This article is the first in a series of tutorials which are designed to help photographers and designers set up their files for printing on canvas.
Canvas prints allow for more creative design options than flat prints because there are 5 sides to a canvas which should be considered when designing your file. These extra sides can be used for artist and studio branding, creative borders or can simply allow the image to continue off the face of the canvas frame.
This first tutorial outlines the most basic canvas setup – the full gallery wrap.
This wrapping technique has the photograph continue around the sides of the frame. It’s easy to set up and appears seamless when viewing the image on the wall. It’s important to remember when choosing full gallery wrap, that the image needs to have extra background that isn’t critical to the composition. A portion of the image isn’t always visible when wrapped around the side of the stretcher.
With your image open in Photoshop, decide on what size you want the canvas to be. For our purposes, we’ll assume a 16″ x 20″ canvas. Select the cropping tool (press c).
At the top of the window in the cropping options, enter 20 in (width) by 24 in (height). The extra 4″ will wrap onto the sides and back of the stretcher frame. You don’t need to enter a resolution here. However, if you choose to add text or a logo to the side of the frame, you should resample the image to 300 pixels per inch to ensure your text or logo is sharp.
Crop your image as desired, keeping in mind that 2 inches on all sides will be on the side of the frame. Press return to accept the crop.
Click on view>rulers (command+r) to bring up rulers for the document. Zoom in so you can clearly see each inch on the ruler. Drag guides to .5″, 2″, 18″ and 19.5″ from the left and .5″, 2″ and 22″ and 23.5″ from the top. This will give you an idea of how the face of the canvas will look when framed as anything on the outside of the rulers will be the side of the frame. The .5″ guides are where the canvas wraps around the back of the frame, as our standard stretchers are 1.5″ thick.
If you are adding text or a logo to the sides, try not to have it too close to the guides. As a general rule, keep a safe area of about 1/4 inch.
That is really it. Make sure your file is flattened and we recommend you save as a TIFF with LZW compression checked. For more details on file formats, see our Guide to Accurate Image Reproductions.
You are now ready to send your file to us for printing.
Thanks for reading this tutorial. I hope it helps you when designing files for canvas prints. Stay tuned for part 2 where you’ll learn how to set up a mirror style canvas wrap.