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In Pursuit of the Pleasing Progressive

(November 2009) posted on Thu Oct 22, 2009

This article presents an overview of a technique that involves the use of an inkjet printer to generate a series of continuous-tone progressive separations that will serve as visual guides on press.

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By Joe Raymond

One of these things is not like the other
Even at the highest resolution, screen printing is unlike any other printing methods simply because it is a thick-film process. No matter how well intended, process-color proofing or profiling methods used by thin-film printers break down in production and the expected results, inexplicably, may not arrive on the screen press. This is true regardless of control, instrumentation, training, and diligence exerted by the screen printer.

Understanding the differences between thick- and thin-film printing and how to adjust at the proofing stage produces a more predictable, repeatable process, even at very high line-screen rulings. This article delivers a simple method for process printing one color after another with little additional process-printing training. It does not require additional investment by most screen printers, but it does require reasonable competence at printing halftones.

This technique will get a novice started in process-color printing and assist a few experienced printers get closer to their color targets faster and with less hassle than methods that they currently use. When refined, this same technique can be used on all process jobs that require a high degree of color accuracy.

The caveats
Let’s assume that this method will not be used to characterize, profile, or calibrate prints be-tween inkjet and screen presses. It will not discuss improving how you print today. This method will not detail hardware or software designed spe-cifically for process printing. This method does not substitute for a contract proof.

On the other hand, it is a good method for getting started in process printing at a basic level. It offers a visual roadmap to follow as the image develops at press. The level of success a printer achieves with this method will be the result of gray balance and the printer’s ability to modifying press settings, ink density, and, eventually, screen-printing films.


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