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Plokman

The problem with white

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Hey all,

Been getting my bearings around the threads and all and I noticed something kind of worrying on the Custom Decal front.

From what I've read there seems to be a difficulty with having white in you decal design. Especially if your are making your decals with something like Testors Waterslide decal paper or similar. My question is is there a reason that White can't be printed with a inkjet printer and show up on the decals.

I know the reason why Metallic colors can't be done since Printers can't print metallic (which you think by now we would have ones with addable inks that can) without it just being Grey.

I'm sorry if this has been explained else where I don't want to make a thread on a covered subject. But I thought I'd ask the experts. Main reason I ask is I want to have whites for the eyes of my minifigures with glasses like Good Cop's and also you got to have white for the Octan logo.

Anyway let me know and I'll figure it out from the pros.

Thanks all,

Plokman

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The fact is printers do not print pure white. They 'read' it as the paper colour, so do not waste ink to print it.

To print in 'white', you must use a yellowish/greyish hue which is almost as pure white.

Then you have to consider which decal paper you use, and which background colour you apply it to.

Basically, you can have white when you use white decal paper (meaning opaque), but it may still be a bit semi-transparent enough that a darker piece colour will influence the final aspect of the part.

When you use clear decal paper, you can be sure lighter hues will be strongly influenced by the part's colour and you'll have to either compensate (very difficult and not always possible), or change the paper.

A solution is using white adhesive/sticker paper instead of just decal paper. That way you'll print the other colours on a white background, not see-through, and the white will remain white regardless of the part's colour. Note that it may require you to print the other colours a bit darker than they actually are because the white from the paper will lighten the final effect.

You can find a discussion on Decal paper in this (quite old) topic.

This is all I can say with my limited experience in printing decals. Others may have more detailed info to share.

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It's really the science behind how dye based inks work. It's hard to explain other than a normal CMYK inkjet printer with normal inks will never be able to print white. That also means that printing on a clear decal over a dark part will not work out.

There are (expensive) ways to print it as have been discussed before, but one that isn't mentioned is relatively new and is opaque inkjet inks. They are really made for commercial uses though, here's a big one from Epson, the WT7900. That might help you with research if you want to try and find an affordable consumer model.

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The fact is printers do not print pure white. They 'read' it as the paper colour, so do not waste ink to print it.

To print in 'white', you must use a yellowish/greyish hue which is almost as pure white.

Then you have to consider which decal paper you use, and which background colour you apply it to.

Basically, you can have white when you use white decal paper (meaning opaque), but it may still be a bit semi-transparent enough that a darker piece colour will influence the final aspect of the part.

When you use clear decal paper, you can be sure lighter hues will be strongly influenced by the part's colour and you'll have to either compensate (very difficult and not always possible), or change the paper.

A solution is using white adhesive/sticker paper instead of just decal paper. That way you'll print the other colours on a white background, not see-through, and the white will remain white regardless of the part's colour. Note that it may require you to print the other colours a bit darker than they actually are because the white from the paper will lighten the final effect.

You can find a discussion on Decal paper in this (quite old) topic.

This is all I can say with my limited experience in printing decals. Others may have more detailed info to share.

Ah that makes more sense there. I never even though about the white being labeled plain.

I have no problem with making it a proper white to suit the part. (I work with color pallets all the time as a sprite artist) But yeah I need to take that into account.

I'll take a good look at the old thread.

Thanks Lux

It's really the science behind how dye based inks work. It's hard to explain other than a normal CMYK inkjet printer with normal inks will never be able to print white. That also means that printing on a clear decal over a dark part will not work out.

There are (expensive) ways to print it as have been discussed before, but one that isn't mentioned is relatively new and is opaque inkjet inks. They are really made for commercial uses though, here's a big one from Epson, the WT7900. That might help you with research if you want to try and find an affordable consumer model.

Hmm true for plain white anyway. But if you make it just the right shade of grayish white it'll pass I suppose. It definitely won't be Lego white. I'll look around see if I can figure it out.

Yesh I can't afford that kind of ink at the moment. I just had a thought. How about a stencil for applying white paint to go under the decal so it'll show up white? I'm not steady enough with my hands to do it free hand though.

That is a idea.

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Hmm true for plain white anyway. But if you make it just the right shade of grayish white it'll pass I suppose. It definitely won't be Lego white. I'll look around see if I can figure it out.

Unfortunately, that will not work. If you are not printing on white paper you will not be able to get white or even light colors on a lego part that is not white. You would have to use some sort of opaque ink for this to work, be it opaque inkjet ink, thermal printer, or pad printer. This is science, if I do find a link to explain it I will post here.

You can get white waterslide decal paper and print whatever color you want, I believe that is discussed in the papers thread LuxorV linked to.

How about a stencil for applying white paint to go under the decal so it'll show up white? I'm not steady enough with my hands to do it free hand though.

That could work, you could probably print on white decal or waterslide just the white parts outline and then cut it out and apply it first. Then print the rest of the design on clear to place over it.

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Unfortunately, that will not work. If you are not printing on white paper you will not be able to get white or even light colors on a lego part that is not white. You would have to use some sort of opaque ink for this to work, be it opaque inkjet ink, thermal printer, or pad printer. This is science, if I do find a link to explain it I will post here.

Drat I'm kind of hesitant to ask but would texturing the white work? I mean on one of my decals I have a name patch on it that is meant to look like a old embroidery tag and as such The white on it is textured to look more cloth like. Hold up one sec 5b54d646dEOB7.png

This is the one. I know the Octan wouldn't show but what about the white around Ray?

You can get white waterslide decal paper and print whatever color you want, I believe that is discussed in the papers thread LuxorV linked to.

That could work, you could probably print on white decal or waterslide just the white parts outline and then cut it out and apply it first. Then print the rest of the design on clear to place over it.

Ah so more or less have a double decal for the situation. Thats actually better than my idea if that is how you meant it.

Also the tan used to signify wrinkles on a yellow face would it come out ok with clear Decals?

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Drat I'm kind of hesitant to ask but would texturing the white work? I mean on one of my decals I have a name patch on it that is meant to look like a old embroidery tag and as such The white on it is textured to look more cloth like. Hold up one sec

This is the one. I know the Octan wouldn't show but what about the white around Ray?

Ah so more or less have a double decal for the situation. Thats actually better than my idea if that is how you meant it.

Also the tan used to signify wrinkles on a yellow face would it come out ok with clear Decals?

The tan if it's dark enough should be OK, but depends on how dark you make it. To get an example of how clear stickers will work, draw on some clear plastic wrap or tape with a highlighter and put it over the torso. That's the same way the ink in your printer works.

For example, if you print something in yellow on a clear decal and stick it onto a blue torso...what you'll see is green. If you print yellow on a clear decal and stick it on a white torso, what you'll see is yellow.

With a normal ink jet or laser printer, the only way to get exactly what you see on your computer to your minifig is to print on white decals (sticker or waterslide) or try the underneath method i mentioned above (but have not tried, it is simply a concept but it should work).

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The tan if it's dark enough should be OK, but depends on how dark you make it. To get an example of how clear stickers will work, draw on some clear plastic wrap or tape with a highlighter and put it over the torso. That's the same way the ink in your printer works.

For example, if you print something in yellow on a clear decal and stick it onto a blue torso...what you'll see is green. If you print yellow on a clear decal and stick it on a white torso, what you'll see is yellow.

With a normal ink jet or laser printer, the only way to get exactly what you see on your computer to your minifig is to print on white decals (sticker or waterslide) or try the underneath method i mentioned above (but have not tried, it is simply a concept but it should work).

Well I guess tan is a easier thing. Yeah I thought so on the white and yellow. I figured that printing on the Trans paper would be like Sharpie on tape. I guess I'll try the double decal method for the glasses thing. As for the torsos I was planing on useing white paper for them always. Just faces are smaller and I have no clue how to just cut out the pieces that small.

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Basically, you can have white when you use white decal paper (meaning opaque), but it may still be a bit semi-transparent enough that a darker piece colour will influence the final aspect of the part.

That actually matches lego's white printing quite well. The colour nearly always bleeds through white / light printing on dark parts these days.

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There´s Laser Printers that are able to print white.

A blanket statement like this with no information isn't helpful at all. Can you give some more information? Are you talking about thermal printers, wax printers (do those still exist?), opaque toners for consumer models? Examples, prices, anything?

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A blanket statement like this with no information isn't helpful at all. Can you give some more information? Are you talking about thermal printers, wax printers (do those still exist?), opaque toners for consumer models? Examples, prices, anything?

Why does this not help? Not gonna waste my time on writting everything you need to know...

But as I said Laser Printer I don't get why you ask for thermal or wax printers...

Oh...and btw.. giyf...

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A blanket statement like this with no information isn't helpful at all. Can you give some more information? Are you talking about thermal printers, wax printers (do those still exist?), opaque toners for consumer models? Examples, prices, anything?

Easy there Dark he was just trying to help. Plus it's not that much of a Blanket saying Laser printers can do white. Hmm Wax printers I don't even know how those would work. But I do know Dot Matrix printing. :laugh:

Why does this not help? Not gonna waste my time on writting everything you need to know...

But as I said Laser Printer I don't get why you ask for thermal or wax printers...

Oh...and btw.. giyf...

Google is indeed your friend. Also my enemy when it comes to priceing stuff. :sweet: Laser printers are a expensive bunch but much cheaper than thermal. I think next time I get a new printer (Which won't be for ages seeing my HP inkjet is a beautiful little thing.) It will be a laser printer.

Heh just a crazy idea I just thought of and I may make a custom of it if I can get the right Dimensions for a 2x2 plate. A old Dot matrix print out with the green and white paper and all. :laugh:

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Why does this not help? Not gonna waste my time on writting everything you need to know...

But as I said Laser Printer I don't get why you ask for thermal or wax printers...

Oh...and btw.. giyf...

It doesn't help because a standard consumer laser printer does not print white, so I was trying to get some more details.

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It doesn't help because a standard consumer laser printer does not print white, so I was trying to get some more details.

Oh thats what you meant. Hmm that may be a good index we should put together here. If Lux thinks it's a good idea of course.

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I think once you get your head around how the colours are formed from a printer it helps to see how things will or won't work.

Most printers run from ink cartridges that are made up of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink. The mixture of these four colours gives the entire spectrum that you can see... every magazine or book will be printed from these four colours. But they only achieve that from having a white base page to work from.

Most ink in printers that you and I use is transparent therefore it needs the base colour of the media you're printing on to work from. If it's white then that's great... if it's transparent such as clear decal paper then it doesn't work the same way.

Printing tint's of colours won't give enough ink coverage to stop the colour of the plastic you're adhering the decal onto showing through and having a large effect on the colour finish.

Here's a printer that runs from opaque inks that will allow a white cartridge to be used instead of white:

http://www.okidata.com/procolor/711wt

It mixes the black from the remaining Cyan, Magenta and Yellow inks but uses white to help achieve a vibrancy of colour on materials that may not necessarily be white.

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It doesn't help because a standard consumer laser printer does not print white, so I was trying to get some more details.

in the end you only need white cartridges and a special driver...again...giyf.

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I think once you get your head around how the colours are formed from a printer it helps to see how things will or won't work.

Thank you for the informative post. :classic:

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in the end you only need white cartridges and a special driver...again...giyf.

If you can share some info, try to do so in a more complete way, please. We all know lots of data can be found via Google, but:

- if everyone should respond 'giyf' to every question, we'd close any and every discussion/questions' thread at the second post. We are a community and we try to help each other by sharing our knowledge;

- at times, it can be too much; pointing in the right direction with somewhat detailed info, maybe adding an example, and then suggesting to search for more is indeed more useful than simply saying 'there's all sort of things on Google; try it'.

I'm sure you can see my point. Thanks for your understanding, and for sharing your knowledge and experience. :classic:

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If you can share some info, try to do so in a more complete way, please. We all know lots of data can be found via Google, but:

- if everyone should respond 'giyf' to every question, we'd close any and every discussion/questions' thread at the second post. We are a community and we try to help each other by sharing our knowledge;

- at times, it can be too much; pointing in the right direction with somewhat detailed info, maybe adding an example, and then suggesting to search for more is indeed more useful than simply saying 'there's all sort of things on Google; try it'.

I'm sure you can see my point. Thanks for your understanding, and for sharing your knowledge and experience. :classic:

Sure I can see your point. ;)

But since I don´t own one of these Printers I thoughed I just reply that there are those printers to inform people that there is a possibility to actually print white.

Nothing more, nothing less. Of course I could have written an article about everything you need to know, how and were to purchase the cheapest...

But then I would have had to do the research my self and it might have taken hours of my precious spare time :P

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