Stop! Now imagine the theme song from Space Odyssey 2001! Hear it? Good. Now you’re ready for the drop of our new Green Galaxy Water Based HSA Aurora Force 4 Color Process inks! Also known as AF4. Four colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK (CMYK) that will bring more than a whole new spectrum of color to your prints, but all of the great things you have come to know Green Galaxy Water Based inks for as well: great screen life, soft hand, and amazing detail.
Four color process printing opens up the door to a rainbow of color and detail, and when using HSA (High Solids Acrylic) Water Based inks you achieve the satisfying hand/feel customers and screen printers love. Four color process will never be the same.
While standard 4 color process methodology should be followed here, there are some specific measures you will want to take in order to get the best results out of water based 4 color process inks like AF4:
Ring spun or you’re done! Seriously. Especially with thinner water based inks, if you don’t use a higher quality cotton that has a finer thread and weave, you won’t be able to achieve the detail and enhanced feel to match your beautiful print. Carded cotton just won’t cut it here.
Historically, 4 color process works best on white or light colored backgrounds, however, you can experiment with discharge underbases to achieve unique effects. This will almost always mute out your print but it does work, play around with your process and see the results!
I’m personally a fan of Photoshop for enhancing and separating process work. If you want to create a bright and vibrant image, check out the 5 simple steps in this 4 color process printing video before you convert to CMYK.
After you have enhanced your image, be sure to load the proper color profile which will match your ink to the color you want to achieve and to the mesh count you’re using. For best results, we recommend CMYK color separating in Adobe Photoshop using the correct CSF color profile. Start with your full color image in RGB mode, load the AF4-Process-Profiles.csf color profile (edit>color settings>load), then change the color mode to CMYK (image>mode). The correct color profile can be found on the product page on screenprinting.com. Here is an additional tutorial to help with this portion.
With AF4, you can really push your LPI detail. We used a 65 LPI in the video below, but if you don’t have the sharpest exposure unit, go with a 55 line.
A high, 305 mesh count is key here but you can go a little lower to 280 in order to get more ink penetration. For your emulsion, we recommend using a water resistant emulsion such as Baselayr Complete with CryoPrep degreaser. Coating 2/1, at a minimum, to ensure the emulsion is getting around the mesh knuckles.
When you go to expose, be sure to use calibration bars on the side of the screens to guarantee you are exposing all of your halftone dots. For longer production runs, post-expose Baselayr Complete by 3-4 times the duration of your original exposure.
Now for the fun stuff. If you are printing on a lighter garment here are some things to consider:
– Start printing from light to dark YMCK, but if you want your colors to shift you can switch up the order to CMYK, YCMK, or MYCK. Notice it is normally best to finish with black.
– Use a pull stroke for manual printing. The pull stroke is recommended because it allows you a higher ink deposit onto the garment as compared to a push stroke.
– Flood after every pass to allow the screen to stay wet and to keep the image area loaded.
– Do two passes of each color and if you need more or less density for a specific color, adjust accordingly.
The rest is up to you! 4 color process can create just about any color under the sun and due to the higher mesh counts used, the detail seen on some of these prints is jaw dropping. The Aurora Force 4 are designed to give you this same expansive spectrum of color combined with the amazing feel and detail found with HSA water based inks. Try them out today to see and feel the difference!