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Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Tutorial – Letterpress printing effect using Photoshop

Letterpress was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century, and became the primary printing method well in to the 20th century, when offset printing was developed.

Letterpress is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, which involved a worker composing and locking movable metal type, wood engravings, zinc plates or linoleum blocks in to the bed of a press by hand. This type was then inked and applied to paper using pressure.

In recent years letterpress printing has really made a comeback, especially for business cards and wedding invitations, as designers look to create a classy, handmade finish. Unfortunately, because traditional letterpresses are hard to find and the process is still done by hand, this comes at a price…

But fear not! This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to create an authentic letterpress effect yourself from the comfort of your chair, no heavy machinery or ink required!

Step 1. Create a new image in Photoshop. For the purpose of this tutorial I have chosen the settings below, however this letterpress effect will work on 300dpi, print-ready documents too. You are only restricted by the size and quality of the images you have to work with.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 1. Create a new image in Photoshop.

Step 2. To create an authentic letterpress effect you will need two different paper textures and a grunge texture (see TIP below). The first of these will be used for the pressed paper texture.

Open your first paper texture in Photoshop and copy it to a new layer in your letterpress document.

TIP: There are a lot of royalty free textures available on Google if you do not have access to a stock image library.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 2. Open your first paper texture.

Step 3. Open your second paper texture in Photoshop and copy it to a new layer in your letterpress document. This texture will be used for the raised paper texture. Make sure this layer is above the layer created in step 2.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 3. Open your second paper texture.

Step 4. The next element we will need is our artwork. This could be a graphic or a font. In my experience vector graphics work better for creating this effect, but it all depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Set this layer’s mode to Multiply and lower the opacity until you reach the effect you are after (as shown below). This layer must be above the layer created in step 2 and below the layer created in step 3.

TIP: I find it useful to label my Photoshop layers with a name that relates to what that layer contains. That way, when I have a large number of layers, it is much easier to find what layer an element is on when I need to make a change.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 4. Create your artwork.

Step 5. Select the pixels of our artwork layer. This can be done by holding down the CMD key on a Mac or the CTRL key on a PC and then clicking on the artwork layer thumbnail within the Layers Tab (as shown below). Alternatively you can right click on the artwork layer thumbnail and choose Select Pixels from the menu.

Now create a cut-out from our raised paper layer in step 2 using these selected pixels. If done correctly the text on our artwork layer should now be visible.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 5. Select the pixels of your artwork layer.

Step 6. We will now apply an Inner Bevel, from the Bevel and Emboss Layer Effects menu (as shown below), to our raised paper layer. This will give the appearance of our artwork being pressed in to the paper. Play around with the settings above until you achieve the desired results.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 6. Apply an Inner Bevel.

Step 7. To enhance this pressed appearance further, we need to add an Inner Shadow effect to our artwork layer. Again play around with the settings above until you achieve the desired results.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 7. Apply an Inner Shadow.

Step 8. Open your grunge texture (see TIP below), copy it to a new layer in your letterpress document and then Desaturate this layer. Desaturate is found in Image > Adjustments > Desaturate, alternatively you can use the shortcut SHIFT+CMD+U on a Mac or SHIFT+CTRL+U on a PC.

TIP: To achieve the most realistic knockout effect, it’s best to use a grunge texture that contains a good mixture of small and large grain. Try several different textures to see what results they give.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 8. Open your grunge texture.

Step 9. Select and copy all pixels on the grunge texture layer; CMD+A then CMD+C on a Mac and CTRL+A followed by CTRL+C on PC.

Open the Channels tab, which is next to the Layers tab, and create a New Channel by clicking the small document icon at the bottom of this tab (as shown below). You will see a channel appear called Alpha 1 and your document will turn black but don’t worry!

Select Alpha 1 and paste the copied pixels from your grunge texture in to this channel; CMD+V on Mac and CTRL+V on a PC.

Finally, select the pixels of the Alpha 1 channel. Hold down the CMD key on a Mac or the CTRL key on a PC and then click on the Alpha 1 thumbnail in the Channels tab.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 9. Create a New Channel.

Step 10. Next we will use a layer mask to create knocked out areas. These imperfections occur frequently in the letterpress printing process, and will add an additional level of realism.

With the pixels still selected return to the Layers tab and select our artwork layer. Add a Layer Mask by clicking the Add Layer Mask icon (as shown below).

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 10. Add a Layer Mask to our artwork.

Step 11. Almost done! Select the Layer Mask by clicking it’s thumbnail in the Layers tab (as shown above). Adjust the Brightness/Contrast settings until you achieve the look you’re after. The higher the brightness the less knocked out areas you will see, the higher the contrast the sharper these areas will appear.

Letterpress Effect Photoshop Tutorial Blog Image

Step 11. Add the finishing touches.

I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if you have any comments or questions on this blog post, or have requests for future tutorials please use the form below or email hello@thread-creative.co.uk, as always your feedback will be gratefully received.

It's Time For A Website, Where Do I Start? Blog Post Image

I’ve decided it’s time for a website, where do I start?

It seems we now live in a world where every man and his dog has a website. Whether it’s for their business, favourite hobby, local book group or simply uploading countless photos of their cat it appears that getting a website is as easy as 1-2-3. There are, however, several pitfalls you can easily fall in to which I will run through below, along with helpful hints of how to avoid them.

1. Make sure YOU own YOUR domain name

Now this may seem really obvious but it’s amazing how many people, and even businesses, don’t own their domain name. To me this is the single biggest mistake you can make when setting up a website. Why? Because simply put whoever’s name is listed as the registrant is the owner of that domain, just because it’s pointing to your website doesn’t make it yours.

If a family member, friend, work colleague or a web design/hosting company offers to register the domain on your behalf make sure it’s being registered in your name, with your contact details. Ask for written proof that this has been done in case you ever need to go to court – yes it can get this serious. For peace of mind you can check who owns a domain by looking up the WHOIS records online for free. There are numerous websites that offer this service including Nominet UK, the .uk domain name registry in the United Kingdom.

The safest option by far is to register the domain yourself. A .co.uk domain can be yours from as little as £3.49 a year and takes less than 10 minutes to register. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

2. Research your hosting company before signing up

It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of setting up your website that you sign up with the first hosting provider that comes your way, usually the same company where you bought your domain name from. But surely this doesn’t matter because they’re all the same right?

Wrong!

Website hosting providers, like mobile phone companies, insurance providers and energy suppliers are all different. Sure they all offer the same basic product or service, but it’s how they offer it that is the key to making your choice of who to go with.

The company you choose will usually be found in the answer(s) to three questions – How much do they charge? What can they offer me? Will I be looked after? It’s up to you to decide which of these answers is most important to you.

So where to begin?

A Google search for “the best uk website hosting companies” is a good starting point; read the reviews, opinions and experiences of others and take note of any companies who regularly appear, both good and bad, and the reasons why.

Once you’re happy you have a list of companies worth investigating further, I’d recommend at least three, the next step is to find out what each one has to offer and how much it’s going to cost. Which leads us to…

3. Choosing the right hosting package for your needs

Trawling through the different hosting packages on offer can be a tedious, and sometimes confusing process, as providers bombard you with seemingly endless lists of the features you’ll receive when you sign up. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know what you want from your website before seeing what’s on offer. For example:

Are you going to need to store a lot of large files?
If you are looking to upload a lot of large photos or video files, make sure you’ll be getting enough web space to handle this.

Do you want to have a WordPress blog?
Check that the packages on offer either support WordPress or match the minimum technical requirements to run it. If this isn’t obvious to you then ask, it will also give you a good chance to test their customer support.

Will you be sending and receiving a lot of email?
If so you’ll need to check the size of the mailboxes you’ll be receiving, a minimum of 1GB per mailbox is recommended. It’s amazing how quickly they fill up and you don’t want to be spending all your time clearing out unwanted emails.

And finally, don’t be tempted in to signing up for more than you really need. Getting unlimited web space, mailboxes and databases for just £9.99 per month sounds amazing, but are you actually going to use all that? Chances are there’s a package available that will offer you everything you need and more for half that price.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you have any comments, questions or requests for future articles please email hello@thread-creative.co.uk, as always your feedback will be gratefully received.

Another happy customer!

Fluffy Butt Creations WordPress Website Blog Image

Fluffy Butt Creations WordPress Website Blog Image

Fluffy Butt Creations WordPress Website Blog Image

I’ve recently finished designing and building a custom, responsive WordPress website for Fluffy Butt Creations, a handmade craft business, and I’m really pleased with the results. The best part is the customer is too!

There are a few images attached showing the overall design of the site as well as some of the different pages. If you would like to see the site for yourself please visit www.fluffybutt.co.uk.