Direct to Garment printing is a revolutionary digital printing method for customer T-shirts which offers the look and feel of screen printing but in a much more simplified process. A T-shirt is simply laid onto the flat bed of the printer and the image is directly printed onto the shirt in full color.
To ensure that the printed image actually shows up on a colored or dark T-shirt however, there are a few extra steps we need to take. The most important step is to always pretreat the garment with “pretreatment” solution. Pretreatment is a milky or clear liquid that acts as a primer base and prevents the ink from soaking into the shirt and disappearing into the fibers. It also helps the water based inks stay put during printing and not mix with each other while still wet. Pretreatment is especially important for the white base that is printed underneath the colors to make them pop!
The pretreatment liquid is applied onto the shirt by either a hand sprayer or a spraying machine , then allowed to air dry or dried under a heat press and finally pressed at 338F for 40-45 seconds at medium pressure to set the pretreatment. The layer should be close to invisible and will completely wash out after the first wash.
What happens if we don’t pretreat the T-shirt?
Nothing good. The white ink soaks right into the T-shirt, leaving the rest of the colors with nothing to sit on top of. The result is a muddy mess due to the rest of the colors soaking further into the fibers and bleeding into each other.
Lesson learned: Always pretreat a T-shirt that is a brighter or darker color (you may be able to pull off a light gray shirt or tinted off-white but that’s about it).
There are a few brands of pretreatment available, but generally the pretreatment liquid and the inks should be the same brand. Our top choice is the Epson SureColor F2000 Pretreatment Liquid which is compatible with the same brand printer and inks. It comes as a concentrate and needs to be diluted with distilled water.
For best results, we recommend using the pretreatment process on any colored shirt. Even light colored garments can show through the design and tint it slightly.
The abbreviation RIP stands for Raster Image Processing. The RIP Software converts your digital image created in a graphics software (CorelDraw, Illustration, Photoshop) to a ready-to-print file with the most ideal resolution for inkjet printing. The ripped image can now go from your PC to your wide format printer.
Desktop printers don’t need RIP programs, because they come with a print driver that has sufficient amount of control and options for general smaller format printing. Recall when you click “print” and a box comes up and you can select if you want to print in color, black & white or grey scale – this is your print driver. Wide format printers are a bit more advanced and RIP programs are often needed for exact color output, quality resolution, rasterization and maximum control.
Why Do I Need A RIP?
A RIP program offers a professional wide-format print shop multiple benefits beyond the basic printer driver.
Save media and ink cost with advanced ink control and nesting features in many common RIP programs
Color profile management for a variety of media, ink technologies, and application purposes
Multi-printer management with ability to print up to four printers from a single computer
Faster image processing, which handles wide variety of file types, including high-resolution vector and raster images
Upgrade features available to add-on with such as variable data printing, automatic color separation & halftone screens, and much more!
What Else Can The RIP Do?
A RIP program also handles the rasterization of images with an enhanced process that preserves the image details to an optimum level. Rasterization is the process of converting a vector file to a raster file (or in other words, a bitmap image). Vector files are graphics made up of paths, not pixels. They don’t have a resolution and can be enlarged indefinitely without losing information. However, when it comes to printing, a vector graphic needs to be converted to a file type that contains pixels (or small dots) so the printer can read it and print it. The RIP software converts that vector file to a raster file at the highest quality possible and preps it for printing.
Things To Remember
The program you create your graphics design in, the RIP software program and the printer are all separate entities. They will work together to bring you the end product you want. It is important to make sure that they are all compatible. RIP software programs can be purchased separately or in some cases they are paired with the purchase of your printer. If this is the case, be aware that you are getting the basic version of the RIP software program. Upgrades to be purchased will be recommended to you at a later date.
Looking for a new market to integrate a familiar product? Take a glance at places you shop: your local eateries, offices or even travel. Each has at least one thing in common… name badges! How would we put a name to the face of our friendly staff or wait service without them?
You may ask yourself how you can provide a step above other name badge offers. The answer is simple: full color, cost effective customization – most places are either getting them engraved or pad printed. With sublimation name badges you can offer a more economically friendly product with better image quality results.
Printed sublimation transfer of designed name badges