Here are some techniques we have developed to make it easy to visualize how a blind deboss project will turn out. Mapping the “real world” (ie, something physical like a custom binder) into the virtual world isn’t always easy, but this system has proven to be a winner.
We’re talking about binders with decoration like this:Detail of the blind deboss process.
The process we use to make these is pretty straight-forward: A custom die is made, and then special equipment is used to impress the image onto the vinyl cover of the binder.
The challenge comes in giving the client a good visualization of the result so they can approve the design. Here’s what we do.
We start with a basic binder layout on one of our standard templates. For this example, we are using a “seal and cut” process with full perimeter stitching. Its a nice way to get a really high-end result without blowing the budget through the roof. The basic layout for the job looks like this:
Very simple and elegant. With this client, they wanted to see both a silk screen version and the deboss version, so we started with silk screen. All of this is done using our standard templates in Adobe Illustrator CC.
In order to create the deboss version of the artwork, we switch over to Photoshop.
First, a couple of details on Illustrator. For this particular binder, the client is using a standard black vinyl. We set up our Illustrator templates in CMYK colorspace, and the black vinyl is represented with the following colors:Illustrator CMYK color values for black vinyl
When we go into Photoshop, we want to create a file that we can subsequently place back into Illustrator, so we create one using CMYK colorspace at 300 DPI. Using the size of the logo as it appears in Illustrator, we use that as a rough guide for the canvas size in Photoshop, although it is not necessary to be exact. In this example, the logo is about 2.5″ x 3.5″, so we’ll make the Photoshop file 3″ x 4″:Values used for creating the Photoshop file
Before clicking “OK”, click on the background color button:Click here to set the background color in Photoshop
Then in the color picker, enter your values (5, 5, 5, 97 in our example) in the CMYK area:Setting Photoshop Background Color
Click “OK” on the color picker, then click “OK” on the new file dialog, and you’ll get a Photoshop file that looks like this:Initial Photoshop File
Next step is to duplicate the background layer (from the menu select Layer->Duplicate). Your Layers pallet should look like this:Photoshop layers after duplicate operation
Now, go back into Illustrator, select the graphics that you want for the deboss, and copy them to the clipboard (Edit->Copy).Select graphics in Illustrator
Back to Photoshop, select the “Background copy” layer:Select Background Copy Layer
Then from the menu select “Edit->Paste Special->Paste In Place”. You’ll get a pop-up like this:Photoshop Paste Options
Select “Path” and click “OK”.
If everything went well, your Photoshop screen will look like this:Photoshop screen after placing Illustrator artwork
Your canvas won’t look any different, but if you notice, you now have a vector mask on the “Background copy” layer. Make sure the “Background copy” layer is selected, then choose “Layer->Layer Style->Bevel & Emboss” from the menu. You will get a dialog box that looks like this:Photoshop Layer Style dialog box with notes
We’ve highlighted some of the specific settings we used in this example, but you can experiment with different values in order to get the look you like. After clicking “Ok”, our example looks like this:Example deboss Photoshop file
From here, it is just a matter of saving the Photoshop file, then going back into Illustrator and using File->Place to put the Photoshop file onto the Illustrator Artboard.Illustrator workspace after placing Photoshop file
We then position the Photoshop file in the correct location, delete or hide the original vector version of the logo, and the job is done!Illustrator workspace after positioning Photoshop file
We send our proofs in low-resolution PDF format. You can see the example proof from this tutorial here.