong, it looks awesome.
The Epson 9900, a formidable beast
I have an Epson 9900 printer, a formidable beast indeed, it can print 110cm, or 44 inches wide and this 2.5m print is the biggest image i’ve ever printed in one go. The 4m canvas previously mentioned was printed by Paul Parin, from Studio Red Dust on a bigger printer, an Epson 11880, which is 152cm, or 60 inches wide. There will be a blog post about that 4m image once it is installed in its proper place.
As you look through these photos (click to enlarge) you can see the progress of the print. Its difficult to imagine scale from a small photo, but just remember that the canvas this image is being printed on is 1.1m wide…
Half way there
I’ve printed many 2.2m images before, there are usually 2 or 3 hanging in the gallery at any one time, and 2.5m is only 30cm bigger after all… so whats the big deal? Well, the software driver of the Epson 9900, as with all past models, is supposed to be limited to a total print length of 2.28m, unless you are using a RIP (Raster Image Processing), which is an expensive bit of additional software. If you try printing an image longer than this through Photoshop, which uses the Epson printer driver software to run the printer, you get some bizarre and annoying results, including wasting a lot of canvas.
I dont have a RIP, at a starting cost of $2000 for a reasonable one that would do the job i never saw the need for it when the vast majority of my printing is well below the 2.28m limit. So how did i print this image?
Three quarters of the way there…
Well, i rang Paul from Studio Red Dust, who also doesn’t use a RIP, and he told me a little trick he’s discovered for getting around the limit. Save the image as a high resolution printing pdf from Photoshop, then print it out of Adobe Acrobat… It works perfectly. It shouldn’t, Acrobat should still be using the Epson driver software to run the printer, but it works anyway. Go figure…
Ah, Safe and sound.