Creating large format, high quality files for printing iPhone art

Mike Miller

Ever wondered what your finger paintings would look like at 3 feet/1 meter high? This little guide will show you how to download the source file of your Brushes paintings, open them with the Brushes viewer, and save them out at high quality suitable for printing.

Before starting, I highly recommend downloading the Brushes User guide and reading from page 26 on. It covers everything we’ll be going over in steps 1 and 2 of this tutorial.

Step 1: Getting the source file

To download the source file of your painting(s), you’re going to need the following:

  • Your iPhone/iPod Touch
  • Brushes 1.1 or newer
  • A computer with web browser
  • A Wi-Fi connection

The first thing you want to do is launch Brushes and make sure you’re looking at the Gallery of all your paintings. In the lower left corner is the button for the Connect Panel which let’s you share your gallery with other computers on the same Wi-Fi network (see figure 1). Tap this to launch Brushes web server.

figure-1

Figure 1: The Connect button will start the Brushes web server which let's you share your gallery with other computers on the same Wi-Fi network.

Once the connect panel is open, the web server will be running. Other computers on the same network can connect to your Brushes gallery at the url address displayed ont the connect panel (see figure 2). If you’re having problems, check page 26 of the Brushes User guide.

Figure 2: The Connect panel displays a url that other computers on the same network can access. Note: Your network will determine the url address and it will be different than what you see here.

Figure 2: The Connect panel displays a url that other computers on the same network can access. Note: Your network will determine the url address and it will be different than what you see here.

Using a computer, open a web browser and type in the address shown on the connect panel. Once connected you should see the online gallery of all your paintings (see figure 3)!

Figure 3: The online gallery

Figure 3: The online gallery

Below the thumbnail of each painting will be links for downloading a png file, and for any painting created after the 1.1 update, a Brushes file. The Brushes file is the source file that you will want to download and save to your computer (see figure 4).

Figure 4: Click the brushes link to download and save a copy of your brushes source file.

Figure 4: Click the brushes link to download and save a copy of your brushes source file.

Now that you have the Brushes file you can open it with the Brushes Viewer if you have a Mac or send the file to a friend with a Mac and continue to step 2!

Step 2: Exporting a High Resolution copy

To export a high quality file of your painting you will need the following:

Once you have the Brushes Viewer installed, open the .brushes file. There are options for image export and movies, we’re only going to look at image exporting for this tutorial. Check the Brushes User guide for details on everyting you can do with the Brushes Viewer

Figure 5: The Brushes Viewer.

Figure 5: The Brushes Viewer.

Next, click the Export Image button in the toolbar.

Figure 6: Click the Export Image button.

Figure 6: Click the Export Image button.

The Export Image Dialog box will display. Change the Export Size to 6x, and the format to TIFF (highest quality) (see figure 7).

Figure 7: Change the settings shown here and export your file, giving it any name you'd like.

Figure 7: Change the settings shown here and export your file, giving it any name you'd like.

Click Next, name your file, Export, and let the viewer do its work! Then, move on to Step 3!

Step 3: Resizing your image for printing

To save your file for printing you will need the following:

  • The TIFF file created from step 2
  • An image editor such as Adobe Photoshop

Open the tiff file you created in step 2 in an image editor (This tutorial will use Adobe Photoshop). When the file opens, view its image size (see figure 8).

Figure 8: View the file's image size.

Figure 8: View the file's image size.

You’ll see the Image Size Dialog Box (see figure 9).

Figure 9: The Image Size Dialog Box.

Figure 9: The Image Size Dialog Box.

Notice the width and height? Brushes Viewer exports the TIFF file at 26″ x 40″ inches (Note: I’m using inches for this section, users not in America can switch to centimeters using the drop-down menus).

Huge, right? The only catch is the resolution below the width/height which is 72 dpi. The resolution is how many pixels or dots-per-inch (dpi) printers will print at, and most printers will need a resolution of at least 150. The more dots/pixels per inch, the better quality your image will be. I recommend going with at least 300 for quality results, and some printers prefer an even higher dpi such as 600 or 1200. If you have a printer in mind, contact them and ask what dpi they prefer for image files.

To set your file at print quality, change the resolution (in this example, 300), and then change the width/height to the size you’d like your painting to be printed at (in this case 16″ x 24″).

Figure 10: Change the Image settings to a resolution and size acceptable for large format printing.

Figure 10: Change the Image settings to a resolution and size acceptable for large format printing.

Click OK and let Photshop do its work. Once complete, you’ll have a file ready for the printer! Note that the file size will be quite large because you’ve increased the resolution.

I like to save this higher resolution as a copy (TIFF file) so I can go back to the original TIFF created by Brushes Viewer and make other files at different sizes if I wish.

Conclusion

You’ve just taken a painting made on a 3.5 inch screen and can now hang a 26 x 40 inch canvas or print on your wall! It should be noted that you may need to work with your printer to adjust colors and/or other issues to get the perfect print, this tutorial is only inteded to show you how to save large, print-ready files.

So far, I’ve had a 8 x 12″ and 12 x 18″ canvas printed from canvasondemand and the quality has been wonderful.

Canvas 03, by Mike Miller

Canvas 03, by Mike Miller

Have you had large prints made of your paintings? Let us know the printer used and share your experience in the comments!


18 Responses to “Creating large format, high quality files for printing iPhone art”

  • Creating large format, high quality files of your Brushes … | PhotoShopped Says:

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  • sooper8 Says:

    Thanks for this tip. I have had Brushes for ages and never read the manual. I am not sure I want to print out but if I did I would want the best quality, so this helps.
    Regards
    Jem

  • Matthew Says:

    Grande Mike, great tutorial!

  • Andreas Says:

    Sad, there is no windows version of brushes viewer :( I hope is comming in future.

  • Sandy Schmidt Says:

    GREAT tutorial Mike… you made it easy. I always get lost after downloading the Brushes files but this is something I definitely want to start doing. Thanks!

    Andreas: I was in your boat until I got a mac. I learned that even on a PC you can download the .brushes files. You just can’t do anything with them on a PC. But, if you save them in their .brushes format you will have them for when there IS a PC compatible Brushes viewer … OR if you have a kind friend with time to help you out…

  • Mia Says:

    thank you for writing this. Very helpful! I also wanted to let you know that I was able to get one of my hardest files printed. I do not have access to windows view, but thanks to a post by mikedia on flickr, I was able to have the file resized to 300dpi, 12×18″. Sent this to http://www.canvasondemand.com. Just received teh print on canvas and it is JUST AS IT APPEARS ON MY PHONE. I am pretty amazed by this, as it was one of my most unclear images. This printer also worked with me as I continuously manipulated the image. I sent to them as .jpeg 3 times before we got it right. When I get home, I will take a picture and send it to you so that you can see.

  • Mia Says:

    sorry, that windows view should be brushes viewer.

  • Mia Says:

    Mike, wait, that is you! lol…sorry…thanks to your post on flickr, I was able to do this without Brushes Viewer. You are awesome and thank you again for putting this together!

  • Mike Miller Says:

    Mia, glad it all worked out! I was also VERY impressed that the printed canvas looked just like the original painting. It feels great to see it on my wall just like it looked while I painted it.

  • Valerie Beeby Says:

    Thank you so much for taking the trouble to do such a detailed and down-to-earth description of what to do. I am only just realising that it’s possible to make big high quality prints from an iphone painting.

    I do have a Mac, and the Brushes app on it, but was getting a bit bogged down with the later stages of the process. Your tutorial will be a great help.

  • Tim McEvoy Says:

    Just a note about changing resolution of an image: that you should always check the pixel dimensions that result when you change print dimensions and dpi.

    In the above example, the original .brushes image is 40×72″ at 72dpi, with pixel dimensions at 1920×2880. When it is changed to 16×24″and 300dpi, you’ll notice the pixel dimensions go way up to 4800×7200. This means that the computer is creating pixel imformation that doesn’t exist, and as a resultyou’ll get a more pixelated image. You may still get a print that you are satisfied with, but it’s not a true 300dpi image of your original at that size.

    The biggest print size you can get with a 2880x1920px image at 300dpi, without interpolating (creating) pixel information, will be 9.6×6.4″.

  • Mike Miller Says:

    Great point, Tim. Thanks for sharing, this is an area that gets murky for me.

  • Sam Says:

    Does anyone know whether you can run the Brushes Viewer or export source files on a Mac with an operating system older than Leopard OS X? I can’t seem to launch the viewer. My operating system is a couple of years old. Drat.

  • admin Says:

    Sam, according to brushesapp.com, the minimal requirements are ‘Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher’.

  • Stuart Says:

    Very helpful tutorial.Thanks

  • Elizabeth Stockdill Says:

    Hello, please can you advise. After using Brushes very successfully, I am completely unable to get Brushes Viewer to work. I have downloaded it a number of times, but the ‘export’ option is always ‘greyed out’
    How can I resolve this as I would like to export the largest file, and not just what can be uploaded using ‘Transferapp’
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Regards
    Elizabeth

  • Allen Class Says:

    It appears that Brushes no longer uses a Connect button and built-in web server to transfer images to a MAC. It took me a long time to figure out how to do it from my iPad. You simply “Email Actions” from the share option. You may want to update your instructions, which are otherwise excellent.

  • Aboubakat Says:

    Is it possible to do this at all with Windows machine?

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