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Art Preparation

               Art Preparation

The old fashioned way to prepare art was to draw circles with crosses through
the circles, or registration marks, beyond the four corners of the art.  Then
tape tracing paper over the art, and trace the registration marks.  Then
trace all parts of the image that include the first color.  So you might
trace yellow and any color that includes yellow like orange and green.  Remove
that tracing, and lay down a second piece of tracing paper.  Again, trace
the registration marks and all parts of the art that include the second color.  After
each color has been traced they are scanned into the computer and printed out
as positives, or photocopied on to positive material.  If the tracing
paper is transparent, it could be used as the positive.  However, the
image must be dense black so the exposure light does not pass through the image
and expose the emulsion under the image.

Before computers shops that did not have a camera would cut the image out of Rubylith®.  The
drawing would be laid over Rubylith®, which is a cutting film, and then
the image would be cut with an Exacto knife.

The old fashioned method is slow, tedious and imprecise.  Even with a steady hand
an artist cannot match the quality of color separation of a computer program
like CoralDRAW, Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.  CoralDRAW and
Illustrator are very similar programs produced by competing companies.  Both
are “vector based” for producing text and line art.  These
programs produce sharp, hard edges, and have many attractive features.  You
can enlarge, slant, curve and manipulate the image in many ways.  You
can also buy pre-drawn art to import and use with art you create or scan into
the image. 

A shop starting out should use either Illustrator or CoralDRAW rather than Photoshop,
because the work  your customers will want will be text and spot colors.  CoralDRAW
includes a feature called Photo Paint that is an attempt at half tones and
process like Photoshop, but Photoshop is better.  Photoshop uses many
of the same icons and procedures as Illustrator and CoralDRAW, but is more
complicated to learn.  Photoshop separates colors into small dots to create
a wide range of color.  However, the edges are not sharp like Illustrator
and CoralDRAW.

These programs are sold at various prices from very expensive to inexpensive.  Each year
a new version is sold which is the same as the prior version, except for some
minor changes.  An older version would work fine for a new shop.  However,
never buy used, because the programs are designed to prevent copying.  If
you want to know where to get the inexpensive version, contact 
[email protected].

To learn these programs as they apply to screen printing, there are excellent training
videos by Scott Fresener.

To read
more, see:

“Rubylith® and Amberlith® Masking Films”

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