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Solid blacks look dull

7690 Views 25 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  abhobden
Hi all, well, we received our mp5 yesterday, watched all the training videos and set it up, got pretty good nozzle checks straight away. Our first job is to print a design which is pretty much all black onto white shirts (no colour, just solid black boxes and white text). When our first print came out and was pressed, it looked quite dull, more like a charcoal grey, is this a normal result?? We then did another shirt but did two passes of ink, better, but still more a dark grey colour. Is this a symptom of something (ie. not pressed long enough or hot enough), or is it just how DTG prints black? (BTW, we pressed 180C for 40 seconds) straight off the printer.

Thanks
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Yep. That's how it is. We do a light mist of pretreat then heat press the shirt for about 20 seconds to make it look blacker. Not sure how it effects washability yet. But it sure looks better!
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Yep. That's how it is. We do a light mist of pretreat then heat press the shirt for about 20 seconds to make it look blacker. Not sure how it effects washability yet. But it sure looks better!
Thanks for that, I think my problem is I'm from a digital print background (last 16 years) so its hard to tell if we're getting the "best" out of the printer. By light mist, is it just a one pass of pretreat? or left to right and back again? Will give it a try. The other thing is photo prints, just did a test print and its quite different colours to whats on screen. We are experts with colour matching and profiles but this one has us stumped. (yes we are printing RGB) Any other tips for us signfx77???
you need to print a color gamut so that you can pull from that gamut the colors you want in your final image. this worked for me since i didn't want to change my monitor just to match my AnaJet.

also, make sure that you are printing all 4 colors to make your black. the richest black utilizes %'s of each color as well. i have the older AnaJet, and the setting i use is "vivid". 2 passes is sufficient, but 3 is darker. the MP5 works with different settings so i really can't advise further, except that the DuPont inks can achieve a dark black.
you need to print a color gamut so that you can pull from that gamut the colors you want in your final image. this worked for me since i didn't want to change my monitor just to match my AnaJet.

also, make sure that you are printing all 4 colors to make your black. the richest black utilizes %'s of each color as well. i have the older AnaJet, and the setting i use is "vivid". 2 passes is sufficient, but 3 is darker. the MP5 works with different settings so i really can't advise further, except that the DuPont inks can achieve a dark black.
Thanks Sean, yes, I think its to do with the anajet profile in the rip software, but I can't seem to alter it. The AnaRIP software (not the earlier one) doesn't have the option to just print b/w and doesn't have vivid/text etc etc, just quality and drop size. Even when I install their profile into Photoshop and preview with that profile, the colours are nothing like whats on screen, MUCH greener neutrals and much greener golds etc, but that could also be because not enough magenta is being printed. I see some of our ink lines are not solid filled with ink so am thinking a purge might help, any thoughts on that?
Yes, make sure your lines are purged correctly. I don't have an older anajet. I have the mp5. I have tried every which way to get black by printing swatches of all kinds. Yes you can get black from the ink but as soon as you press it the colors fade. So you wind up with dk gray. Pretreat is the only way we've been able to keep black. It's literally a light mist. One pass. One way. But I don't even know if the cmyk inks are designed to stick to the pretreat. So washability is questionable. Test before you sell. Color matching is something we are trying to figure out. Designing in cmyk then converting to rgb and saving a png file seems to help. Don't save as a psd it's horrible. Colors are all over the place .
Also spot color matching and printing photos are two different animals. You can print swatches but there are so many variables in the rip. if you move a slider bar slightly you might as well not have swatches. Settings have to stay the same all the time. So print swatches and change the settings until satisfied Then stick to it. Photos are not easy. But we have done a few. It's possible. Anajet says junk in. Junk out. But it's usually junkier. It needs to all be straight cmyk in my opinion. Rgb is a joke. And you get the best results from png files which only supports rgb. Go figure. I say this because thats the format anajet chooses to use themselves. Anajet needs to fix this. And fix the rip so that it prints a bright red on darks with content based on. They also need a feature that turns black off in the rip if you are printing on a black shirt. Seeing a semi gloss or muddied black on a black shirt is yuck. Only way I know of doing this is by taking the black out in photoshop.
stay on AnaJet regarding the RIP. i had suggestions for the older RIP and was just told "there's nothing we can do about it". that may be true, but your prints are only as good as the RIP. you could block colors in the older RIP, so i'm not sure why they would have taken that out.

i never used the sliders, i just tweaked my art before printing. that way, my swatches held true, but i understand what you're getting at, and you are correct. you have to print the swatches in all the different combos you intend to use. for me, i tried to just stick to the swatches that gave me the colors i liked best.

my understanding (albeit very limited) is that RGB gives you a wider color gamut. most of the DTG printers use that color space. i don't do graphics for other print media, so it's easy for me to just always work in RGB. i solely used tiff files at 300dpi with the older RIP.

as for the pretreat, it won't affect the CMYK inks. in fact, you can achieve deeper colors and in some cases hold more ink since the ink isn't diffusing into the cotton fibers as much as it would without the pretreat. you run the risk of "yellowing" a white shirt if you use too much, but you shouldn't be hurting the washability at all.

i figured with the higher ink viscosity used on the Ricoh heads, the depth would be better than with the Epson heads. this is why it's important to keep AnaJet to the task of improving their RIP profiles.

i'm probably not much help since i keep referring to the old RIP. sorry about that.
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I haven't really tried tiff format. I will have to do that. I just noticed anajet is using png for their sample files at trade shows. so, there must be a reason for this. The rip lets you import other formats, but I think the tif format didn't hold the transparency when I tried it, maybe I did something wrong. Only png and photoshop formats held the transparency if I'm not mistaken. I will have to try it again though. Its a shame that the rip has so much left to be desired. I think anajet was trying to beat Brother to market and rushed out the product. I consider myself a beta tester. lol maybe we should be compensated somehow. Brothers grafitee will be considerably more polished when released into the wild.

Regarding the inks. I am thinking the mpower inks are different than the epson based printers. Simply because the print heads are different. So, i'm cautious about the chemistry of the ink in relation to the pretreat. Testing is important. My own experience has been too mush pretreat equals staining and poor washability. Not enough equals poor print quality and poor washability. So whats the right amount? Who knows? Bet ya not even anajet. They told me it has a certain "gray" sheen when you have enough on the shirt. And to air dry the shirts. Who has time for that? I certainly don't. And guess work sucks! No consistency. I'm looking into a pretreat machine (which I can't afford) and I want it down to a science. Thats why boards like this are important for people who are trying to make a living with machines like this.

Having said all this. Yesterday was the first day I thought to myself. I sure am glad I have my mpower. I had an order of 8 shirts for a small company going to a trade show and the print was 1 color white on 3 different color t-shirts. The design had small intricate lines. Impossible to print off my roland versacamm using t-shirt transfer. Impossible to use thermofilm off my plotter. Only option a couple of months ago would be my screen printing machine. I would have had to burn screens and fired up the press for not even a full round. Then, mess with ink and clean up. So, I would have told the customer we have to do 12 shirts as a minimum and I would have made them upset and still made no money. So, I am optimistic, and I'm hoping it will just get better from here on out.
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you can air dry your pretreated shirts as long as you lay down the fibers when it's wet with the squeegee they should have given you. personally, i think it works best to heat press for about 30 seconds with heavy pressure after hovering for about 30 seconds or so to get some of the moisture out. if it's not dry, do it again in 15 second increments. you'll find what works best for you.

the inks are still from DuPont but they have a higher viscosity (thicker), and they have less carrier than the inks made for the Epson heads. they should be able to be more opaque.
Yes, make sure your lines are purged correctly. I don't have an older anajet. I have the mp5. I have tried every which way to get black by printing swatches of all kinds. Yes you can get black from the ink but as soon as you press it the colors fade. So you wind up with dk gray. Pretreat is the only way we've been able to keep black. It's literally a light mist. One pass. One way. But I don't even know if the cmyk inks are designed to stick to the pretreat. So washability is questionable. Test before you sell. Color matching is something we are trying to figure out. Designing in cmyk then converting to rgb and saving a png file seems to help. Don't save as a psd it's horrible. Colors are all over the place .
I have just pretreated a white shirt and a couple of blacks for testing so will compare the white shirt with the print I got before and see if the blacks are any better. Is the way to tell if the lines are purged correctly that the lines are solid with ink?? no air??

Thanks to everyone so far, these forums are a big help. We'll get it sorted!
I have just pretreated a white shirt and a couple of blacks for testing so will compare the white shirt with the print I got before and see if the blacks are any better. Is the way to tell if the lines are purged correctly that the lines are solid with ink?? no air??

Thanks to everyone so far, these forums are a big help. We'll get it sorted!
Try a light garment poly pretreat on light cottons. DTGInks.com sell it and so does digital & screen supply ( viper pretreat) I've noticed a huge improvment in colors ( most notibly black ) and wash fastness. Also try to make the black areas in your design a true rgb black, as the standard cmyk black is far from a true black.
Try a light garment poly pretreat on light cottons. DTGInks.com sell it and so does digital & screen supply ( viper pretreat) I've noticed a huge improvment in colors ( most notibly black ) and wash fastness. Also try to make the black areas in your design a true rgb black, as the standard cmyk black is far from a true black.
Thanks Josh, I'm in New Zealand and this is the only MP series Anajet in the country! I have been enquiring about the product called DTG Pretreat so will try get some of that at a later stage. Wanted to get things sorted using "recommended" settings first, then we'll try other things. The black areas are indeed RGB Rich black thanks.
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Just an update. We did a full pretreat on the white shirt and then printed the black image. PERFECT solid black black, crisp sharp image. Guess this DTG system is the same as all other digital prints where you have to learn the limits and benefits of each machine and design and sell to its merits. There was me thinking a black print on a white shirt would be as easy as it gets.... learning curve conquered.

Now to master photo prints on shirts and bright colours on dark shirts! ....
Cool. You may want to play with the amount. We generally do a light pretreat and it works just as good. Another tip if you get any staining on light color shirts especially orange and pink, you can put a fine mist of distilled water before you pretreat.
Cool. You may want to play with the amount. We generally do a light pretreat and it works just as good. Another tip if you get any staining on light color shirts especially orange and pink, you can put a fine mist of distilled water before you pretreat.
Thanks, will keep that in mind. We did try a light pretreat but it wasn't consistent enough with the solid blacks. Are you using the Anajet Pretreat with the MP5? It doesn't seem to show a silvery (or a sheen) finish like people say the Sprint one does, is yours silvery (or a sheen)?
Yes it's anajet pretreat. There does seem to be a very slight sheen to the shirt after its heat pressed. Kind of like it's been starched.
Yes it's anajet pretreat. There does seem to be a very slight sheen to the shirt after its heat pressed. Kind of like it's been starched.
Are you doing a 50:50 mix?
Are you doing a 50:50 mix?
Yes. Sometimes a hair more pretreat.
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So I thought I would bring this back up. How are all your tests? is pretreating every shirt the way to go no matter the color?
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