Friday, June 25, 2010

Poster Virgin...

Things have been crazy here.  Beyond crazy.  Downright chaotic.  Between the wedding (and all the various drama that goes along with standing up as a bridesmaid), the following nearly week-long intercontinental pow-wow with our collaborators here at post-doc university and getting the visiting professor/research scientist up to speed on my project and what he will be doing this summer-I have had little time to breathe, let alone blog.

I finished the initial drafting of the PPT slides for Big Boss Man's upcoming talk at the conference we are going to go to in July and decided to start working on my poster. 

That is when it hit me.  In all of my academic career, I have never, ever had to make a poster.  Ever.  Including undergrad- that's nearly  13 years of advanced education.  I am a poster virgin.

Not that I have never attended a conference before- but I have always opted to give a short talk instead of laboring over the intricacies of PhotoShop and Illustrator (and by now I am a PowerPoint whiz-not that it is that difficult to master).  I like giving talks.  I enjoy standing in front of a crowd and putting my "Dr. Zeek. Woman of Science-" hat on.  Could be that all those years in theater and drama in high school have finally paid off, because not only do I love to give talks, but I am fairly good at it as well.

But today, I must embark on a new adventure, expand my horizons, explore uncharted territory, fumble through vector-based vs. bitmap-based drawings and figures and schemes, much like the kid in the backseat trying to clumsily unhook a bra for the first time. Hopefully, I can avoid all the pitfalls that seem to plague the n00b posters.

May the PhotoShop gods smile kindly on me and, as always, any advice, tips and truly horrific stories are always welcomed.


Venkat said...

haha...there's always a first time eh?! I am by no means a pro, but this is what I do:
I think it's best to make the poster, i.e., assemble the components, in illustrator. I find programs like Origin or IgorPro to be best for plots, although one may get away with Excel at times. I typically convert different program outputs to EPS and then open with illustrator. Although it's not the only way, this works for me. Finally, I convert the poster to PDF and check everything before I print. Good luck!

Beaker Half Full said...

This is probably too late for you current poster but I wanted to tell you about this company I used for poster printing called I too was a poster virgin until about a month ago and so I was looking for something I could use that would be light on my budget and they did a really great job. Their MAC-to-PC conversion caused a little headache at the start but the end product was good and I'll use them again.

I actually assembled my whole poster in powerpoint by taking my illustrator/pdf figures and pasting them into a large ppt file that becomes the whole poster. I just set the dimensions of the ppt slide to half the final so that I could print the final at 200% and all would be cool. It worked out fantastically. I am also taking my poster to a conference soon so hopefully all the work will be worth it and people will stop by to chat.

Good luck with your poster showing and hopefully you'll get lots of visitors!

Dr. Zeek said...

Hey thanks for the advice!

I am finally getting the hang of illustrator and the poster is starting to look like a real poster. We leave two weeks from yesterday, so I still have some times to tweak the layout (oh, and finish the writing part--all I have now is a bunch of tables/figures but man does it look pretty). I tell you though, the nerves are starting to kick in...