The 32,767-pixel limit: I should learn to read dialog boxes!

Blognosticator Head

That didn’t work quite as planned.

In my large scale printing project, I started late last night to print the first of 17 strips of my huge panoramic photo 44 inches by ten feet in length.

My original photo is in excess of 28 GB, and cutting it into sections of 44 inches with an overlap of one inch provides me with enough resolution to print at graphic arts quality – 300 ppi – at full size. In fact, I had more resolution than needed: 343 ppi.

32,767 pixel limit

Don’t call us! Contact your printer vendor for assistance. What on Earth are they going to do if Photoshop won’t print a photo that large?

So I loaded the first file, and started it running (and attached the paper to my new take-up reel described in my last blog). I stayed up past midnight monitoring the take-up reel, and when I decided that everything was working well, I went to bed.

Somewhere between full consciousness and REM sleep, I noticed sounds coming from the printer that sounded like the end of the job. I thought that was good, then I heard the printer start up again. That was odd. But I fell asleep and dreamed of piezoelectric ink-jet nozzles snuggling up against my leg (it was actually my cat).

In the morning I discovered that the printer had printed 109.22 inches of my photo (the original is 120 inches tall), then put a half-inch gap in the photo, and continued to print the rest of the image. This is, of course, unacceptable.

In preparing the photo for printing I do vaguely remember a dialog box popping up on the computer saying something about images with more than 32,767 pixels causing trouble on some printers. In my desire to get this project going, I clicked the OK button. It turns out that 32,767 pixels is 109.22 inches. What an amazing coincidence!

So it appears that Photoshop has a problem with printing images greater than 32,767 pixels. I have 171 square feet of expensive Epson photo paper to prove this! This error has cost me both time and money. This output will have to be scrapped, and the loss is about $50, which hurts.

So this morning I am experimenting with actually reading the dialog boxes that show up on my computer screen (my late mother would be so proud of me!). I re-calculated the size of my files, and have settled on a new resolution of 280 ppi, which is more than adequate for ink-jet printing at 1,440 spi. At that resolution, I am printing a file of just 1.12 GB instead of the original file that was 1.69 GB. It’s amazing what a few pixels can do to your productivity.

From now on I will be sure not to print images of greater than 32,767 pixels. I promise!


About Brian Lawler

Brian Lawler is an Emeritus Professor of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and was a Guest Professor at Hochschule München from September, 2021 to September, 2022. He writes about graphic arts processes and technologies for various industry publications, and on his blog, The Blognosticator.
This entry was posted in Color Management, Mistakes you can avoid, Panoramic Photography, Photography, Photoshop techniques and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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