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Im new to graphic design.

2719 Views 24 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  GSDIESEL300
I am starting up my own clothing line pretty soon but I would like to learn how to make my own designs instead of going through a graphic artist. I have been using paint just to mess around and make some ideas but I am not sure what is the best software to make designs is. So what are some of the best or necessary software to make t shirt designs, logos and other things? I would really appreciate the help!
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Hello -

Most folks are probably using Corel or Photoshop, but you can do a search in the forums and find a treasure chest of info on this subject I bet.
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For me 5 "needs".

1) What to use do line work, type and geometric objects, and combine them with bit maps (Tiffs, Jpegs, Bmps, etc.). CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator.

2) What to use to work with bit maps. Photoshop or CorelPaint

3) How to add brush, or pencil, or any "natural stylistic effects" to a digital composition. PainterX.

4) How to color separate the digital work. Screen print Separator, Fast Frames, etc.

5) How to get my Epson 3000 to give me decent films. AccuRip.

There are a thousand ways to skin a cat, the programs in red are the ones I use personally.

I was given a "trial" copy of CorelDraw 3 back in 1990, so I've had 20 years to get to know it's programmer's ways of thinking. Illy...Adobe Illustrator is industry standard and although I have a copy...using is like Scotty flying a Klingon bird of prey, he can do it but it just don't feel right. :)
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Shirlanddesign thank you for that! Also to everyone else thanks for the advice I really appreciate the help.
I too use Corel Draw for my vector creation program and have been a user since the 90's. I really got into it when I went to one of Foster Coburn's Corel Bootcamps back then. Corel Photopaint is OK and it has some tools that I like better than Photoshop, but Photoshop is so powerful and has such capability. I have never owned Illustrator nor felt the need to do so. I can reach my highest level of incompetence with these 3 programs. I own Painter X but just never devoted the time to it to use it's full capability. I print to a Canon IPF8000, 44" using the RGB color space and an Adobe plugin that allows printing directly from Photoshop.
I find Adobe Illustrator the best when making designs for T-Shirts
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WOW.... lot of useful and helpful ideas and advice...BUT... I think this is a little like saying I want to be RACE CAR DRIVER what kind of a car should I buy.. You might want to see if you can get someone near you to help tutor a little. You might want to go to one of the shows, like Impression and take some courses.. buying a program does not an artist make you.. You might even think of farming some of your design ideas out to someone you trust or has references to get your line going. Sometimes the person with the ideas and creativity is not the painter.. think about it... but also do not be afraid.. You might not win the first race but if you have talent people will recognize it.
Purely for the 'design' element, I use photoshop CS3 ( I actually 'paint' in this program as I rarely use other peoples work or photo's etc for my designs) and Illustrator for line work or vectors. I usually start in illustrator and then move the project to photoshop for any finishing off of design. As a designer my role is purely that of producing unique designs for retailers and so I tend to work as if drawing or painting freehand in my own particular styles ? - the software is merely my virtual canvass as it allows me to produce a digital composition for garment print. As opposed to this, if you don't have a design or art background, there are many preset brushes and patterns and effects out there which Tshirt designers use to help achieve the images they want, if you google around you are sure to find them for whichever software you choose. You will also find many tutorials on how to achieve basic effects etc in most of the software listed in this thread.

I also own coral painter - which I never seem to use lol but just because my designs never need me to, I can always achieve what I need to purely with a brush and paint pallet in photoshop.

As said already, it will come down to personal choice, and in some ways, design style.
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Thank you everyone for the great advice!
Thank you everyone for the great advice!
It doesn't matter what you use. When designing you have to think production at the press. It's not just the art alone. You have to be able to see the difference between what you see on the computer and how to use the tools to make it work at he press.

I use Corel (since 1.21 for all you youngins') Photoshop, Illustrator and various plug-ins. The hardest part is a client who only sees the back lit computer screen and taking 1200 dpi video and making it happen "clean" on a piece of fabric at 65 lpi or leetle tiny 4 point text that needs to be backed in white.

You have to know ink and additives intimately, screens, flood and squeegy pressure, stroke speed and meshes and I don't just mean mesh count. A kick *** positive printer! A solid exposure unit, light source and emulsion. And of course an inate knack and desire to be the best.
As a newbie I appreciate all the advice given here. I myself would feel alot more comfortable with a couple of classes under my belt.
I am also learning about graphics i have gotten alot better over the past 5 years.
I have to say one of the coolest things i have ever found that helped me so much was www.advancedartist.com. His free learning tuturials and his new software is the most amazing thing ever bought. i love it. I have fast films and corel and all this other stuff but this plug in and just his sight is amazing.
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Realistically, doing the designs yourself can be a total disaster. If you are looking for some crazy custom illustrated artwork that is then hand painted using a Wacom tablet, then you are probably not going to get the quality you are looking for and become incredibly frustrated. Even a basic software package of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop will run you $1300.

If you are doing this for real and are truly interested in becoming a graphic designer, I would take a few college courses first and maybe go to your local Dr. Sketchy course (figure drawing with burlesque models) to try it out and hone your craft a bit before plunking down several thousand dollars on a fast computer and software. Once you get a feel for it and still want to continue, then I would pick up the Adobe Creative suite and there are tutorials everywhere. You will practically trip over the tutorials just by typing in Photoshop tuts/illustrator tuts. A client of mine has some fantastic tutorial videos that are pretty cheap (learnwebdevelopment.com - I know it doesnt sound right, but they have illustrator and photoshop tutorials that are just awesome!)

I know that if you have any specific problems, there are a ton of people on here (including myself) that will hook you up with answers. The biggest thing is just getting out there and drawing things in real life.
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...I would like to learn how to make my own designs instead of going through a graphic artist...
Number one, do you have any artistic talent that you know of? Are you an artist?

If your answer is no, then you can still do well in the business but be realistic about what you can and can not do, and hire people for help in the areas you can not do yourself.

If you are an artist, then what media, tools and style you practice your art in already can help determine what program, or two, that would be a more natural transition into electronic media for your art.
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Yes as mentioned, software can be costly but there are free ones online that will do similar jobs. You might be able to download trial versions too. I've been doing graphic design for websites for many years and I enjoy using photoshop and illustrator for most of my work. The good thing is that these can also be used or even more so for t-shirt design. I also use Fireworks for my web graphics and it is a bit cheaper than photoshop and illustrator but the good thing is it is a native .PNG file editor so if you output to .PNG then it is really all you need, at least until you can afford photoshop and illustrator.
I use Adobe Photoshop...while you learn a graphics program, are there any college student artists near you who might want to work more for glory than money?
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and CorelDraw are all good software, it's really up to you which ones you feel more comfortable with. I like to have all of them at my disposal just for s#!+$ and giggles.
I typically choose Photoshop when simply designing. Corel seems to be another popular choice. If you're just starting its mostly what you can pick up learn to use quicker/most efficiently. Theres a learning curve to anything you choose.
Photoshop is super versatile and powerful. great to start with, and keep on with with time+++
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