Spot Varnishes & Embossing
A spot varnish basically looks like a shiny clear coat, it is used to provide attractive contrast.
Varnishes look great as black on black or on top of another colour. Varnishes also protect against fingerprints and scratches.
(These two business card examples sourced from www.davecapedesign.com)
Spot Varnishes are applied by the offset printer after printing. An additional, print plate is used to apply it. Because of this, applying a spot varnish does create an additional cost to print, speak to your printer regarding this and perhaps get a quote.
To Apply a Spot Varnish to Part of an Image
Say for example, that I’m going to print this bottle image on a poster, but I want the hand and bottle to show up with a shiny varnish on top of it to make it stand out from the flat background. I’m going to first place the original bottle image into InDesign, then I’m going to create a clipping path of the bottle and hand only (using the same image) to create a varnish layer on top of it.
To Accomplish this First Create A Clipping Path:
Open the image in photoshop, click the ‘Quick Selection Tool’ in the toolbox to activate it.
Click and drag the tool on the background parts of the image that you want to eliminate until the entire background is selected. Choose: Select > inverse to select the central image instead of the background.
Next, open the paths dialog: Windows > Paths
Click “make work path from selection” button
Be sure to double click the new ‘work path’ layer and give it a meaningful name. I called this one ‘Bottle Path’.
File > Save As > PSD > name it ‘specific-filename-clipping-path.psd’
Next Import the file into InDesign
Open the Indesign file you want to add the spot varnish layer to. If you are applying it on top of the same image, you should already have the original bottle layer placed and positioned in InDesign
First create a new layer, name it “Varnish Plate” (make sure it is the active layer)
Next you will place the clipping path PSD you have made in to the Varnish Plage layer
On the image tab, you should have no options if done correctly. Click OK
Click anywhere in the blank space to drop the image. With the newly dropped image still selected:
Object > clipping path > options
From the ‘Type’ droptown select: Photoshop Path
From the Path dropdown select: “your file name”
(note you can also invert here if you forgot to invert selection in Photoshop) Click: OK
Your image will now appear outlined as a clipping path with lines and points around it. The background should now be gone from the image.
Using the regular selection tool, deselect and reselect only the inside image (not the frame)
You will know that you have only the inside graphic selected if you see the round image position holder. Click on this once and then press > delete (on your keyboard). Now the image will be gone but the frame remains.
Next select the frame only and open the swatches pallet
In the swatches pallet, click on the swatches pallet fly-out menu (top right of the pallet)
Choose “New Colour Swatch”
Change colour type to “spot” colour
Then select “Pantone Solid Uncoated” to match the paper being used
Choose a ‘loud’ Pantone colour that will obviously clash (so it will be obvious to the printer which layer is the varnish). Click Ok. The frame will be filled with the new, ‘loud’ colour and the new swatch will appear in the swatches pallet.
If you are overlaying the varnish on another image you need to set it to overprint so it doesn’t knock-out the image instead of coating on top of it:
Choose Window > Output > Attributes
Check “Overprint Fill”
(Be sure to discuss the varnish with your printer)
Also note that a clipping path is fully editable with the pen & direct selection tools. You can refine or smooth out your path in either Photoshop or InDesign for a nice sharp and accurate varnish layer.