Color separation can seem like a simple thing to understand at the basic level but can get pretty complicated the deeper you go. The best way to learn is to be shown the right direction and figure things out as you go. To start though, you’ll need to learn some of the basics of color separation before you dive right in.
The Core of Color Separation
Photoshop has one of the best color separation tools. If you have images that are not simple to point, click, and finish (which none of them are), it has all the tools you’ll need in a simpler format than other types of digital editing software. You may have an image that has already had some tweaking done and it can be a real pain to try and separate the colors if it has been “enhanced” by someone that didn’t really know what they were doing.
1. The first thing you need to know about color separation is your artwork. You have to know the piece you’re working on; where it was made, if the image is mainly embedded bitmap aspects, everything about it changes how you’re going to need to work on it. Make sure you have a firm grasp on everything there is to know about the image so you can make it look as fantastic as possible.
2. Changing the contrast or improving it can really change an image. If you darken the shadows and lighten the highlights with an “S” curve, you’ll notice a big changed, especially on flat files.
3. You will definitely benefit if you know how to create channel separations as well as creating an under base for your image. That’s an entirely different subject but you’ll find it handy to learn if you’re going to be working with color separation.
There are a ton of advanced techniques to learn once you’ve gotten comfortable using the software. For example, you’ll probably come across minor trapping and choking of colors, which means making them bigger or smaller, and other tools to make the separations lighter or darker to help the image when it prints. These techniques will help you improve as a graphic editor and you’ll learn quickly if you keep after it.