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Preparing Artwork for Silkscreening

For those of our customers who like to play around in Photoshop, a good tip for prepare your artwork for silkscreening, is to reduce the amount of colours in your picture, to make it easier to print

With other types of printing, it’s fine to use photographs, the higher in resolution the better, and there are no issues with the amount of colours. But screenprints look the most effective when they’re made using flat colours with a limited palette.

Reducing the amount of colors also makes it cheaper to print, and it gives
you a better idea of what your design is going to look like once it’s been screen printed.
The key to reducing an image’s amount of colors for screen printing is the Posterize image adjustment.
Some other photo enhancing programs give these options now, as well as Photoshop, so you can play around with your photos and get some amazing results.

Bring up the image you want to use, and go to : Image > Adjustments > Posterize on the tool bar. The Posterize  filter reduces the amount of colors in your image to the number of levels you specify.
Depending on what kind of a look you are going for you can reduce the amount of colors once, or sometimes twice to get the desired look for your image. I’m sure you can even reduce it further, but I generally use 3 or 4 levels.

To posterize your image, first make sure you are on the selected layer you want to posterize.
Then, go to Image> Adjustments> Posterize…

After posterizing your image, you can either desaturate it or try varying the amount of levels
within the Posterize settings to get the desired effect. Here’s an example of a black and white picture of Paul McCartney, one of the famed members of  The Beatles. The first picture has been changed from colour to black and white, then in the second picture, the posterizing filter has been used, and you will notice the amount of tones have been reduced and simplified, which will make an outstanding screenprint for a Tee shirt:

Paul McCartney

Paul Posterized

You can see the marked difference between the two pictures, and the screenprinter will much more easily pick up the simplified colours (if in colour) and tones and your tee-shirt will be much more striking. There are many other methods of simplifying your pictures for print, this is just one of them….and just goes to prove….LESS IS MORE!