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An Underbase with a Punch

(September 2006) posted on Mon Sep 18, 2006

Explore how creative uses of underbases can produce some knockout designs.

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By Thomas Trimingham

You can experiment with a variety of specialty inks as well. Some metallic colors will work, while others won't because of the expansion of the suspended particles in the inks. The ink may appear dull or mottled. I had particularly good results using gold and silver gel inks, probably because of the flexible gels in which the particles were suspended. For the boxing print example, I wanted the dimensional qualities of the final printed image to give the appearance that the graphic had been welded to the shirt.

Separating the artwork for the expanding underbase

I started to separate the file for printing by creating a normal underbase and then duplicating it. The next step was to look at the design carefully and decide where I wanted the special effect to puff up under the print to create the maximum visual and textural impact. I found a good way through trial and error to achieve a great look by using a two-color underbase.

I printed the first underbase with normal ink, printed the puffed areas using the special mix kiss-registered with the first print, and then flashed the whole thing. In some cases, when the first underprint (the non-puff ink) had a lot of halftones and graduations in it, I flashed before and after the puff inkas long as I had enough flash cycles available to finish the job.

The two underbase plates I created produced a controlled puff under parts of the print and left other areas to appear flat (Figure 4). The rest of the colors were separated conventionally as if for use in a conventional print. I used a 180-thread/in. mesh for the regular underbase and an 86-thread/in. mesh for the puff inks. I used a 230-thread/in. mesh for all of the top colors, except for the metallic silver, which I printed through a 110-thread/in. mesh.

Printing the image


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