Author Topic: i-Image STE on the way. Thoughts, advice, recommendations?  (Read 6822 times)

Offline Dottonedan

Re: i-Image STE on the way. Thoughts, advice, recommendations?
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2015, 07:58:10 PM »

That is an excellent write up. Very detailed. You should do some articles. ;)

I'll elaborate on a few things in there.

1, Software:
While its not really contrary or crucial one way or the other, The three programs do not need to be used simultaneously or all three don't need to be running at the same time. For example you can rip files from Color Print, and send them to the queue and never have either of the other two programs open at all. The ripped files just sit there in the Queue and Archive till called up. This is good for selecting say 20 art jobs completed by art department throughout the day, and they then load them all at once (shift key and select) drag and drop or right click to preferred folder setup) in Color Print. They rip while your art department goes home for the night. That's just an example, not that this would be the suggested method, but many shops do this.

The only one that truly must be open, is the Printer Control when you want to print to the machine or have the machine running and do nozzle checks or whatnot and Print Production of course, must be open if you want to print just one color to the printer.

Another example as long as you have already ripped your files, and the .prt is sitting in either the archive or the Queue, you only need to have Printer Control open in order to operate or print to screens. When would you need to only have this one program open? Well, that's in a wild case of "if lightning struck your RIP PC computer" or your hard drive when down, and you cannot run Color Print nor Print Production, you can still load jobs manually thru Printer control that were held in the Queue that day, or pull jobs from the archive for re-orders....The screen under your keyboard is setup just like in Printer Control program (on the right) and you operate the printer (send jobs) just like you would in Printer Control. You do not need or it's not a MUST to have the other programs running at the same time.

Print Production is more feasible to use (and is why we have it) versus printing straight from Printer Control when printing screens, for a couple reasons.

A,  Can choose (and should) choose to print one color sep at a time (rather than the entire job) at one time. If you select the entire folder (as you have to do in printer control), and have a hiccup on screen #2, out of an 8 color job, the 6 remaining colors must also be cancelled out (if you were printing the entire folder). They are all loaded in as a group. Canceling out, means that it must go thru it's entire process of sending the table in and back out (per color) before it has finished it's canceling process. So, it's more efficient to just be able to print one color at a time via Print Production. Print Production enables you to do this while Printer Control only loads a job folder with all colors loading at once.

B, Print Production enables you to (view the color name and a preview of the art).

C, Print Production enables you to preview or blow up the image preview (at many sizes) to see the actual halftone dots. This is not intended to view dot quality, as much as it is to view whether you have dots in unwanted places. This is good for photoshop files as with any separation method in photoshop (depending on your monitor preview settings, %'s can be hidden or not set to view 1-5% ranges very easily in grayscale or spot color channels.  It's possible to have 1-3% dots outside the art that you didn't see in Photoshop. Who wants 3% dots filling your document size all over your shirt?

FILE TYPES.Color Print is able to receive and RIP...Single color .ai, .cdr, .eps .jpg, .tif, .psd, pdf, .ps and others all as one color files and will RIP them to .PRT with no issues.In order to print (one file) with all colors in it, the files must be saved as .ai, .cdr, .eps, .pdf, .ps or DCS2.The DCS2 format enables you to load (one file) with multi color spot channels originating from photoshop) You can either PLACE inside a vector program and save as eps from there, for the below reason...or, saved as DCS2 and load directly into Color Print after saving fro Photoshop as DCS2.  For size and positioning purposes, I highly suggest PLACING into AI and a template with the below options.

The kicker of either Corel or Illustrator, is that the benefit of using .eps is simply due to the fact that if you want the art to fall in the proper location, you must use the ART BOARD that matches up to your template or max print area.This is the reason for .eps. The EPS format open's the window for you to use the option to USE ART BOARD and RANGE 1.  (Range 1) is referring to the number of art boards and what art board you want to print. Why are there more than one art board option?  Because some shops will use multiple art boards for one job. They will have one Corel file or one Illy file, yet have 3-4 art boards inside. One might be the front print. the 2nd might be the left sleeve, the 3rd the right sleeve an the 4th, the back print. Follow?  So, most people do only use one art board therefore, we tell them to use RANGE 1.

What happens if you do not tell it range one and you select ALL? If you only have one page or one art board, but don't choose RANGE 1, and don't direct it to what one to use), by selecting all, it will send two different files to the Color Print. One for your art board size and one for your Document size.  Follow? This can be a problem because your screen room person will see two files and may just think it's a duplicate. They may delete one, and print the one with the wrong positioning.

Now, you can load a multi color DCS2 file into Color Print directly without saving it into Illly or Corel using the art board and template, but based on the dimensions of the file, it may not land in the proper location that you want. (Think left chest prints), Color Print, without using a template and locked in using eps and USE ART BOARD...RANGE 1, selected, then by default, Color Print positions all files to TOP CENTER. It doesn't know where you want that art to go, so it goes to a standard location within it's max imprint are. This is TOP CENTER. This, again, THIS, is why you want to send your files via EPS using USE ART BOARD and with the RANGE 1 selected, using a template setup to position your art in the right spot. Some shops want the art moved down 1.5" some 2" and some not at all, depending on the location you want the art to land on the screen (for your particular press). Some want the left chest to land 4" from center, some want something like 3.75 or 4.25Is the option to use art board and range one available in any other format?  No, Not that I've found yet. Just EPS. When you have ai art and then do a SAVE AS, look at the bottom of the window below the list of options to choose from. When it's an ai or something else, the option for (USE ART BOARD and RANGE, is grayed out. As soon as you switch to eps, that option is available.  Corel has this eps (USE ARTBOARD) feature also, but it's in the PREFERENCES section. You just check off (use art board).This should be copied, printed out. and given to any art department that uses our devices. THIS, eps, use art board, range 1,  is not an M&R software thing. It's a vector art positioning method to any device and any vector program. We use it, because it fits perfect for what we are doing. Sending smaller dimension files to a printer that is capable of printing much larger than your standard print area requires us (you) to tell it where to place the art.

A, PRINT PRODUCTION is considered a basic preview checkpoint. Not intended to preview interaction with your vector transparency, over prints/overlaps or traps. You can see the colors names of each sep, you can preview the one color grayscale or flat spot color image preview in halftone and then print the color needed.

B, MAC USERS, there is a very good PREVIEW program that displays overprints/traps etc. I just saw it the other day at another MAC shop. We talked about it, but I didn't confirm the name of the small program, but I think it was literally called PRODUCTION PREVIEW or something similar. I will check on that but other MAC users may want to chime in on that. PC users may have something similar, but I am not aware of one. The below, can apply to PC users but I'm not sure if Corel has a similar feature.

C, ILLUSTRATOR has a feature called SEPARATION PREVIEW.  This is good for everyone printing any files out of Illustrator to any imaging device.  You can see what is going to print correctly and what is not before sending it to your device.Go to WINDOW at the top menu bar, then scroll down to SEPARATION PREVIEW. The separation Preview window pops up. All of your spot colors in the art, will be listed in this window. check the box with OVERPRINT PREVIEW at top left.  Adjust your art as needed to get what you're looking for before sending to your imaging device.

I know it was long, but I got one more note.

The disconnect between Hot folders not loading a file over, or not seeing each other at times, or an entire drive not showing up at one time, but then it appears, is more often then not, network related. Some shops that were accustom to smaller sized networks, may need to upgrade to something a tad more reliable or with less breaks in transferring the information as well as possibly an additional port (for the lack of a better word). I don't know what they call them, but you may have had 6 or 8 ports transferring 100mb each. From what I was recently told by an IT guy, lets say (and I'm paraphrasing loosely here), there are typically 100mb per second and there are 1 gb per second transfer rates or something like that. (one of the computer guys here can clear that up).
One of these (that the RIP network its on), can also be bad or more full possibly. Not sure.

That network part is not my forte, and we are not required to set up networks, but I've found most times the loss of files in between the hot folders is a need for a faster or a more reliable network system or a break in the connection at some point. Could even be random.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 08:23:16 PM by Dottonedan »
Artist & Sim Process separator, Co owner of The Shirt Board, Past M&R Digital tech installer for I-Image machines. Over 28 yrs in the apparel industry. Apparel sales,  e-mail [email protected] 615-821-7850

Offline cvreeland

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Re: i-Image STE on the way. Thoughts, advice, recommendations?
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2015, 03:13:56 PM »
I will chalk up my rudimentary understanding on a lot of the stuff you just elaborated on to M&R really not spending quite enough time training us after the install.

My note about needing all 3 programs open at once is specific to the workflow we need to run -- our screen guys have been here for years, and they just want to be handed seps from which to make screens. Involving them in the rip portion of the process is a bad idea, and not going to happen, so we need it automated across ColorPRINT to Print Production.

I appreciate the detailed response very much!
Owner, writer Art Wear - a screen printing blog