June 11th, 2024

Unlocking the Secrets to Photorealistic Apparel: A Guide to Simulated Process Screen Printing

Simulated process screen printing revolutionizes apparel decoration with photorealistic prints and vibrant colors. Threadbird excels at this technique, blending our screen printing expertise with cutting-edge technology to create all of the magic. Curious how? Keep reading!
Unlock the Secrets to Photorealistic Apparel: Your Guide to Simulated Process Screen Printing

Simulated process printing, commonly referred to as sim process, is a groundbreaking development in the apparel industry that has transformed the way we approach garment decoration. It enables the creation of photorealistic prints that were once thought impossible. This method achieves unprecedented detail and a vibrant color spectrum, making it a game-changer for all your custom printing needs.

At Threadbird, we have not only embraced this innovative technique but have also perfected it! Our team of experts combines their deep understanding of Screen Printing with the latest technological advancements to create stunning, high-quality garments that truly stand out. 

One such advancement is our newly acquired Laser-to-Screen (LTS) Exposure unit, a cutting-edge piece of equipment that significantly enhances the accuracy and resolution of screen exposures. This, in turn, allows for even more detailed and vivid prints on your garment of choice.

Our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in custom apparel design is reflected in every project we undertake. By leveraging our expertise and the capabilities of the LTS Exposure unit, we ensure that each garment we produce meets and exceeds our clients' expectations. Whether it's a small batch of t-shirts for a local event or a large-scale clothing production for a significant brand, Threadbird is at the forefront of bringing your visionary design to life!

Understanding Simulated Process Screen Printing

Simulated process screen printing distinguishes itself using a more nuanced approach to color reproduction. We use halftones to mimic transparency in layers to achieve a vast range of hues and tones. This relies on breaking down an image into those halftones to reproduce it - a task requiring a profound understanding of color theory and screen printing techniques. The result is a photorealistic representation with unparalleled vibrancy and depth, making it the go-to choice for complex designs.

The process begins with separating the design into smaller color layers, then each of the layers (those that are not solid color) are then transformed into a halftone dot patternThese layers are printed one by one on top of each other, creating an illusion of blended colors that accurately represent the original image. The inks used in simulated process screen printing allow for more natural color transitions and finer details than traditional spot color printing, leading to a more lifelike image. Not all layers (or color channels) in a process print need to be halftoned if there are individual layers/channels that are solid color. We would only need to halftone a layer if it is mimicking transparency or blending into another color.

Advantages of Simulated Process Screen Printing

There are many benefits of adopting simulated process screen printing:

  • Photorealistic Reproduction:  This process excels in capturing the minute details and subtle gradations of full-color images, surpassing the capabilities of traditional printing methods.
  • Full-Color Spectrum: It allows for the reproduction of a comprehensive color palette, ensuring vibrant prints that capture viewers' attention.
  • Soft and Comfortable Prints: Thanks to the technique's use of transparent inks, the final print feels soft to the touch, enhancing the wearability of the garment.
  • Versatility: Its adaptability to a wide range of fabrics means that simulated process screen printing can be used across various apparel types, further adding to its appeal.

Achieving Photorealism in Custom Apparel

To achieve photorealism, one must pay attention to several factors:

  • Garment Selection: Fabric choice is crucial. While white shirts provide a reliable base, darker colors work exceptionally well thanks to our high-quality plastisol inks, resulting in a super soft print.
  • Color Accuracy and Gradient Handling: Mastery over color separation and the understanding of halftones is crucial to reproducing gradients and ensuring color accuracy, especially when working with complex illustrations or photographs.

Artistic Considerations and Collaboration

Simulated process printing is where art meets technique, and the magic really happens when designers and printers work closely together. It's a creative dance where both sides try to hit that sweet spot between what looks amazing and what is doable. This collaboration is super important because it helps turn complex designs into awesome wearable art.

At Threadbird, we're all about team spirit. We dive deep into collaborations with creators, working closely with them to bring their visions to life with pinpoint accuracy. We're not just about getting an image on a garment; we are committed to capturing the artwork's original vibe, clarity, and detail, ensuring your print is the best we can make it.

Tips for Achieving Exceptional Results

For those looking to get the most out of process printing, here are some pro tips:

  • Use High-Quality Artwork: Save your art files at the highest resolution possible (generally, 300 DPI) and ensure artwork is prepared with printing in mind.
  • Master Color Separation: We ensure the person handling the separation process is skilled, as proper color separation is crucial to achieving the desired print outcome and preventing disappointments.
  • Choose the Right Screen Printer: At Threadbird, we specialize in simulated process printing, aiming to bring your most audacious designs to life where we understand your vision and have the technical capability to achieve it!


Future Trends and Technology in Simulated Process Printing

Looking ahead, technological advancements will continue to evolve in simulated process printing. New ink formulas, screen exposure methods, and color separation software are expected to bring more efficiency, detail, and environmental sustainability. The future of custom apparel printing is full of potential, and Threadbird is dedicated to leading the way.


Are You Ready to Print?

Simulated process screen printing is at the top of the game in the custom apparel world, delivering awesome photorealism, versatility, and top-notch quality. Thanks to the latest Laser-to-Screen Exposure tech, Threadbird stands out by taking your projects to the next level with more vibrancy and detail. Whether you're a designer eager to bring your creative ideas to life or a brand wanting the best quality prints for your garments, simulated process screen printing is your go-to method for standout results.

Threadbird is more than just a leader in simulated process screen printing; we are a full-service merchandising company that prides itself on a comprehensive array of printing services. From Discharge Inks and Water Based Inks to embroidery and custom cut & sew, our capabilities are designed to meet a wide range of artistic and promotional needs. Additionally, our in-house fulfillment center ensures that every project, no matter its size or complexity, is executed with precision from start to finish. This one-stop solution approach allows us to bring our client's visions to life with unparalleled quality and service. At Threadbird, we're committed to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in merchandising while delivering exceptional results every time.

Ready to see what simulated process screen printing can do for your next project?  Give our Threadbird team a shout and chat with our experienced account rep to find out how we can make your designs pop!


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