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Flying the 'Skyline of the World'

(January 2008) posted on Thu Jan 10, 2008

Skyscrapers adorn airport terminal mural.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Peggy Middendorf

Next came one of the more difficult challenges of the project: The resulting file had to be enlarged 32 times. It took three days of testing and a variety of software before they were able to achieve the required image quality. After experimenting with several different types of up-res software, Photoshop worked best.

Honing the picture for proofing took another three days of noise reduction, enlarging, sharpening, and color correction. Pericoli proofed panels and smaller pieces as the job’s prepress process continued.

Even with the Hasselblad solution, however, because the artwork was hand-drawn at a relatively small scale, says Goley, it had "inherent ‘issues’ that they didn’t want to enhance. "We needed to minimize the bad attributes within the artwork without losing the important details. With a great deal of experimentation, we were able to build a series of Photoshop Actions that really saved the day."

Another concern was the effect of the viewing environment: "We all believed that the mural looked very good in our facility, but we were concerned how it would look at the terminal," says Goley. "Color, especially grays, can change dramatically under different lighting conditions." PGI output several panels full-width and hung them on the airport wall to see the impact of the wall color and ambient light. "This turned out to be a good decision. With a paint sample from the airport, we corrected the mural’s gray balance to better match the surrounding terminal walls."

Begin in the middle

After the final proofing panels were approved, the print process began. PGI relied on its EFI Vutek 3360 (in 8-color mode) for output, printing around the clock for eight working days to print 99 panels-producing more than 18,000 total square feet. Goley and crew chose to image onto 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Film with Comply IJ160C-10 White; lamination was not necessary.