Author Topic: Printing large charts  (Read 1043 times)

Offline BashLad

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 292
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.natio
    • View Profile
Printing large charts
« on: Saturday 18 March 17 21:56 GMT (UK) »
So I recently found software that let me produce a massive chart quite easily (very, very, easily).

In theory I should be able to have the original file printed onto A0.

However, I do not know anything about grapical design.

Does anyone know if there are limits in sizes of font that can be printed onto a poster without blurring or becoming unreadable.

I have the original in an editable format at the moment so I can still change it but I also don't want to end up  getting laughed out of the printshop at my amateurishness.

Has anyone had any success with this before?



WHITEHOUSE- Bromsgrove, WANE - Eccleston, TOWERS - Blackburn & Ribble Valley, COLLINGE - Rawtenstall, THOMAS - Penzance, Whitehaven, Haslingden.

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline AngusMcCoatup

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: Printing large charts
« Reply #1 on: Friday 24 March 17 15:30 GMT (UK) »
Last year I set myself the task of printing out some of the family tree for mum's birthday. Sadly mum's sight wasn't particularly great at that time (due to AMD) so had to enlarge the tree font size in order that she could make some of the things out with the help of her trusty magnifying glass.

In Brother's Keeper I had to set the font size to something like 20 points and the paper size to A0 before setting the default printer to a PDF device (thanks to cutepdf). I don't remember how many generations I was able to fit onto one sheet, but some of the trees went more than one A0 sheet wide and more than one A0 sheet tall too. This was a "tree of descendants" if you use BK.

The resulting PDFs were emailed to a local printing company who were able to print the sheets the same day (I just chose grey-scale on 80gsm paper) and I was pretty pleased with the results.

I think the trick is to do the scaling at source. If you output to A4 with a large font size and then scale that up at the printers to A0 then it's going to look blocky. But if you output originally to A0 with the correct font size, then it's going to look ok.

That's my experience anyway, someone who has more knowledge of font scaling may disagree.

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Nick_Ips

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Printing large charts
« Reply #2 on: Friday 24 March 17 20:36 GMT (UK) »

My experience with large format plotters is mainly from a CAD perspective rather than graphic design, but in terms of technical capabilities the two are generally the same.

Most large format plotters have similar inkjet technology to that used in everyday inkjet printers, the main difference (aside from cost!) is the ability to handle large paper. So as a general rule, anything that prints ok at a particular scale on an A4 sized domestic printer will be ok on a large format device at the same scale. For CAD work we generally used 2.5mm as a minimum character height, which I think roughly equates to 7pt. Smaller sizes could be used with clearly readable text, but comfort and ease of reading were limiting factors.

The main issue is the software and the settings used. It is important to understand the difference between raster and vector graphics, so if you don't I would google the terms and understanding how your final chart will be produced. Although the differences between raster and vector become more important if you scale up objects (such as text), it is also relevant with small details, and critical if the process of printing your chart will involve conversion from one to another.

Also be aware that one of the limiting factors in large format plotting is the memory available on the plotting device. Although this is less of a concern on modern equipment, older devices may struggle with a large high-resolution raster image.

You need to make sure the printshop understands that although the sheet will be large, the detailed information is important to you. Some printshops may be more used to printing large posters and enlarged photos, intended to be viewed from a distance. For these the print quality is actually not as important as it is for your charts.

Another possible consideration is the amount of ink used to print a full-coverage A0 sheet. The graphic you attached to your post has an attractive yellow background, but depending on the printshop you use this may cause problems or additional expense. Some printshops will have a standard charge based on the size of print (e.g. A0). But others may charge differently depending on whether it is a full-coverage print (e.g. enlarged photo) or CAD type drawing with partial-coverage. If the one you use offers this option then you might want to consider removing the yellow background if the printshop agrees the result is eligible for the lower cost option. For example one randomly selected company found online charges 11 for an A0 'plan' print against 19 for an A0 'poster' (although the latter is also on thicker paper).

Finally, in my experience it is best to avoid gloss or semi-gloss papers for printing text at small sizes. Some of the best results come from using 90g plain paper. If possible, ask the printshop to show you samples of text printed on their different paper options.

Offline Shiny1

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Printing large charts
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 27 August 17 09:03 BST (UK) »
Hi,

Could you tell me what the software was that you used to create the massive chart please?

Michael
Dale (Newcastle Upon Tyne), Beck, English, Hall (all from the North Shields, South Shields area)

Offline GrahamH

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 444
  • www.gjh.me.uk & www.glossopheritage.co.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Printing large charts
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 27 August 17 13:59 BST (UK) »
It's over 5 years now since we sold JiGraH Resources but at the time there are two types of printer for large charts, and I should think it's the same now.
One is the modern equivalent of a plotter which prints a variable size single page on roll paper up to 43 inches deep.
The second is the inkjet equivalent of the old dot matrix machines which printed on fanfold paper. They achieve a banner chart by printing multiple pages on roll paper with no gaps between the pages. Page depth is rather less though (43 cm on the printer we had).

My preferred charting software is TreeDraw. Every element within the chart is addressable, so can be moved, and the size of the chart can be reduced considerably from the initially generated size. With other programs you are stuck with the size of the chart generated.

Offline KGarrad

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 21,583
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Printing large charts
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 27 August 17 14:26 BST (UK) »
I exchanged posts with a chap from Fraser & Fraser (of HeirHunters fame) a year or so back.
Re buying a replacement printer for their printing of trees.

Our findings were:

It's difficult finding printers that use fan-fold paper any more?
The best bet seemed to be an expensive mainframe type printer ::)
The paper can also prove difficult to source (but not impossible!).

Plotters are a good bet, though.


Back to the original question-
The best course of action is to talk to the printing company first.
In my experience, they don't laugh at you, and are very helpful.
They will also tell you what formats they prefer
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline GrahamH

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 444
  • www.gjh.me.uk & www.glossopheritage.co.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Printing large charts
« Reply #6 on: Monday 28 August 17 06:52 BST (UK) »
It's difficult finding printers that use fan-fold paper any more?
Can you even buy fan fold paper these days, never mind printers?

The Epson A3/A3+ large format printers are modern equivalents which use roll paper. They also do larger machines in their Surecolor range; alternatively large HP Designjet machines are good.