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Need Help Rendering Detailed Art/Gradients

Postby Satriani » Mon May 23, 2011 11:13 pm

I'm a graphic designer/illustrator currently working contract jobs for a local screen print shop. I make logos and art in Illustrator for clothing. I've just been asked to create art for a union shirt, comparable to other union designs. They're somewhat advanced and I simply don't understand how such detailed art is converted through screen printing. I've attached an example featuring various gradients/shade variations.

Although I'm not advanced in the practice, I understand the basic process of color separation in Illustrator. And I could confidently create detailed line art in black pen and transfer that into screen print-friendly design. But I don't get how so many colors and delicate tones - seemingly airbrushed - in such a highly detailed illustration can be accomplished through screen printing. Does it have to be created entirely in Photoshop or Illustrator? Is it a matter of mastering the Gradient Mesh tool? I can't find any good resources on this anywhere. If someone has a walkthrough/tutorial on a highly detailed shirt design, I'd very much appreciate access to it.
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Re: Need Help Rendering Detailed Art/Gradients

Postby Viper99 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:58 pm

Look at . Their tutorials will help you tremendously!
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Re: Need Help Rendering Detailed Art/Gradients

Postby iloveprint » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:46 am

That's certainly an interesting site to try out. Thank you for sharing this.
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Re: Need Help Rendering Detailed Art/Gradients

Postby Dynamik Graphics » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:55 am

Can't see your original pic due to errors, but I'm going to assume it's a design that's beyond the limits of vector-based art.

For these types of designs, they are actually raster images designed in programs like Photoshop.

Here's one we did for a customer:

This one was a total of 5 colors, if I recall.
Once a design has been finalized & approved by the customer, we go through the process of separating the design into a few spot colors so it can then be screen printed.
The website a previous poster mentioned is for auto-separation software that full color images can be opened in and then the program will attempt to separate the image into spot colors for you. We do all of our separating manually in Photoshop though, to ensure the most accurate recreation as possible --- when breaking an image consisting of millions of colors down into only 5 or 6, there's obviously going to be some loss, but it's possible to get almost indistinguishably close with enough time and effort.

This video pretty much demonstrates how a full color, photo-realistic image can be produced using a few spot colors:
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