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Duluth, Georgia 30096
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Scale & Proportions

So you take your 8.5 X 11 photo or other printed item and ask us to blow it up to 11 X 17. You're then informed by your helpful and friendly Customer Service Rep that sorry, we can't do that. It doesn't work. "Why not??" you may wonder. It's all about proportion.

Or maybe you've seen a distorted image like this in a newsletter:

Original Printed
Alphagraphics scaling tips Alphagraphics scaling help

You can avoid this by following one simple unfailing rule:

Whatever you do to one side, do the same to the other!

And, it's multiply or divide, not add or subtract!

Most software lets you resize images independently, so there's usually the danger of distortion. To maintain the original proportions, hold down the SHIFT key when dragging resize handles.

By the Numbers

Say you have an 8 X 10 photo that you want to turn into a poster. AlphaGraphics can do this for you with our high resolution capable scanners and expert designers.

If you know the length of ONE side of the item, you can easily get the other, using simple middle school math. (Remember algebra??)

New Size divided by Old Size = Resize Factor

  • You have an 8 X 10 that you want to enlarge to 3 feet (36 inches) tall.
  • 36 / 10 = 3.6
  • 8 X 3.6 = 28.8
  • Your finished enlargement will be 28.8 X 36.

If you add or subtract instead of multiplying or dividing, you'll get into trouble.  If you take that original 8 X 10 and add 4 inches to each side, now you have a 12 X 14, which is not the same proportion.

Longer Side / Shorter Side = Proportion

10 / 8 = 1.25  but 12 / 10 = 1.16

For the More Visually Oriented

It's all about the DIAGONAL.

If you can lay the items together at the corner and draw the same diagonal, then they are proportional.

Alphagraphics scaling instructions

To determine the size your piece can enlarge to:

Step 1. Lay your original against a larger sheet of paper lined up at the corners.

Alphagraphics scaling tutorial

Step 2. Extend the line of the diagonal across the larger sheet.

Alphagraphics scaling steps

Step 3. Draw a straight line from any point on the diagonal to the opposite side of the large sheet. The photo shows the maximum enlargement.

Alphagraphics scaling steps

Step 4. Measure from the original bottom and side to any point along the diagonal to see possible enlargements. You can see the maximum is  11 X 14-3/8". 

Alphagraphics scaling tutorial

For REDUCTIONS, just remove the original and extend the diagonal inward.

If you find these tip sheets helpful, we'd love to hear from you. Review us on Google+ by clicking here.

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