Outputting Spot Color Inkjet Films Without RIP Software

Many people who are just beginning in screen printing tee shirts or other textiles often cannot afford to purchase RIP software. RIP software is used to output artwork in the form of inkjet film positives for making screens when screen printing garments. The RIP software allows the user to output dark, dense films as well as films with halftones or other dot patterns. But if you don’t have RIP software or you output directly from Illustrator, what can you do to make your film positives more dense and much darker?

The first thing you can do is use a high quality inkjet film like the Catspit’s Super Inkjet Film Positives. These are not water proof however they perform very well. It is possible to get a better result with a water proof inkjet film like the type I offer on the ecommerce store. If you already have an inkjet film you like, you should be able to improve the quality of the finished film positive by following these tips.

One of the best things you can do to make your film positives darker when you do not use RIP software and the inkjet ink cartridges in your inkjet printer are all still CMYK is to produce a color rich black. A color rich black is a black color produced by using 100% color for each of the CMYK channels in the printer. This is the easiest to do when you are creating the artwork from scratch. You need to make each individual object in your vector art software 100% CMYK. You will have to tweak each of these to 100% manually in the fill or outline color chooser. So for each film positive color separation you want to print, you make all the objects 100% CMYK. This should help make a color rich black which will be darker and more dense than just using the black channel alone.

Another tweak you can use is in the printer settings for Photoshop or Illustrator and an Epson 1400 inkjet printer. Here you can adjust the printer to print a better black with a higher resolution. Follow these steps to make the adjustment when you print from the standard print dialogue box.

Go to File> Go to Print> Go to Properties. In the Paper Options choose type Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy. Now go to Advanced> Click Continue> In this Paper Quality Options section choose Ultra Premium Photo paper Glossy if it is not chosen already. Now click the box with the Photo RPM. Then in the Print Options you will un-click the High Speed box. The bottom line is you wan to turn off the high speed printing setting while using 100% CMYK objects and using the highest quality paper setting for your software and printer. (Do not use the gray-scale option. That would NOT allow for the use of CMYK blacks.) The instructions can vary form different versions of software and even between Photoshop and Illustrator. But if you can manage these tweaks, it should help out.

Again, I never claimed to be an expert on creating artwork or film positives but  these are a couple of tips I use whenever I create my own film positives without RIP software. When I get artwork with complicated designs, I often send the job out to get film positives made by someone who knows a lot more about it than myself. Getting your artwork set up properly for screenprinting is critical to job success. If your artwork sucks, so will the printing and the finished tee shirt.

Thanks for reading! Learn how to screen print with Catspit Productions, LLC!

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16 Responses to Outputting Spot Color Inkjet Films Without RIP Software

  1. I am interested in 8.5 x 14 in Catspit’s Super Inkjet Film Positives. Do you sell this size?

  2. Tracy Thompson says:

    Do you have the Catspit’s Super Inkjet Film Positives available in 24″ wide rolls?

  3. Larry says:

    I don’t see any pricing for the 11 x 17, where do you go to order this size?

  4. Do you believe ‘Epson Ultra Glossy’ setting to give the darkest black – even though the film would be regarded in my opinion as a matt finish? I’m just trying to understand what each setting means on the 1400 or 1410. The old 3000 had a nice ‘film’ setting that worked great

    • Yes, I use the Ultra-Premium Photo Glossy setting to get the most ink out of the heads. It seems to work well for me but different configurations may work better with your particular film positives. Sometimes you have to do some testing to see which is actually the densest. Hold the film up to a light bulb and compare results.

  5. paula says:

    my printer films, after printing it still wet or damp. Why?

  6. Scott says:

    Isn’t there another method or printer maker other than Epson when it comes to making films? When i research an Epson printer, a lot of what i see are horror stories about Epson printers and the poor customer support or the flat out refusal to fix an existing known problem with certain printers that aren’t recognizing the ink cartridges. Then they string you along until the product is out of warranty and then your screwed. I’m a newbie with my own dreams and have done A LOT of searching on this subject but can’t find much info on it. I have an HP Envy 100 printer, how can i tell if this printer would do the job? Pls be the first to actually comment on this issue (at least from what i can find).

    • I have never had any issues with Epson I have had issues with multiple HP printers however. HP makes printers with drivers that don’t work and then you have to go online and get a patch driver to make it work. But with the crappy patched driver all the functions will not be available to you for the printer you bought. So I think HP is worse than Epson. I don’t know if your printer will work with any given RIP software. You certainly can use it without RIP.

      The problem is that for RIP software and screen printing Epson dominates the market. So you may be able to find other options I am unaware of but in the end Epson will be the easiest to work with since most all RIP software has configurations for many of their printers.

  7. 1luismont says:

    Hi, could you be more specific about what do you mean by saying:
    ¨You need to make each individual object in your vector art software 100% CMYK.¨

    Did you meant 100% Black??…………..Thank you.

    By the way….. awsome site…. awsome videos, keep up the good work!

  8. 1luismont says:

    Hi, could you be more specific about what do you mean by saying:
    ¨You need to make each individual object in your vector art software 100% CMYK.¨

    Did you meant 100% Black??…………..Thank you.

    By the way….. awsome site…. awsome videos, keep up the good work!

  9. Laurie says:

    I just printed film for the first time and it went well. I used Catspit Productions film Inkjet water Proof eie wp film, my size is 11″ x 17″, other sizes are available. I have the Epson Artisan 1430 and have no special software on my computer, files are saved in CMYK color mode. First Go to file> Go to print> Go to Properties. In the paper options choose type Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy- I also changed from text to Best Photo. Put in your paper size> Then Go to Advanced>Photo RPM, choose Max dpi>make sure paper type and size has remained the same>choose color mode Epson Vivid> then check Blk/grayscale, then uncheck all others in the same section so that you will print slower and more solid>then lastly uncheck Blk/grayscale, this is important so that you will print dark. Click ok and then print. Hope this helps other with the same printer I have.

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