Combining Multiple Photoshop DCS Separations with Vector Graphics In One T-Shirt Design

This is one of the many methods that can be applied to T-shirt color separating.  In this particular design  we have a combination of Photoshop files with vector graphics that are put together in Illustrator to layout  the design.  

The first step was to copy the Photoshop files and create png images with transparent backgrounds so that we can bring them into Illustrator and move them around freely as we design with vector graphics.

Once we have a final that is approved by the customer, we can then begin to separate the colors for film.

We separate each Photoshop file separately.  Some of these channels will use the same ink colors. We will give them the same channel names so that when they are combined together with the vector graphics,  they will be on the same corresponding plates.  We will save these as DCS files so they can be placed in Illustrator for printing.

Since DCS files by default will have a background this will block our view of the other parts of the design when we bring it into Illustrator.  To avoid this,  we will make a copy of each of the files and create a silhouette.  Then we will save these as jpegs, bring them into Illustrator and make a "Live Trace" and convert to vector so that we can make a clipping mask for each of the DCS files.

This is the final image of the print file with the 2 DCS files combined with the vector graphics,  all using corresponding colors. 

Once we have done all of this,  it is output to film, screens burned, set up and printed on the press. With the mixing channel colors and some vector spot colors this was printed as a 9 color design on colored shirts.

I did not get to see the design when it went to press, so I did not have a shirt to make a photo, but I did find the test print in the folder!  Compare with the proof!