What software to use for creating poster-size images

Hi everyone I hope you are well and can assist.

Goal:
I want to create poster-size (eg.size A1 or A0) images.
I do not have a printer that can output poster -size prints, so I intend on taking my completed image to a place that does have a printer to print poster-size.

Problem:
I do not know which software/application to use.
I know I could use something as simple as Microsoft Word or Excel, but I don't know how it will look when it it enlarged to poster-size when I take the file to a shop to have it printed as poster-size.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

All the very best.

LVL 1
Simon336697Asked:
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fleamourianCommented:
You will want to work with a Vector graphic/s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics
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fleamourianCommented:
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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
Adobe Illustrator would be perfect for the job as it makes the artwork in vector format and can also import pictures from other software such as Photoshop. Typography is also very nice to make in Illustrator
Adobe InDesign would also be fine but it is better for collecting pieces of artwork made in other programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop to combine it with text to make the layout.

Both programs allow you to work in these sizes you mention. The usual practice is to Save as (Illustrator) or Export (InDesign) to pdf to send to the printers. Both programs are made for Pc and Mac platform and the files can be opened on either platform.
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hdhondtCommented:
Word can produce poster-size documents. However, as it will only let you use paper sizes that are supported by the selected printer, you would need to install the driver for the printer your printshop uses (just select FILE: as the port for it).

However, Word is not exactly the best package to create good looking posters. A much better choice would be Adobe InDesign or Illustrator. At a pinch, try CorelDRAW. However, check with your printshop first so you'll know which file types they accept. With any package you can use a PDF writer (Adobe, CreatePDF, PDF995, etc) as all printshops accept PDFs, but again check with your printshop what settings you should use.

All the packages I mentioned let you create large posters, regardless of the printer installed.

One thing to keep in mind is the size of any images you put on the poster. Text and line art (vector graphics) will print good at any size, even from Word, but images are different. For best printing they need to be at least 200dpi (printshops usually request 300dpi) at the size they will be printed. In other words, if you want an A0 size 300dpi image, it needs to be about 14000 x 9900 pixels, or about 51MB. You need a good camera for that! Even for A4 size, most images from the web are nowhere near good enough.

While packages like PhotoShop or Irfanview can enlarge the pixel size of an image, they cannot invent the detail of the image that was lost when the pixel count was reduced. In other words, upscaling a low-res image to A0/300dpi size might satisfy your printshop, but your poster will still look very coarse. The same is true for vectorising software like inkscape: low res images will always look coarse.
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roylongCommented:
Create your artwork in a good image editor and then lay up the poster in any application which will output PDF. On a macintosh this is every application on windows you may need a PDF writer which will output the PDF from any application.

you might not necessarily need to output your files at A1 or A0; you should check with the repro house because there is specialist software which upscales the images to the required size without any loss of quality.  The software is quite costly so probably dependent on the quality of the company you get to do the printing; check with them.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
Guys thank you so much.

One last thing if I may.

What are the differences between Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign?

Im struggling to see in what capacity you would use one over the other.

Thanks to all of you.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
Lazy me. Please disregard last comment. All the very best everyone.
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roylongCommented:
In Design is desktop publishing software, page lay up and publications. Illustrator is for vector artwork, free hand drawing and illustration type of work.  A lot of non-arty people who use illustrator use it to lay out artwork from multiple sources and export to EPS.

You could use either for poster design - in design is made for that kind of task though. If you do more of your own designs and artwork by hand, then you may find illustrator more flexible.
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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
Personally I use InDesign almost only if I have to do multipage jobs. Brochures and such. I make posters, ads illustrations and everything in Illustrator.

The nice thing about vectors is that you can draw in A4 size and then have it printed to cover an oil tank without any loss of quality.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
Thanks so much guys. Have a great christmas and best new year to all of you and your loved ones.
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hdhondtCommented:
You too, and happy new year
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roylongCommented:
Thanks very much - best wishes to you and yours too.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
Guys sorry, can I just clarify....

If I use Adobe Illustrator to do my work for the poster, then save it, let's say as a PDF, would this be the best option and would this mean you would not lose quality if it was printed at a larger size?

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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
Yes, that's true for the vector part of the Illustrator file. If you place a picture into the Illustrator file it has to be in a resolution that fits the end result. That is, a pixel picture put into an A4 as an example might have to be in let's say 1200 ppi to be printed in A1 at 300 ppi.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
Thanks so much sigurarm.
So sigurarm, if you have a 1200 ppi image, what benefit is there to use illustrator over a non-vector application such as Microsoft word if in both cases, you could save the file as a PDF?
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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
The reason is mainly that Illustrator keeps everything it makes independent of the resolution. Any curves, gradients etc. while Word does not. Word is quite an application but it's not meant for pro design. Even Publisher, a part of the Office Suite is only a mediocre program aimed at office needs.
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Simon336697Author Commented:
Thanks so much mate. Really appreciate your very kind help.
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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
No problem. Have a great holiday (as short as it is this time).
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