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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

I also used another method to add color to the grayscale flames. The Curves menu allowed me to add color to the flames that were wrapped around the football. This was the perfect way to control the colors that I added at the different levels of gray inside the flames themselves. I went in and adjusted the curves in RGB to a specific setting for each arc of the curve for that channel. The result was yellow in the highlights and deep red in the shadow areas (Figure 4).  I saved this setting as Football Flames in case I want to add flames to another drawing in a similar manner. The next time I need to use these setings, I'll only have to load the curves for some instant flames.

The Curves menu is a great way to quickly add several colors blended together because it gives true control over the area and intensity of the colors so that they work best with the image. Additionally, it’s a useful method when you need to add color to a semi-transparent
layer that overlaps a previously rendered object. Adding controllable color without losing transparency can be very difficult.

Controlling and adjusting the edge quality
I was fortunate to not have a real resolution problem in this. Low-resolution images, or those with poor edge quality, can be a real headache. However, you can use several methods to combat the issue.

The first method for fixing blurry edges is the filtered-layer effect. Take a duplicate layer of an object to be clarified and then run the Poster Edges filter on it. Then, turn the layer opacity down to 35% or so. This approach yields better edge quality and improved clarity from a distance, and it served as an enhancement layer for my football design—even though the photo’s resolution was good (Figure 5). This step is especially important when you want to print an underbase for a design in puff or suede ink. The cleaner edges will help to maintain clarity in the special effect.


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