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Quick question on the 8-colour limit

Say I'm using red and white as two of my colours, and I mix them to make a pink - is this pink now a third colour or are we still technically talking about two?


And if I'm using a blue too, and add a little to the pink to make purple - new colour?


In other words if I choose eight colours can I mix and match those shades as I like without breaking the 8-colour limit?


Thanks!

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PeculiarTiffany
PeculiarTiffany profile pic Alumni

Morkki is the best person to answer this since he seems to be pretty knowledgeable on the subject. It would be awesome if Threadless did a Teetorial explaining the printing process.

Though I'm pretty sure the red, white and pink would be have to be separate inks. Using halftones is a good way to mix colors, yet keep color counts low.

Simulated process is another option.

soursopp

I remember reading somewhere on here that there is no 8 colour limit anymore ^^

Dan Yingling

Most designs using more than 8 colors will be printed using simulated process, however, if you are working with illustrator and creating your design using vectors without any gradients etc. our printers like to keep it to 11 colors for the best quality print.

arzie13
arzie13 profile pic Alumni

Our printers our now capable of laying down up to twelve separate colors, and with blending techniques like simulated process and process there really is no color limit.

arzie13
arzie13 profile pic Alumni

...or what Dan said!

Steger
Steger profile pic Alumni
Dan Yingling said:

Most designs using more than 8 colors will be printed using simulated process, however, if you are working with illustrator and creating your design using vectors without any gradients etc. our printers like to keep it to 11 colors for the best quality print.

Dan is the best. True Story.

Steger
Steger profile pic Alumni

Ross is cool too though.

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni

In theory you can use the colors like that. If you make the red 50% opacity and halftone it it will simulate pink when printed over white. From a distance, at least. The number of colors (actually it would be better to talk about the number of screens or inks) depends on how many screens the printing machine can handle. The limit used to be 8 because they had 8-screen machines. There have been prints with at least 10 inks so they got bigger and more beautiful machines since then. The thing is that all instances of one color will usually be printed at once with the same screen. So that includes all halftones of that color too. That means that the order of colors is important. Like you can see from that gif above, white goes on bottom as it's the thickest ink and the colors are then layered on top with black or whatever is darkest usually last. A final white hilight is sometimes used.

That's basically what simulated process means - it optically simulates a larger range of colors with fine halftones next to each other.

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni
arzie13 said:

Our printers our now capable of laying down up to twelve separate colors, and with blending techniques like simulated process and process there really is no color limit.

12! Good to know.

Momech

I think you are all very cool!

Thanks for all the responses - I love that I can come on the boards here, post a question and (usually!) get an answer within a matter of minutes.

So to sum up, I can use up to 12 colours and gradients or halftones and I'll be OK?

Momech

Cheers!

P0ckets
P0ckets profile pic Alumni

But... the fewer colours you use, the cheaper it will be to print. it might not make too much difference on the scale Threadless prints at, but it's worth bearing in mind.

Momech

Hmm... I wonder if that becomes an issue when Threadless are choosing which designs to print? After all it directly affects their profit ratio..!

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