Quick Start Secrets To Printing Better Halftones

Member Academy of Screen Printing Technology
Halftone printing is all about the dots. The whole concept of printing various tones by
fooling the eye is the very definition of a halftone. The tones we get are determined by
the accuracy of the dots we print. Big dots mean dark tones. Small dots mean light
tones. Where printers get themselves in trouble is they forget the simple fact that in
order to print accurate tones or values, we have to accurately print the right size dots.
What follows is a collection of neat, quick techniques that will definitely help you to
print better work, faster, easier, and more profitably. This is not a fix all, cure all program,
but rather the beginning of a journey where you will ultimately be able to print
any job, the first time, with great results and minimal hassle.
Only deliberate practice and experience will get you there. The goal here is to concentrate
on the easy, quick methods that will go the furthest toward making your work
look great with the least amount of effort.
How we See Tone and Color
It helps a great deal to visualize what you are trying to achieve. Our natural vision
sees color as tone. We see light pinks, vibrant crimson reds, and deep, rich
By printing a deep red with dots of various sizes, we can achieve all of these colors
with only one color ink. It is the same for all colors we print and combine. I f we are
not accurate in printing the right size dot, the color will be wrong.
My approach is to start at the beginning of the process and work through to the end.
Each step along the way has an impact, and you cannot easily build on a step that
was performed poorly.
The process is sequential. Each progressive step is based on the properly prepared
previous step. Another way of saying this is, if you screw-up in the beginning, it can
only get worse from there.
Before you even begin the separation process, ask yourself how accurate you need
to be. If pleasing color is good enough, you can easily be very successful.
Pleasing color is the best place to start. This means that the color only needs to look
believable, it does not have to match.
If you need to have a perfect match of 10 different corporate logos, you are pretty
much up against it. These are called memory or reference colors. The closer to a
match you are, the more careful you have to be. My suggestion is to avoid this kind
of work in the beginning.
Agood rule of thumb is to ask yourself if the image looks hard to print. If it does, it will
With that out of the way, here are my Top Ten Quick Start Secrets to Better
Halftone Printing. I can’t cover everything in the detail I would like here. This will get
you rolling, with really good results.

By Mark A. Coudray
Copyright 2003 Mark Coudray • All rights reserved • Unauthorized duplication is unlawful

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