I am primarily a graphic artist and want to use blender objects I eventually create as part of illustrations that will be printed. Among the formats available for export only png and jpeg seem possible, for bringing into photoshop or illustrator and using in a design. Does someone know how I can create objects that are high resolution and can be printed, exported, imported, into photoshop, indesign, illustrator, quark etc?
You can also use targa or bitmap. If you need high resolution images exported from Blender into Photoshop, never, ever use JPEG or any lossy format. PNG, targa and bitmap are lossless formats so you can actually interchange between them and not lose any quality.
I have noticed that Photoshop seems to have a preference for tiffs. mac os x even has a free app called preview that converts between tiff, png, tga, bmp. Photoshop will handle most of the file output from Blender so you won’t likely need to change any formats for that.
Personally I prefer PNG because it gives the lowest file sizes out of all the lossless compressions. My brother is a graphics designer though and he uses tiffs all the time. Like I say, it seems to be the preferred format (possibly second to psd).
I’m sure you know this but when setting the resolution in the render window, make sure you click the 100% button. At first I didn’t realise that it was at 50% by default so didn’t understand why the render was so small.
One other thing about hi res stuff is that you might want to have the unified renderer on. I think this produces less artifacts. Also, Gaussian blur sometimes helps with anti-aliasing and so does the new OSA feature for each material.
I’ve done quite a bit of work in Blender for print, just finished a series of A3 posters the other week, actually.
The main thing you need to worry about is resolution - as long it’s non-lossy, like PNG or TGA, the formats doesn’t really matter so much since you’ll need to bring the images into Photoshop to convert to CMYK anyway. For example, if you want to print something at A4, 300dpi, you need to render out at:
8.268" * 11.693" * 300 = 2480 pixels wide * 3508 pixels high. When you’re rendering huge images like that out, it’s a very good idea to render in parts (Xparts and Yparts) in order to conserve memory and therefore speed up the render. I used 3 Xparts and 3 Yparts on my A3s, which worked ok on this machine (1Gb RAM).
Set your oversampling as high as you can afford, time-wise, and standard considerations for print publishing also apply (trapping, bleeds, ink density, so on). I had some major problems trying to print fine white lines on a black background, on white stock - the black ink kept filling in too far and choking up the lines. Quite different results printing from a render with lines rasterised to 300dpi, to printing the same lines as vectors from Illustrator. These sorts of issues can differ from printer to printer and process to process (digital? litho?) so the more proofs you can do (or that your budget allows for the better. One thing I did to economise is to crop out sections of the renders that I thought might have problems and do a test print with all those worrisome parts on the one page, to see how they’d react.
If you’re only printing in, say, 2 colours, it’s probably a good idea to render out those as separate layers, then composite them together later in post, so you can more easily set up spot colours and make sure they’re trapped correctly. A good trick I’ve found for this is to render out a spot colour in greyscale, then create a new layer in Photoshop filled with the spot colour, and use the greyscale render as a layer mask. It’s then quite easy to expand and contract the layer mask using the Maximum and Minimum Photoshop filters to give the colours a bit of overlap. No matter what you do, it’s quite likely that you’ll need to mess around in post a bit to make sure the conversion to CMYK goes the way you want it to.
I don’t know if that’s too technical or not, I guess it depends on how much you already know about print
The unified render helps for using halos, additive transparency and so on, but for most things, the results should be exactly the same. The Gaussian filter can help, but beware if you’re rendering in parts, there will be seams along the edges where the parts are joined. I really hope this will be resolved soon.