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How to Pre-Press for a Screen Printed T-Shirt

Essay by   •  July 9, 2018  •  Creative Writing  •  872 Words (4 Pages)  •  177 Views

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How to Pre-Press for a Screen Printed T-Shirt

Almost every trendy t-shirt or brand people wear have a screen printed design on them. What is screen printing? The definition directly from dictionary.com is to force ink or metal onto (a surface) through a prepared screen of fine material so as to create a picture or pattern. In this case, to put a design on a t-shirt. I am going to explain the process of not directly printing on the shirt, but the process on how to setup the design and prepare for the printing process, which in the printing industry is known as pre-press operations. In order to prepare for the prepress operation, we are going to need a design, an output film printer that can print on waterproof clear coated film positives (for this example we will use an epson SureColor T3270,) an exposure unit and a clean coated screen with emulsion already embellished on the screen. These are the basic steps for pre-press operations in setting up to print a custom shirt.

Starting out with a design is the very first step in initiating the process to pre-press for a screen printed a design on a t-shirt. Once a design is established, the user then needs to know how many colors will be used for the print. For this example it will be 2 colors used for the print. Imagine the word “DOG” in bold red letters. That will be our design, real simple, but to make it stand out more we add a black outline to the red letters. So now you have the word “DOG” in red letters with a black outline and it will be going on a white t-shirt. The design is a 2 color and the pre-press operator has to separate the 2 colors so the black outline will be by itself, and the red fill will be by itself because each color has to go on it’s own individual screen. The 2 colors will eventually puzzle on top of each other to make “DOG” logo with 2 colors. After the 2 colors have been separated on the computer, it is now time to output from the computer, to a film output.

In order to film output, the user has to have a film output printer. There are many output film printers, but for this example we are going to use an Epson SureColor T3270. We are going to prep the printer with waterproof clear coated film positives which for this printer, the film is in a roll. Now that the printer is prepped and the film is loaded in the printer, we are going to output the design from Adobe Illustrator to the printer. Using a RIP software, we will output the logo “DOG” all in black, so there will be no colors. Even though the design had red in it, we will manually apply the color red later on when it comes time to actually print the t-shirt. You will understand later why everything is always outputted to black ink despite it not being the correct color in the

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