Life Poster with Paint Shop Pro

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a 20x30 inch life poster. This idea was taken from this great article, but is written for Paint Shop Pro instead of iPhoto and Photoshop. It is an awesome gift, and is great to put in your house. Instructions from creation to delivery. And best of all, you can make it for under $30 (I did it for under $20).


In this tutorial, you will create a 20' by 30' poster. It will contain 50 pictures, all about 4 by 3 inches. With the file, you can either print them online (how I did it), or take it to a print shop.


First, you need to set up your poster. This is the hard part, but luckily, I did it for you. So, download this file, and open it in Paint Shop Pro. This is a blank file, 4000 px by 6000px, with guides for your pictures. The resolution is set at 200 DPI (dots per inch), so when it prints the poster will be 20' by 30'. There is already a boarder. If you cannot see the guides, then go to View | Guides. You might also have to change the preferences in View | Change Grid, Guide, and Snap Preferences, then click on the Guides tab, and make sure it is a color other than white. This is your poster file. It will become a large file with all the pictures (probably around 80mb), so make sure your computer can handle it, and that you have plenty of hard drive space. Now you need to fill the poster.


Now you need to find your pictures. Find 50 of your favorite pictures (it would look better if they have a lot of different colors), and put them in a directory. The higher resolution, the better quality they will print with. They should be a minimun of 760 pixels wide for good quality. Now go to PSP, and go to File | Browse, and go to your directory. You should see all of your pictures.


Now, repeat the next 4 steps (3-6) for all 50 pictures. Open the image you want to add (I would go down the list in the browse window so you don't miss any or add any twice).

Now select the crop tool. Use the following settings:

  • Width: 4
  • Height: 3
  • Units: Inches
  • Specify Print Size: Unchecked
  • Maintain Aspect Ratio: Checked
If you cannot find the settings, press F4. After you do this, click on the box with an arrow under "presets" on the far left, then click on the disk to save. Name the preset something, like"poster". Now, for every picture you open, just click on the preset box, then double click on the entry you added ("poster" for example), you don't have to fill out the settings again.


Now you should have a crop box on your picture. Because you checked "maintain aspect ratio", you can change the size. So click on any of the corners to change the size, and click on the middle to position the box. What is inside the box is the part of the picture that will be kept. When you have your selection, click on the check mark in the tool options window (to the left of "width") to crop the image. At this point, you can fix up your image. I used the script shipped with PSP to do this. If you don't have the "scripts" toolbar open, go to View | Toolbars | Script. From the drop down box, choose "OneStepPhotoFix", then run the script by clicking "Run script selected in toolbar". This usually improves the image, but if you don't like it, just undo it (Ctrl-Z).


Now you need to resize your picture so that it fits on your poster. It already has the correct ratio of size, so now it needs to be the right number of pixels wide. Go to Image | Resize, and where it says width, enter "760", and make sure it says "Pixels" in the drop down box to the right. Also, make sure "Lock Aspect Ratio" is checked.


Now we need to add the picture to the poster. Press Ctrl-A to select the whole picture then copy (Ctrl-C). Switch to your poster image with the guides (if you downloaded my file, guides.pspimage). Press Ctrl-L (or go to Edit | Paste | As New Layer). It should appear in the middle of the image. Now move it to the square that you want, using the move tool (the button with 4 arrows). Zoom in on the upper right, and make sure the image is aligned with the guides. Now do this for all of the images, until all the squares are filled in. Make sure to save every 10 images or so in case your computer crashes.


Printing companies cannot print from PSP files, so you need to change the file format. Go to File | Export | JPEG Optimizer. On the first page, set "set compression value" to 1 so you get the highest quality. Then click "OK" at the bottom, and save it to your disk (name it jpg_poster.jpg or something like that so you can tell it apart from your psp file). Now you can get that file printed. I went to Kodak Gallery, and followed the instructions on the website to get it printed. Make sure that when you add the photo to the cart, click on Advanced Options and the bottom, and uncheck "Zoom and Trim". You can also uncheck "LifeTouch" if you already tweaked your photos. Ship it, and your done! You can also get it printed by most local print shops if you wish, just bring in the jpg file.

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