How-to make a great t-shirt (Part 1)
Welcome to the ‘How-to make a great t-shirt’ guide. This guide covers many of the design related questions we get asked regularly.
This guide (Part 1) will cover the following questions:
Part 2 covers:
How do I create horizontal/landscape oriented images?
Where can I position my design on the shirt?
How do I check where my design is positioned?
What are vector graphics and raster graphics?
Can I use gradients and halftones in my design?
How will my design print?
What graphics software do I need?
Other popular graphics programs which support the PNG format include Photoshop Elements, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Photo-Paint, Pixelmator, Inkscape (another free one), Paint Shop Pro, Pixel image editor, Paint.NET and Xara.
What is a PNG File?
We ask for t-shirt designs to be uploaded as 8-bit PNG files. This is because PNG files are the smallest file size you can use with transparency (i.e. – your transparent background), and results in quicker, easier uploads.
PNG files can only accommodate RGB colours, however our printers print your tees in CMYK. The best way to get the most out of your design is to create the image in CMYK and convert it to RGB just before you save your document. Depending on what graphics software you are using, this should be easy to change. Photoshop you will find these settings under image > mode. In Gimp you will use File > Export To. If you would like some more technical information about PNG files there’s a good guide here.
How to use the t-shirt template / How to make a transparent background
Open the t-shirt template. You can either download the Redbubble t-shirt template or create a new document. If using the template, you just need to right click on the link and choose ‘save file as’. If creating a new document, it needs to be 3200 (height) x 2400 (width) pixels in size, 8-bit, with a transparent background in RGB format. We recommend using Photoshop or Gimp (which is available as a free download). This is what your settings should look like in both programs if you are creating your own document:
Delete the explanatory message. If you have used our template, YOU MUST DELETE THE EXPLANATORY IMAGE otherwise it will appear on your print. There are many ways to do this but the easiest is generally ‘Select All’ (usually ctrl-a or apple-a) and then ‘delete’.
Tips on preparing your artwork
Once your template document is ready, you can paste, drag or place your artwork into the template or just start to create your design from scratch.
Placing an existing image or an image from another software program
You can often copy and paste images between programs. This will depend on whether the two different software programs are compatible. If you are unable to paste your image this way, you may need to save it and import it into the existing template. It is usually much easier to work this way than to take an existing image and try and apply the properties of the template to the document.
To import an existing image into your template in Gimp, select File > Open as Layers. To do the same in Photoshop, select File > Place.
It is very important you work with a transparent background. A transparent background looks like a grey and white checkered box. If you flatten the image or fill the whole background up with black or white it will be printed on your t-shirt.
Tip: If you are saving your document at any stage and you are asked to flatten layers, choose ignore.
How to remove background colour
This is a particularly handy thing to learn about if you are working with photos in your t-shirt design. There are a number of ways you can remove background colour in Gimp, Photoshop and other graphics software programs. This can take a bit of practice so you may need to have some patience. Here’s a couple of tutorials demonstrating tips for removing background colour. If these don’t suit what you’re trying to achieve, get on Google and Youtube and have a hunt around for others. There are lots of different tutorials out there.
Another option in Photoshop is to use the Select > Colour Range option if you want to remove all trace of one particular colour from an image.
Saving your file
Then all you have to do is save it as a PNG file which should appear in your drop down options on the saving dialogue box. If you do not see the PNG file option in your drop down options, check your settings under Image > Mode (in Photoshop and Gimp) to make sure you have the file set to RGB.
Uploading Your Design
- Sign in to your Redbubble account, and in your left hand menu
locate the ‘Portfolio’ heading and click 'Add New
- Click on Add Clothing & Stickers.
- Click on the Browse button and find your design.
- Give your design a title.
- Tell us a bit about your design in the description field.
- Add tags to the design so it's easy to find in the search.
- Choose the colours you'd like your design to be available
- Chose the default colour you'd like for your preview.
- Choose which style of tee you'd like to use for your
- Choose your markup.
- Choose whether you’d like your work to be public or
- Tick the Not Safe For Work box if applicable.
- Click on "Add this t-shirt to Redbubble" and wait for the magic