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Standardizing Separations

(October 2010) posted on Tue Sep 21, 2010

Steps a screen printer can take to standardize production to increase consistency so that time is saved and press set ups can go quickly

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By Thomas Trimingham

Color values This review is an examination of how the file has incorporated colors into the areas of the file. Some graphics may have very controlled areas of color that are contained by shapes. This style of graphic typically will print really well. Other images may have a lot of color noise(Figure 2) that can pollute colors and make them both difficult to separate and very challenging to replicate on press. The actual color values in an image relate to how bright, saturated, and what the hue of the colors is in the image.

Overall complexity The complexity of a design doesn’t always mean that there are a lot of pieces in the image. Complexity can also be a function of how difficult the design might be to replicate or separate properly. Determining overall complexity is usually a combination of art/visual, separation, or production art challenges, and printing concerns with the image, or both the image and the garment.

Trouble areas The most common trouble areas in an image to be separated are usually parts of the design that are easy to see if they are off in hue, position, and or clarity. Sometimes an image will contain a lot of memory colors, which are colors that need to be correct in HSB, or the average person can tell that something just doesn’t look right.

Memory colors often include objects made out of wood, metal, stone, or flesh. Even a non-artist can tell if a person’s face doesn’t look right in hue because they have so many memories of what a normal face color looks like.

Controlling the ink
Controlling ink is not everyone’s favorite task, and it takes a dedicated employee to really dive into the inks and get some good results. One particular effort that can yield tremendous benefits to a printing company is the establishment of a standard set of inks. Choosing from the most commonly ordered inks, and then only stocking these 25-30 inks can be a wonderful guide for clients to pick from and it can really help to avoid costly ink mixing and matching (Figure 3).


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