How Would You Sep This 03

how would you sep this 03 featured

This week’s image is a monochrome glass of orange juice. Working on an image like this is incredibly similar to doing a grayscale separation.

Since all of the colors are somewhat similar, it will be easier to blend the colors. The exact same holds true in a grayscale sep.

Choosing Colors

sep this 03 color choicesBefore we get in our cars and drive anywhere, we usually have a good idea of where we’re heading. We might not know the exact route we’re going to take, but we normally have some kind of idea.

The same is true for sepping.

We need to get an estimate of the number of colors we’re going to use. We also need to estimate which colors we are going to use. This should happen before we begin separating.

Thought it’s not necessary, you can make a swatch palette on its own layer. I made this one for the sake of illustration. However, if it suits you, make your own as a reference. Just make sure to turn that layer off when separating.

The Yellow

sep this 03 yellowI started this sep by working on the yellow. Preparing yellow to print onto a white tee is fairly forgiving. You have a lot of room to play around so don’t be afraid to experiment here.

I sepped the yellow knowing that I was going to use it as somewhat of a base for the orange that will print on top of it. With the yellow going into the fabric before the orange is printed, the orange will have something to sit on top of. This will help the orange.

The Gray

sep this 03 grayI’ve chosen to use a light gray to help create some of the subtleties of the glass. Since the gray has such little coverage, it would be good practice to print it first.

However, I have it printing after the yellow because I want the yellow stepped on before the orange prints. It can also switch places in the sequence with the orange if needed. Even though this screen is placing ink on the tee, it sort of acts like a pickup screen as well.

The Orange

sep this 03 orangeThis is the most powerful screen in this particular job. But even though there’s a lot of it going down, notice that there’s no place in this screen with 100% coverage.

How Many Colors Do You See?

When we look at things in real life, rarely is anything 100% solid color. There are always highlights and shadows that change the actual color we see. The same is true here and in most every simulated process separation we create.

This screen also acts as a bit of a base for the red to print on top of. In this case, it’s because the red is so opaque that it can easily dominate a print if too much is printed. For this job, I want to have more orange than red.

If we do this and the red is still too heavy in the final print, we can switch the sequence so the red prints before the orange. This will make the orange more noticeable.

Along with the gray (and the brown later), this is a what I like to refer to as power on press. Anyone who tells you they know exactly how a color is going to print is either lying or superhuman.

I’m not superhuman. I only have an idea of how the colors are going to print. Because of this, I always build options like this into my separations when possible.

The Red

st 03 redRed ink easily overpowers many others, especially yellow and orange. Because of this, our coverage needs to be skewed towards favoring the others.

You’ll notice though, that I’ve made the straw very strong. Whatever we do with the orange and red in the sequence, the straw will always be the area of the image with the strongest red presence.

It appears by the JPG format, that the coverage is fairly equal in the middle of the glass. In reality, it’s actually around 33% in the middle of that mass, 10% on the edge.

Again, if the red is too strong here, it can be printed before the orange.

The Brown

sep this 03 brownThis is another screen that doesn’t have a lot of coverage. It’s best to use this kind of screen to its maximum potential. In this case, it’s going to step on everything, helping pickup as well as blending.

I’ve also done something here that will allow us more options while on press.

In the fruit slice on top of the glass, there is some brown. This is in the original image but if it doesn’t work for the print (which it might not), we can simply tape it off.

Ink Coverage

This sequence is versatile and can be changed to the printer’s delight. However, this is how I would sep this and send the file out.

sep this 03 comp

Each screen in this separation shown in order.

If you save this image to your computer, you can open it in Photoshop, convert it to grayscale and see the ink coverage values by mousing over the image and watching the info palette.

The Finals

Take a look at this image to help bridge the gap from computer monitor to the press. I always work with my channels set to ‘selected areas’ and convert them to spot colors only just before I save the final file.

sep this 03 channel comparison

Comparing how different channel modes appear on our monitors

Although this image is better represented with the channels set to spot color, I find selected areas better represents changes made to the channels more accurately across the majority of images I work on.

I also appreciate how changes made to the opacity are reflected when working on dark colored tees.

However, it doesn’t matter if you work with your channels set as spot color straight from the get go. So long as you keep an eye on your coverage via the info palette, you should be good.

There is literally no difference between the two separations on the right other than how they appear on the computer monitor. Once printed to film, they will produce the exact same results.

How Would You Sep This 03

How Would You Sep This 03 is part of a series aimed at helping you learn methods of color separation. Be sure to check out the other parts of this series.

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