Connecting

VUTEk printers usually run a LINUX version on their DFE with a folder \INCOMING\ already shared
(if no share is yet created, check the DURST install instructions for sharing folders on a UNIX system or check with local IT; more info might be needed here…)

Some VUTEk stations pull files from a shared server locations (RIP or file server), which could be changed to pull from an output folder on the RIP.

IMPORTANT: if PS RIP is set to output to the \INCOMING\ folder on the VUTEk, then RIP automatically goes on HOLD when the VUTEk printer gets turned off, e.g. overnight or on weekends and all jobs need to be set to CONTINUE in RIP first, once the printer gets turned on again. For very large print files RIP output to local HDD is more stable and then copy file manually to \INCOMING\ or open over network.

Loading print jobs on DFE

Import RTL from the DFE GUI.

This deletes the RTL file from the INCOMING folder and transfers it into the internal format and is now handled by the DFE software.

DFE software usually shows a warning message when 50+ jobs are loaded and requests to delete obsolete print jobs for speed / stability reasons.
(So far no problems have been encountered if the number 50 gets exceeded, but the message can become annoying and consider that HDD space on the DFE is limited).

Print modes

Most VUTEk printers have non-square print modes (e.g. 600×360 or 1000×720), so rotating jobs in PrintStation or on the DFE is not possible.

Current information suggests that some print modes are optional on some machines and need to be separately licensed and enabled / installed by VUTEk in order to become available. This means that available driver during the installation only support modes that were available for testing on models to which we had access to for verifying the drivers.

Example: the “QS2 Pro” supports natively “600×360 [Binary]” and “1000×720 [Binary]”; a “600×360 [Grayscale]” can additionally be licensed (and has been implemented in builds 2.0.3.7894 and higher). It is not known if there is also a [GS] option for the 1000×720 resolution – none was installed on the printer on which the driver was beta tested. Interestingly the DFE accepted RTL files in “1000×720 [Grayscale]” and displayed them properly, yet the printer reported an error message when trying to run them.

If you encounter during install that modes missing, please report them to 3rd line support immediately along with a very small RTL file (content irrelevant; 1cm x 1cm or 1” x 1” is sufficient; important info is in the header of the RTL); chances are you might get a replacement driver with the missing print modes added within 1 work day – please report results with this driver IMMEDIATELY back.

Your tests need to include a large sheet / roll size output with cutter barcodes and camera marks, crop / registrations marks and FOGRA or IDEAlliance label added. These elements outside the main print file area are important tests of the RTL file creation.

White printing (if equipped)

Single Layer Output / Inline White [default]

Submitting a job from the Editor or RIP which includes a White layer will print all channels simultaneous, which creates a pastel look.

If a user is not used to working with in the RIP/Editor generated White, then this can lead to undesired results and the assumption that White generated by the RIP/Editor isn’t working with a VUTEk.
Such user reaction prompted the writing of this instruction sheet.

This print option can be used if White is used as a spot color on the same printing layer as the color image or to create pastel appearances.

This should not be used in FLOOD mode during profiling. The result will look very pastel from either side of a material. See photo

Flood Print

Two Layer Output / Overflood / Underflood
[white creation in the RIP]

This is the most common form of printing with White and directly takes the White channel from the by the RIP generated RTL and prints it as a separate layer before (= Underflood) or after (= Overflood) the CMYK (CMYKcm, CMYKcmyk or similar) channels

Step-by-Step (Underflood)

  • Import RTL
  • Right-Click on image on DFE and select Add to MultiLayer
  • Select 2 Layer in upper right of window

VUTEk console

  •  You’ll see the loaded RTL as Top Image on the left and a plus symbol in the center. The frame on the right remains empty (reserved for 3 layer mode).
  • Click the Image pulldown below the + image area and select White Layer (from Top Image).
  • (Alternatively you can load (click on the + in the preview area) your RTL file also as Bottom Layer and disable inColors all channels except White).
  • Optional: Click on Colors in the lower left of the frame showing your RTL file preview and verify that “[ ] White” is deactivated.
  • Confirm and print

Step-by-Step (Overflood)

  • Import RTL
  • Right-Click on image on DFE and select Add to MultiLayer
  • Select 2 Layer in upper right of window
  • You’ll see the loaded RTL as Top Image on the left and a plus symbol in the center. The frame on the right remains empty (reserved for 3 layer mode).
  • Click the + in the center of the center frame (Bottom Image) and a browse window will open. Scroll down to your RTL job and import.
  • Check the Target Layer [x] under the Bottom Layer image
  • Click the Image pulldown below the Top Image image area and select White Layer (from Image).
  • Click on Colors in the lower left of the frame showing your RTL file preview (Bottom Image) and check that “[ ] White” is grayed out
  • Confirm and print

Two Layer Output / Overflood / Underflood
[white creation on VUTEk DFE]

This form of printing with White does not require a White channel inside the RIP generated RTL, but generates one automatically over the entire printable area and prints it as a separate layer before (= Underflood) or after (= Overflood) the CMYK (CMYKcm, CMYKcmyk or similar) channels.

This mode leaves an existing (generated by the RIP) White channel untouched inline! Please deactivate an existing White channel in the imported RTL unless you want that channel to print White Inline (= spot channel).

As of August 2013 this mode is required to print cutter camera marks and barcodes onto dark or clear materials. Prints onto acrylic substrates with White Overflood will cover the cutter marks and require the camera marks to be read through the acrylic with the print side down on the cutter. As the barcode and camera marks do not get mirrored, the barcode cannot be read automatically (e.g. by i-cut 7) yet still might work with a handheld barcode reader and reading camera marks through thick substrates (= over 3 mm) might not work at all.
Consider printing 3 layers with DFE generated White layer for cutter functionality to work.
Feature requests to support white backing of camera marks and bar codes as well as mirror options for bar codes / camera marks are being processed. Please alter this paragraph when implemented.

Step-by-Step (Underflood)

  • Import RTL
  • Right-Click on image on DFE and select Add to MultiLayer
  • Select 2 Layer in upper right of window
  • You’ll see the loaded RTL as Top Image on the left and a plus symbol in the center. The frame on the right remains empty (reserved for 3 layer mode).
  • Click on Colors in the lower left of the frame showing your RTL file preview and deactivate “[ ] White
  • Click the Image pulldown below the + image area and select White Flood.
VUTEk Console Underflood
  • Confirm and print

Step-by-Step (Overflood)

  • Import RTL
  • Right-Click on image on DFE and select Add to MultiLayer
  • Select 2 Layer in upper right of window
  • You’ll see the loaded RTL as Top Image on the left and a plus symbol in the center. The frame on the right remains empty (reserved for 3 layer mode).
  • Click the + in the center of the center frame (Bottom Image) and a browse window will open. Scroll down to your RTL job and import.
  • Click the Image pulldown below the Top Image image area and select White Flood.
  • Click on Colors in the lower left of the frame showing your RTL file preview (Bottom Image) and deactivate “[ ] White
  • Confirm and print

Three Layer Output / White+White+CMYK/ CMYK+White+White
(even Black+White+CMYK or CMYK+White+Black)

This form of printing creates a double-density white or a single density white with a black backing (e.g. to block out a tinted substrate or create a black base with white contrast elements and then color on top).

Please follow the instructions as above and use the 3 Layer option.

Use White Flood for 2 layers if you need double density over the entire document.

Use White Flood for back layer, then White from Image for selective white areas that need double white and then as visible layer your color layer (CMYK). Depending on surface or reverse printing Flood White would be first or last to print (= Top Image / Bottom Image) with White from Image making up the Middle Image.

Interesting effects can be achieved with Black Flood as backing, then White from Image and CMYK on Top.

Do not print color onto a black flood as the inks aren’t opaque enough to show visible.

Three Layer Output / CMYK+White+CMYK

This form of printing creates a print result with a white layer sandwiched between 2 color layers. It is generally used on clear or matted substrates for use on light boxes which can be viewed also with ambient light.

Three Layer Output

Examples are outdoor light boxes like they are commonly seen at bus shelters or movie poster displays.

The white backing turns into a replacement of a paper color when seen under ambient light (light box is turned off) and also diffuses the light from the light source in the box (so you don’t see the lamps through the clear film material), while the additional backprint provides higher contrast for when the ambient light is off (e.g. at night) and instead the lightbox itself turns into a light source. Omitting backprint would make the single layer print appear washed out.

Step-by-Step (White Flood from DFE)

  • Import RTL
  • Right-Click on image on DFE and select Add to MultiLayer
  • Select 3 Layer in upper right of window
  • You’ll see the loaded RTL as Top Image on the left and a plus symbol in the center and right frames.
  • Click the + in the center of the right frame (Bottom Image) and a browse window will open. Scroll down to your RTL job and import.
  • Click the Image pulldown below the Middle Image image area and select White Flood.
  • Click on Colors in the lower left of the frames showing your RTL file previews (Top Image and Bottom Image) and deactivate “[ ] White
  • Caution: some DFE versions seem to activate the White again when you check the Top Image a 2nd time (exact cause unknown)
  • Confirm and print
Visual Check Chart

Step-by-Step (White Channel from the Editor)

  • Import RTL
  • Right-Click on image on DFE and select Add to MultiLayer
  • Select 3 Layer in upper right of window
  • You’ll see the loaded RTL as Top Image on the left and a plus symbol in the center and right frames.
  • Click the + in the center of the right frame (Middle Image) and a browse window will open. Scroll down to your RTL job and import.
  • Click the + in the center of the right frame (Bottom Image) and a browse window will open. Scroll down to your RTL job and import.
  • Click the Image pulldown below the Middle Image image area and select White Layer (from image). This White Layer will be taken from the image that’s checked “Target Layer [x]”.
  • Click on Colors in the lower left of the frames showing your RTL file previews (Top Image and Bottom Image) and deactivate “[ ] White”; should be automatically deactivated from the one checked “Target Layer [x]”.
  • Caution: some DFE versions seem to activate the White again when you check the Top Image a 2nd time (exact cause unknown)
  • Confirm and print

Five Layer Output / CMYK+White+Black+White+CMYK

In some cases users want to print different images on either side of a transparent material. To avoid see-thru effects it is common to use a black blocking layer in the middle and white before and after and colors are printed directly onto substrate and as last visible layer.

White Flood / Black Flood / White Flood would generate such layers.

Often prints of this type would be shaped objects in which case a flood white of full document frame size might not be desired, but rather a Blocking Layer Channel and White Channels (identical? / different? For front / back?) would be used, which allow to take predefined shapes.

It is currently unknown if there is a reliable way of achieving this with current VUTEk systems. If information becomes available, please edit this chapter.

Double Density printing

Printing on opaque white film with double strike / double density / dual layer is an easy method to achieve the increased density necessary for backlit applications. This means applications where the light of the light box is never turned off. Using an opaque white film material and no white ink is much cheaper than the earlier CMYK+W+CMYK method on clear film and requires 30% less print time, but without backlight on the prints will look oversaturated and dark.

Cutting 

On a VUTEk it is very easy to use Double Strike: simply create a Multi Layer document and load the same RTL into Bottom and Top Layer (see the white printing steps for Step-By-Step infos on loading documents into layers)

There are 2 methods for color managing this type of printing:

Translucent profiling

Use the Double Strike setting already when creating the PMM and measure in transmissive mode, e.g. using a Barbieri Spectro LFP.

This will produce an accurate profile correctly balancing the ink channels to look correct even with higher ink application. This setting also allows establishing optimal TAC and curing settings as it is treated as a completely separate PMM entity.

Reflective profiling

If a user lacks the ability of transmissive profiling, then a simple double strike using a normal PMM for opaque printing (preferably on the same substrate) can also be used.

To avoid adhesion issues and visible color shifts caused by simply printing the same image twice onto the same substrate area, the user might have to fine tune lamp intensity (Curing Low / Medium / High) and try different PMM modes (EcoSave (CMYK) might produce more stable gray, while Less Black (CMYK) can reduce artifacts caused by printing the same dot pattern twice on top of each other.

Caution!

Be aware that the prints will look oversaturated when not backlit. Also cutter camera marks and bar codes can suffer from the double hit printing.

If it is important that prints also look correct when backlighting is off, then Color-White-Color printing with 3 layers needs to be used

Verifying Settings

Jobs that have been changed into multiple layers or in other ways and need to be modified only need to be right-clicked, then select “Edit Job” and the layer settings window opens again.

Caution: some DFE versions seem to activate the White again when you check the Top Image a 2nd time (exact cause unknown)