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Reaching for the Next Level in Simulated Process

(March 2007) posted on Wed Mar 07, 2007

Explore how a change in mentality, practice, and process can ease the transition into simulated-process-color screen printing on garments.

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By Thomas Trimingham

Another issue when it comes to training your artists is to have them create artwork that has definitive edge quality and blending. The edge quality of an image is determined by how well the contrast of the outlines in an image work to border the areas of color. Whenever possible, it is ideal to have a sharper, more defined edge quality to an image that will be separated for simulated process. Fuzzy edges are problematic, and the trouble is compounded by the reproduction through a halftone screen. A good way to control this is to use black outlines to define all of the shape edges in the design. They don't have to be thick lines, and in the case of my design, I used a black hairline as rough border to confine the shapes and colored areas within (Figure 3).

The blends in a design created in house should be controlled to shift cleanly from one swatch color to another and/or drop in value as they fade into a dark garment. Gradual color blends that overlap each other without a solid opacity may produce hues that are difficult to separate and can cause color-matching problems when on press. Always remember that overlapping colors on the monitor have different hues than what your inks will reproduce.

The final steps of art preparation and separation are accomplished simultaneously. The preparation stage of the art should be minimal, assuming the art was created correctly in house using a predetermined color palette. On the other hand, if the customer supplied the art, you will truly never know what you are going to get. It's common for customer-supplied artwork to have way too many colors, blends that are not definitive to two separate colors, and poor edge quality. In these cases, be sure you work with the customer to have the art recreated so that it will reproduce well—or make it crystal clear that what they see on paper can't possibly represent what the final shirt will look like. If everything is wrong with the art (poor quality edges, too many colors, etc.), then try to insist on a recreation before moving the art to the separation stage. Doing so ensures that the final work will be of higher quality. No one ends up happy with poorly printed shirts.


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