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Adding a die cut or emboss to your print job can make a striking visual impact; it's a way of sculpturing and increasing a reader's engagement with your work. Learn about the various types of embossing and die cutting as well as the proper ways to set up your documents to achieve consistent results. Author Claudia McCue covers manufacturing concerns like cost, time, choosing the appropriate paper stock, and file formatting; preparing your artwork for embossing and stamping; and then designing your die-cut project in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.
Before an embossing job goes into full production, usually the die maker will provide you with what's called a strike. It's a proof. It's a test emboss of the stock that's going to be used on the final job. And you need to inspect that to make sure it looks the way you expect. You want to check the depth; is the embossing the proper depth you were expecting? And if you're using a multi level or a sculptural embossing die, make sure there's sufficient difference between the levels, and you can see the detail that you were hoping to capture in the embossing.
And, speaking of detail, you want to check for broken type, broken rules, any small art components. You want to make sure that they're rendered with fidelity. You want to check for distortion. Are smaller details distinct? And since embossing involves pressure, and you're really just sculpting the paper, you want to check for stock buckling. And this is especially true of very heavy stock. And if you're performing the embossing near a trim or a fold, you want to stay a certain distance away from trims or folds. But in heavy stock, it can still have a bit of deformation of the stock. Because heat is often used during embossing, you might see some scorching of the paper.
Not so much with dark stock but with light stock, you might see a bit of scorching. You can actually use that sort of as an artistic component. A lot of people do. But if it's not what you want, then you may have to either change the stock or you might have to change a bit about the dye, so that not so much heat is required and that no scorching occurs. If it's thin paper or if it's coated paper you have to beware of tearing. If you're embossing printed pieces. then you have to check for registration. So does that embossed area align with the printed area? If you're using a combination die you want to make sure that the foil aligns with the embossed area that it's supposed to align with.
And you want to make sure that it interacts with that foil correctly. You want to check for splitting or tearing. So just like going to a press check for a job that purely invovles print, this really counts. When you're looking at a press proof or you're looking at a proof that a printer gives you before running a press job. This is the time to really pay attention to all the details because once you set it in motion, you want to make sure that your going to be happy with the finished piece. You put allot of work into a job that involves specialty finishing like embossing and you really want it to turn out nicely.
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