Spectrolite is a Mac app for making risograph files from your designs

Originally published at: Spectrolite is a Mac app for making risograph files from your designs | Boing Boing


Interesting, but at 25-30k for a new printer and not knowing how archival the inks are, I’d be skeptical as well for graphics/art/printing. Two passes for CMYK, mmmm ok. One day I’ll stop feeding the beast its monthly lb of gristle… damn you Adobe!

I started a free seed library out front of the house and the one cost I haven’t accounted for is the epson eco tank ink (shit graphics printer folks, avoid) costs per page. I lay down very little ink but I’ve given away mb 300 seed packets?

Extra pts for the Odonata artwork. Dragonflies are the coolest!

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If this app can output black & white color separation files then I could see it being useful for all kinds of printing applications, including handmade screen prints.

I’ve been wanting to have a Riso since I found out Robin Sloan has been playing with one and making some real cool artwork with it. Supposedly in larger cities they pop up used on craigslist every so often, mostly from churches and schools. Not so much in my medium-sized town.

You can use (ack) Photoshop to make separations by hand iirc
convert your RGB image to CMYK colorspace, then go to Channels and select the individual color channel, apply screen patterns at correct angles and Bob’s yer uncle

What makes this sound interesting is the (probably not saying this right) molecular level resolution of the ink on the drum. Two colors means you could do some cool duotone stuff.

Not sure how the micro holes are punched thru the original. Does it destroy the input?

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CMYK separations are easy. What’s more challenging is creating separations from a color image based on different spot color inks. For example, taking a photo of a red apple with a green leaf and converting it to separations using red and green ink colors that actually put each color where it’s supposed to go.

Obviously you CAN do that kind of thing in Photoshop but it’s not exactly a one-step process.

I was going to tell you how easy it is to do in Photoshop, but its been a while since I had to use the feature. Basically, convert to CMYK, open ‘channels’ and you can add extra channels and assign them a spot colour. I think for it to be printable, you have to save as something other than common PSD? Maybe just change the mode to Multichannel? I really should poke around the old skills and refresh my brain.

In the work I was doing (which was for screen printing) we’d often do something like select a range of highlights and make a new channel that we’d save out as 100% anything spot, but tell the printer to use a clear ink, for pop. Really when you’re doing this type of thing for screen printing (for complex images), you’d want to get Illustrator involved and kind of mix and match layers of vector and limited channels from Photoshop. But then its really not one step.

I actually teach college classes in Photoshop. I know how to do it, the description of the app just made it sound like they streamlined some aspects of the process.

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