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HOW TO CREATE CUSTOM ACRYLIC PINS USING ADOBE PHOTOSHOP

HOW TO CREATE CUSTOM ACRYLIC PINS USING ADOBE PHOTOSHOP

Posted in Tutorials by on Jun 8th, 2018

This tutorial contains everything you need to know about creating your own custom acrylic pin designs using Adobe Photoshop.

1. Download our templates

To start submitting your pin designs you'll need to download our design templates. Templates are available in 6 different sizes ranging from 15mm to 40mm.

Download our Photoshop templates here and open your chosen size.



Each template comes with a working area where you will import or create your designs. Please make sure that your artwork and cutline silhouette fits INSIDE of the blue borders.

2. Understanding our layers

Opening the template, you will notice that there are 5 layers in your Layers palette. If you can't see the Layers palette, hit F7 to make it appear.



IMPORTANT - Please don't rename existing layers or create additional layers as this will confuse our systems when processing your designs.

If you have used any effects / layer styles on any of your layers you MUST flatten them before saving. To do this simply right click on the applicable layer and select 'Rasterize Layer Style' from the menu.


'Office Use Only' Layer

This layer contains the blue borders which your design and cutline silhouette MUST sit inside. This layer is locked and should not be used.

'Artwork' Layer
All pin artwork should be placed on this layer. We print your designs onto the 'back' of our 2mm clear acrylic and then add a layer of white ink.

ALL ARTWORK ON THIS LAYER SHOULD BE FLIPPED SO THAT IT IS A MIRROR IMAGE OF ITSELF.



When you turn you pin over, your design will be the correct way around and visible via the 'front' of the acrylic, giving your pin a super crisp look.


'White' Layer
Adding a base layer of white to your designs will make your colours crisper and more vivid. Use this layer to tell us exactly where you would like this layer of white to go.


Cut Area Layer
Use this layer to show us EXACTLY where you want your pin designs to be cut. We'll use this information to create a path which will then be used to create a cut line for our laser cutters.

Please note that we do not print right up to the edge on any of our acrylic pins. It is therefore ESSENTIAL that you create a border of AT LEAST 1mm between your artwork and your cut line.

Failure to leave a 1mm border on your pin designs can result in damage and lifting along the printed edge of your pins as a result of the heat generated by the laser. See step 5 for more info.


'Fixing Template' Layer
Drag and drop the fixing template from this layer onto your artwork to show us where you would like your pin fixing to be placed. Make sure the fixing completely fits inside of your design.

3. Importing your designs

Select the 'Artwork' layer in your layers palette and either draw your design directly onto this layer or, simply copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) previously saved artwork.

'Artwork'

Create or paste the artwork for your pins on this layer. Once you are happy with your design FLIP IT so that it is a mirror image of itself.



We will print this onto the 'back' of the clear acrylic before adding a layer of white. Your design will then be visible, the correct way around, via the 'front' of the acrylic.

4a. Adding a layer of white

To guarantee bright and crisp colours for your artwork, you will need to add a white base layer to your designs. This white layer will sit behind your artwork.

To create your white base layer simply hold down the 'CTRL' key and click on the thumbnail of your 'Artwork' layer. This will select all of the elements of your artwork layer.



Inset your selection by 2 pixels using SELECT > MODIFY > CONTRACT and enter the value of 2 in the pop up 'Contract Selection' window.

Insetting your white layer by 2 pixels will prevent any areas of white from showing around the edge of your charms.

Now go to EDIT > FILL (Shift & F5) and select the 'Color' option from the 'Content' drop down menu.


Choose 100% Cyan as your colour (C:100 M:0 Y:0 K:0)

Click 'OK' and 'OK' again. You should now have a Cyan silhouette of your original artwork, placed on your 'White' layer



Be aware that contracting your selection in this manner can have an effect on the pixels selected. Always zoom in on areas with fine details such as strands of hair or small point text and check that you are happy with the results.

You may decide to only contract your selection by 1 pixel if you have a lot of fine or intricate areas in your designs.

Please remember that we always recommend ordering samples before committing to large print runs, so that you can check that you are happy with the results. Mistakes can not be rectified once your charms have been printed.

4b. Identifying unwanted areas of coloured & white ink

Using soft brushes in Photoshop can result in unwanted, low opacity pixels causing issues around the edges of your artwork.

These pixels can be invisible to the eye but get picked up by our printers, which print ALL pixels on your white layer, no matter how low their opacity, as 100% white. This can cause unwanted areas of white ink around the edges of your finished charms as well as printed areas that you may have overlooked.

A simple way to check your artwork for low opacity pixels is to click on your white layer, select the paint bucket tool and fill the background black. Repeat these steps on your Artwork layer to check for low opacity pixels.



The paint bucket will fill all areas of the background except where there are any low opacity pixels. These can then be easily identified and removed using the selection and eraser tools.

IMPORTANT - Please remember to undo the black paint bucket fill before submitting your designs.

5. Adding a border / cut line - Important!

You can now decide on the thickness of your border, which will be used as a cut line. It is ESSENTIAL that you make this border AT LEAST 10px wider than your artwork. Failure to do so can cause your printed design to lift along the cut edge as a result of the heat generated by the laser. A 10px border will prevent this from happening.

It is essential that you have a border between your artwork and the cutline of your design to ensure the printed pins durability. Please use the 'Cut Line' layer to show us EXACTLY how wide you would like this border as we WILL use this information to create your cutline and cut out your pin. Failure to create a 1mm border between your artwork and cutline will result in your printed design lifting along the cut edge due to the heat of the laser and is done so entirely at your own risk.

Remember that our lasers will remove approximately 0.15mm of acrylic from all sides of your designs when cutting. This is called kerf (thickness of the laser beam). To do this go to SELECT > MODIFY > EXPAND and enter your chosen width. You will see that your selected area has grown by the amount of pixels you chose.



With the 'Cut Line' layer selected, use the 'Fill' command (SHIFT+F5) or EDIT > FILL and fill this area black. This colour will not be printed, it's simply for our designers to use as a guide when creating your cut line.



TIP - Use the paintbrush to cover any areas missed by the 'fill' command!

6. Fixing Template

The fixing template is basically a 10mm circle which, when dropped over your design, will show us where you would like us to attach your metal pin, turning your artwork into a functional lapel pin.



Wherever you decide to position your pin, just make sure all of the 10mm circle sits INSIDE of your pin artwork so that it won't be visible from the front once your pin has been constructed.

Please don't merge the fixing template with your design as we'll need to remove this before printing so that it's not visible on your finished designs.

7. Submission checklist

Congratulations, you've finished creating your custom pin designs! All you have to do now is check the following before submission...

  • Your artwork and cut silhouette fits INSIDE of the blue borders.
  • Your white base layer is 100% Cyan and located on the 'White' Layer (Step 4a.)
  • You have checked for unwanted elements using the steps at 4b.
  • The fixing template has NOT been grouped or merged with the rest of your design.
  • Your border is AT LEAST 1mm (10px) thick
  • All text has been converted to outlines.
  • Your pin template contains 1 design only. Additional designs will be sent separately.

8. Saving your designs

To save your design follow these simple steps...

File > Save As > Photoshop (*PSD;*PDD).
Please make sure your file name includes your name, order number & charm number ie. - JoeBloggs_123456_acrylicpin1.psd

Email your designs along with your order number to info@zapcreatives.com

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