Letterpress In Photoshop: A Smart Effect | Jon Brommet | Skillshare

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Letterpress In Photoshop: A Smart Effect

teacher avatar Jon Brommet, Crusoe Design Co.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Overview And Textures Files


    • 3.

      The Letterpress Effect


    • 4.

      Adding Texture


    • 5.

      Other Examples


    • 6.



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About This Class

Letterpress is a printing technique created by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid 15th century. By using wood, metal, or linoleum, you can press a design into paper giving it an indentation and unrivalled quality.

This method is a specialty printing technique still used today. Often, still on a Gutenberg press. But, there is one problem, letterpress is EXPENSIVE! So, if you don't have hundreds, or thousands of dollars to get some custom letterpress prints made, this is the next best thing.

In this class I will show you how to easily re-create this effect with a couple blend modes in Photoshop. This effect is extremely easy and fast to make. I take this a step further by making it a smart effect. So you can easily swap out your design without having to re-create the effect every time. I will also show you how to use texture, and how to experiment with this effect.

This class is great for students of all skill levels. You do not need to be a designer, illustrator, etc as I will show you where to download images you can use, or you can simply use typography. If you are intermediate or advanced, you will likely already know how to use the effects this class covers, but you may pick up a few new ideas along the way. For example, how to get a texture to be more consistent in terms of lighting, to make it easier to edit and piece together.

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Jon Brommet

Crusoe Design Co.

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1. Intro: Hey, what's up Internet and welcome to letterpress in Photoshop, a smart effect. In this class, what we're going to do is try and mimic a letterpress effect, creating it entirely in Photoshop with smart effects and blending options and a little bit of texture. I think this class is going to be great for anyone from beginners, intermediate to advance. Because for the intermediate and advance are already familiar with using Bevel and Emboss and using blending options. They may not know much about smart effects and they may not know much about trying to basically level of texture so that it's easy to repeat and stays consistent. There's a few little things that you're going to learn. It's a really short class so I think you should definitely check it out. It's a fun effect to use and you can even print it out as a digital press. Basically, it's using a metal block or linoleum, in the old times even wood and the image gets pressed into the paper so that there's an indentation. That means it has a really nice tactile feel and if you run your hand across the print, you're actually going to be able to feel where the ink is laid. It's a really nice premium effect. It's been around since the mid 15th century and it's still used today. But the only problem with it, is it is very expensive to get done. A lot of the times it's only done on wedding invitations or really premium art prints by really successful artists. This is a really fun way to recreate that effect. Very cheap, just in Photoshop and we'll make it look almost identical. I hope you check out the class and we'll see you in a second. 2. Overview And Textures Files: Here's my finished example of what my letterpress print actually looks like. I'm going to zoom in so that you can see the details. I've got a little bit of a texture going on here. Hopefully you can see the highlights and shadows okay on your screen. The basic idea is that we're trying to mimic what an actual letterpress print would look like. We have this option of having this texture or no texture if that's not something that you're interested in having. It just gives it a bit of a rough look, a little bit distressed as if the printer made some errors, which is just a nice touch I find. What I'm going to do is I'm going to show you how to create this effect. It's really easy, it only takes a few minutes. I'm going to show you how to set it up in a way that you can easily just swap out the artwork and have Photoshop do all the work for you in adding these textures and effects all at once by using something called smart filters or smart objects. First, what I want to do is just to make sure that you know what letterpress is, I'm going to quickly show you what it is and then the resources that you need to get started. If we look here, just by simply typing in letterpress printer in Google, you can see a whole bunch of letterpress printers, a lot of them are really old. It was invented in the mid 15th century. A lot of those printers are actually still used today or ones that are very old. This is the basic idea. The paper would be fed in here, and this would actually come across the table. Here's your block letters which are imprinted into metal. Sometimes, depending on your design and maybe Lantai Linoleum or something else. But the idea is that basically the machine will punch these into the paper so that you actually get a texture and some feel. I don't have any videos that I can show you in this class because I didn't film any of them myself, but I'm going put some links to some really cool videos that you'll be able to actually see the letterpress running on YouTube and you're getting a really good idea as exactly how they work. As you can see, once they're actually done and printed, it pushes the design into the paper, which gives it a nice really tactile feel, that when you get it, you just want to touch it. You run your hand across it and it's a really premium, nice quality print. There's more examples of that here with art prints, where you can see a slight indentation depending on really the printer and how it's set up, or you can see some larger examples of ones where you can really see the indentation because the ink isn't even actually there, that's a neat effect too. Here are just some more effects of some extreme examples and some not. But just that way you can really see that the ink is pushed into that paper and you get that feel. You can see that paper has a nice texture to it. These are all the things to consider when we're emulating our letterpress effect. What I want you to do is click the links that I've given you in class to download this neenah paper texture, and also this roller texture if you want your finished designed to have that distressed look that mine had. Once you have both of those downloaded, come back to this class and we'll get started. 3. The Letterpress Effect: Once you've got your textures downloaded, we're going to go ahead and open a new document. We're going to change the measurement to inches, and I'm going to make mine 5 by 7. That's just a nice postcard size that's really common for letterpress, but you can change the size if you want. I'm going to make the resolution 300 just in case you want to actually print this. Again, if you want to print on a digital press just say imitate the look. I'm going to change it to CMYK because that's best for when you're actually printing a product. You can leave it as RGB if you plan to not print it. It doesn't matter too much for this course. I'll go ahead and click ''Create''. Just so you know, I'm using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017, so if things look a little bit different for you, that's okay. You should be able to follow along with the class with most versions in the last five, six, so years. So you want to make sure that you have your layers panel open. That's where most of the class is going to take place. So we'll click ''Window'' here, and make sure that there is a check beside Layers. If there is, we'll go down here to this page icon and we will click it. Now we're going to right-click there and we're going to turn it into a smart object. Once you've done that, you'll see the icon changes down here. I'm just going to double-click on the Layer 1 name, and we're going to change that to Artwork. Go ahead and click ''Enter''. Now what I'd like to do just to get started, we're going to double-click on that thumbnail, which is going to bring us into that smart layer, and that is where we're going to put our artwork. I have my artwork already prepared in Adobe Illustrator, so I'm just simply going to select it all and copy it. If you don't have Adobe Illustrator or that's not where your artwork is, that's fine. What you could do is you could actually type right in here, you could build your artwork right here in Photoshop, or you can take it from another Photoshop file and bring it in. Just make sure that you don't have any background, you want to have a transparent background. So I'm going to hit ''Enter''. I'm going to leave it as a smart object because then I could actually go back into Illustrator and edit this artwork. I'm going to leave a little extra space at the bottom here where I want to put an edition number and my signature. Once you have it all set up and you're happy with it, we can delete that Layer 1 we don't need it anymore and we're going to hit ''Save'. So we'll go ahead and close this for now and we're back in our main document. So you'll be able to see in the thumbnail down there that your work has now changed and that smart object isn't there. At any point we can double-click this, go back into the smart object and change the artwork. So now we're going to go to building the effect. It's pretty straightforward. What we want to do is, we're going to right-click on our artwork layer and go down to Blending Options. Here, you want to make sure that all of your blending options are done. Make sure if you click this little "Effects" and "Show All Effects" is checked. The main effect that we're going to get in this class is from the Bevel and Emboss filter. We'll go ahead and make sure we've got a check mark beside that and we will select it. From here, I want you to follow the steps that I've put in, and the filters and sizes that I'm going to use. But you may have to change them depending on your artwork and depending on the look you want, but this should be a good jumping point at least to get started, and at any point you can go back and adjust these. I just suggest you follow along for now. So for the style, we're going to actually change that to Emboss, the technique we're going to leave smooth, we want the depth to be about 50, we're going to have the direction set to up. I want to keep my size at about 13 and I'll leave soften to zero. We're going to turn off global light here, and we're going to change this to 60 and minus 90. So it's dead center, but below that middle point. For screen, I'm going to set that to 15, and we're going to leave the shadow and multiply black, and we'll leave it at 50. So that's the main effect that I want to have there. Now I'd like to add a little bit of texture on top of this, it gives a little bit more of an effect. So we're going to go to Pattern Overlay and we're going to select Fine Grain. We can leave all of these effects basically wherever they're at, except for that we want the opacity of it to be quite a bit lower. So we're going to put it at 23. If this grain wasn't showing up for you, you can just click this little arrow here, go over to this gear icon and we're going to load Legacy Patterns, you can click ''Okay'', and that's where you're going to find your fine grain, at least in the newest version of Adobe Photoshop. You can also play around with this and try different textures if you'd rather. Now if we zoom in here, we're going to already see our effect is showing up quite well. You can see some shadows here. The highlights are always a little bit harder to see on your artwork, but here's our effect. So if we go over here and we toggle it off so we cannot see the effect anymore, you're going to see the difference of plane to that 3D. That texture is adding a little bit of a wash, so you can decide whether you have it or you don't. But I like it. It allows the paper to have that look too. So that's the base of having that imprinted look that you want. Now, it's time to make it look a bit more realistic. So we're going to bring in the first texture that I got you to download, which is the Neenah Papers Texture. We're going to go ahead and copy it by clicking Command A or Control A on a PC, Command C or Control C and Command V to paste it or Control V on a PC. You may not be able to tell to all at this point, but there's actually a lot of tonal difference. This upper part is very light and its darker down here, which is going to cause issues when we want to duplicate this layer in a minute. So what we want to do is try and even that out. So I'm going to duplicate it by hitting ''Command J'' and we're going to go to the first layer, I'm going to go to Filter, Blur, Average. On the top layer, the first copy, we're going to go to Filter, down to Other, and select High Pass. Then we're going to change this to linear light. Now we've got the similar effect, but it's a lot more consistent. So we're just going to drop that down, little more like what it was, so around 60 should work okay in this case. Then what we can do is holding Shift, I'm going to hit the second layer as well and then Command E to put them together. Now that they're easy to manipulate, we are going to drag that down, Command J to duplicate, I'll just drag it up, Command J to duplicate again. You can see it's a pretty consistent look all through it. At this point you already can't even tell where they were merged. But if you want to get crazy, or you can see it, you could use any different amount of tools basically, but your stamp tool and things like that. So we're going to drag this to the bottom, and we're going to call this our paper texture. At this point, we no longer need our background layer, so we're going to go ahead and delete that. Already we have a really good effect and you can basically leave it at this if you wanted to. But we're going to take it a little bit of a step further and we're going to add a little texture to it that makes it look distressed. 4. Adding Texture: In order to do that, what we actually want to do is we want to duplicate this artwork. By doing that, I'm going to hit Command J again. But we're going to go into these effects and change them a little bit. I'm going to remove that Pattern Overlay and I'm going to remove that Bevel and Emboss, and instead I'm going to add a stroke. This is going to make sure that the effect is only inside of the stroke, so that way the effect doesn't go right to the edge. This helps to really drive home the fact that it's still pressed into the paper, but that there's some distortion and errors. You can play around with the size to whatever you're comfortable with. I'm going to leave it to these sightings of six inside blend mode normal and the color is black. Once you're happy, click Okay. Then what we want to do is we want to bring in our other texture here our rolled ink. Command A, Command C, again, that's Control A and Control C on a PC, Command V to paste. Now what we want to do is make this monochromatic. So we're going to go to Image, Adjustments and Desaturate that's going to take out any color that was in it before. Now if you simply hold the Option or Alt key and you click between this Layer 1 and Artwork copy, then that's going to add a layer mass that's editable essentially. If this was just a layer mask on this effect, we wouldn't be able to have it live where we can change it all the time, so that's why that's set up like that. We're going to double-click and we're going to hit Texture here and we're just going to type that in. Now we want to put both of these in a group. So selecting both Command G to put it in a group and we will call this Texture Group. Now we just need a couple of filters. As you can see, I lost my green, now this texture is a little bit too obvious. There's a few little filter changes we're going to make. On our normal art work, we're going to leave that as normal. We're going to change our texture too Hard Light and you can see that takes out some of that tone. Sometimes in this case, I think lighter colors are going to work better. Now as you can see, if you turn this filter on and off, it's not actually changing the color, it's leaving it quite realistic with a light green on it. Of course, if we go to this texture layer, we can also play with the opacity to make that a little less obvious or a little more obvious, I like to have it more. We can also move it around using our arrow tool and we can put that texture to where you want it and where you think it looks best. If we zoom out here, I think we've got a pretty good example of what we want to do. My finishing touches were that I thought it would be nice to handwrite the edition number and put my signature in pencil. You don't have to do this, but I thought it was a nice touch and it made it look just that much more realistic. We can close these other layers as well. I'll paste it here, drag it to the bottom, make sure that it's not in your texture group by dragging up and we're going to change the blend mode to Multiply. I feel like this is slightly too big, so we're going to shrink it down just a little, that's Command T, hit Enter, put the edition number there. I'm just going to Command X to delete my signature and we're going to move it over here with Command V and put that to multiply as well. Again, this is just finessing and moving things around and we've got a pretty good looking effect here. We've recreated it exactly like how I had before. I want to show you how to easily change our work and have the effect auto update, I'll show you that in the next video. 5. Other Examples: What I've also gone ahead and done is I've changed the layers to match what they are. So my signature, of course is called signature and the addition number is called addition. Other than that, we are set up and ready to go. Now I've gone in, in-between and I've changed this smart object to have a lot more options. I'm going to double-click on it, and this is where we could go in here and we could add any design or effect. I'm going to link you to some Creative Common images that you can actually use, and I've got some here. What I'm going to do is I'm going to hide my wildlife fun. I'm going to go up to the top, and this is an object that I got off Creative Commons. I've put it in my class project and a link to it so you can get this exact same image. The way that I remove the background is by going to select color range, I would select this artwork. You can play with the fuzziness to make sure that it gets exactly what you want. Invert it, click Okay, and then what you would do is delete all of the white basically so that you only have one color design. I've already gone ahead and done that. All we have to do is hit save. Once it saved, we can go back over to our main image and you can see that artwork is effect is already applied. We didn't have to change anything. It's all nicely set up for us. You may want to go into the texture and play with that a little bit. But for the most part, the effect is already done for us, so it's pretty awesome. I'm going to show you some more examples. We've got that cool octopus. So we're going to go ahead and click Save, and just like that, our octopus is on the design. Now I may want to get rid of my signature in addition for the ease, of course, since I didn't draw them. But it's a really cool effect that can be used in a lot of different varieties. I've already shown and most of these they will be in my class projects rather than go by each one one by one. I'm just showing you an example. Now again, this is just to emphasize that your colors need some space between them, some white to make them look realistic. This one works fairly well because there's a lot of weight in between each color. But I'm going to show you an example of one that doesn't work well, just so you can actually see the difference. This baseball I designed and you can see that everything is touching. From the white to black to the gray, all these colors are touching. If I save this, you're going to see right away that this effect does not work very well. It doesn't look very realistic. The texture really doesn't look quite well at all. It doesn't have the proper thing because it's only applying the effect to the outer shape. That's a good example of why you need to get rid of your whites and make sure that your artwork is actually set up and designed well for its purpose. If we had something like that on another hand, and all I've done here too is if we double-click on these to open the blending options, I've added a color overlay to some of them, but that's an easy change. I'm hitting Command S again to save, and there you go. That's our finished artwork in here. You can see that that works a lot better if you're leaving it to one or two colors. This is some more Creative Commons stuff. hit Save. There you go, you can see the effect applied. Of course too, if you wanted to you could actually use topography if we just typed in here, I can put test, nice big letters. hit Save, and there you go. Of course, you can design however you want to. You don't have to be a designer. You can use those Creative Common images, or you can add your own design, or you can just type in some topography with normal texts, do some hand lettering, you can do whatever you want. I hope you enjoyed the class and we're going to just go ahead and say a quick thank you in the next video and we'll see you later. 6. Outro: Okay. So thank you so much for taking the class. I hope you found it very enjoyable. I know it's a really easy effect, and for some of you more advanced users, it may be too basic, but I think it's still a fun effect, and it's going to be really useful for some people, and knowing the smart effects on how to add those textures might just be a little step that some of you may or may not have known already. So again, I really hope you enjoyed the class, if you did, make sure to review it and give it a thumbs up. It really tremendously helps the class, and I'd also love to see your projects. Of course too, if you were to click on my profile on Skillshare, you'll be able to see all the other classes I've made. I've done quite a bit at this time, this is my 16th, of course, it hasn't shown up because I'm making it right now. But yeah, you just check it out. I've done a lot of courses on Illustrator, a few on Photoshop , and a couple in InDesign. So I'm trying to use all the different Adobe platforms and teach everybody anything you want. If there's something that you think you'd like to learn, just tweet me or get out me on Instagram it's @jonbrommet. So you can see my Instagram account here. We've got lots of cool illustrations and things and I'm posting quite often. It's also a great way to keep up to date with my new classes and just techniques. Also it's the easiest way to contact me because I'm addicted to using it too often. So that's @johnbrommet. Lastly, if you go to my website, that's johnbrommet.com, you can check out my work there and if you click "Shop", it'll bring you over to my Etsy shop, where I've got lots of cool pins, patches, stickers, mugs, basically you name it, lots of really cool things that you may want to buy. So thanks so much. Thanks for checking out my class and we'll see you next time. Thanks very much. Bye-bye.