Direct to Garment (DTG) Artwork File Preparation for T-Shirt Printing

Level Press Transcript of the Tutorial Video:

Today we’re going to be showing you how to prep artwork for DTG printing.

DTG that’s direct-to-garment, basically like an inkjet printer for t-shirts, we use a lot for photographic images like the one we’ve got here. Now, to start off we’re going to make sure we’re in the right color mode, just go up to the top, select image mode, RGB color amd we’ve got that set so that’s good.

Now you want to be an RGB mode because it’s a little bit easier to work in, you can choose more colors, there’s a lot of the filters and effects just work in RGB and sometimes they don’t work in CMYK that way.

To get the image prepped we’re gonna go to image make sure it’s the right size, ten inches that seems about perfect, but maybe we’re doing these on smaller shirts, maybe we’re doing on tank tops, why don’t we just take it down to 9.5” just to show you how to do it. You can just type it in there your resolution really between 200 and 300 is what you want. This is at 300 so that’s perfect.

I’m going to click OK shrinks it down just a little bit now if you need to make any adjustments go up to image adjustments you can choose your levels your saturation your vibrancy anything along those lines that’s going to change the way the image appears so just get those out of the way edit the image however you need and then once it looks good we can go to the final step that’s going to adjustments then we’re going to go to levels let’s see we’ve got the preset at default that’s good the channel is RGB and that’s the color mode working in so that’s great the only thing we’re going to change is right here we’re going to take it down to 254 and then on the output levels 255 becomes 254 click OK and that’s it.

You’ve got a print ready image. I would recommend saving this as a PNG, because the files are usually smaller, and our printer works very well with them.

Spot Color Preparation for T-Shirt Printing Graphics

Level Press Transcript of the Tutorial Video:

Today we’re going to be teaching you about Spot Colors and Pantone Colors

We’re going to be using Spot Colors here just to get our artwork set-up and so there’s absolutely no confusion about what color ink you want printed on your design.

We already have our vector artwork, this is the file from the vector artwork tutorial earlier so you can use that for practice if you’d like, I’m going up here to Outlines to show you that it is outlined, and it is a vector file so we can edit it, we can change colors, we can change sizes, anything good like that.

When we go over to Swatches here it’s set to black, just the default black CMYK spot color and that’s not what we want, so we’re gonna go down here to this little library click on that, go to Color Books and you see all the Pantones listed here. There’s quite a few but just to keep it simple we usually go with Pantone Plus Solid Coated or Uncoated. You can use either one depending on what kind of ink you’re using (Plastisol or Waterbased), and what kind of look you’re looking for.

You can use this little search bar at the top to type in the numbers if you know them, you can also look around, or type in colors and sometimes they come up. Like, we’ve got “black: typed in here and it shows several different black option. We’re gonna do these in a nice pink 807, see that looks pretty cool, and these are all spot colors – you can tell by the corner at the bottom right corner, it shows that white triangle with a little black circle in it. We know that we’re using spot colors because when I go to print and output it shows the Pantone I’ve selected, down here at the bottom, you can see that it shows that we’ve picked the Pantone, all the artwork is set up that way and it’s going to be printed that way. So, pretty simple, have fun, pick out whichever color you’d like and if you’ve got any questions, just leave them in the comments. Thanks so much.

Create Vector Artwork from Rasterized Images for T-Shirt Printing Graphics

Level Press Transcript of the Tutorial Video:

In today’s tutorial we’re gonna be showing you how to take rasterized artwork usually a jpg or photo something along those lines, it could be a PNG or it could be anything and we’re gonna turn it into vectorized artwork.

Vector artwork is what we prefer here because you can scale it and it doesn’t lose any loss of quality, and you can easily edit it. So I’m placing the image in here right now, it’s just a PNG file, a typical raster file, and I’m getting it centered on the artboard, you can use that with the Align tool, now the first thing I’m going to do now that I have the artwork placed, is Copy it drag it over here you can do that with Control C and Control V, or you can go up to your edit menu. Now, I just click on the original, I’m gonna go to the top here for this little pulldown menu which shows the image trace options for live trace and I’m choosing black and white because this is a black and white image. Once I do that it’s going to go ahead and trace it you’ll see a little dialog box come up and then I click on expand and you can see the full vector outlines.

I go into outline mode here just to make sure that it worked and you get to see the outline the frame of the vectors compared to the rasterized work next to it.

Now, since we have our vectorized artwork with one color, we can change it really easy just by clicking on the swatches over here – if you are having any trouble editing your image maybe that’s a problem maybe it was a rasterized image and you just need to do this to trace it to vector.  You’ll be able to make it really tiny, like let’s say you’re making business cards or make it really big like you’re making a billboard and it’s going to keep that same level of image quality nice clean vectorized lines so you won’t have any pixels, you won’t have any frayed edges, or anything blurring – it’s just going to be a solid block of color. It’s one of the artwork formats we prefer here at Level Press, just vectorized artwork in a PDF, AI, or EPS, and it’s pretty easy to do if you have a simple image.


How to Outline Fonts in Illustrator for T-Shirt Printing Graphics

Level Press Transcript of the Tutorial Video:

Today we’re going to be showing you how to outline type. This is a good lesson to know because if you’re using a font that we don’t have downloaded on our computers, it might not show up right when we open up the artwork file.

So I’m going to show you here’s we’re just going to type out you know some basic lettering we’re using a sign painter font that we downloaded from You might go to a similar place, but if we send this to somebody and they don’t have that same font downloaded it’s not going to show up right. I’m going into outline mode here to show you that the font is not outlined, and it’s something that we can still edit and type with, and this looks good so we’re going to go with it.

I’m copying it just to show you the difference between the two, you’re going to center these here on the artboard, I’m clicking on the type in that text box and I go up to Type and then Create Outlines and that’s pretty much it. I’ll go to Outline again up here just to show you can see the lines around the lettering that shows it’s been outlined correctly, this one at the bottom still has the lines underneath the lettering so you can do some edits if you need to.

That’s pretty much it, if you’re going to send a artwork file with a font in it just make sure you outline all the lettering before we get it. Thanks so much, and if you have any questions just leave them in the comments.