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Making Photos Friendly for Simulated Process

(May 2007) posted on Wed May 23, 2007

Four-color-process printing can be a real challenge, and it only gets tougher when the job involves photographic reproduction. Learn about methods you can use to incorporate photos into your garment designs, boost their color, and enhance their edge definition.

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By Thomas Trimingham

If you’ve ever had to recreate a design from a scan of a previously printed image that was already converted into dots, such as a magazine photo, then you know what I mean when I say lots of extra colors. The printed image on paper is actually composed of rosette dots of CMYK. Its color pollution will make effective separation a complete nightmare without a lot of blurring or smudging in Photoshop to combine all of the different colored dots into a smooth tone. Even high-quality photos include extra colors that show up in the shadows and highlights but are not obvious to the casual viewer. The goal with photographic reproduction using sim-ulated process is to isolate and limit the color palette to specific areas in the image so that control is maintained over potential hue shift caused by dot gain or slight changes in registration. To properly prep this image, I first had to select the image area that I wanted to edit. In this case, I increased the color in the image in a controlled manner. You can also use this method to minimize the number of excess colors in a particular area of a full-color image so that the hues can then be easily defined and extracted as separations. I opted to use the Path tool to select an area in the grayscale image. I could have used the Lasso tool, but I found that the Pen can create a very tight path on the graphic and really allow me to adjust and explore the image before I permanently select an area that might be exactly what is needed. I created a path around the football that would leave out the stitches on the top. I then used the Make Selection command in the Paths menu to create the selection so that I could invert the selection and obtain a working layer with the selection of the football in it.


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