You can use Photoshop, but there’s a couple reasons we prefer vector art instead of a pixel-based image.
This is unlike pixel-based graphics (like.jpeg or image files), which are made using tiny squares of color. embroidery columbia sc With plot printing, vector art is a must, as the design is cut from a colored foil and heat pressed into the fabric. This technique gives the shirt more vivid, crisp colors and also offers a more durable design, especially with small details.
This tutorial will show you how to create color separations in Adobe Illustrator from complex art quickly and easily. This technique can be used to create screens for custom t-shirt printing without oversimplifying your art.
Your most cost effective printing method is probably going to be screen printing or possibly plot printing for super low quantities and one-offs, using one or two colors, but if you’ve ever tried to submit full coverage complex art to a screen printer you’ve probably had your art handed back to you to simplify it to a point that no longer achieves your goals. The typical set up for all over t-shirt printing requires one set of screens for each size t-shirt usually with a minimum order somewhere in the neighborhood of 72 pieces per size.
Add a temporary background color that matches the shirt color you will be using. This helps to eliminate any surprise white elements in your design and allows you to visualize the final product. Make sure you lock this background (? 2), so it won’t interfere with your alterations.
Grunge t-shirts with distressed, large graphics that cover a shirt are crazy popular right now. It’s hard to walk into any store, whether it’s a discount superstore or a high-end boutique, without seeing this style shirt on nearly every rack. There are plenty of DIY t-shirt fanatics looking to create custom t-shirts in this style and odds are you’ve had a hard time finding a t-shirt printing company that can help you.
Only solid colors can be used for the plot printing technique, so it’s important to change gradients to one color. To add a fourth color to the design, I incorporate the t-shirt color.
Delete the hard edge background and extra elements that aren’t needed in the final design. With plot print, avoid including any details that are smaller than 1.5 mm.
Continue deleting small details and changing colors until all you have are three colors (plus the background/t-shirt color).
Open your design and copy it into the new file if you already have artwork.
Now everyone wants to create custom t-shirts that resemble the wildly popular Affliction and Ed Hardy Brand t-shirt styles. For the average Joe this can get expensive and even though “Affliction style t-shirt” printing requests are becoming very common, access to printers that can pull it off still aren’t. I have seen some dye-sublimation printers online that can do pretty nice all over t-shirt printing.
If you are screen printing, you can try and keep as much of this detail as you want, but with plot printing minimum size requirements, many elements may need to be increased in size or removed completely. My design will ultimately be 3 colors, I need to simplify what I have.
As mentioned above, all artwork for plot printing has a minimum size requirement of 1.5 mm, so with complex designs, you must expand the size of some elements. Click on an element that is too small or too skinny, then go to Object > Path > Offset Path and enter a number that will make your line art large enough. This expands your artwork in all directions, so keep that in mind (my grunge texture was pretty skinny, so I used.75 mm to make it work).
Step 2: Strip and Simplify your design.
Step 1: Create a New File
For the custom t-shirt designer I am using, they recommend my art be 11.8 by 11.8 inches. If you are working with a screen printer, ask what the screen size will be, so that you can set your file up to the exact size and maximize coverage.
Step 3: Expand Any Thin Line Art
NOTE: this step is not a requirement for screen printing – only plot printing.
Step 4: Create Separate Layers for Each Color.
This is a really important step. For screen printing, each individual color is printed separately (hence the term “color separations”) and applied to the shirt one at a time. The easiest way to create separate color layers is to follow these steps:
NOTE: Make sure your artwork does not contain any strokes, as they will interfere with the next step. Expand any strokes you have and unite them with the object if it does. (Object > Expand > Stroke and then in the Pathfinder palette, choose the “Unite” button.).
Move the navy object into its own sub folder.
Click on an object with the first color, navy blue is used in this example, and in the main menu hit Select > Same > Fill Color. With all the navy colored objects selected, go back to your Pathfinder palette and click the “Merge” button. This takes all the smaller pieces of the same color and converts them to one object.
Step 6: At Home Mods.
A bamboo or organic heather t-shirt may cost a little more but the end results will be more authentic. There are plenty of DIY tutorials for t-shirt modification, so get creative!
Copy your artwork into the Separations layer and then hide your original layer so it won’t interfere.
Create a new layer and name it “Separations.” Add three more layers INSIDE this new layer – one for each color – mine are aptly named “navy,” “orange” and “yellow.”.
The result is a puzzle effect, with no objects overlapping. All pieces take on the attributes of the object that was originally on top – in this example, the navy pants are on top of the background elements, so where they intersected, those pieces are now all navy.
Continue the above steps with the other two colors – yellow and orange – then delete any of the remaining extraneous objects. (This includes the temporary background and t-shirt colored elements.
Step 5: Save!
You can now delete all extra layers you may have (such as the original layer with the unmerged artwork) and then save your file as a.eps file. The three sub-layers serve as separations for your design and will help ensure your custom t-shirt printer can print your art onto an awesome shirt!
Add a temporary background color that matches the shirt color you will be using. Only solid colors can be used for the plot printing technique, so it’s important to change gradients to one color. To add a fourth color to the design, I incorporate the t-shirt color. For screen printing, each individual color is printed separately (hence the term “color separations”) and applied to the shirt one at a time. Click on an object with the first color, navy blue is used in this example, and in the main menu hit Select > Same > Fill Color.