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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.
I'm almost finished with this job. I've completed my design. I've created my die line. But I have to remember to add bleed before I send my job to the printer. Now if it were just a rectangular card, that would be really easy. I would just add an eighth of an inch all the way around. But what makes it a little bit tricky is the intersection of this yellow petal shape and this purple background. Well, let's do the easy part first. So over here in the Layers panel. I'm going to pull this loose and I'm just going to hide everything but my purple background. Select that. And my favorite way to do this is with the Transform panel. Window > Transform.
And, of course, you can also use this little link up here. You want to make sure that it's centered, with that reference point in the middle selected. Now I could do math in my head or I could make it easy on myself and let Illustrator do the math. I know I'm going to add an eighth of an inch left and right and top and bottom. To add left and right, it's going to be actually a total of a quarter of an inch. So here, in the Width field, I can just click after the current measurement. Type a plus 0.25. There we go. And same thing for the height. Just plus 0.25. it's a little bit easier.
You know, let Illustrator help you when it can. Now we get to the tricky part. And that's dealing with these petals. So, the first thing I'm going to do is turn on my guideline and lock it. I'm going to hide the parts that I don't need to deal with. I do want to see my background just so I can be sure I'm doing the right thing. And here's what I need. I need extra on this yellow shape all the way around. I can't afford to put it all the way around the complete shape, or I'm going to mess-up the designs. So I just need Bleed over part of this. What I'm going to use is something called Offset Path. So, first I'm going to duplicate my original flower so I don't mess it up. And I can do this by coming over here and saying duplicate path or I could use my little new object down here.
So, I'm going to drag this down to the new object and it duplicates it. Now, having 400 paths called path makes it a little hard to figure out who's who. So I'm going to name these pieces so that I can recognize them. So this is going to be my original petals. And I'm going to hide that because I don't want to hurt that. This is going to be my bleed. (SOUND) So I'm going to select this shape and I'm going to use Offset Path. Object > Path > Offset Path. By default, this is the figure that comes up, but I want an eighth of an inch. So I'm just going to say 0.125, and there we go. Now, it has a shadow on it, which I don't need.
So I'm just going to come over here to my Appearance panel, select that Drop Shadow effect, and get rid of that. But you might notice that hey, I hid my original, how can I still have a shadow? Funny things happen when you offset path. It sort of duplicate sit for you even though that's not what you want, so I actually have some shapes that I don't need. I have this shape, which is the original configuration of the petals, so you know what, I'm just going to get rid of that. Just hit my little Trash Can, there we go. This is going to be my bleed. But, remember, I don't want to deform the shape of this so I just need the extra out here outside my trim.
And I'm going to create what's called a bevelled bleed. So this is the tricky intersection. If we have this yellow come right down here to the trim. What if there a little bit off when they trim it. Then I'll see a little yellow trim in here. So that won't work. I can't have the purple come all the way over to here, because I might have a little purple rim in the flower. So the sensible thing is to create this beveled cut, and it may make more sense after you see it happen. Several different ways I could do this, but I think I'm going to use my pen tool, because I'll just have a little bit more control. And before I do anything else, I'm going to name this, and this is going to be my petal bleed. I'm a big fan of naming objects in Illustrator so you can recognize them,e specially the next morning when you pick back up working on something like this, so smart guides are going to come in really handy here. I'm going to get my Pen tool.
Now right now if I draw it's going to draw a yellow shape. You can see my fill color... I'm going to hit a D on my keyboard for default. Now that would be an opaque white shape with a black stroke. Then I'm going to hit my forward Dlash key or I could hit this little object here. And that gives me a fill of none. What I like about this is I can see my path as I draw it. But then I can see what's behind it while I draw too. So I'm just going to start out here. And smart guides again are going to help me out. I'm going to hit, this little dip right here where the pedals meet. And I want to hit this little point where that rectangular shape is going to meet the pedal shape when it turns. Boy, I love smart guides.
And then what happens down here as long as I draw it big enough that it can sort of saw off that Unneeded part of the petals, I'm good. Now I'm going to use Pathfinder to get rid of that unwanted part of the shape. So under Window, and then Pathfinder, I already have this little shape selected. When I hold down Shift, I can select the flower. And I'm going to use minus front. There we go. Now I just have the part of the flower that I need. And this is what I meant when I said a beveled bleed. See how it hangs out here? So now we've got a little margin of error here if they're a little bit off, and they won't be of course.
But if they are a little bit off, it's not going to be obvious when the card is trimmed. So let's turn some things back on and see what we have I believe this is going to work. Now, if you're concerned about what happens to the shadow here ... Gee, shouldn't I have the shadow all the way around? Well, no, because it would sort of leak in here. Again, you're trying to go for, I guess what I would call worst case scenario. If there's a little bit of slippage. And I will tell you that printing and die cutting are much more precise than they were, gosh, just ten years ago, but it doesn't hurt to be a little paranoid. You want to honestly make it as easy on the folks that are going to trim and print this as possible.
This is going to be great. This is going to be well behaved. Lets turn everything back on and lets lean back and take a look. So there's my little green dye line. I have adequate bleed. I've done my little bevel trick here so that's its going to be much easier for the printer and the dye cutting place to get this to work right. Now ultimately you know when this prints, it's not going to be just one little card in the middle of a sheet of paper. They're going to step them up. There'll be several cards. But that's something that the printer does. And how that's laid out is up to them. They'll work it out with the die place.
How they're going to lay out the die. That's not something you need to worry about. Having all that extra art (UNKNOWN) around doesn't really matter, but you know what? I tend to like to trim it off, so, I'm going to take my artboard tool and I'm just going to trim this down a bit. Honestly, it's just a personal preference thing. In truth, all that really matters is where there's occupied space but, I just think this presents a little bit better. So actually my job is now ready to send to the printer. Everything's in good shape I've provided bleed I've given them a dye line. I think this job's ready to go and I think its going to be really cute when its printed and trimmed.
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