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Hello, everybody! I'm renonevada. For those that don't know, one of my jobs here at deviantART HQ is as quality control for prints. I look at every print before it is purchased for the first time to make sure that it will print properly. Some of the things I look out for are copyright infringement, cropping, pixelation, and to make sure it doesn't violate other policies, such as being too pornographic.

I plan on making a series of journals explaining how to make sure your prints will be approved when they get to me. I know that I'm excited to see the notification letting me know a print has been sold and I want to do what I can to make sure you all see it, as well. :)

For this journal, I want to speak about Cropping and the Bleed Edge.

This is hands down the number 1 reason why I am forced to reject a print, which in turn will cancel a sale. Because of this, I have tried to make this journal as detailed as possible.


The Bleed Edge is the very edge of an image which could potentially be trimmed.

A longer definition is that when, say an 8x10 inch print is printed out, it comes out slightly larger than that 8x10. When cut, the image will be shown all the way to the very edge of the print without any borders. Doing this will shave off the very edges of the print.

We can give you an estimated bleed during the prints upload and editing process, if you are interested. Here is a screenshot of what that looks like with the Approximate Bleed option checked and circled in red:

Bleed Edge BAD by renonevada

As you can see, there are a small set of lines around the edges. This is about where the print will be cut when printed. I have also circled the copyright, which is showing as directly in the bleed.

If an image is added into our shop with this crop as illustrated below, it would be rejected as the text could be cropped as it is in the bleed.

Uncropped- Still Bad by renonevada

Here is a 100% crop of the image illustrating the bleed edge for this print and what will most likely be cut off.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 4.51.07 PM by renonevada

This can only be fixed by moving the copyright logo up slightly through your favorite image editing program.

REMEMBER to always keep an

untouched version of your art!

It may come in handy one day. They sell 3 terabyte drives very cheap now, so there should be no excuses when it comes to this.


The next part is Cropping. I see a number of images every day where signatures or other text elements are cropped when they do not need to be. The image in the shop ends up looking like this:

Cropped boo! by renonevada

Do you see the text on the bottom left? That should read "(c) renonevada" but only the "nonevada" is showing, so I would need to reject that if it were ordered.

To fix this:
First, edit that product and move the image so the entire copyright is shown, as illustrated below:

Cropped-copyright-shown by renonevada

As you can see, it is pulled all the way over to one side, cropping the light gray area shown on the right of the image.

When the print is added back into the shop, the entire copyright/signature will be shown.

Good Crop YAY by renonevada

The above print can now be approved as the signature has been raised away from the bleed edge and also adjusted so none of the text is being cropped.

Here are a few FAQ's if you would like to read more about the bleed edge and proper cropping:
FAQ #298: What is a bleed edge and how do I use it when preparing my artwork for printing?
FAQ #576: Where can I find templates to help me size my images correctly for prints?

I hope this first journal in a series has been helpful to you. If you have any friends with prints for sale and you see this error, point them to this article as they may have no idea their prints are cropped in such a way.

If you have any questions about this or would like to request topics for future articles, please feel free to post those below in the comments section.

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Leeanix Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Could I have some advice please?  I ordered this and got it in the mail the other day and was disappointed.
Got my Fear mug

I realize some of my mistakes. I have the template now and will resize. I did upload at 300 dpi though so I don't know why my url came out blurry.  I'm going to lighten all the colors since the ravens got lost in the background.  I'll also make the background clear. Up the brightness on the nebula and stars and on my character.  Anything else I can do so that my second attempt will succeed and look as nice as my actual art looks? Would a clear PNG be the right thing to upload?
renonevada Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Mugs will never have the pop that a standard print will have, but brightening it will at least help there. Make sure you only do it for the mug product and not any other one, as they'll turn out way too bright. :p

Also, don't have any transparencies. The software converts anything you upload to a JPG, and transparencies end up looking really bad most of the time. The converter program ends up making the BG look all blocky and in general a mess. The almost black color is as close as the ink will manage.

On the deviation, you mentioned the size as well. I'm not sure what mug you have, but that template looks best on the larger size mug. I till never reach the top, though. There will always be a good sized gap at the top.
Leeanix Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Oh yes definitely. If I brightened my actual deviation it would look terribly over exposed and bright.
Oh thanks for the warning on the transparency.  Then I shall keep it black. But that's a shame since it won't have the lovely glossy black look that I can see on the handle and parts that aren't covered. If that was my space background that would look fabulous and that's what I was hoping for. The actual "black" background though set to true black is not as dark as the mug itself so that's a shame too. 

My deviation is an 11oz mug. A normal coffee mug. That's the size I like for my drinks.  I don't mind a gap so much as it's not that faded black border.  Thank you for the advice. I think I will attempt this one more time.
DanSisken Featured By Owner May 24, 2015   General Artist
I just signed up today and don't quite understand the implications of this in terms of what I should do. Here are two basic questions:
1) is it possible to submit images that are not standard for prints? See my two images: If not please advise what the standard dimensions are. I have not see that anywhere.
2) For the bleed edge, is there a certain width at each edge that we should assume will probably not be in the final image when someone orders it and Deviant prints it?

Many thanks.
APTWORKS Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Thanks for the tips, I am new and I could use all the help I can get.
RicArtt Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Good info.... I will double check all of my current sub.s and the other art works I will also add over the next few days.  I just ungraded to the prem. yesterday & managed to load 5 works in also.
Thanks to you for all that you do, your the "silent knight" behind the front lines!!
Silvermare Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the information. I'm going to go recheck the bleed edges on all of the images that I have submitted as prints. I'd hate to miss out on a sale because I made a mistake that it so easy to fix.
nelchee Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah it's easy to edit a digital file, but when the signature is cropped on my traditional painting that has to be centered otherwise it would not look good, I'm fine with a cropped signature...

Sadly your print dimensions often don't coincide with ISO paper sizes.
Silvermare Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have run into that problem all too often. Sometimes creative cropping solves the problem. Sometimes I just have to withdraw my submission. For my latest submission, I anticipated the bleed edge and was careful not to place any critical elements in the "crop zone".
Jayhill Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
are the prints that I've submitted ready for sale or will they be rejected?
BWPhotographry Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Professional Photographer
Looking foward to the next one :)
PlunkettGW Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I submitted three photos for printing and as per the directions provided by dA I cropped them before sending them.  All three pictures were of a car.  When I received the photo prints from dA they were all quite dark and the picture of the side view of the car had the front end cropped right off.  Currently I am trying to resolve this with dA so it will be interesting to see on how this issue is resolved.
archgrim Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
good tips
BlackSkeletonGirl Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
does this cost me anything???

Can you please to me the dos, and don'ts please???
I don't get it.
Sweating a little...
renonevada Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It is free to add your art into the shop. :)
BlackSkeletonGirl Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
kyuubifan8897 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
Thank u 4 posting!!!
RJohnstone Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ryan, thank you for this article. I am new to DA, having signed up July 1st. I have been submitting images and checking the default option for prints without having been aware of the processes that go on behind the scenes. Your article was a useful tutorial for me and I look forward to additional guidelines from you.  Thanks. -- Richard
Danisanime Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
pearwood Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Good stuff.
teddybearcholla Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
ak9202 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How about you give us a little tip on placing important details within a "safety margin", like: Leave, for example, 1" on each border for cropping/bleeding?
Thanks for the useful information though!
renonevada Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I wish I could give you an exact estimate. With our system, a single image ratio, say the 1:1 square, can have many different sizes ranging from very small to very large. The bleed that we give must work for each of those sizes.

I do have this, which might be useful: FAQ #576: Where can I find templates to help me size my images correctly for prints?
The templates do have estimated bleed on them, which can come in handy. :)
ak9202 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot :)
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