Tutor Tanith

Create T-shirt Design From a Photo

These instructions were written using Adobe Photoshop CS2 but they are similar enough to earlier versions (at least back to 5.5) that you should be able to follow them. If you don't have Photoshop they should still give you a general idea of the process. The dimensions given are in pixels to help you get the right image size.

One of the challenges of designing T-shirts that incorporate photos is avoding the "square slapped on a t-shirt" look. Just because you are allowed a certain image area does not mean you have to use every bit of it. A variety of techniques can be used to give the image more interesting boundaries. In this one the image will be cropped to an oval shape with a feathered boundary.

  1. Open Photoshop.
  2. Click File then Open.
  3. Navigate to your original photo then click to open.
  4. The first step is to create a new file so you can preserve the original untouched.
  5. Click on the right pointing arrow of the layers panel to open the Layers flyout (or click Layer in the menu bar). Select Duplicate Layer.
  6. Click in the Document box under Destination. Select New.
  7. Give the New file a name.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Next convert the background to a layer. Put your cursor on the word "Background" in the Layers panel, then right click. Select Layer from Background.
  10. Name the layer.
  11. Now you are ready to create the oval. Click on the arrow in the corner of the Marquee tool to select the Elliptical Marquee from the tools panel.
  12. Put the cursor somewhere in the upper left corner, inside the image, hold the left mouse button down, and drag down toward the lower right corner. Leave some room at the edges for the feathering.

    If you want to start over you can clear the selection by holding the Control key and pressing D (Ctrl+d) or go to the Select menu and pick Deselect.
  13. From the Select menu pick Feather.
  14. Set your feathering distance. Feathering is a fade out from the image. You can also use a hard edge (just skip the feathering step). Experiment with how much fade you want.

    For dark apparel, or where a white underlayer is put down you will want to skip the feathering or you will get a white halo from the underlayer (See designing for dark apparel).
  15. From the Select menu pick Inverse
  16. Press Delete to delete the image outside of the Marquee. Now you have an image that is partly transparent.
  17. Now to crop it a little more closely. Invert the selection again.
  18. Contract the selection just a bit. From the Select menu choose Modify, then Contract. (You can skip this step, it just cleans up the edges a bit).
  19. Don't Contract much or you will lose your feathering.

  20. From the image menu select Crop.
  21. When you are done first save the file in its "native" format, .psd. That way you can still edit it later. So Click on File, then Save and give it a file name.
  22. When you are done saving the master copy you will create the file for upload. Click on Layer.
  23. Select Merge Visible.
  24. Click on File, then SaveAs.
  25. For the file type choose PNG.




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