Printing On The Dark Side: Four-Color Or Simulated Process?

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Printing On The Dark Side: Four-Color Or Simulated Process?

Printing a full color image on a dark shirt is one of the hardest jobs a screen printer faces. Regular four-color process uses transparent inks: Cyan (sky blue), Magenta (hot pink), Yellow and Black) which print in various percentages, blending together to form a wide range of colors. While this process works beautifully on a white shirt, the results can be disappointing on dark shirts, requiring a white underbase and multiple passes of colors ending up with a thick ink layer and muddy color. While good four-color process can be done on a dark shirt, to do so takes a great deal of experimentation, time, and tweaking during the print run. But there is another way to achieve similar results much more easily.

Simulated process uses opaque inks and in more than just four colors, often between six and eight (usually White, Red, Yellow, Green, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Gray, and Purple). Simulated process colors are usually printed wet-on-wet, with few flashes (a drying process while the shirt is still on the press). For example, to create a flesh tone simulated process would use a mixture of tan, opaque yellow...

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