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Is Halftone Printing the DTF Solution You’ve Been Looking For?

Halftone printing will not only create softer garments without sacrificing color and detail, but it reduces the amount of ink needed to create the image.

When it comes to DTF printing, a common question many apparel decorators encounter is, “How can we add more color and details to our designs, with less ink, while making the softest garment possible?” That may seem like a loaded question, or an impossible question to answer, but it’s a question to be tackled. The solution is halftone printing. If you’ve never heard of this, halftone printing is an effect that is used to print images on garments. How this is done is through creating a cluster of dots and grouping these dots together to form a pattern, which ultimately forms the image you want to print.

Step 1: Create a New Project in Adobe Photoshop

 When you create a new artwork image, your DTF printing work isn’t done. You’ll want to copy whatever image you are working with to a new project by creating a duplicate project to get started on preparing that image for halftoning.

Step 2: Adjust the Image

Once you create your halftone project, the next step will be getting the image ready to be printed in this way. You’ll want to desaturate the image, adjust the black, white, and color levels, and set up your image for the next step.

Step 3: Create a Bitmap

Once your image is adjusted, you’ll then want to head over to the mode toggle and select “bitmap.” It’s in this setting that you’ll be able to adjust the halftones. During this step, you’ll want to play around with your dot selections, keeping in mind that the higher numbers mean smaller dots (and more dots overall), whereas the lower numbers mean larger dots (and fewer dots overall). Most halftoning projects will stay around 35 to 45 degrees.

Step 4: Export Your design and Get to DTF Printing

Once you have saved your image, pulled the color out, made changes to the level curves and saturation, and played around with the bitmap until you are happy, you can export your image to print. When you conduct a trial print, you’ll realize what additional tweaks you may need to make to achieve a soft texture using less ink, while still maintaining a detailed image.

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