The overwhelming majority of screen print jobs are simple. One or two colors here and there and it’s done. But sometimes you or your client will have a grand vision for a complex artful design with utilizing a rainbow of colors. You might invision something like an oil painting or a photographic image. Back in the old days these sorts of images would be made using “four color process” or “CMYK” prints. But those prints tended to really work best only on light color shirts, the desired colors were really hard or impossible to get, it had lots of registration problems and never really had the vibrancy that was ideal.
A good example of something that is suited for Simulated Process separations.
These days, we screen printers utilize a more advanced technique called “Simulated Process” to get your complex art on a shirt whether it’s white, orange, black or anything in between. The simulated part in “Simulated Process” is the simulation of a some colors using different two or more other colors. For example, if your awesome super complex art has a green, yellow and blue in it, halftones of yellow and halftones of blue may sit next to each other giving the appearance of green. Remember when you were a kid and you put your right face up to the TV or looked at a comic book under a magnifying glass? It works a lot like that.
“Simulated Process” sometimes called “Sim Process” is a much more purposeful and bespoke process in which an artist will carefully disassemble your complex art in Photoshop into its building block colors. Each of these images will be burned onto its own screen and printed using a very calculated mix of screen meshes, squeegees, flashes and other technical stuff.
The original art is split into its essential colors. Then these are printed in order to produce the final image. In this way modern screen printers can print a very complex design while maintaining clarity, vibrancy, color correctness and opacity.