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Halftone Screen Printing

Halftone Screen Printing

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To be able to screen print photographic or grayscale images, an image must be converted into what is known as “halftones”. A halftone image consists of many small dots that make up the grayscale portion of that image.
To be able to screen print photographic or grayscale images, an image must be converted into what is known as “halftones”. A halftone image consists of many small dots that make up the grayscale portion of that image.

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Published by: American Screen Printing Association on May 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chapter 2 - Halftone Printing
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.SECTION 9: Advanced Printing Techniques |CHECK FOR VIDEOS ON THIS TOPICTo be able to screen print photographic or grayscale images, an image must be convertedinto what is known as “halftones”. A halftoneimage consists of many small dots that make upthe grayscale portion of that image. Screenprinting halftones can present certain challengesand we’ll address them in this chapter.HOW BIG A “DOT” SHOULD YOU USE?The size of the halftone dot used will of course bedetermined by the type of artwork that you are
Copyright © MMVIII, ASPA, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Copyright © MMVIII, ASPA, Inc. All Rights Reserved
going to print or the printing technique that you will use.For example, screen printing on apparel typically involves printing halftones in a range of 35-65LPI. There may be occasions where you want the halftone to be very noticeable andexaggerated for a special effects look, where you may want to go down to a 25 LPI size halftonewhich will produce a very noticeably large dot.If you are printing four color or simulated process color with a manual screen printing press it isrecommended that you print from 45-55 LPI.If you have a high end automatic screen printing press along with a point light source exposureunit and are using professionally produced film positives you may want to consider printing 65LPI.If you are new to halftone printing we suggest you experiment with various LPI sizes so you cansee what the limitations of the equipment are in your particular shop.DOT SHAPE AND ANGLEThe ideal halftone dot shape for printing on apparel is an elliptical dot. When outputting your filmthrough Adobe Photoshop or similar programs choose an elliptical dot shape whenever possible.If that is not possible, make round halftone dots your second choice.Regarding the screen angles which refers to the alignment of the dots as they reference to eachindividual color in the print order, a good rule of thumb for simulated process printing is to usean angle of 56 degrees for the white underbase and 26 degrees for all other colors includingblack.
Copyright © MMVIII, ASPA, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The dot angle is another function that you can adjust when outputting through AdobePhotoshop.One of the main purposes of adjusting the dot angles is to minimize or eliminate a moirepattern.MOIRÉ PATTERNSMoiré is the visual effect of radiatingcurves created by superimposing tworegular patterns. For example, a moi-ré pattern can result from overlap-ping two halftone screens of differentangles, dot spacing, dot size and theweave of the fabric.Moiré patterns are the undesirableresult of rescreening an image with adifferent halftone screen or with thesame halftone screen on an angledifferent from the original.Moiré patterns create a“herringbone” appearance and makethe printed image visibly distracting.Eliminating moiré can be as simple as choosing a different brand of shirt or as complicated asoutputting the art at different halftone angles and reburning the screens.Moiré in multi-color prints is covered in more detail in the chapter on simulated process screenprinting.DRAWBACKS OF VELLUM VS. FILM FOR HALFTONESThe ideal halftone dot on a film positive will be as dense a color black as possible and eachsucceeding color separation will line up in registration as perfectly as possible. Because of thatyou will find that ink jet positives or professional made film positives will produce a film positivethat is vastly superior to using vellum paper.Vellum paper will shrink as it is going through the laser printing causing a slight registrationerror. And the toner deposited on vellum paper from a laser printer cannot produce a dot asdark as can be obtained from an inkjet printer onto ink jet film.

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