Preparing & Using Your
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Make your image a size which will allow for a good quality banner.
During the banner creation process, you will have the option to select from
all banner size options. Before you add the banner to your cart, we will
warn you if the uploaded image may not be of acceptable quality at the size
you have chosen. Therefore, in most cases, you can simply upload your file,
look at it on screen, and place your order; we'll let you know if there
might be a potential printing resolution problem before you check out.
If you are a more advanced user, knowing that your image must contain
sufficient resolution so that it will look good when printed at a
large size, you can prepare your image in advance to include
sufficient resolution for the final printed size.
In general, the more resolution you can provide, the better. The amount of resolution you need to include in your image depends on how large your printed image will be on your final banner or sign.
If your file does not already exist, you may need to determine in advance how much resolution your image will need. For example, most digital cameras and scanners have resolution settings. You will want to set your digital camera to the maximum resolution setting, and your scanner should be set to capture the appropriate amount of information about your image.
Note that you cannot take an image containing too little resolution and increase its resolution. Image editing programs can only reduce resolution; they cannot create additional resolution. If your image already exists as a digital file on your computer, check its size using the "image size" option normally found in the "edit" or "format" menu of your image editing software. If it contains too little resolution, you will need to find a way to get your image into your computer in a new file containing more information. You may need to rescan it at a higher resolution, or take another photo with your digital camera after adjusting its settings to capture maximum resolution.
Before you size your image, you may want to crop any wasted space from the outside of the image. For example, if your
image is a photo of your son and daughter, but you only want your birthday banner to include your daughter, use the
"Crop" command in your image editing software to remove everything but your daughter from the image. Refer to your
image editing software's manual or help for more information.
Sizing your image if your image will fill the entire banner
To create an art file for upload, you must first determine your maximum finish banner size. Once you have that figure (let's use 6' x 12' as an example), you can begin. First, convert your banner size to inches (because 6' x 12" = 72" and 12' x 12"= 144", the final size in inches is 72" x 144"). Second, create an art file at 10% of the finish size (7.2" x 14.4"). See below for more on creating art files at 10% of finish size. Third, import the highest resolution graphics you have. If you are scanning in images, set your scanner to the highest possible setting. If you do things correctly, the final art file will be 7.2" x 14.4" at 500 dpi. Such a file will print nicely for banners up to 6' x 12'.
Note: If you simply save an art file using these settings, the art will still be inadequate. The important issue it how the art is created, not saved.
Naming your file
When you have completed your art, save the file as a .JPG, .TIF, or .EPS at 500 dpi. Do not include the words "logo," "text" or "banner" in the name of the art file because these words can cause a conflict with our system. Your file name must be less than 22 characters with no spaces.
Convert your image to one of the six file formats Your Images accepts: .jpg, .gif, .tif, .bmp, .png, or .eps.
Our system accepts five common file formats. If your image already exists in any one of these formats, it can be sized appropriately and uploaded. If your image exists in another file format, use an image editing program like Photoshop or Illustrator to convert the file into an accepted format by "Saving As" one of these file types. Simply renaming the file with one of these file extensions will not convert your image into an acceptable file format. Refer to your image editing software help for more information on converting image files into different formats.
JPEG (.jpg) - use this file format for photographs (color or b/w) and other full-color or grayshade images. Most programs let you select different compression levels when you save an image as a .jpg. You will want to select level 9 or 10 or high unless you will be using the image on a very small banner. JPGs are always stored as either 24-bit color or 8-bit grayscale: for best results, do not set your scanner to fewer colors. Also, be sure to check your Color Mode. We will print your image in CMYK mode, so if you can send us the file in CMYK mode, that is ideal. If your image is in another mode, such as RGB, indexed color, or grayscale mode, we recommend that you convert it to CMYK mode. When you make this conversion, a slight color shift will occur, and you may want to adjust your image accordingly. If you send us a file in any mode other than CMYK, we will perform the color shift, and this may adjust the look of your image.
GIF (.gif) - use this file format for simpler images with a small number of flat colors (not continuous, shaded tones),
such as computer screenshots or simple illustrations and drawings. GIFs are limited to 256 colors, so this format is
rarely best for photographs.
PNG (.png) - use this file format if your file already exists as a .png. This type of image is similar to a .gif,
although .png does not have a 256-color limit.
BMP (.bmp) - BMP is the standard MS-Windows raster format. Windows uses a fixed color palette for BMP files which
cannot be changed, as doing so would make the screen and border colors change too. This means that transferring an
image to the BMP format may result in some color shifts. If your file already exists as a BMP file, it will work with
TIF (.tif) - the Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF) is used mainly for
exchanging documents between different applications and different computer
platforms. Do not select LZW compression if saving a file as a .tif. Also,
be sure to check your Color Mode. We will print your image in CMYK mode, so
if you can send us the file in CMYK mode, that is ideal. If your image is in
another mode, such as RGB, indexed color, or grayscale, we recommend that
you convert it to CMYK mode. When you make this conversion, a slight color
shift will occur, and you may want to adjust your image accordingly. If you
send us a file in any mode other than CMYK, we will perform the color shift,
and this may adjust the look of your image. The very best image you can send
us is a .tif file in CMYK mode. Note that TIF files are not transparent, so
all transparent areas of your image will be white when using this file
EPS (.eps) - Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) files are vector images created in Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, or any other PostScript vector drawing program capable of creating an Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format file. We do not accept native Illustrator, FreeHand, or other PostScript vector drawing program files; We accept EPS for uploading artwork, however, please note these special concerns. The client assumes responsibility for the color fidelity of EPS files. All color files should be converted to and saved in composite CMYK color space. RGB or other format color files may produce undesirable color results. We do not accept EPS files saved with embeded fonts. We require that all of the type fonts in EPS files be converted to outlines. EPS files perform best in our system if they are saved with a with an 8-bit tif preview. EPS files can have embedded tifs or jpg images in them. See TIF and JPG rules to ensure that embedded files are saved properly before including them in an EPS file.
1) All fonts should be converted to paths (outlines)
2) All elements must be within the bounding box
3) Vector art is preferred (imbedded high rez graphics are O.K. - 500 dpi @ 10% rule applies )
4) No "converted" files. Art should be "created" in Illustrator, not "saved" as a converted .eps in Photoshop
Check Color Mode
Be sure to check your color mode. We will print your image in CMYK mode. If your image is in another mode, such as RGB, we will perform a color shift and this will adjust the look of your image. When you create your file, make certain it is in CMYK mode so that it will print correctly.
Fixing the Appearance of Your Images
For the best results, you may want to optimize your images for display on banners and signs. This may include such tasks as cropping, resizing, adjusting brightness and contrast, and otherwise improving the appearance of the image with image editing software. There are so many different ways to do this that our best advice is for you to refer to the manual or help files which came with your image editing software.
There are also some excellent online tutorials which can
help you pick up the basics of image editing. Many online tutorials are specifically geared to creating
images for use online. Images edited for Britten need to be of higher resolution than images
used on the Internet, but many of the same techniques apply. Use your favorite search engine to find a
tutorial you like.
If your image is not quite perfect, some minor adjustments
with your imaging software can remedy the situation.
- Brightness: Getting enough light on the subject is probably the
single most important issue if your image comes from a digital camera. If possible, take your pictures
outdoors. If this is not possible, flood the subject with as much light as possible. If the results are
still too dark, you can try the brightness adjustment in your image editing software, but use care, because adding too
much brightness will result in the image looking washed out. If the image looks too dark, you can increase
brightness. If it looks washed out, you can reduce brightness. Look under "format" or "adjust" menus in your software
for a brightness control, or refer to your image editing software manual or help.
- Contrast: Somewhat related to brightness, contrast controls how
much difference exists between the light and dark areas of your picture. It is much like the contrast adjustment found
on your TV. If your overall image seems muddy, or if very light areas appear gray, try increasing both the
brightness and contrast for a better looking image.
- Sharpness: Nothing can take an image which is out of focus and
bring it into focus, but sharpness adjustments can make edges look sharper and stand out more or less. Try
experimenting with unsharp mask and sharpness filters.
- Color Balance: Images can vary significantly depending on the type of lighting used. If true color representation is important for your image, you may need to make some adjustments to color balance, or try a different type of light. Some programs will have predefined adjustments to compensate for fluorescent lighting, others may require you to make or define the settings. Adjusting color balance is more complicated than other types of image adjustment, and may require some trial and error. Unless your software offers predefined adjustments, you will be adjusting three to four settings simultaneously to obtain the results you desire, and it's easy to turn people purple and create orange trees. Refer to your software's manuals or help for details on color balancing.
- Filters/Transformations/Special Effects: Filters and
Transformations and Special Effects provide pre-defined methods of modifying images. Filters allow you to add
stylized effects to your images. You may want to experiment and see what your software is capable of
accomplishing. Some filters can do things like adding a sense of motion or speed to a still image.
- Cropping: You
may want to crop any wasted space from the outside of your image.
For example, if your image is a photo of your son and daughter,
but you only want your birthday banner to include your daughter,
use the "Crop" command in your image editing software to remove
everything but your daughter from the image. Refer to your image
editing software's manual or help for more information.
Our system allows you to begin the upload banner creation
process in many different ways. You may create an account first, you may log in to an existing account
to use images you uploaded before, or you may decide to design and order a banner without an account.
You may enter the upload system from a number of different pages on the site.
The easiest way to start is to find a banner which has a
place for your image. (You can decide about account creation as you move through the site.) You will
find a camera icon next to all banners which allow for photo upload: .
You can also click on the "upload" tab in the top bar of the site to see a list of all
available upload banners. Once you select an upload banner, follow the on-screen instructions to
customize your banner and upload your image.
Our upload system uses your Internet browser (the most
common browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape) to allow you to select an image from
your computer and upload it to our server with a few simple clicks. Depending on the size of your
file and the speed of your connection to the Internet, the process may take a few seconds or a few
When you get to the Upload Your Image page, make sure you
see the Browse... button at the bottom of the page. If the Browse... button is not present, you
are probably using an older browser. Our system uses a process which is supported only in newer
browsers like Netscape 4.0+ and Microsoft Explorer 5.0+. If the browse button is not present,
you will need to update your browser before proceeding. You can obtain free copies of either
browser at the following links:
If the Browse... button is present, you are ready to go.
When you click Browse..., a file dialog box will appear on your screen which will allow you to search
for your file on your computer and its attached drives and disks. Refer to your operating system
manuals for help on using the file dialog box to find files on your computer.
When you have found and selected the image, click the
checking the "I understand" box first. Upload might take a while, so please be patient while your file
is uploaded to our server. Resist the urge to click the upload button again, because this can
If there is a problem with your image, we will display a
message explaining the problem. Successfully uploaded images will appear in the Your Image Here drop
down list on the customize banner page for your selection. If you have an account, your successfully
uploaded images will also appear in your account so that you can rename or delete them.
Accounts and Saved
If you do not create an account, you can upload one image
per order, but you cannot return and reuse the image unless you upload it again. Accounts are not
required for Upload Your Own Image banners, but they can be handy if you plan to return to the
If you do create an account, we will store up to three of
Your Images on our server, so that you can reuse them when you come back to the site without having to
upload them again. We will keep each image for 30 days after upload or last use, so that you can come
back and review or reuse images. You may log in to Your Account using your username and password at
any time. From Your Account screen, click on "I want to view my stored images" to view and edit your
If you need to upload a new image but already have the
maximum of three images in your account, make room by deleting one of your images (simply click on the
trash can next to the image in question). You can also rename your images so they are easier to find
in Your Image dropdown list by entering the new name and clicking the "rename image"
Once you have selected an image, you need to tell our system how you want this image placed within the image container
on your banner or sign. You will be presented with the following four options. Samples of the results of each option
are presented below. If these options are confusing, try selecting each option and view the results before deciding
which you like best.
|Fit - Resize the image so that the larger side of the image hits the edges of the container box. This option retains the
original proportions of the image, and centers it within the container. This option may result in white space on
either the top and bottom or sides of the image container if the image is not of the same proportion as the image
|Fill - Place the image within the container,
and resize the image so that either its width or height, whichever is smaller, fills the container exactly. This
option crops the larger side of the image, centers it within the container, and retains the original image
|Scale - Place the entire image within the container. This option does NOT retain the original proportions of the image,
which will result in image distortion if the container is of different proportion. The image will be stretched to
fill the image container box.
|None - Do not resize or otherwise adjust the
image, just place it in the container at its current size.