Videos > Vector Artwork vs. Bitmap Images for T-Shirt Printing by PSI Online

Vector Artwork vs. Bitmap Images for T-Shirt Printing by PSI Online

One of the most important aspects of t-shirt printing is getting the artwork into a format which will translate into a good, high quality print. It doesn't do any good to have a terrific design if the actual screen printing of the image comes out poorly. The first step to creating artwork which will print well is knowing the format in which to create your file. Recently I came across a really good video on PSIonline about vector based versus bitmap based artwork.

Vector and Bitmap artwork are the two major types of formats for printing with Adobe Illustrator being the industry standard for Vector based artwork and Adobe Photoshop being the industry standard for Bitmap based artwork. As Joe from psi points out it is possible to do some work with bitmap images in Illustrator and some work with Vector images in Photoshop, but it is definitely preferable to stick to their preferred programs. So which format do you need to use for your task? As Joe explains in the video that depends on what you need to do with your artwork. Each format has different strengths and weaknesses and it's important to choose appropriately.

Vector based artwork has the benefit of being able to be resized at will without any loss of quality. No matter how big or small the image is resized to the lines remain crisp and clean. Conversely Bitmap based artwork will lose a lot of that quality if it is resized and the lines will become jagged and blurry. Color separation, an essential step for screen printing, is also much easier in Illustrator than it is in Photoshop.

On the other hand, there are times when it will be necessary to work with a bitmap image, and to thus use Photoshop. As the name implies, Photoshop is frequently used for photographs, and other images with color gradients, and any time you need to work with a file that is of those types it will be necessary to edit them in Photoshop in a bitmap based format for printing.

Armed with this knowledge it will now be easy to get the best quality print from your artwork. In the video, Joe also points viewers toward free alternatives to Illustrator and Photoshop, so if you can't afford the software or aren't ready to make the investment be sure to pay attention to these alternatives.