Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Digital Blacklight Effect

One of the differences between viewing images on a computer screen and viewing them after they've been printed on one's computer printer is that there are certain colors that may not be perfectly printable, even though they look fabulous on the computer screen. For example, the type of "Day Glo" colors often used on blacklight posters in the 60's and early 70's can be replicated, to some extent, on the computer screen. But very few computer printers are able to print with such inks.

The above image is an example. That pink border just seems to pop out at you, doesn't it! It definitely looks as if it was painted with fluorescent paint. But it's doubtful that a digital print of the image would look the same. Sure, it would still be pink, but not a pink with the same intensity. Ditto for the cyan square in the middle.

Sometimes, graphic designers will compensate by specifying special "spot colors" when sending files to the printers.

Another way to do things, if one is creating fine art or posters to be printed in fairly limited editions, is to use the layered digital image in order to create multiple photostencils for screen printing (also known as serigraphy, when used for fine art). It's more expensive and time consuming, but it can be worth it in some situations.

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