This is a design for an annual event that I have separated for many years. The client works with 3D models and then brings the images into Photoshop to compose a T-shirt design. My job is to separate the colors to print on the press. I do this manually without a separation program. This one took me about 2 hours.
Original Photoshop Design
You have to think of color separations like the "Transporter" from Star Trek. It takes molecules, breaks them apart and sends them to a destination where it puts them back together again. With color separation, you take a design and decide how many colors need to print on the press that will simulate the original image. This requires a little experience and an eye for color. This particular design, I decided was 9 colors. So the goal is to break the design down into those 9 colors then reassemble those colors when they print on the press to end up with the image on the shirt.
Below is the sequence that the design prints on the press and is very similar to how it looks as it's printing. These images are demonstrating how each plate looks individually as the design comes builds back together.
Based down Black for Mixing
25% Medium Black
Here's a design I created that sold today for a concert theme called Dreamscapes. The design describes 3 types of dreams. Horror, flying and falling.
I'll post the separations and maybe a shirt when it goes to print!
If you are interested in learning to do do this yourself without a software program that cost a lot and can't compare to what you can do, then download the book to guide you as you learn to do manual color separations in Photoshop Channels!