Despite the fact that most apparel CAD and pre-press software applications are quite performant, the above-mentioned process does not actually take place like this in most companies producing digital printed sportswear. This happens for the very simple reason that the apparel CAD and pre-press applications do no interact and cannot cooperate to do the job.

In reality, most producers use an apparel CAD solution to design and cut the parts from white fabric. In a totally separate process, they prepare the graphics and print them to paper. Grading is done by manually scaling the graphics to match the altered dimensions of the patterns. Positioning the white pieces of fabric onto the printed paper is made purely by hand, involving high production costs.

For the first time, GeminiCAD introduces the PDFtoPATTERN plugin for the Pattern Designer software. Producing custom-made sportswear with digital printing has never been easier. Graphics are imported, in PDF format, directly into the CAD application.

The content is placed on the pattern and is automatically graded by using the same technique as in the normal apparel grading. The PDFs will be embedded in the CAD file. Once this is done, the workflow will be a typical one for the apparel production: the CAD file containing the PDFs will arrive in Gemini Nest Expert, where it will be automatically nested at high efficiency, using Rotation and other nesting functions and restrictions. Once nesting is done, Gemini Nest Expert will export two files: one, for the digital printer, the other, for the cutter. Both files incorporate logical elements, to be subsequently used by VisionCUT for automatically scanning and cutting the file.

The capability to handle PDFs and to apply apparel grading procedures, combined with the ability to nest patterns containing graphics into one large marker translate into a total automatization of the process, all the way to the cutter.

The PDF graphical content passes through Gemini Pattern Designer and Gemini Nest Expert undamaged, without any alteration of the quality or of the properties of the original files; the result is a large format PDF, with the same quality level and color properties, that can be sent directly to the printer.

Preparing the jobs for producing digital printed sportswear requires several separate parts:

  • Designing and grading the patterns following a classic apparel CAD workflow
  • Designing the graphical content in a pre-press application
  • Merging the pattern shapes with the graphics content for each individual size
  • High-efficiency nesting of the parts in long markers
  • Printing the parts in a roll
  • Cutting the parts