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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

The second method I use for dealing with blurry edges in a photo is to go in on an extra layer and carefully carve out fine, black lines around major objects and other important features in the design that need to stand out. The fine line helps by creating a gutter in the underbase and halftones, as well as controlling the overlapping of medium-value halftones (a major cause of fuzzy prints and unhappy customers). The tough thing about drawing in a fine line is the time required. Carving out a fine line in drawings that have lots of objects and details takes a long time. The customer rarely wants to pay for that time because the results are not apparent—except that the job runs a lot smoother on press and the shirts don’t look so fuzzy. For this reason, I normally run the filters first to see whether they will work. I will cut a line in only when there is no other way to improve the image.

I finished my design by adding some type. I then merged the football/flames into it so that I could combine everything in the final channels for output. Waiting to add type until you’re finished using filters on or making adjustments to a photo is the best way to ensure that the typography keeps its edge quality.

Extracting the colors
Separating the design was actually quite easy because every element was on its own layer. Such an arrangement eliminates issues with isolating shapes and contoured objects. I simply duplicated the image, selected a specific layer in the dialog box, and began to use the Channel Mixer menu to pull the colors.


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