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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I want to use a company called Printful to print tshirts for me on black shirts. They seem to use a white underbase which makes my photo look faded when I see it in the mockup they provide. How do I optimize the photo? Do I use my adobe photoshop or should I find a rip program. They told me they use Kornit printers but they would not tell me what rip program they use. Also they could only help me with optimizing graphics not photos, I need help with photographs only right now. Any help much appreciated. Thanks.

Lori in Brooklyn
 

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Hi,

I want to use a company called Printful to print tshirts for me on black shirts. They seem to use a white underbase which makes my photo look faded when I see it in the mockup they provide. How do I optimize the photo? Do I use my adobe photoshop or should I find a rip program. They told me they use Kornit printers but they would not tell me what rip program they use. Also they could only help me with optimizing graphics not photos, I need help with photographs only right now. Any help much appreciated. Thanks.

Lori in Brooklyn
The mockup will never be exactly the same as the printed product. Also, a white under base is necessary to print on a black garment.

Printful recommends converting the image to RGB prior to saving, and using the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color profile: https://www.printful.com/blog/color-matching-guide-print-on-demand/

Make sure your file is the size you want it printed and at 300ppi, then convert to RGB and save as a .PNG file with the color profile previously mentioned.
 

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The main thing to keep in mind is that when printing on black garments, the RIP will knock black out of the print in favor of the black of the garment. For some designs this works out just fine, but it can really mess up photos.

Kornit prints are sort of shiny, so one can clearly tell where there is ink and where there is not. Not an issue for some designs, but when the darkest areas of a photo use the garment for black rather than ink, then the image ends up with splotches of bare garment that looks like a mistake. Of course, if your photos don't contain black, then it's not an issue.

To avoid that, adjust the image so it contains no pure black. How far away from pure black you need to go depends upon how they have the printer/RIP setup, but shouldn't have to go very far.

You should make a test design with like 3 or 4 copies of a crop from one of your photos, each with the black point set differently, including one with black set to true black. Get it printed and see what it looks like. This being POD, you cannot count on getting the same results every tine, as settings and performance of each machine is prone to vary, as are the operators, but that is the nature of the POD beast.

Beyond that, in general you might want to increase the contrast and saturation a bit ... again, do a test with different levels and see what looks best with your photos. Don't expect accurate reproduction of stunning sunset scenes, and the like, as these printers do not have the gamut for that.
 

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Are you referring to Kornit printers specifically?
DTG in general :eek:

Here's an article with decent info (I might quibble on a few points, and they don't always use the clearest language, but good for more context).

 

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Hi,

I want to use a company called Printful to print tshirts for me on black shirts. They seem to use a white underbase which makes my photo look faded when I see it in the mockup they provide. How do I optimize the photo? Do I use my adobe photoshop or should I find a rip program. They told me they use Kornit printers but they would not tell me what rip program they use. Also they could only help me with optimizing graphics not photos, I need help with photographs only right now. Any help much appreciated. Thanks.

Lori in Brooklyn
What do you mean by '... makes my photo look faded when I see it in the mockup they provide?' Surely you don't think the actual print will necessarily turn out like the mockup?

You need to order a sample printed item and see for yourself what it turns out like.
 

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Also they could only help me with optimizing graphics not photos, I need help with photographs only right now.
This is normal.
The way I do it is by printing small samples of the photo on a sacrificial shirt, and then pick the one that looks best.
I simply use high contrast and increment the color saturation for each sample.
You can do the same with Printful, but obviously slower.

the RIP will knock black out of the print in favor of the black of the garment.
This is optional and should not be used for photographic prints.
Does Printful really print photographs this way?

This being POD, you cannot count on getting the same results every tine, as settings and performance of each machine is prone to vary, as are the operators, but that is the nature of the POD beast.
This is correct unfortunately, but the difference is hardly noticeable, and customers will not have another copy to compare.

What do you mean by '... makes my photo look faded when I see it in the mockup they provide?
I bet the correct term would be dull.
It is common with POD because ink is expensive, so they are using the minimum amount possible.
 

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DTG in general :eek:

Here's an article with decent info (I might quibble on a few points, and they don't always use the clearest language, but good for more context).

Most of the shirts I print on my F2100 are full-color photography images including sunsets. If you use the right garment, pre-treat it properly, and have the correct settings on the software, I honestly can't see any other printing method producing better quality than what I've gotten with DTG.
 

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Most of the shirts I print on my F2100 are full-color photography images including sunsets. If you use the right garment, pre-treat it properly, and have the correct settings on the software, I honestly can't see any other printing method producing better quality than what I've gotten with DTG.
Sublimation has a wider gamut. But like everything else, that too has caveats and tradeoffs--white polyester being the big one.

Optimized pretreatment and ink for each garment and image type can deliver very nice results, at the cost of greater time and materials expense. But big PODs cannot be counted on to operate in that fashion, and mostly don't, at least not consistently.
 

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Most of the answers the people gave above are pretty accurate. TABOB was correct when he said that photographs should not be printed on DTG using the garment's black. However most decent RIP software nowadays has the option to use Garment Black or print black. Photographs should, I'd say 99% of the time use printed black. It will be thrown into almost every color to create shades.
You said you don't need help with graphics right now, but just in case you do someday: every graphic will take to printed black or garment black differently, so I suggest getting a sample of both done if you ever do graphic items.
Next time you reach out to a printer for your DTG needs, make sure you ask them if they have the ability to print black.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, thanks. I was going to use a company called Printful, Is silkscreen better than DTG? Are there any good print on demand silkscreen companies I should look into?

I know that Printful uses Kornit printers
 

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Is silkscreen better than DTG? Are there any good print on demand silkscreen companies I should look into?
Silkscreen and hybrid are definitely better but are not viable options for one offs or on demand prints.
You cannot just print one shirt.

Okay I just looked at the sample swatch tshirts that Printful sent me, there are no black swatches, only dark gray so i guess they can't print black, bummer.
They can definitely print black.
I guess there is no point including it in their swatches, as everybody knows black in RGB is 0,0,0.
 

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The problem with silkscreen is that there's a ton of set up. Making the screens takes the most time and effort, I mean, unless you're ordering batches of 10,000. So no silk screener is going to make a number of screens (CMYK based + possible Pantones) just for say, 5 shirts. Unless you are willing to pay premium for it, but even then most screen printers probably won't waste their time on it.

DTG is said to be the king of soft feel, especially if you are talking putting photos down on a shirt. I won't claim to be an expert on silk screening, but we did try and fail (bad facility atmosphere) but usually the ink can build up quite a bit on a shirt. Recent machinery however is starting to bridge that gap for softness feel that DTG has over silk screening, but again the prep is the killer.

You could always try transfers. Printed HTV (heat transfer vinyl) might also be viable, it just tends to have a shorter lifecycle compared to other methods since most of them aren't supposed to be washed above 300 degrees F (sorry I don't have a Celsius conversion handy). If you go the transfer route, just make sure what their washing instructions are and make sure the customer understands them too. Cotton shirt can be hot washed but the image (transfer) will deteriorate faster if they wash using hot.

Hope this helps a bit!
 

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DTG is said to be the king of soft feel, especially if you are talking putting photos down on a shirt.
It is not.
Hybrid discharge is the king.

You could always try transfers. Printed HTV (heat transfer vinyl) might also be viable, it just tends to have a shorter lifecycle compared to other methods since most of them aren't supposed to be washed above 300 degrees F (sorry I don't have a Celsius conversion handy).
Washed at 300°F? This is a strange typo.
Anyway... solvent printed HTV transfers are more durable than DTG, and some are very thin as well
The "ColorPrint Soft Opaque" from SISER is one example. Just 45 microns thickness.
 

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Okay I just looked at the sample swatch tshirts that Printful sent me, there are no black swatches, only dark gray so i guess they can't print black, bummer.
You misunderstand the black issue. All DTG can print black, just like your desktop inkjet printer, they at a minimum have Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black ink (CMYK). But when printing on a black garment, the RIP can use the black of the garment rather than black ink. This is desirable for some art, not at all for other art (like a photograph).

When printing on a black garment with a DTG, either all colors, even black, would be underbased with white ink, imparting the same sheen. look, and feel to all colors, OR the RIP would knock out the pure black in favor of the garment color, resulting in a noticible difference between the look, feel, and sheen of the black areas (blank fabric versus somewhat shiny ink).

No such thing as screen printed POD ... other than when nuts like me do that themselves.
 

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It is not.
Hybrid discharge is the king.
Hmm, I've personally never heard of hybrid discharge so I'll take your word for it and look into it. We are fairly new to the screen printing and DTG scene, so I am just going by what our suppliers tell us. Sorry if I stepped on some toes there with my misinformed self.

Washed at 300°F? This is a strange typo.
Ooh you're right, that is a typo. I was looking at the press temp for our vinyl instead of the wash safe temp. My bad, good catch. Most of our HTV application is to polyester (when we do it). We have a customer with industrial sized washing machines and dryers, and somehow they manage to destroy the vinyl on the uniforms. I assumed it was a temperature issue with one of the two, but maybe I'm wrong there too.
 

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Hmm, I've personally never heard of hybrid discharge so I'll take your word for it and look into it. We are fairly new to the screen printing and DTG scene, so I am just going by what our suppliers tell us.
Interesting, because discharge is the easiest way to print hybrid.
We have a customer with industrial sized washing machines and dryers, and somehow they manage to destroy the vinyl on the uniforms.
The washing machine size makes no difference. The temperature and detergents used do.
You will need special HTV for this type of applications... but DTG will not survive this type of abuse either.

Screen-printed thermoset water-based or silicone inks are the best option for something like this.
You can dry-clean them, wash them hot, and even iron them.

You can also mix water-based inks in the discharge base, and use it to produce very durable hybrid prints.
Not as durable as pure screen-printing, but much more durable than regular DTG.

Anyway all these are off topic...
 
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