How should I prepare my design for upload?
Since computer screens produce colors differently than printers, correctly preparing your file is mandatory for getting good results. So, before uploading your file for digital print on fabrics you should make a few tweaks favorite image editor. For start, there are three types of image files that you can upload at Caspar Design: JPG, PDF and TIFF.
What is JPG and how to prepare it for upload?
JPEG or JPG is the most common raster image file type and is usually used for photographs. Because of its popularity there is a lot of free-to-use, beautiful images in JPG that can be found online. Although most common, not only photographs are stored as JPGs. Scans, digital paintings or even vectors can be saved as JPG.
However, since JPEGs are raster image types, they lose quality and become pixelized if printed on fabric that is larger than their native resolution. To get your images on fabrics as beautiful and crisp as they appear on your screen, the size of uploaded image should never be smaller than 150 dpi. It shouldn’t be too large either so keep it under 40 mb. To check if you picture is big enough for the size you of your custom fabric read our guide: What is DPI and why it is important?
How to prepare PDF file for upload?
PDF is file type which purpose is to keep data the same across devices, programs and operating systems. It can contain both raster and vector images so it good for uploading files for print. Since images never natively appear in PDF format, you should manually convert it (save it) as PDF in you favorite image editing software. As well as with JPGs, before uploading raster images in PDF you should check that resolution of the file is at least 150 dpi but not larger than 40 mb.
How to prepare TIFF file for upload?
TIFF or TIF is print-ready image format. All images that you upload will eventually be converted to TIFF before printing. Benefit of saving as and uploading TIFF files is that you’ll see the most accurate representation of what your design will look on fabric. When saving your artwork as TIFF:
Resolution should be at least 150dpi,
Saved in sRGB color format,
with LZW compression and anti-aliasing should be set to “art optimized”.
Don’t forget to keep it under 40Mb for upload.
If you don’t know if your images are 150dpi you can follow guide at What is DPI and why should I care? and find out.
What is DPI and why it is important?
In order to get your artwork or photographs printed on fabrics, you should always check if the image is of high enough quality for the size of your fabric. Image resolution is pixel count expressed as vertical number of pixels times horizontal number of pixels. For example 1920x1080 is common resolution for computer screens.
When printing an image, above mentioned resolution is not enough to know if picture will look crisp or blurry because it depends on the size of the print. Where it comes to printers, they use a different expression of resolution – DPI or dots (pixels) per inch. We print in 150 dpi resolution which means that in one inch (2,54 cm) of fabric printer reproduces 150 dots, which are on display seen as pixels. For example if you have image with resolution of 2000px x 2000px at 150 dpi, maximal size of print on fabric could be 34cm x 34cm. If you want to print a photography for example on 1m x 1m at 150 dpi, resolution of your photo should be 5906px x 5906px which is approximately 35 megapixels. You can calculate the size of the print in inches if you divide your resolution in pixels with number of dpi (150 in this case) or you can just use one of many online calculators that would do that for you. If you want to upload an illustration or picture and repeat it to get a pattern, you can upload it in 150dpi and then reduce its size in the customizer until you are satisfied with result. To get good results when you’re ordering a custom print, always check the resolution of your image file.
That would be acceptable resolution if you want to print one photograph of that size over 1,5 m by 1,5 m fabric. If you don’t want to print photographs but repeated patterns, the size in pixels could be significantly smaller. For example if you want your illustration to be printed in 10cm x 10 cm square repeated across 1,5m by 1,5m fabric, size of initial illustration could be as small as 600x600 and would still keep spatial resolution of 150 dots per inch.
Vector type files produce images in a different way. While raster images produce picture with millions of tiny dots with different colors, vector images are produced by defining coordinates that are then connected with lines or curves. When magnified, vector images do not loose their resolution. Vectors are commonly used for illustrations, logos and text to be easily applied across different sizes of printed material. Vector images can be produces in Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape among others.