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Color UNIT III: Additive Color, Process Color and Media
Process Color Print
To gain experience in the use of additive light techniques.
To use computers as a tool for creating art.
To become familiar with process color printing, and understand the differences between CMYK and RGB color
via studio lighting, digital photography, and Adobe Photoshop.
To gain experience in working as part of a two person collaborative team.
Project Overview
Working collaboratively, photographs of a still life are shot and manipulated to create a four color/ process
acetate print, using digitally produced color separations.
Collaborative Class Print, Sp. 1999
Reading and References for Study
Reading: Chapter 5 and 6 in Becky Koenig’s Color Workbook. Pages 89-117. Review Chapter 1: Pages 4- 12.
Artcore Website
Adobe Photoshop help screens for halftones and color separations
additive system, RGB, computer color, HSB or HSV, optical mixtures, pixel, bitmap, vector, subtractive system,
process colors , process materials, transparent media, actual color transparency
3 Objects – one hard, an item of clothing (other than what you are wearing), and a favorite object.
Access to a computer, two 8 ½ x 11” matte boards (one black and one white), rubber cement or staples, tape
Before coming to class, review the thematic concept of Collaboration as found on the website. Also read
the discussion on Additive Light for Unit III and Media for Unit X on the Artcore website. Review the
Project References above.
Step One:
Set up a still life of you and your partner’s objects paying close attention to good design within the
composition. Be sure to include at least a piece of your body in the composition (if you would like your
entire body in the shot go for it!).
I will take a picture of you and your composition.
Step Two: Change a copy of your image to CMYK color –You may continue to work with your partner at this
point, but you must each have a copy of your recorded observations and a unique version of a print.
The image has been scanned in RGB color for general use on a computer, but we want to change a copy of it
to CMYK color for printing the transparencies.
 Open Photoshop. Open your file from your disk or the shared space.
 Go to Select > All
 Go to Edit > Copy
 Go to File > New
 In the new window go to Edit > Paste
 If you want to alter your image in Photoshop, do it at this point.
 Go to Image > Mode > CMYK color – when it asks if you want to flatten the image, do it.
Note the slight change in color go back and forth between modes to see the change again. Not
all colors possible with RGB are reproducible with CMYK, and vice versa.
 Record your observations on the differences the change in color mode makes.
Step Three: Look at the color separations
In Photoshop, it is possible to look at the separations before we print
Follow these steps and record your answers for the CMYK copy of your
photograph only.
 Select Window > Channels
A new window titled Channels should now appear to the right of
your screen.
 Clicking the name of the channel will make a channel visible or
invisible. Click on the names of the different channels (Cyan,
Magenta, etc) to see what they look like in black and white. What
happens when only one color channel and black are selected?
(Select multiple channels by holding down the SHIFT key while
you click) What happens when different combinations of color
channels are selected? Play around and try different
Record your observations.
Step Four: Create Halftones
In order to print the image with a silkscreen or other printing process the image
must have a halftone or other graphic code on separated channels.
For great halftone effects you must first make sure your image is at a high
 Go to Image > Image Size…
 Set the Resolution to 180 pixels/inch or higher.
Copy each channel (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow paired with (K) Black) into a new window.
 In the Channels window select a channel (C, M, or Y) by clicking on the channel name (the
channel must be visible – have the eye icon next to it).
 After selecting the channel hold the Shift key and select the channel for black. You should now
have 2 channels selected.
 Go to Select > All
 Go to Edit > Copy
 Go to File > New
 In the new window Go to Edit > Paste
You should now have a copy of your image with only one colored layer and a black layer.
Delete the content of the black channel by clicking the name of the channel. Go to Select > All and then
press the Delete Key on your keyboard.
You should now have a copy of your image with only one channel visible.
Go to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone
 The appropriate channel must be selected in the Channels Window.
 Be sure to play around with the settings to get different effects.
Repeat the above steps for each channel (C,M,Y, and K).
Print each half toned channel (C, M, Y, and K) separately onto transparency film. I recommend getting
your transparencies printed at a local copy store. They will already have the transparencies on hand so
there is no need for you to purchase any.
 I suggest that you copy and paste each image into a single Word file.
 Play with the size, making sure all your images are the same size, but make sure that you leave
enough room for your matte frame. You probably don’t want the edges of your image to be cut
off by your frame.
Step Five: Combine the Prints
Use rubber cement sparingly (clear tape, or staples) around the top edges between transparencies to
join them into a single image. Play around with the order of your transparencies for the best result.
Adhere to the center of a clean, white matte board.
Cut the center out of your black matte board to make a frame.
Tape the edges together on the inside of your matte board.
Critique Ideas
Points to discuss might involve the following:
What are the conceptual reasons behind creating multiples?
What differences are there between smaller and larger images?
Did everyone use the same shape of halftone (and how does that affect the final image)?
What type of images work well for this technique (drawings, photographs, level of detail, original color/s)?
Is the color/ reproduction accurate; were images registered correctly; were the color/ separations in the right order,
Notebook Checklist
Clean and Organized
Turned in on Time
Project Objectives Page
Discussion Page on Additive Color,
Process Color and Media
Concept Page on Collaboration
CMYK Print
Recorded Observations
*Original Project Design by Stephanie
Hunder and Dan
Color UNIT III: Additive Color, Process Color and Media
To introduce the basic physics of color as it relates to light.
To become familiar with "process color" printing, and understand the differences between CMYK and RGB
To introduce some of the new techniques available to artists in photography, video, and computing.
Physicists explain color as a function of light. However, our understanding of color as artists is complicated by
the fact that the physics of pure light differs in fundamental ways from the physics of pigments or other coloring
matter. "Additive" color mixtures refer to colors in light (as in the colors produced by passing white light through
overlapping translucent colored "gels"). "Subtractive" color mixtures refer to colors in pigments (as in artist's
It sounds strange at first, but the more colors in light are mixed together, the lighter they become. When equal
mixtures of the "light primaries" red, green, and blue (RGB) are projected in overlapping circles, they will mix to
form the "light secondaries" yellow, magenta, and cyan. Where all three primaries overlap, they produce white
White light was first proven to contain all of the colors by the physicist Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th century.
Newton passed a ray of white light through a glass prism. By the principle of "refraction", the beam of light was
broken into its constituent parts-- the same familiar rainbow pattern one sees in oil slicks, on the walls of a sunlit
room filled with "power crystals", or in a sky filled with moisture and light. A rainbow is the common name we
give to the visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Remember: The "light primaries" are different from the "pigment primaries". The
light primaries are red, green, and blue. The pigment primaries are red, blue, and
yellow (see UNIT II).
The photograph shows (additive) Light Mixing. Note white light at the center.
Also note that where the light primaries overlap one finds the light secondaries
(also known as the "process colors" of cyan, magenta, and yellow).
New printing technologies, photographic processes, video, and the computer
have transformed our understanding of new media and given us an expanded
palette of techniques for manipulating and experimenting with color.
Pantone Color System, NY Times article, Jan. 2002
Collaborations become great only when everyone in them is free to do his or her absolute best--and is committed
to seeing other members do their best as well.
--Richard Loveless
People can work together to get a job done more efficiently or more creatively.
In a true collaboration, everyone emerges with a sense of ownership and pride in the task at hand. A positively
structured collaboration exists when participants believe that they are linked with others in such a way that one
cannot succeed unless the other members of the group succeed (and vice versa). Interaction and
communication between members of the group is essential. It should be remembered that collaborative skills
are learned skills. Effective collaborations require leadership, decision-making, trust-building, communication,
and conflict-management skills. Good collaborations also develop mechanisms for self-assessment and
maintenance strategies that give members positive feedback for their participation and help to sustain and
refresh the group beyond the initial contacts.
In art, collaboration can lead to unexpected outcomes and "boundary breaking solutions" of the most
creative kind.
Inquiry Questions
1) How can collaborative groups be organized to work efficiently and creatively on a given
2) What are some examples of art forms that are almost always collaborative in nature?
3) How can a creative person learn to become a more effective collaborator?
For Further Reflection
Nucleo de Arte (New York Times article on an artist collective in Mozambique, AFRICA)
Creative Collaborations (compilation of notes by Richard Loveless)
Organizing Genius...The Secrets of Creative Collaboration (compilation of notes by Richard Loveless)
ASU-YWCA Internet Art Workshop. Collaboration between ASU MFA candidates and "Haven House" women.