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how do you create a letterpress look on a white background?

Posted on 2010-08-17
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I would like to create the look of letterpress type in both photoshop and Illustrator but want to do it on a white background.
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Question by:Black_Dog_Design
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by:SaigonJeff
ID: 33462465
Can you be more specific regarding 'Letterpress' look? I am assuming you are talking about "Embossed" Letters.

If that is the case, just type the text in On a separate layer and in Photoshop, apply layer effects
Color Overlay = White
Bevel and Emboss = (whatever settings work best for you)
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David Brugge earned 500 total points
ID: 33466683
The problem, of course is showing three dimensionality on a white background. The traditional methods, as Saigon has said is to apply traditional black shading and white highlights. However, the white highlights are ineffective on a white background.

I was looking at these examples of letterpress. You notice that some of the examples show more depth than others, depending on the amount of shadow and highlight in the image.

You have three choices. The first is to use white background. Most of the examples above are printed on a textured paper. When letters are pressed into this paper, the edges become embossed and the surface is compacted and smoothed, loosing much of its texture and becomes more reflective. You could simulate this by printing a background texture and where you wanted highlights around the letters, you would leave white.

Another option is to not use any highlight at all, and depend just on the shadow to show the embossing. You can see examples of this in the above samples.

A third method is to use another color other than white as your highlight. Think of it as if you had an embossed surface and were shining a colored light at an angle in addition to the white light shining from overhead. The colored light would show strongest in the recesses around the letter in contrast to the white background. The effect, using this method, is more stylized than the traditional methods, but it can give you a three dimensionality when you're up against a wall, so to speak.
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by:SaigonJeff
ID: 33468218
D Brugge is correct... In almost all the examples the Letterpress is done on a textured paper and is filled with a color. You could use the layer styles as I suggested earlier but I agree that a slightly darker color overlay, or the introduction of a color to the lighting would make all the difference...

I would however recommend that you get a sample of the final stock you will be printing on and scanning it in so you can use it as a reference background when applying your layer effects.

It will take a lot of tweaking... but it can be done.
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by:SaigonJeff
ID: 33468507
My personal choice would be Illustrator...

Here is a link where you can find 10 really awesome tutorials for creating letterpress using illustrator.

http://sixrevisions.com/graphics-design/10-wonderful-letterpress-type-tutorials/

These effects are fabulous!

Good Luck...
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34077493
The simple way is to create text or an object. Now copy and paste the text/object and make one object fill color white, one objects fill color black (the black object should be in the back). Align the top white object with the bottom black object. Now select the white object and use the arrow keys to nudge it down and to the right one or two clicks depending on the size of your object.
OPTION: you may  want to change the white filled object to a light gray.


I am sending a PDF which you can open in Illustrator, so you can see the settings I used in case you like it.

letterpress.jpg
letterpress-darker.jpg
letterpress-copy.pdf
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34077524
I am sending a .psd file in case you want to use Photoshop. I created this one by Creating the text and using white or light gray for the color. Next I added an inner shadow using -129 for the degree. Next I added a bevel and emboss with low opacity in both opacity settings inside the bevel and emboss layer style options box. You can open my PSD file, open the layers tab, select the text layer, then go to styles and click the drop-down options arrow. Now choose save style and give it a name. Now the style will be available for re-use in any file.

Letterpress.jpg
letterpress.psd
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by:SaigonJeff
ID: 34078126
I have created some example of this effect in illustrator that might help. I have also attached the illustrator Graphic Styles I create for these examples as well..

You will need to change the extensions to .ai before you can use them.
Letterpress.txt
letterpress.jpg
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078129
I think that we have been abandoned (snif)
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34078144
Is this the old question? I thought maybe it had been re-asked ( is that a word?). I am starting to get abandonment issues ;)
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by:SaigonJeff
ID: 34078166
Me too... I feel like I'm slipping into limbo on this one...
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078173
Didn't mean to bring down the party, by all means, keep making examples. I, for one, am enjoying them.
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34078212
Answered!

D_Brugge I ward you 200,000,000 points for enjoying examples

Saigon_Jeff I award you 150,000,000 (I docked you for saying fabulous, while going by "Saigon" Jeff. For some reason that doesn't seem to go together).

Me I award you -100,000,000 points for creating this post.
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078253
200,000,000 points! Does that get me a tee shirt?
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078256
For some reason my image didn't upload (ah, for the editing abilities!)

myLetterPress01.jpg
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078369
I guess my "pressing" could be a little sharper. Perhaps this...

myLetterPress02.jpg
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078665
Another method of letter press...

myLetterPress04.jpg
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34078587
Lets see... Black_Dog did ask about letter press on white...

myLetterPress03.jpg
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34078941
Very nice work D_B, but how did you get a picture of my wife ironing?
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by:David Brugge
ID: 34079944
This was funny. I posted the ironing photo last, but it was just after 2am when daylight savings time went into effect, so the ironing post jumped ahead of the white on white example.
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34734369
BAHH HUMBUG!!!
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