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Transparency in DTG files

Things you should know about transparent graphics

"Transparent" means the opacity is lower than 100%. Transparent files can cause a lot of problems depending on how they are applied.

How do I know if my file is transparent/has transparent elements:

In Photoshop or most graphics editors: Turn off the locked background layer by clicking the eye icon.

If you can see the checkered canvas behind your image, it’s transparent.

Or

Place an image underneath your graphic. If you can see the background through it, it’s transparent.

Some of the issues with transparent files/elements:

No printer will print transparent colors. This is because all inks/dyes are concentrated pigments and not diluted pigments.

What happens?
The printer will attempt to make up the missing information by spreading the ink, causing gaps that show a lot more of the white base on dark garments.

What if I want the edges of my graphic to look faded?

We suggest you create a solid file, and then create a layer mask and use a soft brush to feather the edges. This will make for a much better-looking print while still maintaining that faded look.

You should always consider the color of the shirt when creating transparent files. We suggest you choose a background color that matches the color of the shirt you’re applying it to as closely as possible.

Will transparent files ever work?

Transparent files will work on light garments so long as there is no white in the image. If there is any white in your image, the printer will automatically lay down a white base, creating the speckled, gritty look previously mentioned.

If your graphic is a transparent blue for instance, and it is placed on a red shirt, the graphic will look blue.

If that is the look you want, ask for “color only” in your fulfillment notes.

Example photos:

Here is a transparent graphic. Opacity < 100%

Here is an example of that transparent graphic with a white base on a black shirt.

Here is the exact same graphic, with no white base on a white shirt.

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