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Basics of setting up a color FADE OR GRADIENT?

14360 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ruel_g
Hey everyone. I've been printing for a couple of years now and was wondering if anyone here might be able to share the basics of setting up a fade or gradient in a design and on press? I use CorelDraw X3 to design and FastRIP as my rip. I've done a few halftone fades in recent work, but I can tell there has to be a technique to achieve good results.

In the past, I have done a color to color fade by laying down one color and then printing the halftone color on top. Example: If I had a circle that faded from navy to turquoise, I might print the entire circle as turquoise and then print the navy halftone over that. This way I eliminate any registration problems or washed out gaps between the two colors. Is this the best way to go about it? I hate layering inks if I don't have to.

I was also talking with an industry veteran a while back about fading colors recently and he told me about using a single screen and literally putting both inks on that screen and pulling the squeege from side to side. I tried it the other day and it gave a really smooth fade after a few test prints, but controlling the width of the fade was really tough, and it eliminates the ability to use spherical type gradients or multiple colors and that sort of thing.

So this takes me back to the original vector artwork. If I were to take a rectangle and fade it from red on one end to black on the other evenly, I find that when I output film and screens that I end up where the middle of the blend is washed out or faded looking so you can see the underlying garment color? In fact, it looks this way even on my monitor. This image below is actually clipped from a screen shot of a test image I have in CorelDraw X3).

All this said, I would love to master fades and gradients so I can be comfortable working them in to my artwork. I think it would add a lot to some of the designs we've been working with recently but it seems like something that needs to be addressed in the artwork.

Thanks for your help!
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gradients done right on the screen are beatiful, but not production friendly or consistent. since you are using a rip, then just make sure that the gradient objects in your artwork have been assigned the spot colors that you are using for your separations. do not use middle colors in the gradient unless they are tints of the spot colors that you are using. should be good to print films from there!

you will need pretty tight registration to pull off these blends smoothly.
my suggestion is to use as big lpi linescreen as the art will allow and not look "too big" 40-45 lpi is doable without much dot gain closing up the halftones. also a good sharp squeegee with one print pass will give the cleanest gradient.

"natural blends" with the inks are cool, and it's easier if the fade is vertical (like in your image), so you print like normal. otherwise, you have to print perpindicular accross the screen, which can throw registration off a little. the hardest part about them is they tend to blend too much into one color, so you have to clean the screen every once in a while and re ink so the blends stay nice. i saw at ryonets booth these little brackets that clamp inside your screen to keep your squeegee on the same stroke everytime to keep the blend cleaner.
Thanks for the input guys. I'm actually headed over to the ISS show in FT Worth today and was planning to stop by the Ryonet booth anyway to visit with them about some other gear so I may have to ask them about that.
i'm working the texsource texas booth, stop by and say hey!
guys pls help me in this design...how can i do my screen s?i can't separate gradient colors here.pls help me.tnx!


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