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Why You "Micro Mask" Full Bleed Designs for Self-Weeding Transfers

Why You
One common feature of software RIP programs for White Toner T-shirt Printers is their ability to "rasterize" an image. This process commands the printer to produce the image as a dot pattern instead of a solid coverage design. A rasterized design allows the graphic to stretch with the fabric material and reduces the feel or "hand" of the transfer image on fabric.

Also, software RIP programs have particular raster options that will reduce or drop white image areas for applications to white garments, or reduce or drop black image areas for applications to black garments. Again, this is designed to reduce toner output, soften the hand, and increase wash durability. However, many White Toner users need to produce full bleed designs for multiple shirt colors, beyond just white or black.

What are the rasterization options for colored garments? The best solution for White Toner users is to employ a "Micro Mask" raster pattern within your software RIP program. Micro Mask is similar to white or black garment rasterization in that it places small holes or break lines within the graphic. However, Micro Mask does not eliminate or reduce the output of white or black areas within the design. Micro Mask allows all colors within your design to print, making it a suitable choice for decorating most color garments.

Micro Mask works best with full-bleed vector designs or logos with large areas of toner coverage. It is not intended for use with photographs or designs that contain gradients or shading.

When to use a Micro Mask raster pattern:

1. Printing a full-sheet sized design or logo
2. Designs or logos larger than 4" in length and width
3. Designs or logos intended to decorate a colored garment
4. Designs or logos that contain areas of both solid black and solid white

Rasterization Steps

Step 1. Create your Micro Mask pattern as either dots or lines. Line Micro Mask works best for designs that need "maximum flexibility" because the garment is designed to stretch, such as a baby-doll T-shirt made from lightweight cotton. Remember to set the angle of your Line Micro Mask so the lines run vertically.

Dot Micro Mask works best for designs that need more detail than flexibility. Heavyweight T-shirts or sweatshirt materials are better suited for Dot Micro Mask.

Step 2. Control the size and frequency of your selected Micro Mask raster to find the balance between "image detail" and "image flexibility." Smaller or fine-detail graphics work better with a small raster size and low raster frequency. Increasing the raster size and frequency allows more distress, which helps image flexibility and wash durability by reducing the "surface coverage" of the design on the garment.

However, increasing the Micro Mask frequency will reduce the detail within the graphic and will allow more of your garment color to show through the design.

Step 3. You can always test your settings by previewing the design in your White Toner RIP Software. See how changing the Micro Mask raster size and frequency will affect your design before you click the print button. If you are unsure about your settings, you can test the graphic on plain copy paper (with white toner turned off) to visually inspect your Micro Mask settings before printing to your self-weeding transfer sheets.

Using the proper Micro Mask raster will help increase the consistency of your self-weeding transfers, provide greater image flexibility, and reduce the risk of premature image cracking when you wash and dry your garment. We hope you see the high quality benefits of using Micro Mask raster patterns for your transfer outputs. For more details, visit Conde Systems at or view our video blog

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