Printing offers many distinctive finishing techniques that can be used to create impressive effects — spot UV varnish in gloss or matt, embossing/debossing, foil stamping or die cutting, to name a few. Your publication can be greatly enhanced by employing one or more of the aforementioned techniques and you can see some fine examples on our website or Flickr gallery.
It is difficult, however, to visualise these special effects at the design stage as they are too complex or expensive to mock up. And, while designers and print production professionals have a good idea of how a technique would look when finished, clients often lack the experience and can’t picture it accurately. Even, when supplied with generic print finishing guides, it can be problematic for people to apply a technique to a completely different design.
I’ve tried to tackle this problem recently when designing a brochure with an intricate matt spot UV varnish on a gloss laminated cover. The cover sported a fragment of a polished marble structure and I wanted to enhance it sensorily by selectively applying matt UV varnish on the marble’s veins. I knew varnishing would greatly improve the effect but I wanted the client to see it too…
For a while I’ve been playing with Mr Doob’s Three.js library which, in simple terms, renders three-dimensional objects on the screen. It also does this directly in a web browser, so it can be viewed by anyone, anywhere. With some research, I’ve created an example showing a plane in 3D with the photograph of the marble stone and a virtual layer of varnish reacting to light!
Now, I could show the client both physical samples and a visualisation of the design concept. It gave the client a pretty decent approximation of what to expect. And guess what. He approved it on the spot!
I plan to use the simulator more often for more demanding projects and, if time allows, improve the software and share it, so anyone can easily upload and visualise their designs. Stay tuned and in the meanwhile, you can play with a current version of Print FX Simulator*. Enjoy!
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Print finishing effects to impress
If you’ve taken a look at the Print FX Simulator* then you’ve got close to knowing how impressive foil blocking and other sophisticated print finishing techniques can be. At PrintHouse we have over three decades of experience producing some of the most interesting print finishing imaginable.
Find out how we can help you by giving us a call on 020 8963 0123 or by simply providing your details below. We’ll get right back to you.