Many think that because DTF (Direct To Film) is a printing technique, you should be able to use any type of file that’s printable, especially sublimation designs, but this is not true. Sublimation designs often have areas that have partial transparency or soft edges (a.k.a. feathered, dithered, anti-aliased, etc) and these designs do not work well for DTF prints because a layer of white ink is applied to the back of the transfer and it will cause a halo effect around the edges or may look odd in other partially transparent areas or pixels.
Terms & Conditions
By placing an order for a custom DTF transfer with an image you have uploaded, you agree that we are not responsible for the final quality of the printed transfer that may be related to the quality of the image you have uploaded. Likewise, the above section titled “Color Accuracy” is also important to consider. By ordering a custom DTF transfer you agree that you have read over the information on our website regarding image quality and you understand that if the image does not meat the proper specifications that it may not arrive in the quality you desire. Absolutely no refunds will be offered for custom transfers ordered. If your artwork is rejected for quality reasons and you wish you cancel your order, you will be given store credit to use on other purchases and no refunds will be issued. Current turn around times can be found on our Custom DTF Transfers Page.
Here are some guidelines and tips for uploading designs.
If you are uploading an actual SVG file and you’re not just calling every image an “SVG file”, meaning you understand the differences, you’ll probably be fine a long as the SVG file is decent quality. Sometimes SVG files are low quality images that have been traced and they may have rough edges. These files will still work find but will print with the jagged edges you may see on the screen. If you downloaded an SVG file from a reputable site like Design Bundles or Creative Fabrica, those SVG file are typically good quality. Some PNG files from these sites can have soft edges so be sure to review the information below if you are not sure what that means. If you do not know how to view the resolution of a file and do not understand how to ensure file quality, definitely review this information prior to ordering.
Files from Facebook
If you have downloaded a file from a Facebook Group and do not know how to review the image for quality, we do not recommend ordering a transfer using the file until it has been inspected by someone who understands the information on this page.
Designer / Gang Sheet Builder
Our tools for creating custom transfers and gang sheets contain several basic editing tools. These tools may vary depending on the object you have selected on the design canvas. The Designer contains several basic editing tools for raster images that are not available if the image you have inserted is an SVG source file. The Designer is not an SVG editor so you are limited to certain functions such as changing colors of objects. Since the software is not an SVG editor the raster editing tools such as crop and others are not available if the selected object is an SVG file or one of our stock Templates.
We recommend using SVG or Transparent PNG files (not all PNG files are transparent). These are specific file types and if you have an image that is for example a JPG you cannot simply change the file extension to make it an SVG or PNG. If you did not already know this, chances are you may need someone familiar with graphic design to help you.
Checking Image Quality
The best source files to work with are always SVG files as you can create most any file with any level of quality. PNG files work very well and are often the choice of many customers as long as they are of high resolution (200dpi minimum and 300dpi highly recommended) and have clean and hard edges. If your image is simple graphics (solid colors and no shading) you can get by with 150dpi or higher images, but they MUST have hard edges and quality could be degraded.
You can use our Image Quality Test Utility to quickly find the resolution of your PNG or JPG files.
To check the quality of PNG files view the files in a program such as Abobe Photoshop or Paint.net (Paint.net is free and a good alternative for Windows users). After opening the file in Paint.net, from the Image menu select Resize and the dialog box will provide you with the Width, Height, and Resolution as shown in the image below. The same information can be found in Photoshop under the Image Menu / Image Size.
Hard vs Soft Edges
The best result with a PNG file will come from a good quality file with hard edges that is uploaded and is not resized after uploading. We cannot stress enough the importance of having a high resolution file when working with PNG images along with ensuring the image has hard edges. Resizing the file will cause a slight softening of the edges but 1-2 pixels of soft edges are normally ok but you must start with a high quality image. If your image already has some soft edges, resizing it after uploading will usually compound the problem and make it worse. If you examine your file as described above and you can see that it has 8-10 pixels or more along the edges that show some amount of transparency, the file will probably not yield the quality result you are looking for. Click the image below to see examples of hard versus soft edges.
Calculating Image Size using Dimensions in Pixels and Dots Per Inch
If your image shows a low DPI value it may still be usable for a DTF print depending on the overall dimensions. By dividing the horizontal and vertical resolution by DPI you can find an image’s physical size. For example, if the image is 300dpi and is 3600 x 3600, this would be a 12″ x 12″ physical image. If the image is only 72dpi and is 3600 x 3600, this image would be 50″ x 50″ at a lower resolution and if it is resized down to 12″ x 12″ the image would increase to 300dpi because you have condensed the image to a much smaller physical size.
However, if your image shows 72dpi and is only 720 x 720 this would be a 10″ x 10″ low resolution image and in order to reach 300dpi the image would have to be resized to around 2.4″ x 2.4″. To find this value divided the desired resolution by the current resolution so we divide 300dpi by 72dpi which equals 4.16. Then divide the horizontal and vertical resolutions by the result of 4.16 so 10″ divided by 4.16 equals 2.4″ so in this case we need to physically resize the image down to 2.4″ x 2.4″ to achieve 300dpi.
The formula is as follows, you must substitute the Dimension with the value of Width or Height and do each calculation separately unless they are a 1:1 ratio, e.g. 720 x 720:
- Step 1: Dimension / DPI = Physical Size
Example: 720 / 72 = 10″
- Step 2: Desired Resolution / Current Resolution = Ratio
Example: 300 / 72 = 4.16 Ratio
- Step 3: Current Physical Size / Ratio
Example: 10″ x 10″ / 4.16 = 2.4″ x 2.4″
Thin Lines and Tiny Dots/Pieces
In order to have opacity for application to dark garments, DTF printers apply a layer of white ink on the back of the transfer. To ensure there is no white “halo” around the image edges, the white has a tiny inset border. Very thin lines and tiny dots or pieces such as might be found in a distressed design may not have enough surface area to apply the white ink and pick up the adhesive powder as it’s applied. It’s recommended any thin lines or tiny fragments are at least 4-5 pixels wide. Areas smaller than this may not transfer or appear after pressed.
Say NO to Cricut Design Space Screenshots!!
Taking screenshots of designs on Cricut Design Space or other programs does not yield a high resolution image suitable for DTF printing. Monitor resolutions range from about 72 to 96 dpi depending on the size of the monitor. Screen capture images will always be roughly the same low resolution regardless of the size of your monitor. It is often possible to trace the image in a vector editing software such as Inkscape to create an SVG file so that may be one option. Images downloaded from sources such as Facebook or Pinterest are also often low resolution images and must be checked as described above.
The better option is to do Print Then Cut and choose to Print to PDF instead of printing on paper. Many of the PDF-to-PNG conversion websites only convert to low resolutions. If you are able to use a converter that converts to 200dpi or higher resolutions you can then upload the PNG file and use the background removal tool to remove the white background. The best option for converting is to use Adobe Photoshop to open the file and when doing so set the resolution to 300dpi and be sure to turn off Anti-Alias which is the feature that softens edges. You can then crop out or erase the registration marks. One final step is to trim away excess pixels by using the Image menu, Trim function. When saving the file choose the File Menu, Export, Export As, and choose the file type PNG and select transparency. This should give you a file that is suitable quality to upload.
Gang Sheet Builder
For those not familiar with Gang Sheets, it’s simply a way to create a larger printed set with multiple designs of the same or mixed types. It allows you to position items, rotate designs, and do whatever you can to maximize how many you can get on one sheet. Due to printer and software limitations, if your Gang Sheet contains some good and some low quality images, it is likely the entire Gang Sheet will be unusable. Please check the image quality and resolutions of all uploaded images. We typically cut gang sheets into smaller pieces for shipping, but we may not cut out each transfer so we minimize the risk of us damaging your transfers.
Image Usage Rights
When checking out you must select a box that affirms you have full usage and/or licensing rights for the images you have uploaded and requested for us to print for you. The customer accepts full liability for any copyrighted images or designs they have submitted for printing.