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Author Topic: Mini-Review: Rasterbator  (Read 8175 times)


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Mini-Review: Rasterbator
« on: January 28, 2007, 09:24:57 PM »

Basic Info

App NameRasterbator Standalone
App URLhttp://arje.net/rasterbator
App Version ReviewedStandalone 1.21
Test System SpecsPentium III 866mhz, 512mb Ram, Windows XPSP2
Supported OSesOfficially requires .Net 1.1
Unofficially, .Net 1.0 and Mono http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page might work.  Mono allows Mac and Linux to use .Net programs.
Support MethodsSome basic troubleshooting here http://arje.net/help_on_rasterbator
Upgrade PolicyNA
Trial Version Available?NA (GPL)
Pricing SchemeFree and Open Source
Author Donation Link??
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product I am not associated with the author or the product in any way.


Print huge posters of your digital images.  Rasterbator converts your images into tiny little dots, and then creates a multi-page pdf that you can print, assemble, and hang on your wall.  When you are close to the poster, you will see the little dots, but at a distance, they will blend together, and you will see the image in all its glory.

Rasterbator starts with a language selection screen:
Rasterbator8_50_30 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

Next you choose your image file:
Rasterbator8_50_33 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

The program allows you to set your paper size (A4, A3, US Letter, US Legal, or custom size):
Rasterbator8_50_35 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

Next you select how many pages wide or high you want your resulting poster.  The program shows you your image, and how it will be disected.  It also shows you how big your poster will be in meters and how many pages it will take.  Check out the image on the right below for some mind boggling numbers:
Rasterbator8_50_41 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator Rasterbator9_00_21 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

On the next screen, you will decide if you want a faint border around each page, which would make it easy to line up a paper cutter.  You will also decide on the size of the dots.  The program defaults to 10mm, and suggests that you stay between 5 and 25mm.  Reducing the dot size will make your image more detailed, and allow you to view it properly while closer to the image.  Big dots are better for a very wide/tall poster that you will view from farther away.  Keep in mind that smaller dots use more ink, and also increase processing time.  On this screen you will also set your color options.  You can choose black and white monochrome, another color and white monochrome (this uses the standard Windows color selection box), or full color.
Rasterbator8_50_50 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

Finally, you will choose a filename for the resulting pdf.
Rasterbator8_50_56 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

The program will start processing your image, and will show you a percentage bar with estimated time remaining and a check box at the bottom that you can click to put the program into low priority mode if you so desire.  Creating a 5x4 sheet image with 3mm dots in all black took about 2 minutes on my PC.  The resulting pdf for my poster was 16.2 mb.
Rasterbator8_50_59 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

Once the process is complete, the program will give you some tips for printing, ask that you upload pictures of any cool posters you make, and offer to open the pdf file for you when you exit the program.
Rasterbator9_07_33 PM.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

Once the pdf is finished, you send it to your printer and wait.  It took my HP 1320 Laser Printer about 7 minutes to process and print the pdf using a wireless connection to the Ubuntu print server that it is connected to.  When it is done, you have a stack of pages that don't really look like much.  Start putting them on the wall, or taping them together.  If your printer outputs pages in first to last order, you will find that the first page is the top left of the image, the next page goes directly to the right of that page, and so on across until you are wide enough.  Then you go back below the first image and do the next row.  Eventually, you will have your poster.

In practice, it was actually pretty easy to get the pages lined up.  I actually pinned them in place with clear push-pins at each corner.  It took about 15 minutes to get it up on the wall.  If you look very close, you can see some places where it's not lined up, but if you are that close you see all the dots anyway.  With a paper cutter, you could get rid of the white lines that are visable where the pages overlap.

The image I chose for my poster was a wedding picture.  The original was 1143x1168 in 24bit color.  This picture was taken from approximately 10 feet away from the poster.

poster.pngMini-Review: Rasterbator

Who is this app designed for:

Anyone who wants to print posters of their digital prints and doesn't mind the time it takes to piece the poster together.

The Good
Does what it says it does.
Resulting poster looks really good, even in black and white.

The needs improvement section
Program does not remember any of your settings.
Program doesn't allow for batch processing.

How does it compare to similar apps

Program is a standalone version of a web application that does the same thing.  Web application is found at http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/.  The online version has size and resolution limits imposed, whereas the offline version does not have any realistic limits (see the thumbnail above with the insanely high numbers)

Many printer drivers and other programs such as Poster Printer http://posterprinter.sourceforge.net/ allow you to print an image to multiple pages, but they do not rasterize the image like this program does.  Therefore, the resulting poster will probably not look very good if you make it much bigger than the original.


Rasterbator is a fun application that does what it says it does.  I am looking forward to decorating my office with these posters.  I wish the program would allow you to modify the default settings so that I wouldn't have to select the language, paper size, etc every time; but it is very quick to make the changes as it is.  I'll give it a 4.5 because of the lack of retainable settings.

Other reviewe

Links relating to the program

Biggest known Rasterbation http://doomtech.net/...hp/Rasterbation_TG06
Online gallery http://homokaasu.org...terbator/gallery.gas


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Re: Mini-Review: Rasterbator
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 11:52:32 PM »
Hey cthorpe, these are very nice reviews you're doing here, thanks.

Also, it's a relief to learn that if you rasterbate you don't go blind.


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Re: Mini-Review: Rasterbator
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 07:33:15 AM »
Personally, I wish he'd stop with the mini-reviews. He's making me feel guilty about not doing some of my own.  :-[

Again, great review cthorpe. I hereby christen thee c++thorpe!


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Re: Mini-Review: Rasterbator
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007, 04:56:24 PM »
:-* Rasterbator :-*

I remember some years ago, when I more or less suffered from insomnia... finally got up at 5 in the morning, some friend of mine sent me the rasterbator link, and I thought "hey, nice way to test the new printer". At 6 I woke up young of my younger brothers to help me assemble the prints - took a while, but the end result was nifty :)
- carpe noctem


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Re: Mini-Review: Rasterbator
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2007, 04:06:03 PM »

Nice to see Rasterbator reviewed. Found it about a year ago and jumped right on it (I'm nearly blind anyway, so I was pretty fearless). Bite-sized trouble suggested I use foamcore from the art supply store for mounting. Works pretty good, better than taping when you use the right adhesive. She finally made me take down the 4' x 8' nude of her, lol!

Nice work. BTW, I just ran across something a little like it on Photojojo. Web-based program from http://www.blockposters.com/
Upload your pictures, etc. Unlike Rasterbator, it produces straight images instead of half-tone dots.
Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code is a violent psychopath and knows where you live.