Once you enter the world of Direct to Garment you will need a way to look at and edit the images you are going to print. Everyone has a personal preference on the program they like to use. Many people use Corel Draw because they use it with an embroidery machine or a vinyl cutter. This program will work fine but it is a Vector program and most printers like Raster program files. So what is the difference you may ask?

Raster Images– A raster image is created by lots of tiny pixels or squares of color. So when you hear DPI or Dots Per Inch that’s how ever many pixels are in that image per square inch. The higher the DPI the better the quality of that image and lower the less quality. That is why lots of pictures from the internet print so poorly, they are generally 72 DPI and small in size, when you make them bigger they look blocky and pixelated because there are not enough pixels to hold the image together when enlarged. If you have a 300 DPI image that is around the same size you are going to print it you will get a great print.

Vector Images– Vector images are generally made in Corel Draw or Illustrator. A vector image uses math to create lines, curves and points. This is why these file types are popular with embroidery and cutting machines, the vector file creates a path for them to follow. The great thing about vector files is they can be scaled to any size with no loss of quality. The bad thing is they will not have the detail and the blend of color you can get from a raster file because it does not use pixels.

Most RIP programs that come with printers only use raster files. This is because an image is being printed and to get the best result dots must be used. Also the printer prints dots of ink so it is very native to a raster file. So to get full blends of color and fine detail a raster must be used.

PhotoShop being a raster program is a really good fit for direct to garment for many reasons. A very important feature being the removal of backgrounds for dark garments. If your customer sends you a JPEG image of a logo they want printed on a black shirt you will need to remove the white background in the image. All JPEG files have a white background so if it was printed you would get a big white square with the image inside of it. It is very easy to remove the background in PhotoShop and create a transparent background. Doing any kind of editing to an image can be also done like changing colors and adding text or more to the design. I use it a lot to open a file that is going to be printed to also get a good idea of its size and DPI before I print it. No matter what you are going to need a program like this to help you get the best prints and also offer your customers more service.