Spot Color Separations in Photoshop – Part One

Spot Color Photoshop Separation

Spot color separations in Photoshop isn’t as difficult as you may have previously thought but it is worth pointing out that there are a good deal of steps you need to do in order to take your image from looking good on the screen to looking good on a tee shirt.

In this, my first ever tutorial, I break down one of the methods we use to select colors in Photoshop, how to clean up some tricky areas and cover some shortcut keys while getting everything set up properly in channels.

In part two of this series, I’ll show you how to make a base, choke it back so it prints properly, save your final spot color separations file in Photoshop and set it up for output in Illustrator.

And without further ado, I present to you Spot Color Separations in Photoshop, Part One.

Spot Color Separations in Photoshop - Part 1
Watch this video on YouTube.


  1. Here are some tips covered in the video for quick reference.
  2. Work from a duplicate file, never the original.
  3. 200dpi is totally cool for screen printing but make sure it’s at its final print size.
  4. Evaluate your file to see what should be output via Photoshop and what should be done vectored in Illustrator.
  5. Set up your colors in channels by copying their values from the layer.
  6. Make sure you don’t have any errant pixels anywhere you don’t want ink printing.
  7. Tell your mother you love her. She put up with your ass for all these years.

Shortcut keys used:

X – toggles color back to black and white in the toolbar
Command + Backspace = fill background color in toolbar
Option + Backspace = fill foreground color in toolbar

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