Fresh Printing: Letterpress Crazy Four Color Dither

Posted 11 May 2009 by Willy
Categories: Letterpress

Yes, that's right, I said dither. and letterpress and four color.

Crazy?

Yeah, I think I mentioned that too.

Ben, Patrick and John start printing the yellow and cyan plates

Ben, Patrick and John start printing the yellow and cyan plates...and Willy's elbow

On Friday, the print shop got started by running the two Vandercooks (that's the sp 20 on the right with cyan and the sp 15 on the left with yellow) which was also a first for the shop as we've just started tinkering with getting the sp 15 running. Here's a little photo rundown of the action so far:

The first color, cyan, inked and ready to print

The first color, cyan, inked and ready to print

Since we haven't tried this CMYK process with the presses, we tried to get a better estimate of the final prints by printing out color samples on the Ink Jet printer. We even ran those sheets through four times to simulate the entire CMYK process.

Patrick compares the Ink Jet print out to the pulled yellow proof

Patrick compares the Ink Jet print out to the pulled yellow proof

cyan + yellow = green

Color 101

remember the 'dither' bit? instead of using a halftone screen to make the different plates and pick up the details, we used a diffusion dither, a sort of random dot pattern, which results in some really nice textures and overlays on the colors

Dithered

Two down, two to go

Two down, two to go

here's a proof of the third color, magenta. we printed the yellow and cyan first so that we could adjust the color of the green better.

Today John prints the magenta

Today John is printing the magenta

The three individual layers

The three individual layers

Look at that, Bon A Tirer

Look at that, Bon A Tirer

BAT as I have learned means Bon A Tirer which is an old school printing world way of approving a final proof saying it's "Good to Pull"

The type here is knocked out of the magenta layer letting the cyan and yellow show through

The type here is knocked out of the magenta layer letting the cyan and yellow show through

the dithering also makes for a lovely soft focus look

looks like they went to town trying out different color combinations

looks like they went to town trying out different color combinations

so far so good on the crazy-awesome experimenting, check back for a follow up on the final piece!