It is possible to utilise the tools on CPP to create Full Sublimation Customisable products that can be customised/personalised to deliver print ready files for fulfilment purposes.
This document will cover the considerations and setup process for a fully sublimated Customisable (blank) Product in 2D, whereby the end user can upload images to every panel of the garment. We strongly advise that any requirement for personalised products (predesigned featuring fixed artwork) be created using the process detailed in the following linked article as it significantly simplifies the setup requirements and minimises costs - Personalised Full Sub Clothing
For customisable full sub clothing products, there are a lot of considerations, and the complexity of the product setup requires a strong grasp of the 2d product creation process, and a good understanding of the following key areas; Preview optimisation, Print Area setup, Surface Masks (print area) / Custom (image area) masks, Print Area Layouts, using an artwork package (PS).
Important Note: Generally, every print template will be different. This means that there will be an element of critical thinking needed to create the products effectively and efficiently.
Full sublimation clothing will only be compatible with Raster artwork output due to the requirements of masks, transparency and print area layouts.
What are the Considerations?
There are multiple things to consider that will have implications on the approach you need take to set up the product. These relate to A) System, B) Setup/Configuration and C) Presentation.
A) SYSTEM CONSIDERATIONS
- Currently all artwork produced by Gateway is generated at 300dpi by default. There is now a Variable DPI option to set dpi and mm size of the generated output. This is available in CPP-V1 with Product State enabled as a config option (liaise with your account manager at Custom Gateway to get this set up).
- The system can produce a 300dpi file with a maximum width or height value of 1000mm (this equates to approximately 12000 pixels in width or height). Anything larger than that would need to be printed at a lower dpi to achieve the required size, eg 150dpi file can generate at 2000x2000mm.
- The system always uses a square canvas for 2d products (800x800 up to 1500x1500 pixels). This sizing determines how big the preview and the configuration area is. Print templates have to be scaled to fit within this square canvas for the purposes of the product preview. That means that if the print template is rectangular, then there will be wasted space within the square canvas which can have implications on the preview quality that can be achieved (see example image below that highlights the issue), eg. images may appear pixelated / low resolution when added to the product. This affects the preview ONLY, artwork will still be print quality.
B) SETUP CONSIDERATIONS
- In most cases, full sublimation clothing print templates are not scalable for different garment sizes. You will most likely have a different print template for every size variation of a particular garment - these print templates are usually optimised to minimise wastage (fabric / ink). That means that for every garment size that you want to offer, you will have to set it up as a separate product on the CPP to match the print templates accurately.
- Outputting to match the exact shapes on the print template requires custom masks or surface masks to be created for every panel. This is generally required to minimise ink wastage when printed, and stop image overlaps in the preview.
- Cut lines - if required these can be included in the print artwork. In some cases it may be necessary to introduce a Print Area Layout to achieve a clean cutline overlay. The inclusion of a Print Area Layout will have implications on future use of the product (eg not compatible with POD routine on CPP).
C) PRESENTATION CONSIDERATIONS
There are 2 presentation options available, and pros and cons to each approach:
1) You present the product on screen to match the layout of the print template
- Simplest approach
- Requires a single print area only
- Compatible with POD routine
- Can look abstract on screen - (areas can be labelled to make it clearer to the user).
- If the print template is rectangular, it might not utilise the full square canvas to generate the preview, so can impact on preview quality (artwork is unaffected).
2) You present the on-screen preview differently to the print template.
- More flexibility on presentation, eg re-position the panels to present however you wish.
- Significantly increases workload;
- each fabric panel has to be configured as separate print area.
- each fabric panel requires a Surface Mask
- each print area would have to be manually re-positioned onto a Print Area Layout to match the print template
- Not compatible with POD routine (due to Print Area Layout)
How do I create it?
This article will cover presentation option 2 and detail the steps involved in this more complex route (as this is generally more desirable). There are 6 key steps:
- 1) Create your 2D View/Aspect preview
- 2) Set your Print Areas for each panel
- 3) Create the surface masks (at print size) for each panel
- 4) Create the print area layout to position and merge each panel
- 5) Set the functionality options available for each panel
The Print Template is the key point of reference, as ultimately this is what we wan't to achieve in the output file that the system delivers when an order gets placed.
1) Create your 2D View/Aspect preview
The first thing we have to do is dissect the full size print template, and rearrange the panels to suit the presentation requirements within a square canvas at full print size. The best approach is to give each panel its own layer, and position to make more logical / translatable on screen. It is advisable to draw a shape around the extents of each layer to offer visual reference of each Print Area location and to retrieve the relevant Print Area size information.
Important Note: Make a note of the dimensions of each panel in mm, and save a version of this file for future reference.
Here we have an original rectangular print template for production. Some panels are rotated/angled to fit.
Here is the amended print template to fit within a square canvas, with the panels rotated and positioned in a more logical way for the user. The colour blocks will serve as a visual guide for creating print areas - the sizes of these shapes is reflective of the print width and height values (mm) that we will need to add to CPP.
Once positioned within a square, save this file for future reference.
Re-size the file in Photoshop to be 1200 x 1200px. This will give us our custom 2D View - it's possible to add text, images etc to the background of this preview image to help the customer to identify what they are looking at, eg panel names etc. Save the image, and create your 2d view mask according to the layout of the panels to control where the personalisation will be visible on-screen.
PRINT TEST: To ensure that the product looks OK visually.
2) Set your Print Areas for each panel
Every panel will need a separate Print Area setting up on CPP. The Print Area needs to be sized accurately in relation to the print template - your mm print measurements from step 1 will be needed here. The pixel co-ordinates for each Panel are then retrievable from the 2d View - if you drew a shape around the extents of each panel as advised in step 1, then this will be much easier as you will have a visual guide to follow. Just grab the x,y and width and height pixel values based on the position of the relevant colour block, eg:
PRINT TEST: to ensure the system is generating correct size files for each panel.
3) Create the surface masks (at print size) for each panel
For every Panel, you will need to create a print resolution Surface Mask from the amended print template we created in Step 1, cropped to reflect the print area of each panel in isolation. The colour blocks will make this much easier to crop when creating each mask. The mask should be black on a transparent background in PNG format.
This mask can then be applied to the Print Area > Surface Mask slot to control the shape of the generated file and make it conform to the panel shape. You will have to repeat this process for each panel. This minimises ink wastage during fulfilment.
PRINT TEST: to ensure the masks are functioning as expected.
4) Create the print area layout to position and merge each panel
Once all of your Print Areas are set, and the preview and output are being correctly masked, you can create a print area layout.
The Print Area Layout should be sized according to the original Print Template in mm. Every specified Print Area output must then be 'mapped' to the layout at the required co-ordinates, and rotation values, to accurately match the original Print Template.
PRINT TEST: to ensure the layout is configured correctly.
5) Set the functionality options available for each panel
At this point, the core print functionality has been set. The next step is to introduce the user functionality. Colour, Image, and Text Areas can be set against each panel as required.
PRINT TEST: to ensure that the product functions and generates files as required.
THIS WAS FOR A SINGLE SIZE GARMENT. REPEAT THE PROCESS FOR ALL OTHER SIZES AS NECESSARY.