The Epson F2000 uses a free software called Garment Creator.
This software works on both PC and Mac. GC is where you will tell the printer how much and what color inks to lay down. There is very little editing ability in GC. You can change size and some colors but I would recommend doing any editing of text or color correction in graphic design software like Adobe or Corel.
Garment Creator can be downloaded without owning a printer. I advise you to download Garment Creator and see how truly user friendly the interface is.
Here are a few videos I recommend reviewing relating to understanding and using Garment Creator.
Another important Garment Creator feature is the Cost Estimator Tool. Here you can input all the relevant variables that will help you understand how much a specific job will cost. Watch instructional video here. This is incredibly valuable because with the F2000, we can calculate not only our ink cost but also our maintenance cost.
Maintenance on the F2000 is scheduled and preventative meaning we are not reacting to, and throwing money at, diagnosing breakdown issues. Follow your maintenance schedule, and your printer should work as intended. View the Epson F2000 maintenance guide here.
Now that you have an understanding of Garment Creator, let’s take a look at how to prepare and import artwork.
Garment Creator reads 4 formats: TIFF, JPG, PNG, BMP. These are raster art files. Raster artwork is any digital art composed of horizontal and vertical rows of pixels. As a result, when raster images are enlarged, the image quality diminishes significantly. You can save as or export any art file out of Adobe or Corel to these extension.
JPG is mainly used for printing on light garments with no white ink.
JPG properties do not allow for a transparent background, meaning a white square will be visible on dark garments. Your printer will read this as white color and print the white background.
TIFF and PNG are universal and can print with with or without white ink.
TIFF and PNG allow for you to save art with a transparent background. Either option will give you the same result. What’s important here is the ability to save a transparent background. I have found PNG will work more constantly. If GC is not reading your artwork and you don’t know why, try exporting or saving it as a PNG.
Saving TIFF and PNG in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint.
To save an art file with a transparent background in Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint you will need to FILE>SAVE AS>TIFF or PNG. You know when your art has a transparent background when you see the transparency grid behind your art (looks like a grey and white checker board).
You will need to delete the background layer in the layers pallet to receive a transparent background. If you do not see the transparent grid, your art will not save as a transparency. When you save be sure you check “preserve transparency” in the dialog box. There are a ton of videos on youtube on how to remove a background from a photo.
Exporting TIFF or PNG in Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.
To save an art file with a transparent background out of Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator you will need to FILE>EXPORT. In Draw and Illustrator you will not see the transparency grid and there are is no “save as” feature for TIFF or PNG.
BMP art files.
I don’t bother with BMP. If your customer sends you BMP you can try dragging it into GC but if you are experiencing any issues, just open in Adobe or Corel and save as or export as TIFF.
Image resolution and artwork size.
Image resolution and artwork size is hugely important and often overlooked. You must consider both of these factors when designing from a program or stealing art off the web.
Designing artwork in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint (raster art).
Here are the rules:
1. Ensure the artboard is about the size you are going to print your design, or bigger. For example, if you are going to print a full front shirt, make the artboard 12″x12″ or bigger. It is better for image resolution to size down artwork after it is saved then it is to size up.
2. Set your resolution to 300dpi. You can go as low as 150dpi but why? Just set resolution to 300dpi. This gives you much more versatility if you need to resize or use for any other media. 300dpi should be your default.
3. Color setting should be RGB. Yes your printer prints in CMYK, but it is formatted to maximize color vibrancy. Now I should note, If you are looking for a nice RGB neon green you will not get it on a CMYK printer, however, RGB will allow for a more true print across most color gamuts. Experiment and see if you don’t believe me. Or take Epson’s word for it “For best results, select sRGB colors when creating data to be printed on a T-shirt. sRGB colors are closer to the actual print results.” That is directly from the F2000 User Manual, which you have already downloaded because you’re awesome.
Designing artwork in Adobe Illustrator and Corel Paint (vector art).
Vector art can be sized up and down, inside and out, while in the art program and not loose it’s resolution. Soon as you save the art as a raster image (TIFF, PNG, JPG, BMP) you are at the mercy of resolution.
So how do you prepare vector art files as raster images? Here are the rules:
1. Design in RGB, you already know why.
2. Once your art is complete in Illustrator or Draw, resize it to be about the size you want to print it or bigger. You must ensure your art fits within the artboard or the portions outside of the artboard will be cut off when saved. See image below for an example. The key to exporting artwork from Illustrator and Draw is having your art and artboard sized correctly. Once it is to size, you can export.
3. Export as .TIFF and ensure you export at 300dpi and RGB.
Stealing artwork off the web.
I recommend it. There are so images that can be taken directly off Google images and put directly into Garment Creator and printed. It’s amazing, but you need to need to know what to look for.
1. Do a google search for the keyword of the image you want to print. How about “Chicago Cubs Logo” (4th generation fan here and proud of it). Then click images and behold all the beautiful photos.
2. The trick here is you need the highest resolution OR the largest images available. To sort, go to SEARCH TOOLS>SIZE>LARGE. This will eliminate all low resolution or small sized art. Remember, for best resolution and quality you cannot size up with raster art you can only size down.
3. Click on the image, use the magnifier tool (if available) to blow up, then save the image to your your computer. Then either open this image in your graphics program or if you like it the way it is, put it in GC, determine your settings, and print.
This cubs logo is ideal. You can see it’s large 2000×2000 pixels, and it already has a transparent background. Not all good art on Google will have a transparent background. You will have to remove the background to print white ink.
This file is not ideal. Low resolution and small size. I took it into Photoshop to show you the pixilation.
Everything I mentioned above are best practices that I encourage you to make habit. Eliminate art problems by knowing how to best prepare art and what to ask your customers to provide. If you need help in Adobe or Corel there are a ton of tutorials on youtube.
As Always, Happy Printing!
John LeDrew • DTG Director • Melco International