July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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6 2 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 SCREEN PRINTING From Software to Substrate We certainly needed a jungle green color for the foliage but because we were using a very bright green for some of the dynamics in the head colors, the intensity of the green couldn't be used just as is. Employing some of our yellow and royal blue colors along with a reduc- tion in the opacity of our green, we got a nice balance of lightened areas with the yellow and played up some of the recesses with the blue. The royal blue was at about 25% opacity fol- lowed by the green at 65% and the yellow highlights on top at 25%. These would change in brightness as we constructed our base plate. We took some of the same types of palm leaves and made silhouettes to knock out the colored leaves for even more depth. Some inks fell back almost immediately like dark blue while reds and purples at 100% opacity almost disappeared. Our yellow and green held up well and stayed fairly opaque without the base. Using the bright green at 20% and the royal blue with reduction to 15% printed over the top of each other, we achieved a nearly perfect jungle color. With modifica- tions in our opacities, it was satisfying to see our halftones work together to give us those sec- ondary and tertiary colors. The best way to reduce our opacities was to use the Levels palette under the Image menu in Adjustments. With input and output levels available, we used the output option to defuse the grayscale exponentially thus reducing it to a halftone. One of our biggest challenges and the most critical component was the white printer base plate. The color transitions had multiple terrains moving throughout, so the densities in the halftones needed to be next to perfect for the desired effect. Part of our plan was to use two separate bases we call soft and hard bases. The soft base would have all the areas that require some white underneath the colors and would be exposed on a high mesh screen to hold together detail and softer areas of control. Natural shadowing would push these areas back, so having some of this base would have as little as 5% to punch up the colors. The hard base was for the direct purpose of keeping the brightest spots as opaque as possible. All our colors in the fills of the head needed to remain intact with the exception of some sections under the tribal tattoo shapes. The hard base went on a lower mesh screen so there was a significant layer of white to keep focal areas colorful. Most of the shadows in the ears were no more than 8% on the soft base with a few meticulous increases up to 15% for some slight variations. Much like we did with the defusing of some of the outer leaves of the frame, we used Levels to drop the tribal spots down to shades of the colors. Those tribal shapes gave us a unique look and hardly had any base under them so colors like red, purple, and royal blue fell away quite a bit. The yellows and greens are brighter and held up well without white underneath. We rolled back those opacities directly to 70% through Levels. With great variety of highs and lows, these bases gave us plenty of color variation and high contrast. STRONG FINISH To go one step further with texture, we had to add the tactile effect by adding a high-density plate under many ink colors to create skin to the elephant. These were the larger shapes to create the big ridges, particularly in the trunk. For reasonable screen making, we stayed away from especially small shapes. These clusters were manually applied with consideration to how it was going to affect the inks on top. We were careful not to have the high density come close to any edges of the color, so it was choked considerably. This allowed the ink on top to print over the raised, down the sides, and back onto the garment. To close the gaps on some of the wrinkles, we made this ink black so if any little spots peeking out would not be notice- able. As the final treatment, we laid a clear gel over the top of the inks in smaller areas for a bumpy tactile feel. At the bottom, we printed gel, and just because we could, we added red foil highlights. So, after you stare at the en- tire design and touch the elephant skin, you look down at the bottom and there's just that little bit more to push it over the edge. For an almost continuous-tone final print, the separations were output on CTS using an 85 lp with a 22.5-degree angle to avoid moiré interference. We would take advantage of high tension meshes with 35 to 45 N/cm2, a quality resolution dual cure stencil, and sharpened triple-ply dual du- rometer squeegees and winged flood bars. All squeegee and flood speeds were deliber- ate and 15 degrees with minimal pressures. The first soft base white for detail and sub- tleties were exposed on an N-300, followed wet on wet with the hard base on an N-166. These were flashed and smoothed with a heated iron for great drape and hand. The HD screen was an N-102 with a 400-mi- cron cap film stencil hung on it. This was also flashed so we could stack the colors on top of it and the whites. All balance of the colors and remaining screens were printed wet on wet using N-380s, followed by the highlight white on the N-300, and the clear back on the N-102 and 400-micron. Final- ly, the foil application was done at the end of the dryer. Our PsychadElephant really has the best of all worlds with beautiful color, effective composition, well executed printing, and unique textures. Welcome to the jungle! We got fun and games… PW Lon Winters learned screen printing from the bottom up, starting his 20-plus-year career reclaiming screens. He has won nearly 50 international industry awards and honors, published numerous articles, and led several industry seminars and workshops. Currently, he is president of Colorado-based Print This, Inc./, an international consulting firm specializing in technical advances, plant design, layout, troubleshooting, productivity, quality analysis, and complete garment-embellishing solutions. Visit for more information. Contact Winters at continued from page 19

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