Photoshop Question

So I see plenty of designs on here that have smooth shading and what appear to be varying levels of opacity being used. However it seems that every color needs it's own layer if by the off chance it gets chosen to be printed. That's why my designs so far have only used flat colors at 100% opacity. Since a color at anything below is technically a different color?? Maybe I'm over thinking this. Any help would be great because I could create something really sweet if I can incorporate smooth shading.

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jeffreyg profile pic Alumni

gradients undergo a different printing process called simulated process

jeffreyg said:

gradients undergo a different printing process called simulated process

that's why i wanted to see an example of what you're talking about. it could be that they do use gradients/transparencies and would therefore be printed using simulated, or it could be that they are achieving the effect using flat colors, but the technique just needs some explaining.

Morkki profile pic Alumni


Just small dots, that's all. Sim process is a fancy name for using a number of carefully selected halftoned color layers to simulate a larger amount of colors.


ok, i know that the halftones are used for shading (i haven't yet learned how to use them properly) but are you telling me that the whole Peace rocks design was used by applying halftones!!!??? it looks like it's a bunch of photos of different crystals photoshoped together O_o


was done* by applying halftones :D

Morkki profile pic Alumni

The original design is a collage of rock photos but in order to print such an image it needs to be broken down to separate colors. For photographic images such as that one the color separation for sim process can be done after the image is designed. Doing the color separations is a specialized skill and Threadless staff and printers can handle it!

But basically all full color prints are just tiny dots of ink that fool the eye into seeing more colors from a distance.


Ok guys I know what halftones are haha. I know how to do the smooth pretty shading. What I'm asking is how I'd set that up in the document. Would each level of opacity need it's own layer like separate colors do? Or does this simulation printing process take care of that?

Ian-S profile pic Alumni

Interesting. This changes things as I've been laboring over learning halftones (Which will no doubt be useful to learn) when all I needed to do was leave it to the clever threadless folks!

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