4-Color Process (A brief explanation)
Different combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow and black can create millions of different colors, but only a fraction of colors are recognizable to the human eye. Take green as an example: if we add 25 percent magenta to it, it will become forest green. If we take out half the cyan, it will become lime green. If we take out half the yellow, it will become turquoise. Even adding or subtracting as little as one or two percent of an ink color can change the entire color dramatically.
Screening Inks to Create Lighter and Darker Shades
When colors are screened, as in the 50 percent screen of cyan in BROWN, the same ink is used as 100 percent cyan. To make it appear lighter, it is reduced to a pattern of dots. Smaller dots make the ink appear lighter and larger dots make it appear darker. Process screen printing is typically done in a few different ways. Offset half tone angles and single line half tone angle known as the flamenco method. Do to the variables involved with the screen and shirt fabric, we recommend using a single line half tone angle (61°F or 22.5°F). Using the flamenco method is much easier to accomplish and it looks just as good on t-shirts!
All professional graphic applications will separate a color document at the click of a button. For example, let’s look at a photo of a model on a boat—shown in individual separated states and finally as the image would be composed (or combined) on the press.
Each of the four colors you see below will be output to a separate positive, burned onto separate screens and inked on the press (wet on wet) so the colors can print on top of each other. After the substrate has been impressed with each inked screen, the composed image will appear in full color. Four color process inks are transparent so they only work on light garments. Since they have to mix wet on wet, it is difficult to achieve a quality four color image.