I've been doing a lot of 4 color process printing the last year and have the system down fairly well. A lot of what I'm doing is from photographs of people and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on getting more accurate skin tones? Trying to avoid skin that is overly yellow, red or green without making everything too thin and light. Any thoughts? Has anyone ever tried substituting an ink color closer to the flesh tone for the yellow?
Here's a basic outline of my system as a starting point. Using manual press (yes keeping the registration super tight) and water based system (jacquard process color inks) and good transparencies and exposure (sadly not metal halide yet but still getting good clean halftones). Generally using 305 mesh with between 40 - 55lpi depending on the image.
The order you print the CMYK will change the skin tones. A softer squeegee vs a harder squeegee will also change the tones. The type of paper will change them as well. There are too many variables. One of the best straight color mixes for skin (cracker skin anyway) is white mixed with iridescent copper.
if you keep it light enough, you can print a subtle tint over a face etc to pull the colours together and make something stand out. It's how they used to extend colour on old lithos from the early 1900s - colourizing.
A lot of people use 6 colour, where you add another orange layer, and some lighter blue. That's all softwaregraphicdesign shit you go figure it out or talk to Nazdar about G7.....there are so many ways. cut a ruby mask
But with 4/c process, to make sure the colours look good...no green faces.... start with the process colours you are printing.
Adjust your ink at 100% through the screen before you start. (the little tester strip you should include on your film, with 5%-90% and a 100% square....) The 100% should match your swatches of whatever colour system you are running - cyan, magenta, and yellow - all will print really dark depending on the mesh opening. Use a process clear to thin them until they match cyan, magenta, etc. they have testers for this (densitometer), but you can use your eyes too.
Once you are good, then start the print. I usually print blue, yellow, magenta and black.
If a thing is consistantly too red for example, then look at your m print on its own and see if it is over saturated - either adjust your print (cause you were blurring it or dried in) or knock back your film next time.
The other reason you get colour shift in flesh is you are letting a colour dry in and not noticing - yellow is hard to see. but it really shows later.
keep working at it, the more you standardize every step, the closer you can get to making it work.
Thanks for the advice! I'm starting a new round of tests (got a new tub of emulsion so figured now is a good time) for clean halftone exposure, and now based on Andymac's advice for accurate CMYK coloring. Andy any advice on how to do separations for 6 color? and what orange and light blue to use? Generally it's the yellow and reds that are to saturated so I might try thinning these down with some base more and see if that is helpful. Wondering if it's worth putting down a real light layer of ink similar to the actual skin tone I'm using in the photograph prior to any CMYK layers just to have a starting point that's closer to flesh then white paper is.
At this point I'm still getting pretty good results just trying to improve whenever possible so thanks for the advice!
good to hear, thank you. Feel free to let others know....I don't like dropping the price to match the cheapies out there, but some people only look at the price.....
re sepping with 6 colours....some of the automatic sep programs have it. richie or guys like that probably know more. many ink jet printers print with 6 colours - so they are using an internal rip...you have to find that in photoshop or some other program
the problem with laying down an under colour is it will darken the process inks on top. Start with getting all to print in the right colour match - not too dark, and transparent.
then decide if the other reason you are getting to dark is becuase you are not printing a precise layer/inks are spreading
then decide if you are losing detail, throwing the colour off.
If everything is printing (detail) and you have the colour matched to process swatches, and it's still fucked up, then you need to start working your seps. Colours tend to lose detail in the light range (5%- 50% ) from the dots choking up, and they saturate in the higher range (spread) so a smart sep guy, knowing the tendency of the exposing unit and your press, will modify the film and adjust the output to compensate fro these two things.
but you have to figure out if the colours being off are from the int
I haven't done any real high end process work in a long time, but something I used to like to do on a white t-shirt, which won't work on a poster, is print a highlight white screen and then print everything else on top all wet on wet. The initial white really softens and smooths out the low end, where skintones typically are.
Thanks guys! I'm hoping to do some more color and half tone tests this week (just to do another reboot before tackling more images) and you've given me a bunch of good things to try out! I report back and post some images once I get some things finished.