Colour separation artist @colourseparations has produced a raft of amazing designs, including this showstopping Frank Ocean T-shirt print. An industry consultant who works in research and development, he uses Adobe Photoshop rather than any ‘magic‘ separation software, and has worked in print shops and merchandisers worldwide

(1) The T-shirt features an oversized 40cm x 56cm print of American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean. The iconic portrait was captured in 2015 by German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and used on the cover of Frank Ocean’s second studio album ‘Blonde’.

(2) I selected this particular photograph to showcase my skills as a colour separation artist and my understanding of the many variables that influence textile screen printing.

(3) The simulated process separation was created using Adobe Photoshop and consisted of seven colours, to be printed wet-on-wet allowing the inks to blend together on the T-shirt. Colour rotation was considered and an adjustment curve was utilised to simulate dot gain on press.

(4) The separations were converted to halftones using RIP software at 60lpi, a round dot and a single angle of 22.5° (flamenco style). The halftones were printed directly onto the emulsion-coated screens using an M&R i-Image ST at 1,200dpi. Image resolution (ppi) and the resolution of the output device (dpi) are often overlooked, but are equally as important as the screen ruling or frequency (lpi).

(5) The screens were stretched using yellow 120/305 NBC polyester monofilament mesh with a thread diameter of 35μm. Each screen was tensioned at 25 N/cm.

(6) To maintain edge definition and detail a high resolution, triple-cure emulsion with a high solids content was used. Each screen was coated to achieve a stencil thickness of 5.4 microns EOM (emulsion over mesh) calculated using a 10% EMR (emulsion over mesh ratio).

(7) The screens were exposed using an M&R Starlight UV LED Exposure unit.

(8) Triple durometer square edge 70-90-70 squeegee blades, 2mm o-contact, minimal pressure and 15° angles were used on press helping to shear the ink cleanly and control dot gain. A single Calmatech MW flash cure was utilised in the 1/1 print sequence.

(9) The design was printed on a 155gsm 100% organic cotton T-shirt using an MHM Synchroprint S-Type Plus and plastisol inks.

(10) The print was cured at 160°C for two minutes using an Adelco EcoTex conveyor dryer.

(11) Five percent thinner by weight was added to all inks to increase flow and reduce viscosity.