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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

Separating for simulated process can be a very artistic process in itself. I have found the best, most consis-tent results by splitting the artwork into channels in Photoshop and then resetting the colors in the channels to match the art for a clear picture of the final product. You can use any number of paths to split the artwork into channels. One of these methods is to use plug-in separation software for Photoshop that does it for you. The plug-in's success depends largely on how well the artwork is prepped and designed.

Another method that is more meticulous and time consuming (but very accurate) is to carefully extract each color as a curve and then define it as a spot-color channel. These spot channels are then recombined in order into one file to simulate what the final print will look like (Figure 4). In this manner, the artwork is essentially separated and rebuilt at the same time. This approach also gives the clearest picture of the final print's appearance. The task of pulling each spot channel takes significant training and a careful, detail-oriented eye to accomplish well, but the results can be simply awesome. An effective way to train an artist (or non-artist) to handle spot channels is to bring in a consultant who has significant experience. A third party can walk artists through the practice of prepping and separating with the least amount of press downtime.

In a tough spot, it's really a smart move to send a difficult file out to have it professionally separated so that the films will be the best possible reproductions. The money that this costs will pay off with less press downtime and fewer scrapped shirts (or prevent the loss of the whole order). The goal is to move into simulated-process screen printing with confidence that the art and separations are the best that they can be.

Simulated process in the screen room


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