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Lets Rasterbate!

November 1, 2006

  According to the InterWeb, Rasterbation is a feature of many computer programs that enables them to print images larger than a standard page. The program overlays a grid on the printed image in which each cell (or tile) is the size of a printed page and then prints each tile. A person can then arrange the tiles to reconstruct the full image.

Lets see a few practical examples from the ever helpful and friendly SomethingAwful goons:

I was enlightened in this thread which has all sorts of cool (and not so cool) goon rasterbations and (sometimes) useful tips on how to do it yourself.  Before you click away though, I’m following this link with a little photo tutorial on how I learned to rasterbate.

The first thing you need is images!  If you can’t think of something specific to look for on Google’s image search or something to steal from the SA thread then check out  for ideas.  Mixed in with all the crap is some seriously decent stuff.

I went with the classic Maxell ad ‘We’ll Blow You Away’ with the dude in the oversized chair getting, you guessed it, blown away by his stereo.

Once you have a picture you want to make much bigger to hang on your wall you need a program to help you do it.  Rasterbater.  Simply, what we’re going to do is take your tiny little girly man image and pump that shit up.

The interface for Rasterbater is pretty intuitive so I’ll just say that the dot size you choose will determine how sharp your rasterbation will come out.  1mm is the sharpest you can get.  up to 10 is probably good.  I did one in 1mm and another at 5mm and they both came out fine but the difference is noticeable.

So you’ve got your rasterbation finished and saved to a PDF.  Now what?  Kinkos!

Kinkos will print out your rasterbation for you in better quality than you can probably manage at home and not get you fired for printing out 48 pages of rubbish this soon after getting back from your suspension for printing all that porn and pictures of Dan’s head on Richard Simmons body.  So yeah.  The important thing to remember here is to get them printed on CARDSTOCK.  It’s worth the extra money, trust me. 

Next up, head to your local craft supply store.  I went to Michaels for my stuff.  After wandering around scared and confused I came out of the ribbons, bows, yarn and strange little wood block section and found what I was looking for.

Glue in spray paint form, a good razor knife, double sided sticky poster hanger things, and foam board.  Enough for each of your tiles.

Now that you’re home with all the stuff, it’s time to get to work.  You’re going to be cutting tiles out of the foam board you bought to glue your pictures to.  You can half ass it but it’s worth the effort to be careful and cut all the tiles properly.  It took me two evenings to cut 48 tiles fairly accurately for the first one.

Once your tiles are cut you want to make sure you’re working in a well ventilated area and start gluing the cardstock printouts to the tiles and smoothing them down with your trusty ruler.  If you thought cutting the damn things was bad, this part will make it seem like a tea party.  By the end your eyes will be burning, your nose totally clogged and your fingers stuck to your pants (in a bad way) but you should have a healthy stack of tiles. 

Excellent, now we add the sticky bits, scratch our heads and figure out what order they go in and which side is up.

And thats it!  I know what you’re thinking.  Wow thats cool Adam, thanks for the article.  Actually, you’re thinking, ‘Dude! Is that your fucking desk or an erector set? 

Yeah, it is my desk but it isn’t done yet and will be the subject of a different and altogether more insane post here in the future. stay tuned.

Oh, heres one more I did.

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