One of the most important factors in producing great looking embroidery or printed apparel is having good quality artwork for us to initially work from. Clean artwork will save time and money on your order, since extra charges for redrawing it will be reduced or eliminated.
Digital artwork is categorized into two kinds; bitmap and vector based image files. If created correctly, both kinds can be easy for us to use, but are unique from each other, with their own positive and negative aspects.
Bitmap images are made up of individual pixels (dots) arranged in a grid. Pixel stands for picture element, and refers to a tiny bit of color that can combine with others to create a larger picture. Most computer monitors can display around 70 to 100 dots per inch, while our digital garment printer can print up to 300 dots per inch. Bitmap files are best for photo-realistic images or designs that have complex colors.
We prefer bitmap images be provided in a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch, at the same size you would like to be printed. When an image of a lower resolution is enlarged to 300 dpi, its edges will appear jagged and blurry.
Digital photographs, images from desktop scanners, and Photoshop files are examples of bitmap images. File names usually consist of extensions such as .JPG, .GIF, .TIF, .PSD, .PNG, or .BMP.
Web graphics, including JPG and GIF files, are always low-resolution bitmaps. They look great on lower resotuion monitors but will immediately lose their sharpness when printed.
Vector images are inherently different from bitmap images, because they are not defined by pixels but by math. Instead of the computer reading a list of colored dots arranged in an order, it sees nodes, which form lines and curves that create shapes (vectors). Vector images can be resized infinitely and their clarity will remain the same. The most common vector image you come in contact with every day, is type. The type you are reading on the screen right now is vector based. You can scale it up and down as much as you want, and you'll never see a single pixel.
The two major pieces of software used to create vector artwork are Adobe Ilustrator and Corel Draw. File names usually consist of extensions such as .EPS, .AI, or .CDR
Keep in mind that vector designs are always created manually by a designer or automatically with a specialized tracing program. A bitmap image imported into a vector art program such as Adobe Illustrator does not immediately reclassify it as a vector file. Vector art is the easiest for us to work with and almost always will produce the best looking finished results.
Bitmap at 2.5" wide, 72 dots per inch
Clarity is determined by the level of resolution
Can be resized infinitely with no loss of clarity
Shapes are determined by nodes that form lines and curves