Color separations are the four-color negatives or positives which are the result of changing full color artwork into the four process colors (yellow, magenta, cyan, and black) by the use of filters. Color separation is done for offset printing jobs so that each color layer can be printed separately - one layer on top of the next layer - to give the final printed piece a consistent, full color look.
Prepare multi-color artwork for printing by dividing it into individual overlays, or separations, one for each component color. For traditional process color, four separations are printed, one each for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. For Hexachrome, six separations are printed, one each for cyan, magenta, yellow, black, orange, and green. For spot colors, one separation is printed for each color used in the illustration.
(A) the process of separating a four-color image into a series of single-color (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) images that will be used as negatives (B) the process of separating a two or three spot-color job into its single-color components as proofs before running film.