The artwork looks great when it is only 5 inches tall on a computer screen. Zoom in closer to the size it will print at, like 8”x32” for a regular skateboard, and you can see pixelation and general blurriness. General rule of thumb: For the human eye 300dpi at print size is usually more than enough detail. There are many times less than 300dpi looks good like a messy graphic with distress pattern might look good at 100dpi. The best way to tell if a graphic will look good is to just open the file on your computer and zoom in to the size it will print- check #1B.
How to fix low resolution artwork?
Much of the time you can’t fix low resolution. If you started creating your graphic at too small of a size or used low resolution design elements you are probably S.O.L. An exception and this happens often is that you have the artwork in a high resolution format but you exported at a lower resolution, just re-export as high res. Now if your original artwork is low resolution and you don’t want to rebuild from scratch….
Low resolution tricks:
Don’t think that you can just take a low resolution image back into Photoshop select ‘image size’ and adjust to 300dpi. This will just make smaller dots that make up the same pixelation and will look the same.
Adobe Illustrator Image Trace. This will take a raster graphic and turn it into a vector graphic by averaging out the sections of color into solid blocks of color(shapes) and also smooths the edges. If your graphic has large areas solid color it might work. If you have any type of shading, gradients, or picture type elements probably not.
Add filters/make adjustments in Photoshop. There are a million things you can do in Photoshop but none will make a low res into a high res. If your res is just a little low these might make the graphic acceptable or you might end up changing the whole feel of the graphic to something acceptable.
This is one of my favorites. We receive many graphics that are logo based. The logo looks really pixelated at the size of a skateboard deck but scaling down the logo to a small size looks just fine. We then make an all-over print with the logo. (Make the logo into a swatch in AI and apply to a fill).
The artwork was made without careful consideration of full bleed, live area, and safe area. These three things are very important! Use our template! How else are we supposed to know your print location?
Check this post on slight skateboard graphic shifting:
Did you flatten or rasterize the deck outlines or truck holes into your artwork? These things will actually print. You’ll get custom printed skateboards with truck holes and deck outlines visible on your decks(#3A). Please submit your artwork in Photoshop or Illustrator with the reference lines in a layer we can turn off(#3B) or submit a jpeg/tiff at full bleed with no truck holes and deck outlines(#3C).
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