Follow along this simple tutorial for how to create a holographic foil effect in Adobe Photoshop, as well as how to apply it in inDesign to a personalized business card.
Business card mockup image by contributor Andrej Sevkovskij.
Holographic foil effects are a huge trend in graphic design right now. You can channel the look in your print designs without the need for expensive foiling.
Here we’ll look at how you can create a holographic foil effect in Photoshop quickly and easily. We’ll also show how to apply the background to a business card design in InDesign, by adding metallic detailing and stylish typography.
What You’ll Need to Create a Holographic Foil Background
For this part of the tutorial you’ll need access to Adobe Photoshop. This is a great tutorial for Photoshop beginners.
You’ll also need a range of color swatches. You can either create your own swatches in Photoshop, or download this set of ASE pastel swatches to create a holographic-style effect.
What You’ll Need to Create a Business Card
To create the business card design pictured, you’ll need access to Adobe InDesign, and to download the following images and fonts:
1. Create a Holographic Background in Photoshop
Open up Photoshop and go to File > New.
We’re going to be using this background as part of a business card design later on, so it makes sense to set up the canvas to the same dimensions.
In this case, we’ll be setting up the cards at 3.5 by 2 inches, and adding a bleed of 0.125 in InDesign.
In Photoshop, set the Width of the canvas to 3.625 Inches (3.5 + 0.125), and the Height to 2.125 Inches. Because we’re aiming to print the cards, set the Color Mode to CMYK Color. Ensure the Background Contents is set to White, then click OK.
You can either use the default swatches provided in the swatches panel or install this set of ASE holographic swatches.
To install the swatches in Photoshop, choose Load Swatches from the Swatches panel’s main menu. Navigate to the ASE file, and click Open.
The swatches will appear at the end of the pre-existing swatches in the panel.
Select the Brush Tool (B).
Click on the Brush Preset icon in the top Controls panel to expand a drop-down menu. With the brush type set to Soft Round, increase the Size of the brush to 300 px.
Select a light swatch, or the first swatch from the sequence of imported swatches (a pale yellow), and stroke the brush in a loose wave across the bottom-left corner of the canvas.
Select the next swatch along (a pale red), and repeat, creating a similar wave above the first.
Repeat for each color swatch, gradually building up the color in waves until you cover the whole canvas.
When you’ve finished filling up the canvas with color, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Increase the Radius to about 50 px (or higher if you think it looks better) and click OK.
In the Layers panel, choose Hue/Saturation from the Adjustments menu at the bottom.
Set the Hue slider to about -3, Saturation to +48, and Lightness to +7.
Go to File > Save As, and save the background as a JPEG image.
To find out how to incorporate the holographic background into a business card, read on for the second part of the tutorial.
2. Create a Holographic Business Card in InDesign
In InDesign, go to File > New > Document.
With the intent set to Print, set the Width of the page to 3.5 in and Height to 2 in. Deselect Facing Pages.
Add a Bleed of 0.125 in, and click Create.
Select the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and drag across the page, extending the edges up to the bleed.
Go to File > Place, choose your saved holographic background image, and Open it, allowing it to fill the whole frame.
Create a second image frame over the first using the Rectangle Frame Tool, as before.
File > Place, choosing the foil texture image.
With this image frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Multiply and bring the Opacity down to 45%.
Click on Gradient Feather in the left-hand menu, and set the Type to Radial, allowing the gradient to be more opaque towards the center of the page.
Click OK to exit the window.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame on the center of the page. Type in the name of the person or business, and from either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Acre, Size 30 pt.
From the Swatches panel set the Font Color to [Paper].
In the Pages panel (Window > Pages) click on the Create New Page icon at the bottom of the panel. This will be the other side of your business card.
Select both image frames from Page 1 and Edit > Copy them. Scroll back down to Page 2 and Edit > Paste them.
Resize the frames to create a square shape, as pictured below.
Add text to Page 2 using the Type Tool, and setting the Font to Acre as before.
When you’re completely happy with the formatting of the text, select all the text frames, and then head up to Type > Create Outlines.
With the text vectorized you can now insert the holographic background into the text as well.
Select the first line of text and go to File > Place, choosing the holographic background image you saved earlier from Photoshop. Open it, and fill the frame proportionally.
Repeat for each line of text.
When you’re finished, select all the vectorized text and set the Fill Color to [None].
And you’re done! All you need to do now is head up to File > Export, choosing Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format options in the Export window.
Looking for more Photoshop tutorials? Don’t miss this all-encompassing guide to the Gradient Tool in Photoshop.
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