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Thread: Need some help - Four Color Process Separation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NC, USA
    Posts
    2,875

    Need some help - Four Color Process Separation

    Hello again,

    As some of you may know, I've been creating some paintings (using ArtRage) for someone who is going to be using the images for various items (Caps, Mugs, Plates, T-Shirts, etc). Things have been going good so far, but I've run into a problem. The person I'm making the images for was asked by the T-Shirt printer to have the image saved in a PDF format and separated using a "Four Color Process Separation".

    Realizing this can't be achieved in ArtRage, I brought the pieces into Photoshop where I then converted the colors from RGB to CMYK (easy enough). The problem is, when I go to save the file as a PDF, I can't seem to get the color channels to separate into individual pages (which the printer apparently requested). Using Acrobat and viewing the saved PDF, I can see the separate color plates (for cyan, magenta, yellow, black) but I can't seem to get each plate on a page of it's own. I was able to use "Split Channels" in Photoshop to create four documents containing only the specific color information for each channel, but when I brought them all into a single PDF file, the channels seemed to convert over into a grayscale image (so they all ended up having a cmyk of their own), and I don't think that's quit what they're looking for.

    Is there anyone familiar with silkscreen printing that could give me some pointers, or might know of a tutorial I could read through. My numerous searches have returned some helpful information, but I need just a little more help.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Delaware, USA
    Posts
    85

    You're OK to save as PDF

    It's really in the output dialog box for the printer. The separation info is stored in the PDF document, and when "Separations" are chosen, the printer will get four separate plates. You don't have to actually make individual seps pages.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    259
    Wanted to check it out.

    I have tried it with many different settings within the pdf dialog box.

    I got as well 4 pages in my exported pdf, named Cyan, magenta, yellow and black but they all look black, like an alpha channel. Am very puzzled and wanna find out also, lol.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NC, USA
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecur View Post
    You don't have to actually make individual seps pages.
    That's what I thought as well (since the information is in there and can be seen by checking the channels), but the guy seemed to want them that way. I actually forgot I posted this here, so I didn't come back to mention that the person I created the images for went with a different printer, who apparently hasn't had issues with the files I've sent him.

    Quote Originally Posted by orbital_chiller View Post
    Wanted to check it out.

    I have tried it with many different settings within the pdf dialog box.

    I got as well 4 pages in my exported pdf, named Cyan, magenta, yellow and black but they all look black, like an alpha channel. Am very puzzled and wanna find out also, lol.
    Each channel by itself is supposed to be, or at least appear to be, a gray scale image. As far as I have found, the single channel would be used to create a negative image on a plate which would then be used to screen the color ink it represented from adhering to the material.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Delaware, USA
    Posts
    85

    Printing CMYK

    You are correct. All printing is essentially one color printing. In a four color job, there are four towers on a printing press, one each for C, Y, M, and K. Each plate represents the range of a single process (cmyk) color. In Photoshop, you can see the effect of eliminating one or more plates by turning on and off the visibility of the individual channels. In a forest picture you'll have strong cyan and yellow channels, and a weak magenta channel. In a picture of an orange, the cyan channel will be weak, washed out. Because less cyan needs to be put on paper.

    If you were "printing" to Adobe distiller, you used to be able to choose seps, to get 4 pages, but why bother, when the commercial printer could do the same. Not only that, but a competent printer probably has to make adjustments to factor in coverage, paper, his equipment.

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