A Designer’s Guide to Creating Special Effects – DIGITALLY!

Our special effects in a nutshell

  • Digital Embellishments create an embossed style effect using our Ultra Sense, a Spot Gloss with our Ultra Spot, or even add Digital Foil with our Ultra Foil embellishments.
  • Raised Print adds several layers of shiny, clear ink to objects or text to creates a raised appearance. Best for fine lines and detailed areas. Raised ink does not work well on large coverage areas.
  • White Ink can be used as an footprint to support full color images or alone for vivid contrast on dark papers.
  • Fluorescent Pink Ink can be used to bring a new level of vibrancy and impact to a printed piece. Best when used on dark backgrounds for vivid contrast.

A note before you begin: Always work in a CMYK color space. When using multiple programs, create design elements in Illustrator or Photoshop first, then import items into InDesign. Keep spot colors consistent in name and color value when using multiple programs and assign only one spot color swatch for each special effect used.

Digital Embellishments (Ultra Sense, Ultra Spot, & Ultra Foil)

  1. Open your artwork in your preferred design software and create a new layer for the elements being embellished.
  2. Select the elements you wish to enhance and duplicate them to the new layer. (If using more than one embellishment please name your layer accordingly ex: “Gold Foil” “Clear Spot”)
  3. Create a New Color Swatch and name it “Scodix”, make sure the swatch is a “Spot Color” and not a processed or CMYK build.
  4. Convert all Scodix elements to this spot color.
  5. Apply any desired density effects. (see below)
  6. Submit Native Files or Save each layer out as a PDF.

Density Effects: (Achieving a “Matte” Effect)
To achieve density effects, you just apply different levels of opacity to your desired elements; to achieve a high gloss effect you apply full density – 100% opacity, for a matte effect, you apply low density – 5% – 30% opacity. Levels above 30% tend to fill in as the polymer flows and are not recommended or distinguishable from full density.  If the item to be enhanced is a picture, you will need to create a mask in Photoshop- create a spot channel and export your image and your enhancement layer separately as PDFs.

Sign up for digital embellishment shortcut support files

You will receive 10 Photoshop Separation Actions and 100 Illustrator Swatches.

Raised/Clear Ink

How to apply Raised Print in Illustrator:

  1. Create a new layer on top of the other layers and call it Raised Ink.
  2. Create a spot color swatch. Go to swatch panel, select Create New Swatch and name it Raised Ink. Select Spot Color for the Color Type. Although the ink is clear in this application, use a CMYK spot color that contrasts with your design for easy visibility. The swatch in the swatches panel should now have a black dot inside the white triangle. The HP Press will look for the name of the spot color and apply it to the layer called Raised Ink.
  3. Select the specific objects or text desired, making sure everything selected is in the Raised Ink layer, and apply the Raised Ink swatch.
  4. Go to Window, then Appearance, if Appearance panel is not already active. Once all Raised Ink objects are selected, check the Overprint Fill and/or stroke boxes.
  5. Save your work.

If using InDesign, eliminate step 4 because it does not have an Appearance Panel.

White Ink

How to apply White Ink in Illustrator:

  1. Create a new layer on top of the other layers and call it White Ink.
  2. Create a spot color swatch. Go to swatch panel, select Create New Swatch and name it White Ink. Select Spot Color for the Color Type. Although the ink is clear in this application, use a CMYK spot color that contrasts with your design for easy visibility. The swatch in the swatches panel should now have a black dot inside the white triangle. The HP Press will look for the name of the spot color and apply it to the layer called White Ink.
  3. Select the specific objects or text desired, making sure everything selected is in the White Ink layer, and apply the White Ink swatch.
  4. Go to Window, then Appearance, if Appearance panel is not already active. Once all White Ink objects are selected, check the Overprint Fill and/or stroke boxes.
  5. Save your work.

If using InDesign, eliminate step 4 because it does not have an Appearance Panel.

Fluorescent Pink Ink

  1. Create a separate layer and call it Pink Ink.
  2. Create a spot color swatch.
    • Go to the swatch panel, select Create New Swatch and name it Pink Ink.
    • Change the color type from process to  Spot Color in the dropdown and save.
    • Its best to use a CMYK color channel at 100% as your display color for the spot color you create. Ex: Spot color of 100% magenta. Choose one that contrasts with your design for easy visibility.
    • The swatch in the swatches panel should now have a black dot inside a white triangle on the pallet to identify this swatch as a spot color.
  3. Place the specific objects or text desired to print in this color on the  Pink Ink layer
  4.  Ensure that all objects and text on this layer are filled with the Pink Ink spot swatch.
  5. In the Appearance Panel,  check the overprint fill and/or stroke boxes for all items on the Pink Ink layer.