Using the t-shirt template file to get an image that is 'cut out' from the background.

Cnote1394# recently asked me how I get the t-shirt designs ‘cut out’ with no block of colour in the background. …

When you open the template file you see a note in the middle surrounded by grey & white squares – those squares show you where the image is transparent and you need the parts you do not want to print on the t-shirt to be transparent in the final .png image.

So here we go: I will pretend that it is Photoshop we are talking about, but at this level, most commands and stages will work the same way in GIMP or another similar program.

with the background layer selected. select the whole canvas
(mac =comand+A, PC = control+A … this is nearly always the same in every program)
then clear the lot, delete it or cut it
(mac =command+C, pc = control+C … this is nearly always the same in every program)
This leaves you with a transparent background with just the gray & white squares showing.

then, to be sure that you keep that base layer transparent… make a new layer and delete the old one (sometimes the base layer is locked which prevents it from being transparent… you can just unlock it too.

open the file that your art is in (photograph, scan, digital image .. etc) and copy and paste the parts you want into photoshop/GIMP. If you paste a vector file, paste it as pixels to save confusion later (the other options are useful to learn about though).

now, Photoshop always pastes into a new layer – but I can’t remember what GIMP and any others do, though it shouldn’t really matter unless you are pasting in more than one thing. If you are and the software does not automatically paste into a new layer… then make a new layer before pasting each new part in.

What you want to do now it start getting rid of the parts of the image you don’t want to have print onto the shirt. there are several ways of doing this:

you can use the eraser to simply rub out the bits you don’t want – remember that the eraser can change sizes to get into small corners and can be either soft edged or hard edged.

You can use the ‘magic wand’ tool to select areas of colour to cut/delete

You can use the area selection tools (square, lasso, magnetic lasso) select areas to cut/delete

Or You can use a layer mask to hide the parts you don’t want to see (using this means that it is easy to undo a mistake because the whole original image is still there, just hidden. – to do this, select the layer that needs parts hiding, then go to the menus: (in photoshop: Layer – Layer mask – Reveal all). you can then use the paint brush with black paint on it to hide the bits you don’t want to see – and white paint to bring them back if you make a mistake. – be sure that you have the mask symbol in the layers pallet selected when painting on the mask, or you will find yourself painting on your artwork itself – have done it often! – easy to reverse: just edit – undo, edit – undo etc etc. or step back through the history pallet.

It can be fiddly and time consuming .. but eventually you will have your work cut out and the transparent (gray & white squares) showing through.

Don’t flatten the image – you loose the transparency.
Merging the visible layers and removing the hidden ones is a good idea tho. (don’t forget to save before you do this so that you can go back to the layered version later if you want to )

Then save the file as (menu – File – Save as) a PNG file type and upload to Redbubble.

I have not really written tutorials much before, so I hope this was useful and not too basic or too confusing….

Happy t-shirt creating.

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