For a couple of times, I've been asked to print huge pictures using a regular home printer so that I would first have to split the photo into parts. At first I thought it was going to be simple but then I realized that I need to consider an overlap in each of the sections so that they can be glued together.
So in this tutorial, I'll share the steps I took in using Photoshop to split an image into multiple pages (layers) such that each of the sections will have an overlap for you to easily put your poster together.
- Done in Photoshop CS3
Step 1: Setting up your image.
Open your image in Photoshop. Go to File » Open then navigate to the location of your image.
I made myself a quick Hello streetlight! poster to use for this tutorial. In case you're curious, the font used is Shortcut by Misprinted Type.
Step 2: Setting up the canvas size.
Setup the canvas size based on the paper size you will printing on. For this sample, I will be using four letter-sized papers (8.5 x 11 in.) such that the image will be split into four parts -- two at the top and two bottom. So now, the new canvas size will be 17 x 22 inches.
To adjust the canvas size, go to Image » Canvas Size (Ctrl+Alt+C). Then in the Canvas Size window, uncheck Relative and set the unit to inches. Enter your new width and height - in my case, 17 for the width and 22 for the height - then click OK.
Don't worry if your image was cropped after applying the new canvas size. This will be fixed later.
Step 3: Marking the canvas' sections.
Next is dividing the canvas into page-sized sections using guides.
To create the guides, go to View » New Guide. Select Vertical and enter the paper's (or page) width, 8.5 in., then click OK. Create another guide (View » New Guide) set to Horizontal and enter the paper's height, 11 in., then click OK.
Adding two guides is enough. As you can now see, the canvas is divided into the four sections we planned earlier.
TIP: Since dividing the canvas into the four sections is just the same as marking the center, you can just use 50% on each of the Vertical and Horizontal guides instead of the paper's width and height.
Step 4: Adding margins for getting the overlap.
Now we need to add left, top, right and bottom margins. The values to set here will depend on how much overlap you want. I will be using .25 (1/4) inch - just adjust this value as needed.
Create a new guide (View » New Guide) for each of the margins as follows:
- Left: Vertical; .25 in
- Top: Horizontal; .25 in
- Right: Vertical; 16.75 in (subtract .25 from the canvas width, 17 in.)
- Bottom: Horizontal; 21.75 in (subtract .25 from the canvas height, 22 in.)
After adding all the guides, we now have the following:
Step 5: Fitting the image inside the margins.
Next step is to make sure the entire image is inside the margins we created (i.e. top, left, right, bottom).
If your image's layer is a Background layer, convert it to a normal layer by Right clicking it then selecting Layer From Background.
A window will pop up allowing you to configure your layer. Just leave it as is. Click OK.
After converting the Background layer, you should have something like this:
Make sure your image is centered. Hit Ctrl+A (Select » All). Vertically center the image by going to Layers » Align Layers To Selection » Vertical Centers. Next, horizontally center the image by going to Layers » Align Layers To Selection » Horizontal Centers. Hit Ctrl+D (Select » Deselect) to remove the selection.
Now we can resize the image. Hit Ctrl+T (Edit » Free Transform). From any corner of the image, hold down Alt then drag towards the center until everything is inside the margins.
TIP: If you prefer to be more accurate, you can use the options bar at the top instead of clicking and dragging. Enable "Maintain aspect ratio" then enter your width (paper width minus the left and right margins). Further adjust the height if it still doesn't fit.
Step 6: Creating the sections.
In this step we will start creating the sections using the guides.
First make sure you have Snap To Guides enabled. Go to View » Snap To » Guides.
Let's start with the top left section. Switch to the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and make a selection on the image starting from the top left corner up to the center guides. Your selection will snap to the guides so don't worry about it being misaligned.
Still using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), drag the selection until it snaps to the top and left margins. This adjustment creates the overlap we need when putting the sections together after printing. I highlighted the selection in blue so you can see it better in the figure below.
Now hit Ctrl+J (Layer » New » Layer via Copy) to copy the selection onto a new layer.
We now have our first section. To complete the rest, just go back to your image layer (Layer 0) and repeat this step for each of the three remaining sections (top right, bottom left and bottom right).
After creating three more layers for the sections, you should now have something similar to this:
Step 7: Cropping the image for printing.
Now we're on the last step.
Delete image layer (Layer 0) by dragging it to the Trash icon found at the bottom of the Layers window.
Next, select all layers (Select » All Layers or Ctrl+Alt+A).
Align them all together by going to Layer » Align » Top Edges followed by Layer » Align » Left Edges.
Now got to Image » Trim. Set Based On to "Transparent Pixels" and check everything under Trim Away. Hit OK and your image will be trimmed.
And we are done. Once you are ready to print, simply hide the layers you won't be printing and print away!
And that's it. Hope you find this tutorial useful. If there is anything I missed or messed up, just let me know in the comments.
Found this tutorial useful?
Show your support
Any amount is awesome!