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The Top Five Mistakes in Separations

(August 2009) posted on Mon Aug 10, 2009

The most common color-separation problems often have very simple solutions. Read on to find out how you can overcome the issues you commonly face.


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5: Missing a piece of a color You believe your separations are done well, but when the shirt is printed you find that a piece of the image wasn’t reproduced on the right film and is missing on the positive, screen, and the final print (Figure 1). This type of issue is common in vector designs created in CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator, where separations are commonly created by editing the original file. If that file has a lot of pieces that need to be converted to a different color for each positive film, forgetting one or making an error when selecting colors becomes a problem.

Solution: Macros are available to help with color conversion and replacement in vector-based images. They quickly select every shape that has the same color. Some programs like Illustrator allow for selecting similar colors in the design to simplify separating. CorelDRAW has a find/replace color macro that helps to select all of the pieces and an additional feature in a print preview that gives a detailed look at each positive before going to film. Compare an original print the design to the positives and look for any issues.

4: Not enough underbase on dark shirts This problem is an especially tricky one because catching it requires some foresight. The trick to this is to know your inks and how much of an underbase you truly need to create a bright print on a dark shirt without the hue of the shirt affecting the color or value of the overprint. A frequent cause for this problem is related to the method of creating the underbase itself.


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