How To Rasterize an Image in Photoshop

Jakprints Jack of all Trades image

First, let’s clear up some basic jargon. There are two types of images, Raster and Vector. Raster images are made up of pixels and Vector images are made up of paths. Vectors are good quality images that can be stretched from the size of a business card to the size of a building. Raster graphics can be made from Vectors and are a collection of colored pixels that make up your images. The clearly defined edges of these pixels are what allows us to recreate your image on all of our products. Rasterizing an image allows printers to separate colors cleanly to make sure the design that is printed is just as clear and crisp as the design you send.

This quick tutorial uses Adobe Photoshop CS6, but the process is the same regardless of your version. Also, this tutorial assumes you have your artwork ready to print.

Step 1 | Export Your Image

Start with a non rasterized vector

First, go up to file > “Export”. You’ll need to export your image “At Size”

Step 2 | How to Save Your File

  • A box will come up with a few options you’ll have to change.
  • Slide the top bar so you image is at “Max Quality”
  • Save your file as a .TIFF, .PSD, or a .JPG.
    • .TIFF files are universal high quality files and create a clean flat image
    • .PSD files also create a flat image that are smaller than .TIFF files but can only be opened in Photoshop
    • .JPG files are also universal and are a smaller file size than .TIFF files but this smaller file size comes at a slightly decreased quality
  • Save your file at “300” ppi
  • This part is super important! Most likely, the Anti-Alias box will be checked. Uncheck it.
    • Unchecking this box allows the clean pixel lines we talked about earlier not blend together
    • This makes it easier for us to separate colors which is really important in print so that there is no bleeding between the colors of your image

Photoshop Export Options Screenshot

Step 3 | Double Check

Are you sure you did it right? Probably, but lets check.

  • If you zoom into your image, really zoom in, the lines between colors should be jagged edges, almost like stairs like the image on the right
  • If your edges aren’t clear- they look pixelated but not like crisp, hard defined edges (like the image on the left)- go back and make sure the Anti-Alias box is not checked.

Side by side Rasterized and non rasterized

(Left) Non Rasterized (Right) Rasterized – notice the clearly defined edges

Rasterizing your images saves time and money on both ends and allows your printer to give you the highest quality final product.