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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.
When you're working on a project that involves dye cutting, do you do it in Illustrator or do you do it in InDesign? Do you create part of it in Illustrator and part of it in InDesign? To a certain extent, it's really a matter of personal preference. For me though, if I'm building something this complex with this little petal edge, and then I need to provide bleed. And I have to have that little bevel bleed where those 2 colors meet. I prefer to just create the whole thing in Illustrator because all the tools are there, and I can just do it all in one place. There's no reason why you couldn't create it in InDesign, just be a bit more frustrating.
But for simple projects, there's no reason why you couldn't build it in InDesign. So I have a project here that's really simple. It's just essentially rectangular cards with little rounded corners. So, there's no reason why I can't do it right here in InDesign. But there's still a couple of things you should know. First thing is, don't build a lonely little card in the middle of a letter size page. Always make your page to the trim size. Now with the daisy card you saw a minute ago, that would be pretty tough to do. But here it's a you know, fairly uniform card so we can do that here. First thing I'm going to do, is change my document size, so File, Document Set up and the width is going to be 4 and a quarter and the height is 1 and half, and I'm going to need bleed, but rather than typing I'm just going to hit my up arrow twice.
Now if you're working in points and picas you have to hit your up arrow a few more times. But I like being able to just do that, and not have to type. Now it's the right size, but I have this gigantic margin staring me in the face. Doesn't really hurt anything. But if it annoys you, you can change it. I'm going to do that on the master page, so that it occurs on all the pages in the document. And that's because this is ultimately going to be a document containing 4 cars. So I'm going to put some things in place on the master. And while I'm in the master, I'll fix the margin. So I double click on the master. Go up to layout.
Margins and columns. And then set that to zero. And there we go. Now, what I need to do is create that die line artwork. That's going to appear on every page. So I might as well do that on the master, too. First I need to create a dye line color. So in the Swatches panel, going to make a new color swatch, of course I'm going to call it dye line, I'm going to make it a spot color. Now, it could be any color because it isn't something that's going to print. It's just essentially for the geometry.
But, my habit is always make it RGB and bright green. Just makes it easy to find it in the midst of other art work, although of course if I were working on a bright green project, I would probably make it something else. But it's just anything to make it obvious. And now I'm going to create the die line. I know that it has to be essentially rectangular but that it has the rounded corners. I could do it either with my rectangle frame tool or my rectangle tool, it doesn't matter. I suppose the rectangle tool gives me a bit of a head start because it already has a stroke on it when you build it, so there we go, corner to corner, and smart guides of course help it snap to the corners.
And now I'm going to give it the rounded corners. Under Object... Corner Options. If Preview isn't checked, check it. If you check it once it stays checked, which is nice. I'm going to choose the Rounded option, and then there's my quarter inch. And I want to separate that from the rest of my artwork. So in my Layers panel I'm just going to re-name this die line. And I'm going to create a new layer and drag it below die line. It doesn't matter whether it's above or below.
Remember, it's not going to be something that prints. Where you position it in the layers panel is just really going to be whatever's easiest for you. I tend to put it at the top layer because I know I'm going to put artwork in this document that's going to fill up the page, and I want to make sure that things fall within it, so it's just easier to see. If it's up above everything else. And now, I'm going to create the other 3 pages because this is ultimately, as I said, 4 cards, so I'm going to insert 3 pages and end design because it's so polite, thinks you want to start on one of your newly added pages, but nope I want to go back to page one and now I'm going to bring in the artwork. So I've created the artwork in Illustrator, so I'm just going to choose file place, and in the assets folder, there they are. I could get them one at a time or I can take advantage of the fact that InDesign lets me place multiple artwork at the same time, so I'm going to choose Open It loads up my cursor with 4 of my little graphics, and you can see the number 4. Of course you can choose to place them in a different order, but I like the way they are, so I'm just going to click and they already have bleed applied. I very cleverly added that when I was in Illustrator.
And then I could just go through from page to page, place my artwork. By the way, if you look at the cursor, you might notice that it looks like a little acrobat carousel. That's sort of suspicious, isn't it? That's because, under the hood, Illustrator files are really sort of PDFs. So. Don't let that surprise you. Now, they look really ratty, because you're looking at, you know, your typical view. So we want to make sure that it's really going to look good when it prints. So I'm going to change my view by choosing, view display performance, and high quality display. And then I'm going to switch to preview mode.
And I can do that by just pressing the w on the keyboard. And I just want to make sure that things fall within trim the way they should. So I make sure that my artwork is going to trim out all right. That looks good. And I can actually zoom out by hitting Cmd or Ctrl minus, and scroll up. Yep. That looks good. That looks good. I think we're in good shape. So again, for something as simple a this, I could have built it in Illustrator but it's just as easy to finish it off in InDesign. I already had the artwork created in Illustrator and it was easy to create the dye line in InDesign. And because it's going to be 4 separate cards, everything's already in place. And when I get ready to send it to the printer, everything's already done.
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