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Spot Color, Gradients & the color White 101 for Corel Users and Screen Printers

Spot Color, Gradients & the color White 101 for Corel Users and Screen Printers

Spot Color, Gradients & the color White 101 for Corel Users and Screen Printers

I use Corel version 12 and sometimes 14 (hate this version) for screen printing art. Spot color transparencies and fountain fills are tricky so I wanted to write a quick how-too and some tricks I have learned because I was trying to solve an issue I was having and it took me a couple hours to figure out my problem.

In this article I am assuming the reader knows the difference between CMYK 4 color-process printing and Spot color printing and also knows how to print a color separation.

In some industries we need to use spot color for color separations when printing. Spot color can be achieved two ways.

1. Using CMYK (my least favorite way, but sometimes it will get you out of a bind you cannot figure out) - Your object must be filled with only one of the colors - for instance a square shape filled with ONLY CMYK Yellow will print on a different separation than a circle shape filled with ONLY Cyan.
2. Using Pantone (PMS) colors. Every Pantone color you use in your design will print on a separate color separation. I use the color palette Pantone Solid-coated and have used it to customize my own little pallet of colors I use frequently.

Now for achieving "Gradients" (a photoshop term for fading colors)

There are two types of Gradients: (People tend to confuse these and try to use a transparency value to achieve a paler shade of their original fill color. No No!)

1. Color fading out to nothing Your objective is to fade your object so that one end of it fades out into nothing. In this method you fill your object with a FOUNTAIN fill of 100% of your color... lets say Pantone Yellow C. On the Fountain fill screen click on the "Advanced" button. Choose the 2-Color fill (not the custom fill)... Color 1 being 100% Yellow C. Color 2 fill with 0% Yellow C. Adjust Angle and Edge to your liking. (This is a TRANSPARENCY... commonly used for web images and not really intended for screen printers but it works.. however it does not show up on your screen well. You may not see the fade-out until you actually print your separations as Corel sucks that way.)

2. Color fading into another color In this method you want your object to fade from Color 1.. say Process Blue to Color 2, Pantone Yellow C. (This IS NOT A TRANSPARENCY.) To Acheive this use the Fountain fill to fill your object. On the fountain fill screen click the "Advanced" button. Choose 2 color fill, Color 1 being Process Blue... Color 2 being Yellow C. Adjust Angle and Edge to your liking. All Done. [/b]Do Not USE "Custom Fill" If you do this and generate an extra color in your mix... your fill will convert to CMYK and it will take you forever to figure out why your object is not spot color. {Check for this issue by choosing the "custom" option ... then on the custom fill slider bar.. if there is an extra triangle in the middle somewhere you will have CMYK color mixing... just delete the extra color maker, switch back to 2-color fill and apply. Fixed} [/b]

Note: If you wanted a process blue to fade out into a paler shade of blue do not use a transparency value of process blue to make it pale. Instead use a paler blue Pantone color for you second color.

Final note on printing White for beginners: Desktop printers cannot generate white ink and therefore will not print the white in your design in your separations. To get around this... replace any white in your design with a Pantone color.. I use color Pantone 7541 C (a very pale color) because it is at the end of the the Pantone solid-coated pallet and easy to find all the time. The only time I use white in my design is where I am needing to knock out a part of the color of an object. If I use white I don't have to worry about it generating another color separation in the printing process.

I hope my post helps someone and doesn't generate more questions than answers :)

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