Custom T-Shirt Printing
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What Is A Pixel?

Last blog, we talked about the importance of pixels, and the use of high resolution pictures for printing. For those of us who are asking “Well what is a pixel anyway?” it means “picture element”, which is a literal description of what goes together to make a picture. Every picture is made up of tiny square blocks of colour, which go together to make up the whole….invisible to the naked eye, until you zoom into the picture and look up really close. The more pixels that are packed into a picture, the clearer the picture will be.

If you look at a picture which has a very low count of pixels, you will see the block structures more clearly, and the picture will be blurred and distorted. The edges become very jagged, which makes it impossible to print a nice clear image onto a T-shirt. Below is a sample of the colour blocks of pixels up close:

Pixels Up Close

From looking at this arrangement of colour blocks, it’s impossible to imaging that when zoomed out, it’s actually a picture. Underneath we have a sample of a picture that has been redrawn in Illustrator for a customer’s t-shirt, which is now so packed with pixels, it could be printed onto virtually anything!

Hi Resolution Cartoon Character

Poor resolution affects every aspect of the picture..especially text. Often we receive artwork to print which has text included. Sometimes the actual photograph can be touched up in Photoshop enough to be printed onto a shirt, but the text is another story. Blocky, pixelated text will either need to be redrawn, or replaced in the relevant font. The problem with retyping the text, is often the difficulty in finding some obscure font that has been used, and is not on our system. Unless the customer knows the name of the font, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. If the picture has been taken from a website, then it will be impossible to know the font name. Trolling through thousands of fonts in an internet font library is time consuming, and often non-productive.

Another result of pixelation we mentioned, is that all around the edge of the artwork will be jagged. Sometimes, if the picture is basically printable, we can draw a line right around the artwork to straighten out that jagged pixel line. Adobe Illustrator has a “pen” tool which is used to draw a vector line around the image, which turns the edge into a very high quality product, packed with pixels, and also preventing colour inside the picture from “bleeding” outside the print zone. Here is an example of this method:

Outlined Text And Images

Here is the artwork displayed on a sample proof T-Shirt:

Sample of Vector-Outlined Picture

Here is what problem-text looks like when it’s presented to us:

Pixel-Distorted Text

As you can see, it’s not a pretty sight. We at Customyourshirt always endeavour to deliver quality printing, on good quality shirts to our customers, but we can only work with what you send us. Now with more and more people buying high-megapixel digital cameras, more of us are learning the importance of high resolution. Those photographs that we view down at the local Camera Club exhibition, or art gallery have been shot with the highest possible pixel count, and then usually enhanced even more later in a photo editing program. If a photographer takes a picture that doesn’t make the grade, he simply deletes it, as he knows it’s not worth the time and effort to make a passable picture out of a dud!

So keep snapping those photographs customers, and creating those amazing artworks, and send them in to us for printing and advertising your products on our wide range of t-shirts and other products, and always keep your pixel quality in mind.