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Copyright 2001, Brandenburg Technologies and M. Maher


The Problem

The original goal of this project was to generate a print. Unfortunately, that requires quite a bit of time to render at print resolution. Michelle decided she'd like to see a 16x20 print of view 6 first and I decided I'd like see what a large format print from EZPrints looked like.

The original images were rendered at 768x512, Bryce's photo document default. While I was waiting for Michelle to decide exactly what size print she wanted I got a little impatient and started a 1600x2400 render of the view just guessing she'd want the larger size print. It took about three days to finish. I also wanted to add signatures to the final image but the lower right hand corner, where I wanted to add the signatures was very dark. I didn't want to use anything but black for the signatures so they had to be placed outside the image. I also wasn't sure if she'd want a matt on the image when it was framed. I didn't want to waste all that processor time and I was concerned that the aspect ratios would cause some unwanted clipping.

The resolution guide on the EZPrints site gave some examples that I figured meant that they wanted at least a 100dpi image for the best results (there is a typo that says 300dpi, ignore it). The view had an aspect ratio of 3:2 while the print needed an aspect ratio of 5:4.

  • 768 divided by 512 = 1.5 (actually 1.5:1, multiply by 2 to get 3:2)
  • 20 divided by 16 = 1.25 (or 1.25:1, multiply by 4 to get 5:4)
  • 16x20 image at 100dpi would be 1600x2000

I figured that if she was going to have the print framed, she could always have them trim the print if we left some extra white space. Since the view is wider than it is tall (width/height = aspect and 1.5 is greater than 1.25) I expected to see extra space at the top and bottom of the print if we fit the 1600x2400 image onto a 16x20 print.

The Solution

After thinking about the problem over a couple of beers I decided to do a little more post processing. I used ImageReady but Photoshop will work just as well. Here's what I did:

  • Load the original 1600x2400.
  • Set the background color to 100% white (RGB 255/255/255).
  • Add a uniform border to the image for the signature line by selecting Image/Canvas Size and change the dimensions to 2600x1800 (adding 200 to the width and height). Make sure you have the center tile selected so that the border is added uniformly. I had already scanned and created a 100 pixel high signature image earlier so I'm adding 100 pixels to the top, bottom and sides of the image for a total of 200 in each direction.
  • Copy the signature onto it's own layer and place it in the image.
  • Add a uniform border to the image for the matt, again using Canvas Size and change the dimensions to 2650x1850. This time we added a 50 pixel border so that after the image is trimmed, it'll fit under a matt.
  • Finally, to change the aspect ratio, I used Canvas Size to change the height to 2120 for a final resolution of 2650x2120.

In the next the last step I had a 2650x1850 image. Since I added uniform borders I was changing the aspect ratio. In the last step I adjusted only the height to bring the image to the exact aspect of the final print. Since the width is the dominant dimension I divided the width by the aspect ratio I wanted to get the final height.

  • 2650 / 1.25 = 2120

Holding my breath, hoping I hadn't had too many beers to get all the math right, I saved the image as a maximum quality JPEG, uploaded it and ordered a print. When I ordered the print I selected the fit option.

While the image was uploading I had another thought. Canvas Size doesn't resample the image, it only adds pixels. I didn't have to worry about the original image degrading in any way but another way of looking at it was, I was effectively doing was adding resolution to the original image. To figure out just how much I divided the final image width by the print width.

  • 2650 dots / 20 inches = 132.5 dpi

Again I used the width because that's the dominant dimension. It seems that EZPrints, like most service bureaus, will give you the best results with an image that is 100 to 150dpi.

The Result

I was still concerned that EZPrints might try to color correct or adjust the image in some way. A quick email to support confirmed that they print the image you upload "as is" with no adjustments or corrections.

I was pretty impressed when I got the print in the mail a couple days later. Ok, I went nuts. I couldn't believe the detail I was seeing. I knew it was there because I built it into the original model but it always seemed a little muted when I looked at it on the monitor (even with the high resolution renders). The color matching was nearly perfect as well, exactly what I was expecting.

One quick warning though. At the same time I was working with another friend who uses a Mac. Because of the differences in gamma correction between the platforms, you have to be careful. Make sure your monitor is correctly calibrated and be aware of the gamma issue or your final print may look a little washed out.

So ends the saga. :)



Almost forgot ...

  • 2486 objects
  • 4,300,700 polygons
  • 528 MB


8/12/2001 PM


The final views are now posted in gallery 33.

In the post-processing I used the KPT6 Equalizer, Diffuse Glow and Film Grain filters for a surreal, almost solarized effect. Subject to the approval of "the Michelle", we're finished!

After almost four month's work, I have to say, it's a little hard to think about moving on.



View 3

I also added the following post processing to this one:

  • Masked 2 pixel Gaussian blur for the depth of field
  • KPT Equalizer, faded 50%
View 3 Revised

reprise3.jpg (59802 bytes)

View 3 Original

reprise3w.jpg (91098 bytes)



  • Regenerated the building backdrop (outside the window) because the original image resolution was too low.

View 6

  • Added the "dusty rose" texture to the bed linens.
  • Pulled colors from the texture and applied them to the pillows.
  • Fluffed the pillows and comforter.
  • Increased the size of the palm by 10%.
  • Fixed the viewports in Sarah's shorts.

To increase the resolution of the backdrop I created a simple scene. 

  • Map the original image onto a box sized in proportion to the original bitmap (1 pixel = 1 BU). 

  • Set the document resolution to exactly the same size as the original bitmap (uncheck constrain proportions).

  • Set the camera FOV to 45 and adjust the camera so that the box exactly fills the view.

  • Load the simple black background and adjust the sun so that the box is illuminated evenly.

  • Select a 2x or 4x render resolution back in the document setup screen and render the image using Fine Art AA or at least 16rpp in Bryce5. Normal AA is faster but Fine Art gives you a smoother result.

The resulting image has a higher resolution that hides most of the pixelation effect in the original. It isn't a perfect solution and you can only push so far but it's a good trick to use when you don't have access to a higher resolution version of the original image.


View 2 Revised

reprise2.jpg (52173 bytes)


reprise2w.jpg (54978 bytes)

View 6 Revised

reprise6.jpg (63341 bytes)


reprise6w.jpg (67369 bytes)


With all the working renders complete I'm now in the process of making the final adjustments for each scene.

View 7

  • Changed camera angle slightly to better frame the family pictures and the clock.
  • Modified the hanging picture model to add more depth and softer edges to the frame.
  • Corrected a reflection problem that obscured Grandma Blanche's image.
  • Turned off the bathroom light (accidentally left on).
  • Reduced the volumetric density to 5%.


View 7 Revised

reprise7.jpg (78980 bytes)

Original Working Version

reprise7w.jpg (82155 bytes)