Author Topic: halftone settings  (Read 8335 times)

Offline shanarchy

halftone settings
« on: December 23, 2010, 09:00:23 PM »
I have been experimenting with halftones lately. I do not get a big call for them, but have been trying to sneak them him when I can. I want to be able to offer nicer work, both design and print quality.

I recently purchased accurip. The settings, at least as far as I can see are very simple/limited.

I use an Epson 1400, with Epson ink.

I have the printer setup set to:
print resolution: 1440dpi x 720dpi (this is the middle setting, there is also 1440x1440)
droplet weight: heavy

The main settings seem to be under "how would you like this screened?"
Options are:
"Screen" the default setting seems to be round. The other options are diamond, line, ellipse and user defined dot size FM.

I am thinking I should change this setting to ellipse???

Angle: default is set at 22.5 degrees, which is indicated is recommended.
Frequency: default is set at 45 LPI

There is also "dot gain control - advanced feature". I am assuming I should leave this section alone until I know what I am looking for in the earlier settings.

Now the other variable seems to be how I create it in illustrator. Such as a color I creat as black, will become a solid black image on the film, an area I create as a gray, or other color, will become a halftone on the film. The size of the halftone seems to vary depending on the shade of the color I choose.So, for an example, if I wanted to create a shaded area, I would change the color to a gray, accurip would convert this to a halftone on my film. I hope this makes sense. Or am I going about this the wrong way?

Thanks!


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Offline preston

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 10:21:38 PM »
The main settings seem to be under "how would you like this screened?"
Options are:
"Screen" the default setting seems to be round. The other options are diamond, line, ellipse and user defined dot size FM.

I am thinking I should change this setting to ellipse???

Angle: default is set at 22.5 degrees, which is indicated is recommended.
Frequency: default is set at 45 LPI

There is also "dot gain control - advanced feature". I am assuming I should leave this section alone until I know what I am looking for in the earlier settings.

Now the other variable seems to be how I create it in illustrator. Such as a color I creat as black, will become a solid black image on the film, an area I create as a gray, or other color, will become a halftone on the film. The size of the halftone seems to vary depending on the shade of the color I choose.So, for an example, if I wanted to create a shaded area, I would change the color to a gray, accurip would convert this to a halftone on my film. I hope this makes sense. Or am I going about this the wrong way?

Thanks!

I do not use Accurip but ellipse is what I use for the dot shape. I have pretty much settled in using 22.5 degrees for everything. DPI depends on the mesh I plan on using.

For creating halftones in your graphics program such as Illustrator the main thing to remember is that halftones will be created and then interpreted by the RIP from the different percentages of a spot color. If you create an area in the art and use a gray from the color pallet such as "cool grey 5" it will be interpreted as a 100% spot color by the RIP and will not print out as halftones. On the other hand if you change that same area in the art to a percentage of a spot color, say like 30% pantone black CV, then it will be interpreted as halftones by the RIP and print out as such on the film.

Offline Ralph

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2010, 12:41:41 AM »
Preston has said it. You don't change the color. You change the percentage of fill of that color. You do that to each color that will have half tone in it.

I do a lot of halftone line art and B/W photo reproduction. I use 40, 45, 50 and 55 percent depending on the effect I want. I also make my life easier by limiting the halftone area low end to no less than 10%.  I know I can burn a 10% dot (ellipse). Maybe smaller but I don't need it for what I do.

Some where I settled on 25 degrees. Not sure why any more. It does what I need and I stayed with it. In fact I have those settings written on a piece of tale on top of the monitor.

Halftone 10% or greater. 40 to 55 dpi. 25 degrees. Elliptical dot. Ink double density.

I have done larger dots for effect. 60's BIG DOTS. About 3/4" in diameter.

I use 305 yellow mesh. 1 and 1 coating.


Offline shanarchy

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2010, 01:43:51 AM »
Thanks guys! I appreciate the responses!

However, with accurip, you can take an image that is say 6 colors, print it through accurip and it will create a film positive where the black is black, and the the 5 different colors are printed as halftones. So I guess you can say it automatically changes it to grayscale and prints it with halftones, where needed. Another example, if I had a 2 color design, black and red, and printed it through accurip as is, my film would have the black as normal but the red would be printed as a halftone.

I am not sure if that is how other rip programs work or not.

I do get (I think) what you are saying I should be doing, as far as changing the color to a percentage. Now, keep in mind I barely know how to turn on a computer, so I really stumble my way around illustrator. But if I follow you, I would make the areas to be spot colors, or solids, black. The areas to be halftones I will fill with colors listed under grayscale, such as K90, K80, K70, etc.?

 If so, I think I kind of understand.




Offline preston

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2010, 02:03:28 AM »
However, with accurip, you can take an image that is say 6 colors, print it through accurip and it will create a film positive where the black is black, and the the 5 different colors are printed as halftones. So I guess you can say it automatically changes it to grayscale and prints it with halftones, where needed. Another example, if I had a 2 color design, black and red, and printed it through accurip as is, my film would have the black as normal but the red would be printed as a halftone.


? What...!!!. I tested Accurip and never had it do that crap. It is a RIP not a separation program. It should not change anything by itself. If you send a file with black and red spot colors in it then Accurip should print out a solid film for the black and a solid film for the red, no halftones. If Accurip now does what you are describing I would trash can it so fast it would make your head spin.  But I think the problem may be that you are using RGB or CMYK colors in Illustrator instead of Pantone colors.

Offline balloonguy

halftone settings
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2010, 08:20:31 AM »
You may be printing the compsit if you are getting halftones. From ai in the output section of your ppd you can choose compsit or separations. Seps will take each color and break them apart. Composit will do what you are saying.
No koolaid for me, thanks.

Offline shanarchy

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2010, 09:58:18 AM »
You guys are right. It is set to composit. So I can change it to seperations (host-based). I can click to 'convert all spot colors to process' and also click to 'overprint in black'. Both of these options I do not know what they are. Also, I can set printer resolution to either 60 lpi/300 dpi (default) or 53 lpi/300 dpi.

So what do these settings mean and which should I be using?

Also, from the above comments, it leads me to believe I should be able to print out a solid spot color of say red, and it will print as a solid black on my film positive? The way I am doing it now I would have to change the color in illustrator from red to black, then print it.

Thoughts?

Thanks!!!

Offline preston

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 10:24:02 AM »
Convert all spot colors to process would the convert the film to a 4 color process job and only output 4 films. You do not want to do this unless you really want to print a 4 color process job. Overprint in black, I am not sure what that is, is that an Illy setting?

You are correct that if you print out a solid red spot color it will print out as solid black on the film.


Offline shanarchy

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2010, 12:28:25 PM »
Overprint in black, I am not sure what that is, is that an Illy setting?

Well I am getting that option when going from illustrator>print>accurip to epson 1400>output, the option for overprint in black only shows up when I change the setting from composit to separations

If I go from illustrator directly to the Epson 1400, I do not get that option as I can not change it from composit.

Obviously, I can print film on it and see what happens, but I am trying to narrow down the options before I start wasting film and ink.


Offline bluemoon

Impressions 2010 Simulated Process Award Winner

Offline ZooCity

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2010, 05:45:57 PM »
pierre said it.  you need to get a handle on overprint settings out of illy.  this sucks for us screen printers as these settings are not geared for our industry.  I'm still not 100% confident outputting all my seps from one file yet because of overprinting and sometimes revert to saving each film as it's own file.  When you do pull it off it works like a charm and saves a lot of time. 

And like was said above, you need to stick to spot colors for any of this type of work.  Percentages of spot colors create gradient dot fills based on the "locked" accurip settings or you can turn off lock screens and individually set the dot fills for each color being outputted. 

Merry Xmas everybody!
Even though I'm broke I got a six pack of beer.
-III

Offline SBrem

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2010, 12:09:04 AM »
Hi Shane, in Illustrator, if you use a cmyk colors, in the swatches pallet there is a box with a x in it to the right of the color name, and each wedge in the box is c, m, y, and k. If you double click on the swatch, you'll get a dialog box that will let you rename the color, and change it to a spot color. Click OK, and in the pallet, you'll now see a box with a circle in it beside the one with the x, that's how you know it's a spot color. So, let's say you make a red square and a black square; make the red a spot color as I described, you don't have to convert the black to spot, it will  print out anyway. Of course, as you saw earlier, print separations, not composite. Do not check overprint black or convert spot colors to process. At the bottom of the print dialog is the list of colors. Be sure that only the black and red are checked. At the top of the dialog box, make sure you have AccuRip chosen as your printer, and that your page setup info is correct, and print out the seps. That's the basics for seps for light shirts. Now, if you wanted to add  some black shading to the red square, you copy the red square, then paste in front. You now have 2 red squares, one directly on top of the original. Click on it, the top one will be the one that activates, then change it to black. You can change the percentage of that black to say 20% using either the Color pallet or the Transparency pallet. After you change the percentage, open your Attributes pallet and click the Overprint Fill box. Now when  you print, your red film will have the square where it should be, and the black film will have the solid black square where it should be, and a 20% tint that will overprint the red when it goes to press. Leave your defaults alone in AccuRip. If you double click a color in the list in your print dialog box, you'll get another box where you can set your line count (lpi) your angle, and your dot shape. All of these settings will override AccuRip, at least it does in our shop. Lastly, Charlie Facini at AccuRip will help you out if you give him a call, their support has been excellent. He spent an hour on the phone with me onetime trying to solve a network problem. Good luck.

Steve

Sorry to go on so long...
Life's a load; you're either pulling it, pushing it, or it.

Offline shanarchy

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2010, 10:51:21 AM »
Thanks everyone! Thanks for the detailed post Steve! I am going to continue experimenting with it. I was making 1x1 squares and will try to incorporate your detailed explanation Steve. I think I sort of get it. Steve, do you print your halftones as dots or elipse?

I am sure I will have more questions after, but this gives me a lot to work with.

Thanks!

Shane

Offline sclow303

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2010, 08:11:46 PM »
I am following this topic closely.  I have been using accurip with my epson 1400 but have yet to even try a halftone design.  I want to start getting into apply fades and shades to some design work so I am following along in hopes to learn as much as I can! 

Offline SBrem

Re: halftone settings
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2010, 10:37:22 AM »
We prefer the ellipse, because it gives a smoother transition in the midtones. In the example of square dots, at 50%, you get a checkerboard, where all of the dots meet at all four corners. With the elliptical dot, they only meet on 2 corners. In the actual print, the dot gain would cause a noticeable "midtone jump" at 50% with the square dots, and the elliptical dot helped smooth that out. I'm off this week, but since I can't help myself, I'll keep checking in.

Steve


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