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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Creating Individual Design Elements For Your Zazzle Store

For those of you that have discovered Zazzle, you already know its a great way to upload your designs, and make money on them, (and if you haven't you definitely need to head over to however many artists don't use the full versatility of the Zazzle platform for utilizing individual design elements to create a finished product.
Many people starting out upload fully developed designs or photographs.  The Teapot above was created from a single image photograph that I cropped to fit the dimensions of the teapot. This is great, and many artists use this method but it is not a format that can be used for everything.  This is where it is important to learn to create and use individual design elements for your works.

The following Towel that I created in my store was made using individual elements that were uploaded as separate images then put together to form a collage like final design for the image. The Product, a Kitchen Towel offered the perfect playground to combine multiple individual image elements.
 The design was created by using two very simple elements, that of a red heart, and that of a simple watercolor cat figure that I painted with this purpose in mind.  It is important that individual design elements are created with a white background.  This is extremely important as only whites in a background can be made transparent. This is crucial in order to be able to line individual design elements together to create a product with multiple images.
In the example above, taken while working with my design, you can see that by clicking on the Advanced options (the little gears) you can select "show whites in image as transparent"  This makes it possible to group items together as above.  By clicking on the image and hitting "edit" and "make copy" you can easily copy more of the same images as I did with both the hearts and cats without hitting "add images" making creating the design faster.  Each image can be individually edited by either clicking the image in the design mode, or clicking the image over on the right had column that shows the images.  The images can be made larger or smaller by dragging the corners of the boxes, and you can lock and entire object or objects by selecting then hitting lock object in the advanced options.

When Creating individual images for your store, its best to create larger images that can be scanned and reduced for use on the actual product.  Small images make poor products, and painting small can rob your piece of details that will improve the overall quality of the design object.  This Output size for this  image is approximate 6 inches , however I have used it for products such as a man's tie by using the tools in Zazzle to shrink the image to the correct size, and eliminating the white background. 
 Be sure that when you use such an image that the final product is free of lines, such as the edge of the paper shown in this demo image by using image manipulation software such as HP Photo smart, or The Gimp (found free online) or if you are lucky Photoshop to crop out such lines as they will show on the final product. 
 For this tie I created a single cat design, however by manipulating it with HP Photosmart, and using color adjustments I created multiple versions of the same design. This can be a very useful technique for varying designs that can be used in your shop.  As you can see, the use of individual elements can be a great way to create many different products easily, and doesn't have the requirement that the design be the same dimensions as the product.

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