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Large map Printing. Vinyl Banner printing Services.

 
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robert4818
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Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 1061

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:40 am    Post subject: Large map Printing. Vinyl Banner printing Services. Reply with quote

Someone asked the other day about printing a large map for 50 Fathoms. I tossed up a link for www.bannersonthecheap.com. At the time I said I couldn't vouch for their quality.

I decided to do a test run, both for people here, and for my own gaming group. I printed out a detailed map of the Continent of Khorvaire in Eberron. Original map found here. http://sancus.off.net/Eberron_Khorvaire_Map_1.3.pdf

It came in a couple of days ago, and I'm ready to share with y'all how the experience went.

First, an important note. While I will talk about map considerations later, I would like to point out the most important rule right now: Make sure your resoluition (DPS) on the image is as high as possible before starting this process. That will ensure that your print job is as clean as it can be. You are generally going to be printing something that is measured in feet x feet, as such the higher the resolution, the less pixelation you will see.

The Website: The website is fairly easy and intuitive. Choose a size, upload a picture, enter your information, choose quantity, pay. The only downside to this website is that there are no measurements on the portion of the site where you are placing your image. This means there's no way to garauntee that the map you are printing is at the perfect scale you intended. (This is really only important for tactical maps.) So if you absolutely need the map to be exactly 3 feet 4 inches wide x 2 feet 1 inch tall, you need to find a new service, or talk to customer service. Most maps don't need that exact level of scale, so your good to go.

The result: Be warned, it looks like the printer the company uses has some resolution issues. On the lare map I printed (3x2) there was alot of detail. This included city labels that were on the scale of 1/8 - 1/4 inch tall on that scale. These words ended up "fuzzy". They weren't pixelated, but were more "out of focus". It made these small city labels hard to read, with some being barely readable. That being said, it did not affect the quality of the look, and is something to be aware of when selecting the type of map to print.

Also, ensure that you have enough contrast in your image as well. The map I used had some letters that didn't have great contrast with the background (See label for Talentia Plains). These are still visible, but not as well as I would hope.

Physically, the map is tough, it is vinyl, so it won't easily tear. The print is fairly waterproof, and can be easily wiped off if it gets wet without ink smear. I never tried any long term water effects, so I wouldn't suggest storing them in the bottom of the swimming pool. However, if someone spills soda on them you can expect the map will probably survive.

Do NOT use dry erase markers on these maps! Dry erase will not easily erase, you will end up having to scrub hard with lots of water to get the marker off. This is not a big surprise as dry erase really needs specific surfaces, but this was tested just in case.

Wet erase will PROBABLY work on these maps. I say probably because I had no regular ones at home and bought what I thought were some at walmart. These turned out to not be standard pens. However the ink on them did clean off the mapeasily with water, and I expect that dry erase will as well.

Price: The 3x2 map cost ~12 bucks, with ~8 bucks shipping on top of that for the longest turn around time. (15 days), for a total of $20.22. I found that price to be very reasonable, even given the small hiccups on the map. Even though I chose the longest turnaround time, the map was made and shipped the next day via UPS ground.

Overall Recomendation: I give the website a conditional Thumbs up. Basically, this is a product that requires you to know its limitations and plan accordingly. With the poorer resolution of the printer, make sure that anything around 1/4 inch in size or smaller in your map doesn't need to be differentiated at a glance from other other things that similar shape and size. (like letters, or very similar map symbology).

The original map that prompted this search 50F would be a decent candidate. You MIGHT lose some resolution on the island names, depending on the size, but I think everything would still be readable.

I am personally planning on doing a 5' x 4' map of Slipstreme (for the 1' squares), even with the limitations.

I can see this useable for someone who wants a wargame campaign map, or a large scale campaign map for their game.

I would NOT recommend this for anything with alot of little labels. (See the map of what I used as example of what I mean.)
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Pariah74
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Joined: 16 Jun 2009
Posts: 934

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Re: Large map Printing. Vinyl Banner printing Services. Reply with quote

robert4818 wrote:
The result: Be warned, it looks like the printer the company uses has some resolution issues. On the lare map I printed (3x2) there was alot of detail. This included city labels that were on the scale of 1/8 - 1/4 inch tall on that scale. These words ended up "fuzzy". They weren't pixelated, but were more "out of focus". It made these small city labels hard to read, with some being barely readable. That being said, it did not affect the quality of the look, and is something to be aware of when selecting the type of map to print.


This is not the printer's fault. This is your fault. The PDF you posted is 16x10 at 300 ppi. You had them more than double it in size. That lowers the ppi to 150, which is low resolution. When you force a computer to increase size it has to create new pixels, and it can only estimate from what is there, hence the blurriness.


Quote:
Overall Recomendation: I give the website a conditional Thumbs up. Basically, this is a product that requires you to know its limitations and plan accordingly. With the poorer resolution of the printer, make sure that anything around 1/4 inch in size or smaller in your map doesn't need to be differentiated at a glance from other other things that similar shape and size. (like letters, or very similar map symbology).


You're right sort of. The printer prints at the resolution you give it. I am positive any modern printer capable of printing vinyl banners can print AT LEAST at 1600 dpi.

Quote:
I am personally planning on doing a 5' x 4' map of Slipstreme (for the 1' squares), even with the limitations.


The Slipstream map is 17x11 iirc, which would suffer a severe reduction in quality. Don't say I didn't warn you.

[/rant] I am a graphic designer and illustrator, and it drives me bonkers when a customer says, "Can't you just blow it up?" Pet peeve...carry on. Embarassed
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xxlgeeklord
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Joined: 21 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your customers ask you to blow stuff up?
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robert4818
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Joined: 25 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xxlgeeklord wrote:
Your customers ask you to blow stuff up?


He's a mythbuster. Smile
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xxlgeeklord
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Joined: 21 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robert4818 wrote:
xxlgeeklord wrote:
Your customers ask you to blow stuff up?


He's a mythbuster. Smile


LMAO
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Inferno!
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Joined: 20 Feb 2008
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Location: Indianapolis

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Large map Printing. Vinyl Banner printing Services. Reply with quote

Pariah74 wrote:
This is not the printer's fault. This is your fault. The PDF you posted is 16x10 at 300 ppi. You had them more than double it in size. That lowers the ppi to 150, which is low resolution. When you force a computer to increase size it has to create new pixels, and it can only estimate from what is there, hence the blurriness.


Zapp Brannigan: “Magnify that death sphere…. Why is it still blurry?”
Kiff : “That’s all the resolution we have. Making it bigger doesn’t make it clearer.”
Zapp Brannigan: “It does on CSI: Miami!”

#1yelrotflmao
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jasales
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.

I tried Banners on the Cheap for a map I need between 3x4' to 4x5' if possible. First of all Banners on the Cheap were great to deal with, and they warned me that the detail on my map wouldn't show up. The map arrived and the colors were good, the material was good and the price was good but the detail was as they said it would be.

I'm looking for alternative printers (poster, not vinal) that I can actually afford.

This site http://www.gamer-printshop.com/index.html doesn't appear to be active anymore.

My savage world needs printing. Any ideas?
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Big Juju
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Joined: 08 Oct 2004
Posts: 317
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't tried these guys yet, http://www.shortrunposters.com/ , but they sure seem cheap!

I'll probably give their 18x24 size a try with some deck plans from Future Armada like this one:

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robert4818
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasales wrote:
Hello.

I tried Banners on the Cheap for a map I need between 3x4' to 4x5' if possible. First of all Banners on the Cheap were great to deal with, and they warned me that the detail on my map wouldn't show up. The map arrived and the colors were good, the material was good and the price was good but the detail was as they said it would be.

I'm looking for alternative printers (poster, not vinal) that I can actually afford.

This site http://www.gamer-printshop.com/index.html doesn't appear to be active anymore.

My savage world needs printing. Any ideas?


Sad Yeah. Detail can be a problem. Its why I gave it a tentative thumbs up based on what you wanted to print.

I like them. But you gotta know what its going to look like first.
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FabledEnvironments
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Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 38
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:38 pm    Post subject: RE: Large Format Printing Reply with quote

Hi,

Most cities have architectural printers that are used to printing in wide format and actually charge by the square foot. We've had some great luck using them for our product and they do small jobs so it might be worth checking out.

Charles
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Kristian Serrano
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Joined: 17 Dec 2008
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Location: Decatur, GA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The company in the OP presented me with an opportunity to review their work. I sent them a hi-res map, and they sent me the printed "banner." The first version looked pretty bad due to shifting during the print process, but their customer service was excellent with regards to correcting it and sending another. The second version looked much better. I plan to write a review on The Immaterial Plane, so keep an eye out for it in the next week or so.
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great.

Trolls.
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ValhallaGH
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next time, just report it.

Apparently, responses just encourage them.


Last edited by ValhallaGH on Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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