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Tile mural for outdoor use

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

Keywords: printing, digitalartistry, tile, mural, kitchen, outdoor

Member Karen (scenicshutterbug) wanted to create a tile mural for her outdoor kitchen space. The final size should be approx. 9 ft (ca 2.7m) wide by 3 ft (ca 0.9m) tall and she posted her first thoughts and asked for ideas and feedback in our Digital Artistry forum.


This is the first image Karen posted for other members to work with. She decided to use a composite image where the sunset is taken from another landscape shot.
Click for an enlargement


Karen has her own business that puts images onto hard surface products, such as on tile, placemats and coasters. She describes the production process of the tile mural like this:

"I ended up blowing the image up on my 30" monitor to about 500% and doing some editing at that level. Then I chopped up the image into the 12" x 12" size [ca. 30 x 30cm], blew that up and checked again. I found some fringing that I could not see until I looked at inpidual tile sizes. I was able to correct that and smooth out some jagged edges here and there. Then I double checked the crop to minimize any tile grout breaks in critical parts of the image.

Next, I printed just one of the tiles (one with part of the dock and part of the reflection) and checked that. It looked good, so I kept going. I just finished printing all of the full 12"x 12" tiles and I think they look really good. The next challenge will be to find a grout color that will work over the color range of the mural."


This image was edited by one of the members, Dan (domer2760). He adds: I used NIK ColorEfex 4 Lighten and Darken Center to even out the toning from left to right (Put the center on the right side and adjusted the edge brightness to balance). Then I took it into Viveza and added some structure and contrast. Finally, I used Curves to give a little more luminescence to the sky.
Click for an enlargement



One version of Karen's tile mural, as envisioned by member Preston (massulo)
Click for an enlargement


After receiving more input from other members, Karen proceeded and created the final product. She says: "Thank you so much for your suggestions and altenations for this image. I am so impressed with the creativity and the variety of treatments possible from the same capture.

It has been an interesting process of balancing the elements of the photograph as captured with the artistic treatment to create a piece of art. When adding to that the size of the enlargement and the proximity of the piece to viewing and I ultimately decided on a hybrid which incorporated pieces of the suggestions offered by everyone. While not as artistic as Preston or JD, I did make use of some techniques to soften the cloud layer and remove noise that was more noticeable at the enlarged size."


The final product on the wall.
Click for an enlargement



The outdoor kitchen space, now lovely decorated with Karen's new mural.
Click for an enlargement


Karen continues:

"I also used some gradient techniques suggested by Dan to lighten and brighten parts of the image while keeping some of the darker tones for contrast. I also tried to add some vibrance and intensity to the yellows in the clouds and sky as suggested by Leon's version.

Geoff and Larry your suggestions about printing a large mockup helped me find and fix some fringing on one of the dock pilings that was not visible on the smaller scale. This also helped me wait until another dolphin breached the surface a little further over in the image and added some interest on the left (LOL). JRP and Gerold, thanks for pointing out the crooked horizon. I also used a brush with smoothing turned on at 100% to even out a few spots on some fins that were not as sharp as I might have liked at such high magnification.

The final version that I used for the backsplash is attached as are a couple of shots at 100% crop. It was installed today using a clear grout which reflects some of the color in the tile around it, helping it to blend pretty well with the picture. In what has been wonderful about this process is that thanks to all of you, I also see so many other ways that this image can be processed for different purposes in the future.

Thanks so much!"

The complete discussion of Karen's mural, together with more images are in the Digital Artistry forum.

(9 Votes )

Originally written on September 11, 2018

Last updated on September 11, 2018


Ed Valeau (Edward1) on October 13, 2018

I am looking for a printing company that can create and ship calendars on demand. Can you help me?

Karen Gottschall (scenicshutterbug) on September 12, 2018

Winner of the Best of Nikonians Annual Photo Contest 2023

Gary, Marsha, and Dave, Apologies for the delay in responding. I have been traveling for a few days and was out of touch until today. Thank you for your comments. It was a fun and somewhat challenging project to work on and the input from other Nikonians was very helpful in creating the final project. The comments from those who have seen the finished product first hand have had favorable comments and that has been very gratifying. I've been asked to do another mural for the area over a fireplace mantel. Gary, we do sometimes get some large pods of dolphins in the area. It is not unusual for us to see groups of 4 or 5 together. I did combine three shots for the final image, so I can't guarantee that each fin was from a different animal, but they all appear somewhat different in shape to me, so perhaps they are. Karen

Gary Harvey (pocketchange) on September 12, 2018

Just thru my hat into this mix, instead of lurking for way longer than I care to admit. Karen; As a Florida boy having lived on a saltwater bay for most of my life, the only thing I will comment on, is the number of fins. Rarely have I seen more than a pair of Dolphins at any one time.. and they were there only due to being confused. Other than this one item, I am overwhelmed by your project.. it is GREAT. pc

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on September 11, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.  Awarded for winning in The Best of Nikonians 2019 Photo Contest Donor Ribbon awarded for the contribution to the 2016 campaign Donor Ribbon awarded for the generous contribution to the 2020 campaign

Karen, So fascinating reading and seeing the process and beautiful image used in this stunning project. Quite a detailed and technical process. Congratulations it will be a point of interest, conversation, and beauty for years to come.

David Summers (dm1dave) on September 11, 2018

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

That is really neat. Thank you for sharing, Karen!