We all know that there are many output factors that can affect color (heat, resolution, ink limit, profile, spot colors, etc.) There are also factors on the input side (occurring before you even bring a file into queue) that will influence the way the colors in a file will print. Creating a synchronized color works pace within your design software will give you the best chance of having predictable color across different design platforms and file types.
If you are working with Adobe® CS (Creative Suite®) or CC (Creative Cloud™), it’s important to note that these applications come defaulted with “North American General Purpose” 2 color settings and will not prompt you to change the color space if you open a different type of file. To be consistent with the “Prepress US” default in VersaWorks, we recommend changing the color settings to “North American Prepress 2.”
To synchronize your color spaces, follow these simple steps:
- Open the “Edit” menu in Adobe Bridge and click on the “Creative Suite Color Settings” tab.
- Scroll down to “North American Prepress 2” and click apply.
- Your color settings will now be synchronized through all of your Adobe applications (AI, PS, ID) to have the same color works pace as Prepress US in VersaWorks. You’ll also now receive prompts when a file you are opening or pasting into your chosen Adobe program has a missing or mismatched profile.
The Roland Texture Library, included with Roland VersaWorks® RIP software, allows VersaUV® users to choose from more than 70 unique patterns and textures – all printed by layering clear ink. You can also create your own patterns by using a grayscale image as texture data.
In some cases, printing CMYK first, followed by the pattern with clear ink, may not produce the expected results. This is because of the glossy effect that clear ink will always produce. Additionally, because clear ink isn’t completely transparent, it can sometimes affect the underlying color. If you want to keep the normal matte look of the CMYK print and still get the texture effect, you can simply print the texture first (using the clear ink) and then put the color image on top.
This versatility is praised by many graphic designers, as it allows them to explore multiple design options before going into production. For more Tips & Tricks on Roland VersaUV technology, please click here.
As senior graphic designer for Roland DGA, Priya Garcia is responsible for designing a wide range of materials, from product brochures and advertisements to print files, samples and wide-format trade show graphics, for each of the company’s product lines. With more than 20 years of graphic design experience, she has in-depth knowledge of design and production processes for both print and electronic mediums. She is also an experienced presenter and former graphic design instructor at the college level. Priya will be contributing to the Tips & Tricks blog based on her design work at Roland.
In the past year, the Roland DGA corporate office underwent a major renovation and build-out that wrapped up last month. The construction left us with one VERY long hallway; 170 linear feet to be exact.
My challenge (accepted!) was to create a design for the space.
I had to keep a few things in mind while planning for the project. The hallway presented a number of obstacles with no windows, a drop ceiling with fluorescent lights, and lots and lots of solid blank walls. Also, I was given freedom to have some fun with the space because of the location of the hall, so I wanted to treat it a bit differently than the other areas I had designed for.
My solution was a space that would tell a story and also help Roland employees connect with the larger company as a whole. After brainstorming with some of my co-workers, I decided to design a gallery space that would feature abstract photography of everything Roland.
I recruited a small team of talented Roland employees to take photos all around our building, capturing everything from product parts to office supplies. I then used these images to design 49 unique floor-to-ceiling panels, that would all be printed, of course, on Roland devices.
To add variety, I planned to print the panels on two different Roland printers and arrange them in an alternating pattern. Half of the graphics would be printed on Roland WallFlair Removable Fabric™ with the SOLJET® PRO 4 XR-640 and applied directly to the wall. The other half would be produced on ½” Ultraboard with the VersaUV® LEJ-640, and then mounted to the wall with 2”standoffs.
Along the opposite wall, I placed 19 30” x 30” framed canvas prints that would also be produced on a Roland inkjet. Using full-size graphics on both sides would have made the hallway feel even more long and narrow, so we balanced the large images on one wall with smaller framed art on the other. As finishing touches to the design, I added some benches throughout the hall.
The best way for me to share my work on projects like this is to do a Photoshop® mockup of the final design. This helps me share my vision everyone involved. It also helps me refine my design because I might see something along the way that I want to add or tweak. Changes are much less expensive and time consuming when caught here rather than in the production process!
Once the design was approved, we were ready for setup and production. To determine the sizes that we needed and what the graphics would look like in position, I created a layout in Adobe® Illustrator®. This allowed me to work out the kinks and prepare my print files. I then sent our big-scale, high quality photographs to print, which took two full days on the XR and four days on the LEJ.
Once production was completed, a team of two worked for three days to apply and mount the graphics. As you can see by these finished photos, the end-result came out almost exactly like my mock-ups, and my work on “The Longest Hallway in the World” was complete – a beautiful and functional space, full of color and Roland culture.
One of the greatest advantages of UV ink is its compatibility with a wide variety of substrates. Unlike solvent or water-based inks that react with the surface or get absorbed by the coating, UV ink sits on the surface and bonds to it just like an adhesive. A number of factors, including the finish and composition of the surface and the amount of ink being used, can affect the strength of this bonding.
In some cases, the more ink you use, the better the adhesion, since the contact area between the ink and the surface is bigger. We have found that applying a clear undercoat can significantly improve ink adhesion on certain substrates, such as aluminum and polyurethane. So, the next time you are up against an ink adhesion issue, try printing a layer of matte varnish first and then printing the color image on top. If this works, it may still be a better proposition than applying primers manually.
When it comes to producing stickers, proper set-up can help streamline your workflow and save you valuable production time. Here are two cut settings in Adobe Illustrator and Roland VersaWorks that will help you increase efficiency and reduce waste when printing stickers and decals.
In Adobe Illustrator
The PerfCutContour Swatch
If your customers are looking for individual stickers, creating a “PerfCut” (a perforated cut line through the liner) will reduce time spent weeding and trimming finished prints. Creating a new custom swatch in Adobe Illustrator called “PerfCutContour” is a great shortcut and you’ll be able to use this feature time and time again.
Follow these easy steps to create your new swatch:
- With Illustrator open, select the drop down menu from the swatches library and select “New Swatch.”
- In the “New Swatch” dialogue box, change the Swatch Name to “PerfCutContour” making sure to capitalize the “P,C, and C,” and delete any spaces (the name should appear as it does above).
- In the same dialogue box, using the “Color Type” drop- down menu, select “Spot Color” and define a color value for the PerfCutContour swatch using the CMYK value sliders. Then click OK to save. The PerfCutContour swatch should now be available in the Swatch Library.
A quick tip for improving cut quality: Place a Contour Cut line directly on top of the artwork that will be PerfCut. Doing so will tell the printer to perform a contour cut first, before proceeding with the PerfCut. This will ensure that the PerfCut is completed on the backing material only, leaving your printed piece free from the little tags left behind when a PerfCut is performed.
In Roland VersaWorks
The Custom Cut Function
The Custom Cut function can help improve workflow and cut accuracy on longer print and cut jobs by allowing the user to divide the job into smaller segments, resulting in greater print/cut registration accuracy. Before getting started, make all of your desired settings for the job: number of copies, size, quality, etc. Once all of the settings are dialed in, follow the steps below to set up the job with Custom Cut.
- Under the “Layout” tab in VersaWorks, click “Get Media Width” and record the result. You can right click and copy the width. You will need this information for the next step.
- Open the “Size” dropdown menu and select “Custom Cut.” Notice that the width has changed back to the default width. You can right click into the “Width” area again and select “paste” to enter the correct width of the material copied during the previous step.
- The next step is where we will break the job into manageable-sized rows. To do this, change the height in the “Media Setting” field to be slightly higher than the height listed in the “Scaling Field.” In this example, we’re working with an image height of 5.99 inches, so I’m going to enter the “Media Setting” height as 6.10 inches. The job preview to the right will change to reflect each row as a different page. VersaWorks will process each row as its own print/cut job which, in turn, will increase print and cut registration accuracy over the entire run.
These tips were covered in this week’s Roland Academy webinar: “Making Stickers with your Roland.” To see upcoming webinars and access our archive for Roland owners, please click here.
It’s not an easy task to create a window graphic with two different sides and two different images or designs. In fact, it’s a pretty advanced application.
If you’re ready to give it a try, Skip Grant of Grant Graphics has provided us with a few tips that you can follow to produce a great two-sided window graphic. You may not want to do thousands this way, but short runs are just fine.
- Start by laying out the first side. Include your contour cut. Add an outside rectangular box with a thin black outline and no fill. (This is to help register the two sides later on).
- COPY the entire graphic and box and PASTE it side by side. If different text is desired on one side, change the text, but make sure it remains within the same overall contour-cut shape.
- Select the graphic which will be viewed through the front of the window. MIRROR this graphic, including the rectangular border which surrounds it. Save this reversed image only as a new file with a name such as DecalREV.eps.
- Save the other — right-reading — graphic as a new file with a different name (i.e. DecalWHITE.eps).
- Send the reversed file to PRINT ONLY on clear vinyl. Take the print out of the print/cut device.
- Put in light-blocking white vinyl and PRINT ONLY the right-reading file with Quadralign crop marks. Do not cut. Remember to use the same step and repeat structure if you are doing multiples. The cut info for this job is in the cutting queue waiting for you to get it later. Take the print out of the print/cut device.
- On a worktable or lightbox, lay the white vinyl printed side down. Position the clear vinyl print side down on top of the white. Match up the rectangles and use transfer tape to hinge it in position. The printed side of your clear vinyl should be facing the backing of the white vinyl.
- Carefully peel back and trim the backing paper from the white vinyl only. Be sure to trim the backing outside of the finished contour-cut area, but leave enough white vinyl to allow you to hinge the graphic.
- Laminate the white to the clear.
- Put the piece back into the machine and have Quadralign automatically realign the optical registration points on the white vinyl print.
- SEND cut only for the white vinyl file. Remember to set your cut depth deep enough to cut through both layers.
- Weed the finished graphic. Voila!
- Apply to the inside of a window, with the clear side facing out.
In Saratoga Springs, NY, Skip Grant of Grant Graphics has refined label making to a science. He produces labels, custom contour-cut decals, graphic overlays, industrial markings, serial-numbered decals, sports logos and domed labels.
This article has been excerpted from Roland’s popular instructional booklet, Taking the Mystery Out of Print/Cut. The ultimate guide to print/cut technology, this valuable, information-packed resource has already helped thousands of Roland customers streamline their production environments and grow their businesses. Get yours here.