Creating a large scale wall image

Over the course of the last few years I've spent time working with panoramic images and large format prints. Much like smaller prints, larger prints have many of the same constraints and requirements to achieve best results, such as correct color calibration, resolution, retouching and print material. This blog entry is meant to help illustrate some of what I've learned from producing extreme (over 4' / edge) high quality prints.

For years, producing large scale prints was done using a variety of techniques not unlike what is still done for commercial applications - think wall art at a food court. Prints are done on sub-par materials at resolutions that allow large scale printing but often at the expense of print quality. For archival, gallery quality prints, options were (and still are at certain sizes!) limited to using techniques like tiling to achieve large scale prints that were also resolute and on materials worthy of long term display and quality. What I find amusing is that 100 years ago, a high quality glass plate or 8x10 b/w negative could be printed at large sizes but there were not paper manufacturers producing commercial papers at large scale nor enlarging equipment to create them without extreme measures.

The blue square in the below image represents 1 full sized RAW capture used in the final composite.