Enlarging prints using Adobe Illustrator


I’m creating a four colour snowboarding print using letterpress and linocut, for my son. The problem is he wants an A4 to A3 sized poster, but my equipment (Adana 8-5 and small book press) will not allow me to go that big.

I have heard that you can use Adobe IIllustrator to convert scanned images into vector files, and then enlarge them up to the required size without loosing any image quality. Has anyone had any experience or tips in doing this, that they can pass on ?

I have a copy of illustrator CS3 as part of the Creative Suite package.



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Illustrator has a tool called live trace that allows you to trace a raster based, scanned image. Simply place the scanned image into Illustrator with the File > Place menu, then access the Live Trace tool via the Object > Live Trace menu. I have CS4 so the menu might be a bit different for you.

The quality of your vector path really depends on the nature of the image that you are tracing. I have had mixed results with this tool, some good and some bad.

Adjust the live trace options to get the look that you want, then you can manually adjust the paths in Illustrator if needed.

Another option might be to scan the print at a very high resolution, then scale up in Photoshop. If enough resolution is captured in the initial scan, then you can scale the raster file (not vector) in Photoshop and maintain enough resolution/quality for good reproduction. This all depends on what kind of scanner you have access to.

For best results though, I would recommend rebuilding the artwork in Illustrator or Photoshop to the final size.

Just let me know if you have questions. Can you post an image on briar of the artwork?


image: live_trace.jpg



Many thanks for the useful information re Live Trace. I’m a complete newbie to Illustrator, although I’ve used the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite quite a lot.

I cannot post the work I am hoping to enlarge as it is work-in-progress. However I’ll scan in an existing piece of work, and let you know how I get on. I assume Illustrator will allow me to stipulate exact image scale-up dimensions,
a-la Photoshop.

Again - many thanks !


Once the item is a vector based image, size is no longer an issue. You could print it the size of a bill board, and the lines would still be smooth. Vector art is actually a combination of mathematical equations creating outlines of all of your solid artwork.

I too have had limited success with the tool provided with Illustrator, I had more success with a couple of online programs. Search google for “free vector conversion.” The one I used had a free trial, and then a pay version available. If I remember, The trial would allow for one conversion per year.