Monday, June 3, 2013

Proofing Spoonflower

I've made a bunch of Spoonflower designs this week and I've finally ordered a swatch sampler of my designs from the Elements Collection. I've recolored some images too.

Working with digital processes is a bit unusual for me. My background is traditional printmaking, which is a little more "What you see is what you get" in terms of color. Spoonflower is like a black-box process where the inputs are webcolors and the outputs are cloth samples that arrive in the mail a week later.

Fingers crossed. I notice in the website preview that the tile edges show in this design.

I smoothed this design a little more after taking this screenshot. It's important to mend the seams in the tiles so that there are no implied lines. One should be able to blur his/her eyes and not see any lines. I worked on this one until I could tile it in the GIMP and see no edges, but the lines in Spoonflower persist.

I think something deeper is happening here: Aliasing. Basically there is a mismatch between the image size and the samples taken. From Wikipedia:

"[Aliasing] also refers to the distortion or artifact that results when the signal reconstructed from samples is different from the original continuous signal."

My images are represented by discrete pixels. So let's say I have an image that's 125 pixels across, and it's shrunk down 10x for the preview.  The preview can represent the image as either 12 pixels or 13 pixels. Pixels cannot be split -- that's physically impossible. So the image will either need to slice 5 pixels off the edge, or evenly sample and average the values around the imaginary 12.5 pixel area (average 12 and 13 pixels). I guess this second method would make the most sense.  But the first method could account for some clipping in the edge of the image.

Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts. I am just crossing my fingers that the preview will display correctly. I want my fabric to tile right!