Screen Printing - August/September 2017 - 21
Breaking art separation automation down into steps can save your shop both
time and headaches. You can check the file resolution and remove any background from the active image (Figure 3), run an underbase script to place white
under bright colors (Figure 4), and split designs through color recipe scripts
created for a variety of color schemes (Figure 5).
Black outline scripts These define a black outline
in the image and create a knocked-out background so
that other colors can be trapped by the outline. Obviously, not every image has a strong black outline in it,
but when it does, this script can come in handy.
Color recipe scripts These scripts are popular
separation sets that can be quickly applied to designs
that have similar color requirements. Designers would
choose the recipe that matches the most prominent
colors in a design. It can be particularly useful to have
a recipe for flesh tones, metal, wood, bright neons,
and different tonal color hues that can be timeconsuming to address individually. A lot of shops that
use the index separation method use color recipes
that are saved as custom color tables, and that enable
designs to be split in less than a minute. Depending on
how the color table is applied, these scripts can allow
the files to be revised quickly as well if a few colors
seem a little off (see Figure 5).
Tonal color scripts In Photoshop, you can apply a
script command to images that are based on the same
color family. A good example is an "Old West" sepia
tone image that is applied to a wanted poster photograph, turning the design into a bunch of reddish brown
shades. This tonal image can be rapidly separated using
the color table/index separation method, or using the
QuadTone commands. Either of these methods can create a fast separation using a tonal script that is preprogrammed into the software for a specific color blend.
Highlight white scripts These scripts pull a
highlight white screen out of an image and save it as
an additional color channel. Although this is a simple
enough thing to do, it can save 30 seconds to a full
minute. Minor savings add up if you're separating a
lot of files.
Four-color process scripts These can be saved
versions of four-color process separation commands
that you can reuse depending on the type of image
that is being separated. You can have one four-color
process separation script for a design that has a lot
of pastels, and another for art that has a lot of rich
primary colors. Some separation experts will also
use an expanded gamut process separation script
so they can minimize dot gain in lighter colors (for a
five- to seven-color process image, for instance).
The key thing to remember whenever you're attempting to automate your shop, whether you're addressing
art intake, approval, or separation: Learning how to
execute a series of commands in one step is a learning
process that takes patience. It will yield the best results
only after you have practiced using the solution many
times on a lot of different artwork. But once these shortcuts are working and in place, the time savings will start
to build and can become an enormous benefit.