February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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index separations A simple method for index separation Six Steps to Index Seps Now that we know the what, when and why, let's take a look at how to separate art for index separations. Follow these six steps to achieve success in the separation process for index printing. Step One Step Three The first step in an index separation is to properly prep the image so that it is the best it can be for the process. The prepping process includes color correction, adjusting colors in cases where hues are too dull or too bright, and adjusting the image if the edge quality is poor (in cases where the design was taken from a low-resolution image). Then, make sure the design is set at actual size and the proper resolution for output as an index dot. In the example (see Figures 1 and 2), the best dot for the printer was a 190 dpi index dot. I had to adjust the image file to fit the print area (12.5" X 12.5") and lower the resolution from 250 to 190 dpi. Here is where the design is adjusted for the way the computer will split it into the selected colors. A good idea at this point is to review what colors in the image will work the best. When choosing colors in an image, always look first for the most saturated colors (brightest and deepest) that are closest to primary colors; those that you cannot make by using other colors. Once you have a good idea of the colors to start with, open the image mode dialog box: image/mode/index color. This opens the index color dialog. Deselect the preview option (in order to be able to select colors from the image) and transparency (see Figure 3). Select Step Two Next, save the design as a duplicate file under a different name. Make sure to save the high-resolution file first before saving a lower resolution version so you don't replace the bigger one by mistake. 1 2 3 56 diffusion dither at the bottom and preserve exact colors can stay off as well. Then the fun begins! From the drop down menu at the top, under palette, select the "custom" palette. This brings up a custom color table based on your design. Click the bottom right corner and make it white when the color picker comes up. Next, click on the same square that you just turned white and drag it up to the upper left corner. This creates a blend, but we want the whole table to be white to start. So, tell the color picker to make all the colors white. Once the color table is reset to white you can start to pick out your colors from the design. Remember to select the most saturated colors and to select a black and white square too. One trick worth noting here: in cases where there is a blend between colors in a design, use the blend feature in the table but select one color. Then, drag it over by a color or two and put in the other side of the blend. The computer will automatically create a couple colors that transition between the two. In the example design, this method was used to create the gray tones (blending white to dark gray) and then the red to yellow blend in the design (see Figure 4). As soon as you get what you think is the right combination of colors, hit okay. Don't freak out if the design looks really bad! It almost always looks weird at this point. 4 | Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 56 February 2013 1/18/13 10:08 AM

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