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Separating Fine Art for Screen Printing

(December 2008) posted on Fri Dec 05, 2008

Reproducing fine-art designs on garments requires some careful decision making about how the images are captured and separated.

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By Thomas Trimingham

The next step in the separations was to duplicate the art file and save the original. I then renamed the duplicate and converted the file to CMYK. The settings that I used were starting from an Adobe RGB 1998 color space with the file optimized for contrast, hue, and color balance. I then converted the file to CMYK using a custom setting under the CMYK working spaces and plugged in the following settings: SWOP (newsprint), 30% dot gain for the inks, and Maximum on the black (to avoid color shifts) in a GCR separation type.

I quickly previewed the channels and practiced undoing and redoing the conversion (Cmd/Crtl-Z) to watch for bad color shifts. Everything seemed to be working well at this point, so it was time to create the underbase color. Using an underbase at all with process colors is tricky business, so I had to adjust the inks a little. The use of additives made them slightly more opaque and less runny.

Creating the underbase required some masking and piecing together because the client agreed with the suggestion that the background be more transparent to allow the final leopard image pop through a little more (Figure 4). I duplicated the file and then masked around the outside. I then turned the outside of the image into black. The final steps for the underbase included converting the file to L*a*b* mode, copying the lightness channel being duplicated, and turning it into an underbase file by inverting it. I also went through the most saturated colors and made sure to put more underbase underneath those areas.


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