Author Topic: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II  (Read 3390 times)

Offline OhNoPrinting

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Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« on: January 14, 2024, 04:30:04 PM »
Oops I did it again.. a new CMYK print.

//Viewer Discretion Advised -  everything I write below is from a newbie with only the second cmyk print



...but before I could actually start printing, i was first fighting with the Adobe software (Illustrator and Photoshop) and the Epson 3800 printer settings.

Normally i design in RGB colorspace (eciRGB_V2) and leave it in sRGB if its for screens or for printing, import it to Indesign and in a last step convert it to CMYK (mostly "PSO Coated v3.icc" profile for paper printing).

i started my design in RGB and after a while I remembered that cmyk colorspace is pretty dull compared to my glorious colors on screen, so I converted it to cmyk with the Wilflex-Process-305-.icc to have a look .. and i still liked it.

--> now I guess here is a little problem, i don´t actually own Wilflex Cmyk Process inks.. but yeah, it was just a "better-then-nothing"-idea to get a glimpse of the end-result.

anyways, i continued with RGB the design, and then got again in a whole wrestle how to separate it to CMYK and Halftones. I use Max Chromas Photoshop separation actions. I love how they enable me to separate stuff but I am still only scratching the surface what they can actually do. (and why...)

The main problem was, that if i started the process of seping in RGB, colors which were 100% cyan or magenta got halftoned. So i started the action in CMYK modus. (i think the action still converts it to RGB, but somehow the 100% cmyk colors stayed halftone-free)

I opted for 60lpi in a 1200dpi file, which made huge file size, but i think i can see a difference, if i go for 800dpi or 600dpi in the halftone shapes - but I guess only on paper printouts or the screen. Angling yellow at 0´, Cyan 15´, Black 45´ and Magenta 75´.






--> I tried to read about preferred halftone lpi sizes and the consensus might be: make the halftone as big as you possible can get away with: 40 better then 55 etc.. (read in: Mark Coudray / Quick Start Secrets To Printing Better Halftones).. I printed my first CMYK print with ~45lpi but this time i convinced myself, that there will be sooo much more details in 60lpi and well, in the end its more a test then actual production, so why not :-)

Here a halftone comparison between screen > film > mesh > print

//you can actually see, that I loose quite a bit of my halftones :-(



the Epson printer claims to print on 2.880 x 1.440 dpi. Recommendation (Eric Chan) is: "To prevent any interpolation from being done by the driver when "Finest Detail" is checked, prepare and print your final images at 720 ppi (pixels per inch)." More tests needs to be done, to see, if that actually changes the halftones (input interpolation from 1200dpi down to 720dpi) but I couldn’t see a change comparing it to the halftones on screen.

But first I needed the halftoned files in Illustrator, because i made a template with print-marks and a kind of registration board. The digital Illustartor file has the actual pallet size and reg-marks and the same is printed out on a board which attaches to the platen, so i can line up the screens on the machine.

I linked the separated .psd-files (as RGB) into an .ai file (CMYK) and printed out of Illustrator. In Illustrator my black showed as a kind of Rich-Black.. (c:87,95/M:80,69/Y:82,67/K:52,52) and the printed out black was different to the black reg-marks which showed (c:0/M:0/Y:0/K:100). After ripping my hair out for a while, I realized that just converting the rgb-file to cmyk would not change it bgack to 100% k. So i needed in Photoshop to selected everything with the magic-selection-tool (switch anti-alising off) and fill it with 100k black. Back in Illutrator i had a CMYK .ai file. linked a cmyk .psd (i knew it has 100% k) and still the eyedropper showed my black as cmyk colors...  the solution was, to embed the .psd file and not just link it. Now I got a 100% K reading inside Illustrator. And of course, you can see the different black when printed out.

Now I am unfortunately really no expert, so I can´t really judge how big of a difference that makes for your stencil.. yes the muddyied cmyk black looks dull and less strong, but can more UV light pass??

The next step was the actual printer settings from the Epson (&Illustrator):

In Illustrator i could only choose a "printer profile" where I selected a fine-art glossy paper which i think uses more ink then "plain paper or "matte". And "Let Illustrator determine colors" because i couldn´t select anything else (I would have chosen to switch off color management, because its only black anyways)

And in the Epson dialog, I still am unsure about printing in Color or Black only.. left it on Color. The Paper Configuration gives you an option to up the Color Density. That sounds like a great idea for getting a stronger, darker stencil and i used it before on simple designs but with halftones it really filled in a lot of details. So used only +10% density, drying time and paper feed slowed down a little.

I got the transparent-prints. And have to say, getting a consistent color-workflow is not that simple.. on the other hand, most of my ramblings is really not that important to the actual print. My take away right now is: bigger halftones might work just fine, try to (color-) compensate for what you see on the screen vs what you can actually archive printing and no halftones for 100% c,m,y or k.



Next stop: coating the screens. Always felt 2/2 is great, but went for 2/1 because of the super fine halftones. (Read KiWO Screenmaking: that 10% eom is a good value for halftones on a finer mesh)

After drying the screens, i developed them but got a bit lazy ... i changed emulsion (Sericop Supreme) and didn´t remeasure exposing time, so i guess i over exposed a little bit, because i couldn´t wash out all super fine halftones. //its also an emulsion for waterbased inks, but it didn´t really matter for this project.

Screens are 90T (230 US), yellow mesh, tension around 16 to 17 Newtons/cm.

Registration with my super chunky reg-marks.. not perfect but ok.




Now to the fun part.. because its only a training session, I choose a design i had in my head for a long time.. a kind of hommage to all the youtuber who were motivating me (!) to learn to screen print.

On the right side it starts with Paul Manwaring from This Designed That (https://www.youtube.com/c/ThisDesignedThat) he holds his amazing diy led uv lamp in his hands - i bet, my motivation would not have survived exposure times of more then a 1 minute, let alone 10 or more per screen – his 200w UV led does it in ~20 seconds.



Next to him is Antonio Aguilar from the "Ink Build Up" channel. He prints in Mexico and makes things work with similar equipment i started with (second hand, diy) (https://www.youtube.com/@TheInkBuildUp)

Cameron Earven from The Print Life (https://www.youtube.com/@ThePrintLife) needs no introduction, as Jonathan Monaco from Catspit (https://www.youtube.com/@CatspitProductions)





Top left is an avatar representing Max Chroma (https://www.youtube.com/@MaxChromaColor) , if you ever were interested in color seps, you will have read from him in forums or reddit. I used his Tessellator Photoshop action (https://payhip.com/MaxChroma) to sep into cmyk. He now works on a web app (ScreenTone Pro 9001 ), which is really kool, because you can see the halftones effect change live.

And last but not least, the wonderful person from the German channel Siebdruck-Versand.de (https://www.youtube.com/@siebdruckversand) not only are the videos straight forward and easy to follow but they work in a super clean way with great designs.

And yes.. I couldn´t resist to also include the “no Trolls” Logo from the forum. :-)

So thanks for the opportunity to write all this down and can´t wait for the next thing to try out.




« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 03:04:14 AM by OhNoPrinting »


Offline Doug S

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2024, 08:43:52 PM »
Amazing write up.  Thanks for the read. 
It's not a job if you love doing it.

Offline blue moon

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2024, 09:09:12 PM »
Few thoughts… this will come across as elitist or negative, I am sorry for that. Please understand that all we are trying to do is point you in the CORRECT direction. If you follow what we collectively here at TSB have to offer, the sky will be your limit. You can learn to print at award winning level as many here have done.

1. A lot of information on Youtube is pretty bad. It works great for getting started as it is motivating, but they learn things on their own and pick up some bad habits. Use them as inspiration and then start getting information from the correct sources.

2. Find out how to do this properly. You are trying to figure out how to do something that has already been solved. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Ask questions here. Specific questions and will get good answers. The group here has several hundred years of experience and has helped develop some of the products (equipment and chemistry) you are likely using.

I was in your shoes when starting. Used youtube to get going, asked a lot of questions and read a lot of papers. it was important that everything was being done correctly. Then when i saved a little bit of money, i brought in consultants to verify that everything being done is right They gave me homework on what to do going forward. Following that help and consulting advice I won the first award in less than 2 years from first picking up the squeegee. All of this on a shoestring budget.

So… what should you do?
First, get Ultraseps. That will make you do the seps right. Yes, it’s a little bit of money, but it will save you a ton of headache in the long run. https://v3.ultraseps.com/
You will also need a RIP. While it is not obvious, being able to control the dot size and density will allow for proper exposure. At a minimum get Ghost RIP, so you are printing your halftones correctly. There are ppl here that are running it and should be able to help getting it going. It is free so there is no excuse for not doing it better. Ultimately if you want the correct halftones, you will have to pay for the software.
The screens are super important. No matter how good your press is if you have crap screens you will not get a good picture. Your high lpi example shows what happens with bad screens. You are missing a lot of info and no skill in printing will fix that. In order for those light shades to come out properly, you have to make the dots bigger. My guess is, you would probably have to be at 30 lpi to hold all the dots, maybe even bigger.
How do you get to smaller/finer half tones? Testing! Get your screens to be uniformly coated (same amount of emulsion in the trough, same speed, same pressure on every screen), properly exposed (use an exposure calculator and some testing) and then test and calibrate your RIP so you are holding at a minimum a 7% dot. 5% would make for very good prints. You are probably in 15-20% range now. While you might see 10% in photoshop and on your screen/print it is only because your printer is outputting them the size of 20% so they are printing, but they are twice as big as they should be.
To get them to be the right size, you will need to do some testing and calibration. There’s more info here:

https://www.theshirtboard.com/index.php/topic,8018.0.html

After all that is done and sorted out, then you get into press calibration, squeegee durometer and sharpness, ink selection, flashing temperatures…. But there enough above to get you going. Ask questions!

TLDR: stop guessing! Use the proven methods, it will get you there sooner and you will go further.

Pierre


Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Online zanegun08

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2024, 11:37:51 PM »
Few thoughts... this will come off as includist or positive, I am happy for that.  This print looks great to me, great skin tones which are difficult with CMYK, great blacks which I personally like to run a spot black and process black for super rich blacks.

The biggest thing in screen printing is that it's all trial and error, and what works for someone else may not work for you, and what you are doing is seeming to work.  Most people stay away from CMYK printing because it's difficult to control, difficult to maintain the look (print it 100 times and see if it looks the same as your first print), and you can have better control with simulated color process at the cost of more screens.  To me, the print looks really nice, and the inks blended well that you barely even see any halftones anymore, almost like a well printed index print may look.

So yes, you can spend time to make better halftones, and better screens, and better information than what you find on youtube, but for your first CMYK prints this looks really nice, especially since I haven't seen the original source art just the end result, but for a print looks great to me, especially for a first attempt.  One thing I have never liked about CMYK prints is that when washing since the inks are so thin you get pretty bad fibrillation and faded looks after washing, which I think simulated color process has less of an issue with this as well.

Anyhow, good work, keep it up and keep posting your process.  Though it may be a little untraditional who cares, you got good results that you are proud of.  I've tried to mess with some of the Max Chroma stuff in the past but the guy makes me think of a conspiracy theorist, sacred geometry type person, and never invested enough time into it.  He's pretty active on reddit as well and a lot of what he says I don't think would work for me, but it seems to work for him and that's cool by me!  I don't think ultraseps works that well besides for greyscale images, I've had much better results outsourcing for simulated process seps than ultraseps.

I've taken the Mark Coudray halftone mastery class, and while you can learn a lot to do things in that perfect scientific way, who cares, just sell a good product you stand behind and keep improving.  Print shops aren't science labs, you could print ketchup though cheesecloth and if it looks cool I'll back it, the end result is what matters.  There are people doing amazing quality work that blows away most in the US industry with more basic setups and line table screen printing, there is no CORRECT way.

Offline blue moon

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2024, 02:04:11 AM »
Few thoughts... this will come off as includist or positive, I am happy for that.  This print looks great to me, great skin tones which are difficult with CMYK, great blacks which I personally like to run a spot black and process black for super rich blacks.

The biggest thing in screen printing is that it's all trial and error, and what works for someone else may not work for you, and what you are doing is seeming to work.  Most people stay away from CMYK printing because it's difficult to control, difficult to maintain the look (print it 100 times and see if it looks the same as your first print), and you can have better control with simulated color process at the cost of more screens.  To me, the print looks really nice, and the inks blended well that you barely even see any halftones anymore, almost like a well printed index print may look.

So yes, you can spend time to make better halftones, and better screens, and better information than what you find on youtube, but for your first CMYK prints this looks really nice, especially since I haven't seen the original source art just the end result, but for a print looks great to me, especially for a first attempt.  One thing I have never liked about CMYK prints is that when washing since the inks are so thin you get pretty bad fibrillation and faded looks after washing, which I think simulated color process has less of an issue with this as well.

Anyhow, good work, keep it up and keep posting your process.  Though it may be a little untraditional who cares, you got good results that you are proud of.  I've tried to mess with some of the Max Chroma stuff in the past but the guy makes me think of a conspiracy theorist, sacred geometry type person, and never invested enough time into it.  He's pretty active on reddit as well and a lot of what he says I don't think would work for me, but it seems to work for him and that's cool by me!  I don't think ultraseps works that well besides for greyscale images, I've had much better results outsourcing for simulated process seps than ultraseps.

I've taken the Mark Coudray halftone mastery class, and while you can learn a lot to do things in that perfect scientific way, who cares, just sell a good product you stand behind and keep improving.  Print shops aren't science labs, you could print ketchup though cheesecloth and if it looks cool I'll back it, the end result is what matters.  There are people doing amazing quality work that blows away most in the US industry with more basic setups and line table screen printing, there is no CORRECT way.

Agree with most of this… but there is a correct way to do things under ideal circumstances. All of us will have to make adjustments for our conditions. That is what i would call optimal. If the quality of the print is important, starting with correct and developing the optimal would be my suggestion.

Zane is absolutely right though, print quality does not pay the bills, sales do.

Pierre
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline CBCB

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Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2024, 06:59:21 AM »
I've taken the Mark Coudray halftone mastery class, and while you can learn a lot to do things in that perfect scientific way, who cares, just sell a good product you stand behind and keep improving.  Print shops aren't science labs, you could print ketchup though cheesecloth and if it looks cool I'll back it, the end result is what matters.  There are people doing amazing quality work that blows away most in the US industry with more basic setups and line table screen printing, there is no CORRECT way.

Too true.

“Veterans” talk crap on the YouTubers all the time.

The “correct way” you got from a consultant… that guy learned it himself just like a YouTuber did. Or learned it from a shop who learned it themselves and is selling it as their own knowledge now.

They’re asking questions in all the same places to all the same people. So if they are spouting bullshit then maybe wonder where they got it from. It was either through their own trial and error, or advice from an industry vet.

Even Dan has a channel.

YouTube is just as good a place to get info as TSB. Gotta watch for the same industry snakes, salesman, people who wanna help without actual experience, buddies of salesman, and consultants.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 07:02:05 AM by CBCB »

Offline blue moon

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2024, 03:51:39 PM »
I've taken the Mark Coudray halftone mastery class, and while you can learn a lot to do things in that perfect scientific way, who cares, just sell a good product you stand behind and keep improving.  Print shops aren't science labs, you could print ketchup though cheesecloth and if it looks cool I'll back it, the end result is what matters.  There are people doing amazing quality work that blows away most in the US industry with more basic setups and line table screen printing, there is no CORRECT way.

Too true.

“Veterans” talk crap on the YouTubers all the time.

The “correct way” you got from a consultant… that guy learned it himself just like a YouTuber did. Or learned it from a shop who learned it themselves and is selling it as their own knowledge now.

They’re asking questions in all the same places to all the same people. So if they are spouting bullshit then maybe wonder where they got it from. It was either through their own trial and error, or advice from an industry vet.

Even Dan has a channel.

YouTube is just as good a place to get info as TSB. Gotta watch for the same industry snakes, salesman, people who wanna help without actual experience, buddies of salesman, and consultants.

disagree here. Experts I am talking about did not wing it, or if they did it was early on. But since then they have done scientific studies, some have written graduate level papers with detailed analysis. Talking to Joe Clarke and Mark Coudray you get the information that has been studied, peer reviewed and confirmed by ppl that have a much deeper understanding of what's going on than most of us do. So no, they are not asking questions in the same places, they are going to Universities and Colleges, they are reading the scientific papers and digging deep into it. You don't see them looking for information here. Even though several of them were kind enough to come over here and share their knowledge.

pierre

Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline OhNoPrinting

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2024, 08:30:20 AM »
thanks for replys - especially !! the elitist and the includist :-)

I am def here to hear the good, bad and ugly :-) - or in other words, I have two teenage daughters, I was called worth.. much worth :-)

I totally agree about youtube, great starting point - good motivation but I am right now really digging the interwebs for all these industry papers revealing the nitty gritty: found good information on the mrprint.com site, Sefar has a couple of brochures and Screen Printing Mag. Its less easy to find or consume then youtube but def more details. Still reading Joe Clarke but if anyone has a collection and wants to share: point me too it, please.

BUT with all the information (and what i know from being a graphic designer) there is nothing like practically trying it.. I would not have realized (for example) how much of a difference a second print stroke will do, because very detailed papers leave out the basics while the youtubers leave out the details.

For the print.. I did a second try and can only admit: very hard to reproduce the exact same result (for me + on manual impossible). I mean, I also took the chance to try different print orders: myck >< ymck (less red) and find out what a double stroke (vibrant colors vs. no more details) would do.

myck:


no black might save a screen:


I also burned a second black screen with less exposure time, more details show up - but I guess my inkjet film is the real problem.. made a second test with print out in 100k vs rich black for the film (will upload the fotos later but pretty clear the inkjet film isn´t as good as i needed it for 60lpi)

Conclusion:

I would not attempt to sell any of this to an actual customer and i imagine most will only want 2-3 colors anyway.. but it is a hell of fun to be able to print CMYK :-)

Keep in mind the graphics are screenshots out of youtube videos, so the quality is already a bit limited, especially that i needed to color-grade all the different faces.

I am not running a "real" shop, I learn it for the art, so i guess i am not under too much pressure.. but I also won´t be able to spend much money on it -> so old equipment but fresh enthusiasm  8)

ps: with the screens i agree, with the seps i don´t :-)

pps: should the next test be "what i dislike in screen printing" or "one of the classics"? (just kidding...maybe)



Offline OhNoPrinting

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Re: Oops I did it again.. CMYK print part II
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2024, 10:18:21 AM »
here the update about the inkjet film:

left was printed in 100% K, left was conceived from a kind of mixed "rich" black:
* i changed the settings in Illustrator, but didn´t really pay attention to that detail, til it was actual printed.



here the result: