This year, at the Austin Diocese’ 54th Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference (DCYC), the stage environment consisted of large letters forming the theme, “UNAFRAID,” and a large, back-lit cross of the wood cut crucifix logo image. Below is a wide image of the stage containing both stage elements. The letters are each about 2 feet tall. The crucifix is just over 16 feet tall.
The crucifix image and letters from which the large stage elements came from the following image:
The subject of this post is to show how to easily make arbitrarily large patterns from relatively small images.
The real secret is a piece of open source software called PosteRazor. This application is available in binary form for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It takes the input image file and scales it up into a multi-page PDF. After printing the PDF, the page edges can be trimmed and glued together to make a final large image or be used as a full size pattern to transfer to another medium. Please refer to PosteRazor’s documentation at the PosteRazor web site for all the features and details of the application.
The “UNAFRAID” stage element was actually created in Waco the night before DCYC opened because the original planned stage element did not work out. Each letter from the word in the logo image was fed into PosterRazor and specified to be 2 feet tall. PDFs for each letter were created, printed out on 8.5×11 inch letter size paper, and then glued onto white foam core board. Black marker was used to fill in the pixelated edges of the letters. [The edges were pixelated because in the rush to finish I forgot to upscale the original word image before passing each letter to PosteRazor.] The letters were then hung from three strands of monofilament line. Here is a zip file of all the UNAFRAID letters.
The large crucifix was created by inputing the crucifix image into PosteRazor and specifying and output height of 16 feet. Tabloid paper (11×17 inches) size was used to minimize the number of sheets that needed. To further reduce the number of pages, completely blank pages were deleted from the PDF file. The resulting 36 page output was sent online to FedEx Kinkos to be printed out. The final crucifix PDF file, surprisingly enough, was under 600 kBytes; download it from here: 2012 DCYC Logo BIG TABLOID.pdf.
After the printed pages were picked up, two edges of each page were trimmed (I don’t recall now which edges, but it was probably the bottom and right edge of each sheet; they all need to be trimmed the same way). The trimming allows a thin line of glue to be run down the bottom sheet’s border allowing the upper trimmed sheet to be matched up to and glued to it. The partially glued printout of the main of the crucifix can be seen in this image, under the muslin [Notice the missing sheets at his waist and feet.]:
The pattern on the printout was transferred to the muslin by tracing the outline of the white areas with a marker. If water based paint is used to paint the material, then it is very important not to use a water based marker to trace the outline; a Sharpie should be used. (I learned the hard way…). The painting should also not be done directly on top of the pattern printout (I also learned the hard way on that…). The material should be suspended and stretched over a frame first. In the case of this project, I used the PVC frame that gave the hanging cross its shape. Here is a photo of the completely painted image with the felt skirt on the PVC frame before it made its trek up to Waco for DCYC 54: