eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon

Last updated August 4, 2009
Note: Due to other work I have to do, I am unable to keep this gude as regularly updated as I'd like. Check through recent comments to this post for some info, and ask around in the derby threads for help - there are always people willing to lend a hand!


When submitting to the derby, the files required are the design detail and shirt comp. A third file, the high-resolution print-ready file, does not need to be submitted right away. However, if you happen to win, woot needs that file in order to print your design. Therefore, if you are serious about entering the derby, you need to be prepared to put together the print-ready file.

I'm not sure if I can be considered a derby veteran, but I've been printed twice and I do know my way around Photoshop. I'm posting this up as an aid to newbies. Hopefully others can read through it and offer their own experience to improve what I have here. Also, since I'm only experienced in Photoshop, parallel tips for Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape and other programs would be invaluable. Most information presented here will still be applicable no matter what program is being used. I use Photoshop CS3.

Before we begin, make sure you also check out these unofficial rules. The post hasn't been updated in some time, but most of it is still applicable. I may repeat some of that information here. In addition, you'll find tgentry's advice to be invaluable. He's most definitely a derby veteran, and an amazing artist to boot.

So... here we go.




Starting a Design

In order for us to print your shirt, we'll need you to provide a detailed 16"x20" 300 DPI file layered with each color on a separate layer in AI, PSD, SVG or PDF format. We will also accept a ZIP archive.



Woot will need a print-ready file, so it's a good idea to design at high resolution to begin with. This is especially true if you are working with raster graphics as opposed to vector graphics, since raster images lose detail and clarity when scaled. Note that Photoshop and GIMP are raster-based, whereas Illustrator and Inkscape are vector-based.

Start with a canvas that is 16"x20" at 300 dpi (that means 4800x6000 px). Keep it in RGB, since the shirt comp and design detail must be in RGB.

You may find designing at such a high resolution to be difficult. There isn't much that can be done about that. Some things you could try:

- do a rough copy of your design at a resolution you are comfortable with, or draw it on a sheet of paper first and scan it in. Resize it as appropriate and use your rough copy as a guide.

- work with vector graphics so that you can resize without loss of detail.

- practice. If you work at it enough, you'll get used to designing at high-res.

Note that the woot templates provided on the submission page include a bounding box on the shirt outline. The box encloses a 16"x20" area. Because of this, I've generally been creating my designs on the canvas with placement already in mind, but I don't know if it is necessary to take this into consideration. I've heard that 16"x20" is in fact a maximum size and that you should feel free to work within a smaller area. Just make sure that you don't design too small to match with your comp. It would be wise to err on the side of caution - if your print-ready is larger than you displayed in the comp, Woot can size it down with no problem. Sizing up in raster does not work very well at all.




Colours and Layers

Woot requires that each of the spot colours used are on a separate layer in the print-ready file. For this reason, you should avoid using more than one colour on each layer. Not only does this make the print-ready file easier to create, but it also allows you to experiment with colour choices more easily. In Photoshop, you can double-click a layer to bring up the "layer styles" palette. You can then use "Color Overlay" to change the colour of that entire layer. Layer masks are also helpful at times.

Although you should only have one colour per layer, feel free to use more than one layer per colour. Depending on the design, you may want to have certain elements of one colour be layered both above and below another element of a different colour. When composing the print-ready file, you will be able to gather all elements of the same colour onto one layer easily, simply by using layer selections.

Remember that you can only have six spot colours, plus the background (shirt) colour. If you plan on incorporating the shirt colour in the design itself, it would probably be beneficial to do this with a layer set to the shirt colour and placed above the other layers, rather than cutting parts out of the other layers. If you decide to change something, it will be easier to modify the layer on top than to correct all the layers from which you deleted.




Colours and Printing

When selecting colours, be very careful. Take into consideration the shirt colour, the size of the lines, and the design itself. Subtlety in colours is certainly cool, but it is easy to choose colours that are too subtle, such that they are nearly invisible on the shirt. Woot may even have to pick new colours for you.

Be especially wary of dark colours on dark shirts. Black, navy, brown, olive and asphalt can all be problematic. In general, thin dark lines will be very difficult to see on a dark shirt. Larger patches of solid colour can be more easily distinguished from the shirt. It can also help to outline the dark colour with a lighter colour. Problems we've had in the past include:

- black on brown. Specifically, small objects and thin lines can get lost in the brown background. Larger black areas can actually be quite visible, but care should be taken. Surprisingly, brown on black seems to work - just try not to choose too dark a brown ink.

- black on navy. Navy is ridiculously dark. Just look in the comment thread for any navy shirt Woot has sold - you'll have at least one person asking if it's really on black, because it looks black on many monitors.

- black on asphalt. In general, black works on asphalt. However, we know of at least one shirt where thin black lines on asphalt disappeared completely after only a couple of washes.

- dark green on olive. I personally encountered this issue on my own design. Looking at the comp, the dark green buildings in the background appear very visible. In print, however, they are almost impossible to see. The flames help to delineate the charred ruins, but I regret my colour choice. The olive shirt is surprisingly dark; I believe Woot has since updated their shirt template colours but always be careful - Woot's templates are often deceptively dark.

Try to avoid these situations. If you're unsure, it's probably better to be cautious and do what you can to make the colours more visible. If you are only using the dark colour for linework, consider removing it completely if you are using a dark shirt. Let the shirt colour show through for your lines. Doing so could free up an extra spot colour for you, or at the very least make the design less expensive for Woot to print.




Pantones
Woot recommends that you specify Pantone colours for your design. More specifically, you should use "Pantone Solid Coated" colour swatches. In Photoshop (and most other programs), the easiest method is to keep the swatches palette open with the appropriate set of swatches.

If you don't see the palette in your workspace, check "Swatches" in the Window menu. With the menu open, open the menu on the palette. You can do this by clicking the button with a downward pointing arrow head and three horizontal lines; it should be in the top right corner. Select "PANTONE solid coated" from the list of options. A prompt will appear asking you if you want to replace the current swatches with the swatches from "PANTONE solid coated.aco". Click "OK". Now you can select a new foreground colour by clicking on a swatch! Hovering over a swatch should bring up a tooltip with the colour name. If you are really impatient, double click to bring up the renaming dialog. Make sure you click cancel afterwards.

However, you don't have to design with pantones. If you do not specify them, Woot will choose them for you. The downside is that the colours that are used may not be what you had in mind. Some colours won't have a close Pantone match. Then again, Woot may change colours on you even when you do specify. Such a change could be due to a few reasons, e.g. if the colour you chose won't show up on the shirt colour, or if they just happen to be out of stock on certain inks.

If you have a non-Pantone design ready but want to select Pantones, there is a simple way to find a close approximation. Click on the foreground swatch to open the Colour Picker menu. Click on the colour that you wish to Pantone-ify. Now click the "Colour Libraries" button and select "PANTONE solid coated" from the Books drop-down list. The closest match to your colour should be selected.

Consider calibrating your monitor properly and getting a Pantone book. Colours on the screen inevitably look different from colours in print; calibration will minimize the discrepancy. I haven't had my monitor professionally calibrated, but by comparing on-screen colours with actual shirts in my possession, I've determined that my monitor is "good enough". I personally don't see a need to have perfect calibration. Even if you see things correctly, most voters probably won't. The same goes for a Pantone book. Sure, it would be nice to know what the colours will actually look like when printed, but it won't help that much for the actual derby. Besides, those books are actually pretty expensive.




Other Print Restrictions

Placement
Woot has done wrap-around placement in the past, but only for DAILY designs. If you are entering the derby, wrap-around is an automatic rejection. Belt prints are also a big no-no; Woot hasn't done a belt print for daily designs so they might not even have that capability. Many designers don't know this, but you can actually put designs on the BACK of the shirt. Howver, you cannot do double-sided printing - choose front or back, but not both.

Stock Vectors, Source Images, etc.
Use of stock material is acceptable by Woot as long as everything is legal. If you use such resources, make sure that it is ok for you to use them commercially. Read all licensing agreements and make sure you understand them! To a lesser extent, you should take the same care if you use any fonts; some downloadable fonts are NOT free for commercial use.

Keep in mind that the community prefers hand-drawn and hand-written work anyway. If you can draw it or write it, do so - don't be lazy. There is a stigma against using non-original work in your own. However legal your actions may be, you risk becoming a pariah if people discover that your work isn't entirely your own. On that note, if you do use stock vectors, public-domain images or the like, SAY SO. If you are up front about your sources, community members will be much nicer to you.

Specialty Inks
Woot has printed with glow and metallic inks, but only in daily designs. You cannot request specialty inks for your derby entry. Don't mention them at all on your comp or you may be rejected for misrepresentation. It is bad form to suggest that Woot might possibly use a specialty ink in hopes of influencing the voters.

Fine Details
If I remember correctly, the finest detail Woot can print is 1 point. On a 16"x20" canvas at 300 dpi, this translates to just over 4 pixels, so try not to use lines or points smaller than 5 pixels in width/diameter. Here's a more detailed explanation:

4Se7ens wrote:The breakdown is like this; A point is 1/72 of an inch, or, in other words, there are 72 points in an inch. Therefore the way they relate to pixels depends on how many pixels per inch the raster file contains. Woot demands that a PSD print-ready file is 300 dpi. To find out how many pixels are in a point for a 300 dpi file use the equation ppi(300)/pts per in(72) x #of points = #of pixels. A circle 5 pts in diameter would be about 21 pixels wide and a 9 pt circle would be 37.5 pixels wide. So the smaller ones in my design do still fall under the 30 px requirement... in the past we were always told that lines should be a minimum of 1-2 points



Keep in mind that finer details will fade more easily. Thin lines will disappear before a large patch of ink does.

Strangely, a design in the mystery derby was rejected because the lines were too fine to print. The strange part was that in the rejection notice, it stated that we need "at least a 20px brush on 300 DPI". So if you want to play it safe, stay above 20px!

Halftones
Woot "officially" discourages the use of halftones, but they are quite commonly used. Look at printed designs (and to a lesser extent, unrejected derby entries) to get a sense of how small you can make your halftones without making them unprintable. Don't use halftones gratuitously - try not to use them unless you need them.

Gradients
Woot can print gradients, but it is dangerous to use them in a derby entry. Woot will reject gradients that are "too complicated". I do not have an official definition of "complicated". Just know that virtually no gradient-utilizing designs have made it through the derby.




Shirt Comp and Design Detail

After you complete your high-res design, it's a simple task to size it down to create your shirt comp and design detail images. The shirt comp should be a 580x580 px jpg image and the design detail should be a 240x240 px jpg image. Note that dpi doesn't matter here, as that only affects size when printing.

For the shirt comp, you have a few options. You can use the official woot templates available here, or these old school "real shirt" comps. Courtesy of the wonderful James Cho, we now also have these wrinkly shirt comps. There are others out there; choose something that appeals to you.

WARNING: if using a "real shirt" template, be sure to compare the colour of these shirt images against Woot's official template colours. Entries have been rejected because the colour was off. If the comp doesn't look reasonably close, adjust the hue yourself or choose a different template!

WARNING 2: if using a heather grey blank, make sure the shirt template is actually heather-textured. This is an official requirement as of Derby #104. In previous Woot templates (the latest template may or may not be different), the Heather Gray option was represented by a swatch of light grey commonly used on other sites to represent a silver tee. Woot doesn't offer silver. If you are using Woot's official templates but you don't have the pattern, you can get it here. Just slip it behind the black lines and you're good to go.

Make sure that you do include an image of the shirt in your shirt comp. It is used by Woot to figure out where to print your design. Often (but not always), the most effective strategy is to put a small image of a shirt somewhere out of the way in the comp, utilizing the majority of the image real estate for a larger image of the design. If necessary, you can also link to or post a high-res image in the comments for your design. One of my pet peeves, however, is people who post giant images for a design with no fine detail whatsoever. I almost never have fine details in my own entries (I lack the skill!), so I almost never post high-res images.

Be wary of printing boundaries. I try to match mine up to the bounding box on the official template, even when I use a photo comp. The general guideline is to keep the design at least an inch away from the collar and any seams. Do your best to represent the size you desire on the shirt comp. It's impossible to be exact because Woot only uses 2-3 different screen sizes for shirts ranging from K4 up to 3XL. If I remember correctly, Woot considers the pictured shirt to be size M (Men's Medium). Women's and kid's sizes will generally use smaller screens.

Make sure that your shirt comp matches one of Woot's shirt template colours. Designs have been rejected for being just slightly off. Similarly, make sure that your shirt comp and design detail match. Discrepancies can get you rejected. Some discrepancies are acceptable as long as it doesn't misrepresent the design. Use common sense. And don't complain if Woot's common sense is different.

Avoid gradients in the background. While they can make the shirt comp more visually interesting, they can also lead to rejection. Recently, Woot seems to have relaxed their restrictions on such use of gradients. However, gradients in the design detail are almost always cause for rejection.

For the design detail, be careful to make it as interesting and visually appealing as possible. You may wish to show the whole design, or you may wish to crop the image and focus on certain specific details. Choose wisely, lest your design be passed over by the voters. Sometimes it is advantageous to show only a portion of your design in the detail image. As Barney of HIMYM once said, mystery leads to intrigue (paraphrased). Hiding the punchline to a joke shirt can heighten the sense of "ROFLMAO" in a voter, making a vote more likely. However, many voters also judge designs solely by the detail image, so hiding the joke is a risky tactic.

Text on detail images such as "vote!" or "click for larger" is generally accepted by Woot. In some circumstances, they may be cause for rejection. For example, if the text appears to be part of the design, it can be misleading and thus it can be rejected.




The Print-Ready File

As mentioned above, this file must be a 16"x20" 300 dpi file with each colour on a separate layer. Accepted file types are AI, PSD, SVG and PDF. ZIP archives are also accepted.

If the design was created on a canvas that already meets the specifications, all should be well. The only thing you should have to do is to compile the separate colour layers so that everything of one colour is on one layer.

I've been told that having layers overlap one another is acceptable. In cases where this isn't possible (such as when you have a layer sandwiched between two other layers of the same colour), you will need to delete a portion of the image on the upper layer where you want a colour on a lower layer to show through. I would do this with selections, though there are probably other methods to do this.




Other Programs

I'm not sure, but I think that layers are handled differently in Illustrator, and I know even less about GIMP and Inkscape. If anybody can give some insight on these programs, that would be great.




Useful Photoshop Shortcuts (and tricks)

This list is by no means complete, but I use these shortcuts all the time. These are for Windows; I believe Mac shortcuts are generally the same but with 'command' replacing 'control'.

fill layer/selection with foreground colour: alt+backspace
fill layer/selection with background colour: ctrl+backspace
hue/saturation dialogue box: ctrl+U

deselect: ctrl+D
merge selected layer down: ctrl+E
select all: ctrl+A
copy everything visible: ctrl+shift+C

Undo/Redo: ctrl+Z (note: there is a setting so that pressing ctrl+Z repeatedly will continue undoing actions, rather than undoing and redoing. However, the redo makes sense because, in essence, you are undoing the undo!)
Step Backward: ctrl+alt+Z (equivalent to repeated undo in other programs)
Step Forward: ctrl+shift+Z (equivalent to repeated redo in other programs)


manipulate selection based on layer: ctrl+(other keys)+click on layer
Specifically:
ctrl+click = make selection from layer
ctrl+shift+click = add to current selection
ctrl+alt+click = subtract from current selection
ctrl+shift+alt+click = intersect with current selection

These same "other keys" can be similarly used with the marquee tools to manipulate selections,
e.g. holding shift while using a marquee tool will add to the current selection.

jimiyo posted a nice video tutorial on cleaning up lines via work paths from selections. He has a few other video tutorials linked throughout this thread.


Here's a technique I commonly use for smoothing and rounding out shapes:

1. The shape should be black on a white background (or white on a black background). This must be on one layer.

2. Use a Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) on the layer. Higher radius values will result in a more rounded image at the end.

3. Use Levels (Image > Adjustments > Levels, or simply ctrl+L) to bring it back to black and white only. You should see three boxes beneath a histogram-ish image titled "Input Levels". The boxes will have the numbers 0, 1.00 and 255. Adjust the lower and upper numbers (you can use the sliders beneath the image and above the boxes) to get rid of the grey from the blur so that there is only black and white. You'll want to bring the lower and upper sliders as close together as possible. If the three sliders are positioned more to the right, black will be favoured. Tend to the left and white will dominate. If you want the shape to be about the same size as it was to begin with, have it near the middle. I generally use the numbers 126 and 128.

4. Select the shape. You can do this by selecting the colour of the shape using a colour range selection (Select > Color Range). If your shape is black, choose "Shadows" from the Select drop-down list. If your shape is white, select "Highlights."

5. Invert the selection (Select > Inverse or ctrl+shift+I) and delete. This will leave only your shape. Now you can modify the colour (via layer styles or hue/saturation, or using the shape to create a selection to fill on another layer) and use the shape in your design!

6. If you use the technique again, two shortcuts that are useful are:

ctrl+F to repeat the last filter used with the same settings (which should be gaussian blur at this point).
ctrl+alt+F to use the last filter, but with different settings.







I'm not sure what else I should mention in this post. I hope this will be helpful for people new to the derbies. I'd appreciate it if people could read through and correct my mistakes (both grammatical and technical) or offer suggestions - being human, I don't know if there's anything significant that I messed up or missed completely. Tips and information for programs other than Photoshop would also be highly appreciated. Thanks for any input or contributions!

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

WeezTheJuice


quality posts: 0 Private Messages WeezTheJuice

Thanks, I didn't know that the print ready file had to have each color on its own layer. Thanks for the heads up.

dmkooo


quality posts: 10 Private Messages dmkooo

WOW! You are a person of their word! Thank you for putting this together so quickly and efficiently!

My question is this: Does the print ready file need to have a transparent background?

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
dmkooo wrote:WOW! You are a person of their word! Thank you for putting this together so quickly and efficiently!

My question is this: Does the print ready file need to have a transparent background?



The specification given is simply that each spot colour be on a separate layer. I would assume that the background layer should be the shirt colour.

Each spot colour layer should be transparent except for where you want the colour to appear.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

ry4nsm1th


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ry4nsm1th
eHalcyon wrote:The specification given is simply that each spot colour be on a separate layer. I would assume that the background layer should be the shirt colour.

Each spot colour layer should be transparent except for where you want the colour to appear.



I would think that the background for the print ready file would need to be transparent since that would consist of only the stuff needed to be printed.

ansharp


quality posts: 1 Private Messages ansharp

This is helpful even for me, eHalcyon! I've been around for a little while now, but I'm still feeling my way around Photoshop. Some good suggestions here, thanks.

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
ry4nsm1th wrote:I would think that the background for the print ready file would need to be transparent since that would consist of only the stuff needed to be printed.



The reason they need each spot colour on a separate layer is because they'll be using each layer to create a separate screen for the printing. When they silkscreen the shirts, they have to lay down each colour separately. For that reason, it doesn't really matter what the background is. But having it as the shirt colour would allow the overall image to appear as the design should be and lets woot know what colour the shirt should be anyway (if they're too lazy to check your shirt comp ).

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

SaritaBeth


quality posts: 0 Private Messages SaritaBeth

*insert bowing down emoticon* this is awesome and so so helpful. exactly the information I was looking for. and you still were so patient with me in the other thread! *blush* My son is done with school on Tuesday. I have a feeling he is going to be fighting me for computer time as I will be busy trying out all this stuff! thanks again! you truly are very generous person. :D

oh, only one other question, not exactly related, but more computer related. this is my first computer with the dreaded vista in it, and I noticed when I tried to have the files at 16x20 with 300px resolution, everything slowed WAAAAY down. I couldn't even use the drawing tablet because the lag time was insane. even had a hard time at one point opening files period. I have a decent computer, I actually haven't had a problem with vista at all since I got it a few months ago until now. (color me surprised, no pun intented hahahaha) do you know what any of the processor/hardware recommendations are for running these programs with these types of files/resolutions?

and another Edgar gets printed:

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

http://cameesa.com/buy/design/168/fiction-vs-non-fiction

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
SaritaBeth wrote:*insert bowing down emoticon* this is awesome and so so helpful. exactly the information I was looking for. and you still were so patient with me in the other thread! *blush* My son is done with school on Tuesday. I have a feeling he is going to be fighting me for computer time as I will be busy trying out all this stuff! thanks again! you truly are very generous person. :D

oh, only one other question, not exactly related, but more computer related. this is my first computer with the dreaded vista in it, and I noticed when I tried to have the files at 16x20 with 300px resolution, everything slowed WAAAAY down. I couldn't even use the drawing tablet because the lag time was insane. even had a hard time at one point opening files period. I have a decent computer, I actually haven't had a problem with vista at all since I got it a few months ago until now. (color me surprised, no pun intented hahahaha) do you know what any of the processor/hardware recommendations are for running these programs with these types of files/resolutions?



I'm afraid I have no idea about that at all...

I think my computer is 3-4 years old (can't remember now!) but I haven't had too much of a problem with the high-res. I'm running on XP though.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

kristynk


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kristynk

thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

this is EXACTLY what I've been searching for for months..you're my new hero

eHalcyon wrote:When submitting to the derby, the files required are the design detail and shirt comp. A third file, the high-resolution print-ready file, does not need to be submitted right away. However, if you happen to win, woot needs that file in order to print your design. Therefore, if you are serious about entering the derby, you need to be prepared to put together the print-ready file.

I'm not a derby veteran and haven't won yet, but I do know my way around Photoshop. I'm posting this up as an aid to newbies. Hopefully the veterans can read through it and offer their own experience to improve what I have here. Also, since I'm only experienced in Photoshop, parallel tips for Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape and other programs would be invaluable. Most information presented here will still be applicable no matter what program is being used.

So... here we go.




Starting a Design



Woot will need a print-ready file, so it's a good idea to design at high resolution to begin with. This is especially true if you are working with raster graphics as opposed to vector graphics, since raster images lose detail and clarity when scaled. Note that Photoshop and GIMP are raster-based, whereas Illustrator and Inkscape are vector-based.

Start with a canvas that is 16"x20" at 300 dpi (that means 4800x6000 px). Keep it in RGB, since the shirt comp and design detail must bein RGB.

You may find designing at such a high resolution to be difficult. There isn't much that can be done about that. Some things you could try:

- do a rough copy of your design at a resolution you are comfortable with, or draw it on a sheet of paper first and scan it in. Resize it up to the larger size (or if scanned in, resize up or down as appropriate) and use your rough copy as a guide for the larger design.

- work with vector graphics so that you can resize without loss of detail.

- practice. If you work at it enough, you'll get used to designing at high-res.

Note that the woot templates provided on the submission page include a bounding box on the shirt outline. The box encloses a 16"x20" area. Because of this, I've generally been creating my designs on the canvas with placement already in mind, but I don't know if it is necessary to take this into consideration.




Colours and Layers

Woot requires that each of the spot colours used must be on a separate layer in the print-ready file. For this reason, you should avoid using more than one colour on each layer. Not only does this make the print-ready file easier to create, it also allows you to experiment with colour choices more easily. In Photoshop, you can double-click a layer to bring up the "layer styles" palette. You can then use "Color Overlay" to change the colour of that entire layer. Layer masks are also helpful at times.

Although you should only have one colour per layer, feel free to use more than one layer per colour. Depending on the design, you may want to have certain elements of one colour be layered both above and below another element of a different colour. When composing the print-ready file, you will be able to gather all elements of the same colour onto one layer easily, simply by using layer selections.

Remember that you can only have six spot colours, plus the background (shirt) colour. If you plan on incorporating the shirt colour in the design itself, it would probably be beneficial to do this with a layer set to the shirt colour and placed above the other layers, rather than cutting parts out of the other layers. If you decide to change something, it will be easier to modify the layer on top than to correct all the layers you deleted from.




Shirt Comp and Design Detail

After you complete your high-res design, it's a simple task to size it down to create your shirt comp and design detail images. The shirt comp should be a 600x600 px jpg image and he design detail should be a 240x240px jpg image. Note that dpi doesn't matter here, as that only affects size when printing.

For the shirt comp, you have a few options. You can use the official woot templates available here, or these popular "real shirt" comps. Courtesy of the wonderful James Cho, we now also have these wrinkly shirt comps.

For the design detail, be careful to make it as interesting and visually appealing as possible. You may wish to show the whole design, or you may wish to crop the image and focus on certain specific details. Choose wisely, lest your design be passed over by the voters.




The Print-Ready File

As mentioned above, this file must be a 16"x20" 300 dpi file with each colour on a separate layer. Accepted file types are AI, PSD, SVG and PDF. ZIP archives are also accepted.

Since the design was created on a canvas that already meets the specifications, all should be well. The only thing you should have to do is to compile the separate colour layers so that everything of one colour is on one layer.

I've been told that having layers overlap one another is acceptable. In cases where this isn't possible (such as when you have a layer sandwiched between two other layers of the same colour), you will need to delete a portion of the image on the upper layer where you want a colour on a lower layer to show through. I would do this with selections, though there are probably other methods to do this.




Other Programs

I'm not sure, but I think that layers are handled differently in Illustrator, and I know even less about GIMP and Inkscape. If anybody can give some insight on these programs, that would be great.




Useful Photoshop Shortcuts (and tricks)

This list is by no means complete, but I use these shortcuts all the time. These are for Windows; I believe Mac shortcuts are generally the same but with 'command' replacing 'control'.

fill layer/selection with foreground colour: alt+backspace
fill layer/selection with background colour: ctrl+backspace
hue/saturation dialogue box: ctrl+U

deselect: ctrl+D
merge selected layer down: ctrl+E
select all: ctrl+A
copy everything visible: ctrl+shift+C

Undo/Redo: ctrl+Z (note: there is a setting so that pressing ctrl+Z repeatedly will continue undoing actions, rather than undoing and redoing. The redo makes sense because, in essence, you are undoing the undo!)
Step Backward: ctrl+alt+Z (equivalent to repeated undo in other programs)
Step Forward: ctrl+shift+Z (equivalent to repeated redo in other programs)


manipulate selection based on layer: ctrl+(other keys)+click on layer
Specifically:
ctrl+click = make selection from layer
ctrl+shift+click = add to current selection
ctrl+alt+click = subtract from current selection
ctrl+shift+alt+click = intersect with current selection

These same "other keys" can be similarly used with the marquee tools to manipulate selections,
e.g. holding shift while using a marquee tool will add to the current selection.

jimiyo posted a nice video tutorial on cleaning up lines via work paths from selections. He has a few other video tutorials linked throughout this thread.


Here's a technique I commonly use for smoothing and rounding out shapes:

1. The shape should be black on a white background (or white on a black background). This must be on one layer.

2. Use a Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) on the layer. Higher radius values will result in a more rounded image at the end.

3. Use Levels (Image > Adjustments > Levels, or simply ctrl+L) to bring it back to black and white only. You should see three boxes beneath a histogram-ish image titled "Input Levels". The boxes will have the numbers 0, 1.00 and 255. Adjust the lower and upper numbers (you can use the sliders beneath the image and above the boxes) to get rid of the grey from the blur so that there is only black and white. You'll want to bring the lower and upper sliders as close together as possible. If the three sliders are positioned more to the right, black will be favoured. Tend to the left and white will dominate. If you want the shape to be about the same size as it was to begin with, have it near the middle. I generally use the numbers 126 and 128.

4. Select the shape. You can do this by selecting the colour of the shape using a colour range selection (Select > Color Range). If your shape is black, choose "Shadows" from the Select drop-down list. If your shape is white, select "Highlights."

5. Invert the selection (Select > Inverse or ctrl+shift+I) and delete. This will leave only your shape. Now you can modify the colour (via layer styles or hue/saturation, or using the shape to create a selection to fill on another layer) and use the shape in your design!

6. If you use the technique again, two shortcuts that are useful are:

ctrl+F to repeat the last filter used with the same settings (which should be gaussian blur at this point).
ctrl+alt+F to use the last filter, but with different settings.







I'm not sure what else I should mention in this post. I hope this will be helpful for people new to the derbies. Veterans, please read through and correct my mistakes or offer suggestions - I haven't been printed so I don't know if there's anything significant I messed up or missed completely. Tips and information for programs other than Photoshop would also be highly appreciated. If this post turns out to be as useful as I hope it will be, I'll try to add some photos as well. Thanks for any input or contributions!



I most recently rock out in Lust Is Like A Flame, but am almost always seen wearing Jimmy...Is That You?. In addition, I am the proud member of 26 total shirt.woots.

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon

This thread never took off, but it's been a while and there are a lot of new derby entrants now. I noticed that it was linked recently so I updated the thread based on technical developments (e.g. shirt comps are now 580x580 px) and experience gained (I wrote this before I was printed, and now I've been printed twice). I also added information that I somehow missed previously.

So yeah... hope this helps some people.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

imsochady


quality posts: 26 Private Messages imsochady

Here's a cool tip for your Illustratorerssss. It's better to output your files (shirt comp and design detail) using Photoshop! The output files from Illustrator looks either tinted or shaded from what the design colors ought to be. I've have the same color settings and profiles on both programs and Photoshop comes out the clear winner! Huzzah!

imsochady


quality posts: 26 Private Messages imsochady
SaritaBeth wrote:*insert bowing down emoticon* this is awesome and so so helpful. exactly the information I was looking for. and you still were so patient with me in the other thread! *blush* My son is done with school on Tuesday. I have a feeling he is going to be fighting me for computer time as I will be busy trying out all this stuff! thanks again! you truly are very generous person. :D

oh, only one other question, not exactly related, but more computer related. this is my first computer with the dreaded vista in it, and I noticed when I tried to have the files at 16x20 with 300px resolution, everything slowed WAAAAY down. I couldn't even use the drawing tablet because the lag time was insane. even had a hard time at one point opening files period. I have a decent computer, I actually haven't had a problem with vista at all since I got it a few months ago until now. (color me surprised, no pun intented hahahaha) do you know what any of the processor/hardware recommendations are for running these programs with these types of files/resolutions?



Hey, if you're using Photoshop CS4, try upgrading with the latest patch. I think the latest came out this Feb. This will solve the "laggyness."

Icemank91


quality posts: 4 Private Messages Icemank91
eHalcyon wrote:This thread never took off, but it's been a while and there are a lot of new derby entrants now. I noticed that it was linked recently so I updated the thread based on technical developments (e.g. shirt comps are now 580x580 px) and experience gained (I wrote this before I was printed, and now I've been printed twice). I also added information that I somehow missed previously.

So yeah... hope this helps some people.




I've had this favorited for months, and now a new version! You da man!

jewelwing


quality posts: 13 Private Messages jewelwing

This seems like a good place to ask this...

I always have a problem getting the shirt colors to look right - especially orange. It always turns red. I can open up woot's own template, do nothing to it, save it as a jpg and the color will magically change on the saved file. Anyone know what's up with that?

nrarmen


quality posts: 6 Private Messages nrarmen

This. Is. Beautiful. I wish I had this when I started trying to design shirts in January >_>

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
jewelwing wrote:This seems like a good place to ask this...

I always have a problem getting the shirt colors to look right - especially orange. It always turns red. I can open up woot's own template, do nothing to it, save it as a jpg and the color will magically change on the saved file. Anyone know what's up with that?



The only thing I can think of is RGB vs CMYK. Make sure all the settings are correct? I remember designing a brochure in the past and I did it all in RGB. It was beautiful. Then I realized that it needed to be CMYK to be printed; when I converted it everything looked dingy and terrible. I spent a lot of time tweaking all the parts of my design to make it work again. It was alright, but not nearly as awesome as in RGB.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
eHalcyon wrote:The only thing I can think of is RGB vs CMYK. Make sure all the settings are correct? I remember designing a brochure in the past and I did it all in RGB. It was beautiful. Then I realized that it needed to be CMYK to be printed; when I converted it everything looked dingy and terrible. I spent a lot of time tweaking all the parts of my design to make it work again. It was alright, but not nearly as awesome as in RGB.



You might need one of those Huey Pantone calibrators that woot sold!

imsochady


quality posts: 26 Private Messages imsochady
jewelwing wrote:This seems like a good place to ask this...

I always have a problem getting the shirt colors to look right - especially orange. It always turns red. I can open up woot's own template, do nothing to it, save it as a jpg and the color will magically change on the saved file. Anyone know what's up with that?



I think that's the way of the program telling you not to use orange ever again! Hahah, I joke. Actually, that happens to me using Illustrator. The orange becomes reddish on the saved .jpgs. Then I re-save the .jpgs using Photoshop and I finally see the true colors shining through!

jewelwing


quality posts: 13 Private Messages jewelwing
Josephus wrote:You might need one of those Huey Pantone calibrators that woot sold!



Agh! I BOUGHT one!!

eHalcyon wrote:The only thing I can think of is RGB vs CMYK. Make sure all the settings are correct?



It could be that. Outside of here I only do print work, so I do everything in CMYK. (Which btw, is another thing. In school they drilled it into my brain that everything that gets printed needs to be CMYK, so I'd assume that meant shirts too. Why do you say to use RGB on the printable file?) It's strange tho. The shirt comps are all RBG and I just convert the artwork and drag it on top. So maybe the design would look funky but the shirt should be right still. I don't know. Maybe it is a sign not to use orange! Thanks for the help.

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
jewelwing wrote:It could be that. Outside of here I only do print work, so I do everything in CMYK. (Which btw, is another thing. In school they drilled it into my brain that everything that gets printed needs to be CMYK, so I'd assume that meant shirts too. Why do you say to use RGB on the printable file?) It's strange tho. The shirt comps are all RBG and I just convert the artwork and drag it on top. So maybe the design would look funky but the shirt should be right still. I don't know. Maybe it is a sign not to use orange! Thanks for the help.



If you look on the submission page, where you upload the shirt comp and the design detail, it does say "RGB only". Since those are what the voters will see, it just makes sense to design the high-res in RGB as well. Everything is displayed online and CMYK is not made for the web; RGB is the way to go.

Woot doesn't actually try to duplicate the colours shown exactly. They just go by pantones. And I may be mistaken, but I'm guessing that printing with pantones is different from CMYK? Like, in CMYK you just use the four colours but at Woot they mix a variety of inks? I'm not sure.

That's really interesting though. What program do you use? Maybe you could post a sample pdf or ai of something that's changing colours on you and I'll see what happens when I save it as a jpg. Just whip up some scribbles or post a low-res version of something.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

jewelwing


quality posts: 13 Private Messages jewelwing
eHalcyon wrote:If you look on the submission page, where you upload the shirt comp and the design detail, it does say "RGB only". Since those are what the voters will see, it just makes sense to design the high-res in RGB as well. Everything is displayed online and CMYK is not made for the web; RGB is the way to go.

Woot doesn't actually try to duplicate the colours shown exactly. They just go by pantones. And I may be mistaken, but I'm guessing that printing with pantones is different from CMYK? Like, in CMYK you just use the four colours but at Woot they mix a variety of inks? I'm not sure.

That's really interesting though. What program do you use? Maybe you could post a sample pdf or ai of something that's changing colours on you and I'll see what happens when I save it as a jpg. Just whip up some scribbles or post a low-res version of something.



That's true. If you're using pantones all of this probably doesn't matter much. Might as well design in RGB. Smaller file too. But it just feels so wrrroooong!

Here's a design that went from orange to pink. I used to be all about Illustrator but lately I've been doing everything in Photoshop. And I think that's when the color issue started.

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
jewelwing wrote:That's true. If you're using pantones all of this probably doesn't matter much. Might as well design in RGB. Smaller file too. But it just feels so wrrroooong!

Here's a design that went from orange to pink. I used to be all about Illustrator but lately I've been doing everything in Photoshop. And I think that's when the color issue started.



I'll check when I get home, but it looks pretty close to the official orange I think. Woot's orange template is weird. Maybe post a low-res version of the psd (ack, I keep typing pdf instead of psd) or ai file with all the same settings as in the original. I'll save it and see if the colours shift on me as well.

I won't be home until late this evening though.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

jewelwing


quality posts: 13 Private Messages jewelwing
eHalcyon wrote:I'll check when I get home, but it looks pretty close to the official orange I think. Woot's orange template is weird. Maybe post a low-res version of the psd (ack, I keep typing pdf instead of psd) or ai file with all the same settings as in the original. I'll save it and see if the colours shift on me as well.

I won't be home until late this evening though.



Ha! Wouldn't that be funny if we went to all the trouble to fix the problem and it was just because a few people had their monitors calibrated badly.

I'll see if I still have the psd. My computer is so slow that I usually take stuff off of it and send it away into storage.

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
jewelwing wrote:Ha! Wouldn't that be funny if we went to all the trouble to fix the problem and it was just because a few people had their monitors calibrated badly.



Yeah, your steampunk entry is on the correct orange. No weird colour shift.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon

Bump!

Updated to include info on the new Heather Gray template rule (introduced in derby 104).

I think some of the changes that were recently made recently to the submission form may have deprecated some of my info here. I'll take a closer look later (i.e. when submissions are open again), but does anyone have any insights in the meanwhile?

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

TwistedTie


quality posts: 0 Private Messages TwistedTie

This is a very informative thread! I'm having a difficult time with the shirt comp templates though. I use Illustrator for my designs and i can't seem to get the Illustrator template to work. It's the second one down called "Adobe Illustrator (0.2 MB)" and every time I try to click on it -- nothing happens. It just takes me to a gray screen. How do I solve this? I checked my Illustrator templates but no luck finding it.

eHalcyon


quality posts: 66 Private Messages eHalcyon
TwistedTie wrote:This is a very informative thread! I'm having a difficult time with the shirt comp templates though. I use Illustrator for my designs and i can't seem to get the Illustrator template to work. It's the second one down called "Adobe Illustrator (0.2 MB)" and every time I try to click on it -- nothing happens. It just takes me to a gray screen. How do I solve this? I checked my Illustrator templates but no luck finding it.



I'm afraid I use Photoshop and am unfamiliar with Illustrator, so I can't be much help. I saw that you created another thread with this question, so hopefully you got an answer.



Random update - apparently back prints are no longer allowed. Too bad.

(Unofficial) Derby Rules (outdated?)
Designing for the Derby (definitely outdated)
Tips for New Designers (always useful)

charlottekrusi


quality posts: 0 Private Messages charlottekrusi

thanks for all the advice...i am a painter and not a graphic artist...Is there any easy way to convert a digital photo of a painting so it will be in the right formats for derby submission?
Thanks mucho for your smart advice

Here is a link to the painting that I wanted to submit to the Prehistoric Art Derby, but I couldn't even embed it

My derby submission

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
charlottekrusi wrote:thanks for all the advice...i am a painter and not a graphic artist...Is there any easy way to convert a digital photo of a painting so it will be in the right formats for derby submission?
Thanks mucho for your smart advice

Here is a link to the painting that I wanted to submit to the Prehistoric Art Derby, but I couldn't even embed it

My derby submission



import the image into a computer image manipulation program, separate into at most six colours and slap onto a shirt template.

jeanerz13


quality posts: 9 Private Messages jeanerz13

So...I'm not a real artist...I don't really have any drawing ability, but sometimes I like to enter just for fun. Since I never have any chance of placing this probably doesn't matter, but I'll still ask.

1.) Should the print ready file include a layer that is the shirt template? Or just the layers of ink color?

2.) I use a rastor based application...do I need to turn anti-aliasing off so that it doesn't end up with a bunch of different shades of one color at the edges where it tries to smooth the lines?

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
jeanerz13 wrote:So...I'm not a real artist...I don't really have any drawing ability, but sometimes I like to enter just for fun. Since I never have any chance of placing this probably doesn't matter, but I'll still ask.

1.) Should the print ready file include a layer that is the shirt template? Or just the layers of ink color?

2.) I use a rastor based application...do I need to turn anti-aliasing off so that it doesn't end up with a bunch of different shades of one color at the edges where it tries to smooth the lines?



1.) i don't submit a layer of shirt template in my print-ready, since the template isn't printed.

2.) i would say yes to no antialiasing. woot tells us only six ink colours, and different shades would be different colours.

i hope this helps.

BootsBoots


quality posts: 37 Private Messages BootsBoots
jeanerz13 wrote:So...I'm not a real artist...I don't really have any drawing ability, but sometimes I like to enter just for fun. Since I never have any chance of placing this probably doesn't matter, but I'll still ask.

1.) Should the print ready file include a layer that is the shirt template? Or just the layers of ink color?

2.) I use a rastor based application...do I need to turn anti-aliasing off so that it doesn't end up with a bunch of different shades of one color at the edges where it tries to smooth the lines?



1) I DO put the shirt color layer in the file. I just want to make sure they know what color it's supposed to be on, so there are no mistakes. I suppose it doesn't matter either way, though.


loulousq


quality posts: 0 Private Messages loulousq

This thread has been a huge help for me! Thanks again for posting it. I always review it before setting up my own Derby submission :D

bounty42


quality posts: 15 Private Messages bounty42

Before I scream "NECRO_THREAD, quick somebody head shot it!"

Current derby artists: how valid is this after 2 years?



Numquam minoris aestimo potentia stultis, maxime in magna coetus
------------------------------------
■(1:40 PM, 7/27/2012) bounty42 quips, "Forget Guest Editor, what we need is a Guest Rejectionator."
■(10:40 AM, 6/21/2012 ) bounty42 inquires, "Is it just me, or do we not typically get this many Editors Choice shirts?"
■(2:02 PM, 6/15/2012) bounty42 runs numbers.
■(10:40 AM, 6/7/2012) bounty42 dispenses wisdom for all those 'too late' naysayers, "A woot shirt is never late, nor is it early, it arrives precisely when it means to."
■(3:20 PM, 5/18/2012) bounty42 states, "The turtle is very cute, and I love the smug look he's got."