Academic Proposals, powerpoint, Technology

Poster Presentation: Now with Minor Revisions!

I had some good feedback yesterday regarding the design of my poster for the conference I’m presenting at this Friday. Rachel Donahue (hopefully I’ve got the URL fixed now, Rachel!) had a number of good, detailed suggestions both about visual organization and how to rein in my verbosity.

The other major change I made since the last draft involves the diagrams. Looking at the previous image in Scribd it appeared that the Bubbl.us created diagrams were way too hazy and would likely not come out well when printed at 48″ x 36″. So, I shifted my diagram making operations over to Gliffy. Not only were the Gliffy-designed images larger files (and presumably higher resolution), but the website also enabled me more flexibility in terms of designing lines, making them different weights and colors, and labeling them more precisely.

The only downside of Gliffy involved the fact that the site exports its images in JPEG (or PNG) format, and when these were blown up on the PPT, they became similarly fuzzy to the Bubbl.us images. To solve the problem (hopefully!), I did a screen capture with the Dashboard widget and grabbed the diagrams in TIFF format, which captured them in higher resolution and will allow them to be more legible — at the very least the file sizes were 10x bigger. I’ll guess I’ll find out whether this trick solved my problem once I print the poster!

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5 thoughts on “Poster Presentation: Now with Minor Revisions!

  1. The difficulty you’re running into w/Gliffy is that when it exports to raster, it does so at the resolution you’re working at. I’m going to do some math here, which is a terrible idea. And I don’t mean to come off as critical, I just want to save you the sadness of a blurry poster!

    Your TIFF is huge probably because it recorded as RAW. Does the dashboard widget allow you to specify resolution? If it doesn’t, it’s not going to save your blur problem at all.

    Most programs these days avoid the pain of trying to figure out the difference between ppi and dpi, and just give you the dpi (the value used for printing) when changing the resolution. The higher the DPI, the better the print. You typically want at least 300dpi when you are printing, 600 is very good. Your printer probably has guidelines/recommendations specific to their equipment.

    The default page size in Gliffy is 5000 px by 5000 px, so if you have a square that takes up 10% of the page and you export it as PNG (which is better for text than JPEG), you’ll have a 500x500px image. If you print that at 300dpi, without blowing it up and lose quality, you get an image that’s about 1.7×1.7inches on paper.

    Does that make sense? It’s blurry when you blow it up because the computer has to guess where new pixels should go or enlarge the existing pixels. This is where _vector_ graphics come in, because vector graphics are based on math (scalable) unlike raster, which are based on pixels (which scale down ok, but not up). Lucky for you, Gliffy exports to SVG! Not so lucky, Powerpoint is completely disinterested. There are ways to convert, however. Save your Gliffy chart to SVG, then pop over to this website:

    http://www.fileformat.info/convert/image/svg2raster.htm

    Choose PNG, and enter the number of pixels necessary the desired size image at your printer’s suggested resolution. Rather than doing the math, you can first export it to png/jpg for Gliffy, and take note of what your image program of choice says the pixel height/width is when you upsample it. Click submit, and a PNG file of the appropriate resolution will be automagically generated.

    And so ends my diatribe on raster vs vector images 😛

    They do look like they’re more clear, though, especially the isolation diagram with its differentiated arrows. 🙂

  2. Nate says:

    Cool. This is great (and much appreciated) advice, Rachel.

    I did have a similar problem with a diagram I created for an article that’s being published in the Journal of Mormon History. The graphics editor couldn’t use the one I made in PPT (unsurprisingly), so I remade it in InDesign. So, the moral of the story is that I should have stuck with InDesign. Oh well.

    Thanks for the suggestion on SVG files and how to turn them into PNG files. I’ll give it a shot.

  3. Nate says:

    I’m playing around with the conversion, which seems to work fine, but I can’t find a program that will let me upsample the file to 300 dpi (or ppi technically?). However, I think I conceptually understand your suggestion re: how to make the file an appropriate size.

    I downloaded Live Quartz, but it seems to only have the ability to edit files at 72 dpi/(ppi?).

    Any suggestions? I tried downloading Inkscape, but it doesn’t play nice (or run at all) on Snow Leopard.

    I appreciate your technological labors on this day where you’re supposed to avoid them. Thanks again!

  4. Pingback: “Congratulation, and welcome the 2010 ISTE Conference…” « The History Channel This Is Not…

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