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Illustrator and Screen Printing

Apr 30, 2013 10:12 PM

I just started working in a screen shop as a prepress tech. The current work flow seems a little inefficient and I was wondering if any screen printers would be willing to discuss their standard procedure for using illustrator to make screens.


Here is how we do it:

Open customer's supplied art (they prep it on their own)

Hide the base white layer

Print as a .ps: manually change all the lpi's to 45 and the freq to 22.5, select an individual page and set "custom" in media size, save

Hide the art layer

Bring back the base white layer

Print as a .ps: maintain previous settings

Print another .ps: change the page to the next artboard, set "custom" for media size

Hide the base white

Bring back the art layer

Print another .ps: maintain settings

Keep this pattern for any remaining artboards


I'm wondering if there isn't some way to do this in one step. Once you get a rhythm it's easy but it's a busy office, there are lot's of distractions and this process can easily get messed up. Am I better off setting up multiple pieces of art on one artboard and including my own registration marks?

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    May 1, 2013 7:47 AM   in reply to RMM33

    when i set stuff up for my old job (i rarely did screen printing jobs) all i did was set up the art to have ONLY the spot colors desired, then in the print dialog, i went to output>mode>separations host based and made sure the colors were correct (no cmyk) and printed it to film.

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    May 1, 2013 12:52 PM   in reply to RMM33

    Yes those distractions, know exactly what you mean.


    Rather than hide the white layer, you can put the white layer on top. Edit your global white color swatch to something like 10%mag (so you can proof your white plate), then click on the  target circle after the layer name and set transprency to multiply (this way anything on that layer is set to multiply, much easier than setting each element to multiply)

    Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 2.50.23 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 2.47.40 PM.png

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    May 3, 2013 2:41 PM   in reply to RMM33

    I use Illustrator all the time for screen printing.

    Here's my method.

    I've been grouping the artwork.

    Converting OBJECT, PATH to Outline Stroke.


    Making  copies of the full artwork layer for each color, and one extra as a back up

    If it's 4 colors, i've got 5 layers that are the same.


    On One layer, i pick one color, select all the same color, make a that color a unique color, one that is not in the image.

    Select inverse, make all white

    Select inverse again (the stuff to be printed) make black.


    Do this for every color.

    If you want a trap or overlap, you can add a small black outline, or white outline to any layer.


    OR go to photoshop and pick a color, select inverse, delete, once for each color.

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    May 3, 2013 5:03 PM   in reply to RMM33

    Why are you guys not simply printing normal color separations?



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