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Grayscale Magic

(July 2012) posted on Tue Jul 24, 2012

Trimingham describes how to build incredible looking grayscale prints on dark garments


By Thomas Trimingham

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Initially, this pasted graphic will appear too heavy, but all it takes is a little bump of the contrast to make it right on target. The major concern is that the image may have quite a few areas that are very light in halftone density and may not hold onto the screen for this color. A simple solution for this is to ramp up the gray base to compensate for this possibility. The easiest way to do this is to use the Curves menu and push over the black point toward the middle of the graph while keeping it on the edge. You are just looking at increasing the lowest level of dot to at least 12% or so and then the heavier areas will need to be higher as well to compensate for the ink being gray instead of white.

Determining the need for a bump plate or overlay color A bump is most commonly used when the grayscale image has a strong color cast to it. For example, I added two quick color casts to the wolf image that required two color bumps (Figure 4). If there is not a color cast to it, then it really doesn’t apply. If there is a color cast to the image, then it is important at this point to create a color-overlay plate.

One of the best ways to do this is to find the most saturated area of the color and use either Color Range or pull a selection that you can convert into a channel using the Image Mode split method, where the image is split into a CMYK image from an RGB image and then the closest channel that has enough color information in it is used as a bump plate or color overlay on top of the gray color. Typically, the ink is reduced a lot so it stains the color underneath without creating too much opacity.


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