When entering the digital printing world, you may start to hear a lot of unfamiliar terms. At ATI, we know how important it is for you to understand these terms to become better educated on the products and techniques when requesting a Fusion digitally printed product. Below are useful terms to review.
This is the front of a substrate. For digital prints on opaque substrates, this will be the only surface printed on.
This is the back of the substrate. This is not typically printed on unless the material is clear like glass, acrylic, or clear PVC. 2nd surface printing allows for a three-dimensional look and feel while protecting the image under the substrate.
The bleed is a small space around the actual printed area. This space allows for a little ‘wiggle’ room in the printing process so the image does not miss the substrate during printing.
CMYK + White
Our digital printer uses CMYK + W for colors. These are the initials for “Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, and White”.
DPI(Dots Per Inch)
DPI is a measure of printer output resolution; the higher the DPI, the finer the image will be.
This term refers to anything that has to be printed using a specialty printer commonly larger than 16 x 20 inches. Large format prints are meant to be viewed farther than an arm length away and because of this they may look pixelated up close. At a distance, however, these prints are sharp and readable.
PPI (Pixels Per Inch)
Stands for ‘pixels per inch’. PPI is used to measure picture resolution.
The Red-Green-Blue color space. Typically used in monitors and digital cameras, colors are described in as 0-256 steps of each of the three colors, describing 16.7 million colors.
These inks are cured by UV light as it goes through the printer. This means that the image is dry when it is finished printing and no heat or air drying is necessary. In addition, because UV inks do not dry or cure until they are run through a UV light, it creates less waste in materials, labor, and energy. This also allows for the ink to be exposed to sunlight and used in outdoor settings.
This is important in the printing world because not all printers have white ink. Historically, the substrate would provide the white or the white used required multiple passes and long drying times to get the desired results. But with digital printing capabilities, there is a variety of substrates and colors that are printed on, requiring the use of a white ink to do the job. This is particularly useful when printing full color designs to non-white substrates. This allows for a variety of printing options, especially when it comes to a diverse range of materials. Here are a few terms associated with white ink—
This term is used when referring to printing on the 2nd surface (or back) of a substrate. The image is printed first, then the white on top of the color image which allows the design to stand out and become some opaque. This can also be called “backed” *Used mostly with clear substrates where a 1st and 2nd surface are printed to create a three-dimensional look.
This term refers to printing a layer of white on the 1st surface, then the image on top. If the substrate is a darker color like some metals or woods, this will provide a more vibrant look.
This is one of the unique capabilities of digital printing. Artists are able to select the white to print only under a portion of the image to highlight or create opacity while allowing the negative space to be the substrate.