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Creating Artwork for Direct-to-Garment Inkjet Printing

(March 2008) posted on Mon Mar 10, 2008

Reaping the benefits of digital imaging on apparel requires command of art preparation. This article describes how to set up garment graphics for inkjet printing and examines the variables associated with this method of decoration.

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By Thomas Trimingham

Finally, image-mode conversion is another factor to check in controlling the color gamut on your inkjet device. Many of the more popular garment printers out there use a CMYK color space, which necessitates that the file be changed from an RGB color mode into a CMYK mode. Unfortunately, the shift can dramatically change the color if the original image was out of gamut for CMYK. In effect, it can make bright maroons look brown and deep blues appear purple (Figure 2). You may have to color correct your design to properly convert it to CMYK. One really fast way to do this is to select the colors that are out of gamut and save the selections as a channel. Then use the channel selections and lower the saturation until the color-mode change is less harsh. This is best done by using the Undo command (Ctrl-Z or Cmd-Z) in Photoshop to switch it back and forth to demonstrate the before and after of the color adjustment. You can prepare the final image and switch it into CMYK once the colors appear to change as expected.


Review the quality of the artwork

A lot of this may seem like obvious stuff, but you will see a lot more imperfections with a printer that is capable of imaging a high-resolution file onto a shirt than one that prints with lower resolution. This means that low-quality screen captures from the Internet and blurry photos won’t be averaged as much and you may even be able to make out that blocky looking JPEG compression on an enlarged bitmap.


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