DTF workflow for Flexi 22

What is DTF? 

DTF or Direct To Film is the process of printing artwork on a special film and transferring that onto fabric or textiles.  Below is the process of printing DTF:

  1. Printing
    • First you need to have a printer that supports DTF and has DTF inks. This includes white ink.  First you print your artwork in CMYK and then you print white over your artwork.  This is where using Flexi 22 as your RIP to print comes in making it easy to generate your white layer.
  2. Apply Powder (This is the glue that holds the print to your fabric)
    • Second you need to apply your DTF powder. Apply the powder uniformly over the white ink while it is still wet to ensure it sticks.  Next you want to shake off any excess powder.
  3. Melt / Cure the Powder
    • Third you want to cure the powder. This involves using a heat source such as a heat press.
  4. Transfer Your Print
    • The last step is to transfer your print to your fabric. This is where you use your heat press, using the manufacturers guidelines, to transfer your print to your fabric.

Using Flexi 22 with your DTF Printer

Flexi 22 added some great new features making it easy to generate white for DTF printing

Creating your Artwork:

There are three ways you can create files to help generate your white layer for use in DTF printing.

  1. The easiest way to manage white is to simply create a file and open it in Production Manager and use the transparency tab to generate your white layer.
  2. You can also create a file with a transparent background such as a transparent .png. Flexi will use the transparency to create your white layer.
  3. You can create a file with multiple layers. This gives you the most control of exactly how your white layer will print.

Printing Artwork that has no white created in the file:

  1. Open your file into Production Manager and click on the transparency tab:
    DTF1.png

  2. Check the “Create Transparent Background” button.
    • An eye dropper will appear, and you can select the background you want to make transparent. If you hold the shift key while clicking on the image you can select multiple parts of the file to make transparent.  You can also select the “Select Similar Areas” to select similar parts of the file.  The tolerance slider bar can make it easier to select complicated backgrounds you want to make transparent.
      DTF2.png

    • Once you have created your transparency mask you can assign white to print based on that transparency mask. At the bottom of the screen simply select White for Channel and the White Option: Use a transparency mask.  You also have a slider bar to select the percentage of white you would like to print.
      DTF3.png

  3. You can check and see exactly how your white will print out by selecting the output channel preview tab. Next select the Preview output channels and select white.  This will then give you a preview of how white will print.
    DTF4.png

Printing Artwork that has been created already with a transparent background

  1. Open your file into Production Manager and click on the transparency tab:
    DTF5.png
  2. At the bottom of the back select “Use alpha channel data for white”. This will create the white for you based on the transparency created in your file.
  3. You can check and see exactly how your white will print out by selecting the output channel preview tab. Next select the Preview output channels and select white.  This will then give you a preview of how white will print.
    DTF6.png

Printing Artwork that has different layers.  (An artwork layer and a white layer)

  1. When creating your artwork you have to create a spot color in your design program and name it properly depending on your device. (Refer to the manufacturer of your printer) It is important that you name this spot color exactly as specified or Flexi will not recognize this as your white channel.  Some Spot Color names include:  White or Spot_1
  2. Open your file into Production Manager
  3. Right click on your job and select, “split job by layer”
    DTF7.png

  4. On the next window select your first layer and select the “Colors front” option and then select your second layer and select “White” and then select the OK button at the bottom.
    DTF8.png

  5. Now the job is broken into the proper layers and your are ready to print.
    DTF9.png

Other Options for DTF Printing

  1. If you have a large print you can give it a softer feel by Removing Data in the file.
    • Open your file and go to the transparency tab and select “Remove data in texture patterns” and choose your options 
      1. You can select squares or circles to put in your design and you can change the sizing and spacing of these patterns.
      2. You can also select Dashed Lines as your pattern.
        DTF10.png
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