Print color separations

Objective: To understand spot varnish and create print separations.

To reproduce color and continuous-tone images, printers usually separate artwork into four plates (called process colors)—one plate for each of the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black portions of the image. You can also include custom inks (called spot colors). In this case, a separate plate is created for each spot color. When inked with the appropriate color and printed in register with one another, these colors combine to reproduce the original artwork.

The process of dividing the image into two or more colors is called color separating, and the film from which the plates are created are called the separations.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.23.36 AM.png

A varnish applied only to portions of a printed piece after printing, rather than to the entire sheet, typically for aesthetic purposes. Spot varnishing is commonly found on book covers, in which only portions of the cover are high in gloss, in contrast to the surrounding matte texture.


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Open your single business card. Pretend we are going to make a spot varnish section of your card. Format the card so that an area would receive this treatment.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.33.25 AM.png

A spot varnish is usually shown in a color that is BRIGHT and sticks out. For class purposes we are going to use HOT PINK.

Go To Window – Separations Preview

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.25.12 AM.png

It opens a panel that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.32.54 AM.png

Check the box that says Overprint Preview

Then Open your Swatch Panel and delete the unused swatches by clicking on the flyout menu and choosing Select All Unused and clicking the mini garbage can.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.32.18 AM.png

Double click the hot pink color swatch. It should open a panel that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.32.34 AM.png

Change the color from Process Color to Spot Color

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.32.40 AM.png

It should look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.33.01 AM.png

Change the swatch name to Spot Varnish

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.33.14 AM.png

Your Separations Preview Panel should now look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.33.32 AM.png

Turn on and off the visibility and screen capture (Command – Shift – 4) ALL  the separations.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.34.32 AM.png

They should look like these:







Spot Varnish

Spot Varnish.png

Please label all your screen captures and turn them into the turnstile. If you used one color please screen capture all that you have. EVERYONE should have a spot varnish.





By michelleesoto Posted in VCOM388

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