Design and Product Development

Digital Textile Printing with Laser Engraving: Surface Contour Modification and Color Properties

  • Uikyung Jung (NC State University)
  • Traci A.M. Lamar (North Carolina State University)
  • Renzo Shamey (North Carolina State University)


This research combines two digital technologies for customizing textile substrates: carbon dioxide (CO2) laser treatment and digital textile printing. They are highly versatile surface design technologies that provide great detail, enhance design flexibility, and meet the growing consumer demand for novelty and variety in apparel and textile designs. One of the most important aesthetic effects of combining those technologies is the potential to influence the color properties of digitally printed textile materials by laser treating the material surface before printing. The objective of this research is to determine if creating pile height variation by laser engraving cotton velvet fabric prior to digital inkjet printing can impact the resulting color. Because color yield depends on the surface in contact with the dye, a pile fabric (cotton velvet) was selected for this investigation. To develop samples, laser engraving was conducted to create pile height variance before printing using a 40W CO2 laser machine. The laser settings were held constant with 100% speed, 55% power and 400 dots per inch resolution. Laser intensity was controlled by using 0%, 50%, 75%, and 100% grayscale patterns to modify pile height and surface contour of velvet. Higher intensities remove more of the surface pile. After laser treatment, seven solid cyan, magenta, yellow, black, red, green, and blue colored stripes were printed with a reactive dye ink printer. After sample development, the color properties of the fabrics were measured by using a spectrophotometer with D65 daylight and 10° standard observer. Reflectance curves, C*, ΔEcmc, K/S values were obtained and interpreted to compare color consistency depending on pile height variation. According to the results, pile height variation was demonstrated to cause a measurable effect on color results in inkjet printing using instrumental measures.

Keywords: Pile Fabric, Textile Design, Laser Treatment, Instrumental Color Assessment

How to Cite:

Jung, U. & Lamar, T. A. & Shamey, R., (2019) “Digital Textile Printing with Laser Engraving: Surface Contour Modification and Color Properties”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019