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?
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.
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)
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.
Mike, this is an interesting take, using multiply. I hadn't experimented with how well different transparencies work with film. I came across a similar method to yours but it used the overprint attribute (that sneaky little property that screws up your films if you're not paying attention). Yours is better because if a white stroke is used to choke the base layer, it won't screw up the layers below. Unfortunately the client provides the art work with the base white swatch being the same as the art work white, so the white seps (artwork white and base white) will become one. So not only would multiply have to be put on the layer, but a new swatch has to be made, by color selecting the base layer while the color layer is invisible. It's a lot of steps, but could probably be broken down into an action or two. Thanks.
My most recent process, it's been changing day to day, is to duplicate the artboards, delete the colors on one artboard and the base layer on the other and print in ranges of 1-2, 3-4, etc. This takes a little page juggling in the artboard palette which actions CAN'T handle.
Everyone else, these are all valid aspects of the process but I suppose what I'm looking for is to increase efficiency. The real problem is I have to make about 50 films a day, in addition to other things, the sep process in AI doesn't seem to be conducive to this kind of output. Now the biggest hang up is the changing of the media size and the changing of frequency and angle values.
I want an automated process. Scripts and plugins.