Ph33r t3h cute on3s = Fear the cute ones
Piro tweets: A random screenshot of one of the things i'm working on: http://tinyurl.com/55tjq6
Piro tweets: amber eyes too much? who cares: http://tinyurl.com/625ra8
Piro tweets: FWIW, here's the original art for the rspwned PTCO: http://tinyurl.com/6lb2uk
It's basically a highly modified ink jet printer, and it prints directly on the shirt. Based on an 8 color printer, four of the print heads print color (CMYK) and four of the print heads print White ink. You can print directly on light colored shirts, but dark shirts require pre-treatment that enables to opaque white ink to hold to the fabric... it's a pain, and there is a huge learning curve, but we're real happy with the results so far.
For light colored shirts, you print with CMYK and the inks will adhere directly to the shirt fibers. Dark colored shirts require one pass that is done in all white (learning to build a proper underbase has taken quite a bit of experimentation) and then there is a second pass where the color prints on top of the white underbase. Once the shirt is printed, you have to cure it on a heat press for 2-3 minutes (they are water based inks, and you have to drive the water out in order to colorfast the shirt so it will withstand washing.
I usually use 1400 DPI for the white underbase (you need to put down a pretty heavy layer of white - the inks are now to the point where you only have to do one pass - a few years ago, you really had to do two passes of white ink to make am acceptable underbase. We also did a lot of wash testing to figure out how to make the images as robust and long lasting as possible. Screen printed shirts using plastisol ink are more durable, but the shirts we make are durable enough and, with proper care (like turning them inside out to wash) they hold up pretty well.
The best thing about these is that i'm the one who does all the setup and tweaking - sarah and i print the shirts, so you are getting something that we made ourselves, in essence. It's a big change for us, and i'm really looking forward to finally being able to offer full color character designs rather than having to develop low color designs we could have screenprinted.
THe fun part now is going to be... production. ^^;;; Whee