Execution of an excellent photo-realistic job needs a better understanding of color separation. Different styles of separation are present and one style must be selected to do the job. All three styles could be completed in Adobe Photoshop sans any third party applications. This holds true whether the artwork is raster based or vector based. It can be a single color or more than a dozen.
Image origins and process
To know which style of separation is most ideal for the image, it is imperative to know its origins. Try to source the image from its native environment. It means if the image was created in Illustrator, then the image should be taken from there. This principle, if followed, will keep images crisp. However, memory issues may force the image to export as .psd. Use Photoshop to manage the separation.
CMYK or four color process is the most popular technique to manage photo-realistic images. It is excellent for those who are just starting out. The process is easy and nothing much is needed to be done. That said, novices could find it unpredictable and tricky. The CMYK process used Cyan, Black, Yellow, and Magenta to create the image. Particular translucent process inks are needed. The screens, utilizing halftones, undergoes wet on wet printing. The four colors mix will result in all the colors present in the image. CMYK is ideal for printing on lighter garments. However, if printed on darker colors, the process begins to fade. An underbase can be created.
Index and Simulated
The Index process helps you to craft a color palette which can then applied on to the image. This palette will be utilized by Photoshop to create the best representation of the image. It is important to choose the correct colors as they determine success and failure. You should thus make this your topmost priority. An Index job cannot be edited after it gets to the press. You should triple check the image on the monitor before sending it to the press.
The Simulated process is the most versatile of all. It works even as others fail. This process is also known as Spot process. This process utilizes the opaque spot colors. The latter gets broken down into numerous elliptical half tone dots to create a substantial color range. This process provides the capability to generate complex prints It can also be much more easily controlled.