This Photo Tutorial shows you how to turn an image into a black and white image, making it much easier for screen printers to work with.
The first thing you will need to screen print is find an image suitable for exposure. This means an image that consists of solid colors. You need solid colors because you need to be able to separate them for printing transparencies. You can always draw the image yourself. I, unfortunately, am not a very good artist. You can always buy images for screen printing. I have done this, and there are a number of great websites out there. Some images you will be too complicated, with too many colors. Luckily there is a program that will transform an image into a single color image. Its free and its called Inscape. You can download it from the link below. This tecnique is called vector grunge. Graphic artist will use this to create images of paint dripping or from water stains to get cool patterns for their work. Something to think about.
Now I will show you how to get a single color image from a photo. You can click on any image below to see the full size version.
Drag and drop your image into inscape or go to File>Open.
A box will appear asking if you want to embed the image. Yes, you do, so hit OK.
Now you will see your image. You will know it is selected by the arrows surrounding it. Make sure you have it selected before continuing to the next step.
Now go to Path>Trace Bitmap.
A box will appear. You can change the look of the solid color image you will create by changing the numbers in the threshold. You can use edge detection or whiteness cut off to achieve your image. You can play around with it several times without altering the original image.
You will see the image with the image you just created stacked on top of each other. Simply drag the new image way.
Now you can see both images.
You can see the different results you can get here buy playing around with the treshold and whiteness/edge detection features.
This also works great for stand alone icons with multiple colors as well and photos.
Here is the image I used for Katara for the T shirt. you can see that the face and body came out better in a lower threshold and the wave she is controlling came out better at a high threshold. I took both of these images into paint to cut the wave out of the right picture and placed it into the on the left.
Another great thing about Inscape is the image it creates is a vector image, meaning it can be scaled to any size without a loss in resolution. There is no pixelation. I tried to illustrate this here with this comparison.
I hope this helped. Feel free to share your thoughts or work with me. Id like to see what you come up with!