Software for DTF printing is diverse, and encompasses different types of programs, each of which meets specific needs. From graphic design software to specialized RIP (Raster Image Processor) software, these tools play a crucial role in the DTF printing process.
But what are these software used for DTF printing? What are their specific features and why are they used? PrintMyDTF answers your questions!
Graphic design software
There are many graphic design software on the market: Illustrator, Photoshop, CorelDraw, GIMP, and are essential in the world of printing. But for what reasons?
What is graphic design software?
Graphics software allows you to create logos and patterns before printing them.
Whether you're working with text, logos, or complex designs, these programs provide the tools needed to ensure every element is sharp and well-defined. They allow you to work in vector in order to obtain optimal quality.
But what is vectorization of an image?
Vectorization of an image: explanations
Unlike a photo in PNG or JPEG format which is made up of pixels (called a raster image), a vector illustration is made up of geometric objects called “vectors”. Vectorization therefore consists of converting your image made of pixels into vectors to obtain a “decomposed” image, and therefore of better quality.
Vectorized logos can be easily modified in terms of color, shape and size. This provides great flexibility when you need to adapt your logo to different media or contexts.
Additionally, vector files are generally compatible with a wide range of graphic design and desktop publishing software, making the design and printing process easier.
For printing techniques like DTF, where detail accuracy and color fidelity are crucial, vectorized logos are often the best choice. They provide crisp, clear printing, regardless of the dimensions of the final product. This is the choice we make at PrintMyDTF .
Don't have suitable graphic design software?
The different types of software: vector VS non-vector
The major difference between vector graphics software and non-vector graphics software (raster or bitmap) is how the images are created and manipulated.
Regarding vector software, images are represented by vectors, which are essentially mathematical formulas defining lines, curves and shapes. It is possible to resize vector images without losing quality.
Additionally, files are generally smaller because they contain formulas rather than pixel data.
Vector software is ideal for logos, diagrams, and other shapes that require frequent resizing.
Examples of vector software: Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Inkscape.
Non-vector software provides images composed of pixels, each of which has a specific color.
Resizing can result in loss of quality because pixels are stretched or compressed.
Files may be larger, especially for high resolution images.
These software are suitable for photographs and images with lots of detail and color nuances.
Examples of non-vector software: Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.NET
What is the best software for DTF printing?
Concerning DTF printing, one of the software that seems the most interesting remains Adobe Illustrator.
Indeed, it offers many advantages such as its color management, its customization, its prepress tools but above all its vector quality!
But in what way?
Adobe Illustrator is often considered the most complete vectorization software for several reasons:
It offers a full range of vector drawing tools, including pen tools for precise tracing, customizable brushes, and shape tools for quickly creating geometric shapes.
The software offers advanced features like perspective drawing, shape gradients, and complex graphic effects that go far beyond the basic capabilities of many other vectorization software.
Additionally, illustrator integrates seamlessly with other Adobe software like Photoshop and InDesign, as well as cloud services like Adobe Creative Cloud, making workflow easier.
Being an Adobe product, Illustrator is supported by a huge range of tutorials, community forums, plugins and online resources to help users get the most out of the software.
In terms of updates, Adobe regularly updates Illustrator with new features and improvements, which means that the software is always up to date with the latest trends and technologies in vector design.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of vectorization is the ability to resize images without losing quality, and Illustrator excels at this.
How to configure your graphic design software for DTF printing?
It is important to configure your graphic design software in order to personalize your settings and therefore optimize your time. Here are the items to configure for DTF printing:
- the background transparent
- colorimetric mode in CMYK
- unit: centimeters or millimeters
- resolution: 300dpi
- vectorized fonts before saving
- saving in .pdf recommended
- minimum fineness: 0.5 mm (below, the design will not stick to the support)
Jig tools can be extremely useful in standardizing the DTF printing process. Here is how they can be used:
Use the template tools to create standardized templates that match the different sizes and types of textiles you use frequently. This may include areas for logos, text, and other graphic elements.
Templates can include guides and marks to help you position your designs precisely. This is especially useful for ensuring that elements are centered, aligned, or evenly spaced.
Use layers to separate different design elements, like text and images. You can create templates with predefined layers for different element types.
Before printing, use the template to preview and, if possible, test print. This will allow you to spot and correct any errors.
Once you've created a template, you can save it and reuse it for future projects, which can significantly speed up your workflow.
To read : How to prepare your DTF print files?
DTP and Prepress software
DTP (Computer Aided Publication) software allows files to be checked before printing, in accordance with the final rendering, and to send proofs to clients. It is an evolution of photocomposition.
- a good size file
- a fair colorimetric profile
- control of printing characteristics (transparent background, fineness of elements)
- the imposition of the plank
- vector files
Software such as Enfocus Switch or One Vision makes it possible to automate the entire Prepress flow: preflight (or file control), compliance (color space, dimensions, etc.) and preparation of the print file. This saves time and provides greater responsiveness in issuing customer BATs.
RIP (Raster Image Processor) software is a program that establishes communication between your digital printer and your computer, it “translates into machine language”. This software makes it possible to manage color linearization, inking rate, ICC profiles or even white removal.
PrintMyDTF uses the CadLink Digital Factory (EFI - Fiery) RIP. It is one of the leaders in the DTF printing market.
The main RIP software
Not all RIP (Raster Image Processor) software is exclusively designed for DTF (Direct To Film). They exist in all areas of printing: screen printing, four-color printing, etc.
Maintop and Flexiprint are RIP software used in DTF printing by most Chinese manufacturers. These software are relatively affordable, but require file preparation in Photoshop.
Acrorip and WhiteStrip, also used in DTF printing, are software intended for small format printers.
Colorimetry management software
Within our Cadlink software, a colorimetry management module is present. It is compatible with different colorimetry management tools, including various spectrophotometers on the market, allowing good colorimetric compliance.
What is a spectrophotometer?
A spectrophotometer is used to measure the color difference between the base file and the printed file. It consists of two main components: a spectrometer that creates light of a certain hue and a photometer that measures light intensity.