Foil Effect in Boxshot

The foil effect is done by placing a thin metal layer on top of the printed artwork to make it shine in that particular place. You can Google for samples, if you like.

What is a foil effect after all? It is basically a masked reflection with masked bump. Boxshot can do both, so let’s make a foil finishing for our business card from the uv–spot tutorial. This time we’ll need just this image to start:

A sample image we'll be using as a foil mask

Download it to your desktop and open an empty scene in Boxshot.

Make it shine

Add an Image shape to the scene and make its front side black by removing artwork and setting diffuse tint to dark gray, almost black:

Adding an image shape to Boxshot scene and checking its properties

Now scroll the materials panel down to the “Reflectance” parameter and load the “BOSS” image above to the reflectance slot. Then enable the “Metallic” reflection option and set the reflectance level to 80:

Applying the artwork to the image shape

Basically, that’s all, here is a foil–like effect done in just a few clicks. The idea is to increase the reflection level and limit reflective area by providing the mask.

Make it gold

The next step is to add some color. There is a color tint box in the “Reflectance” slot, click it to open the color selector and change the tint color to “gold” (something like RGB 212, 175, 55):

Making the reflection looks gold

Yep, it’s that easy! For a gold surface, all you need is to make it reflective and tint that reflection to the gold color.

If you want a plastic finish instead, you can turn the metallic reflection off and adjust the index of refraction parameter and tint to simulate a plastic material.

Adding relief

To make it even more interesting, you can add some relief to the surface to make the gold part embossed or uneven. To do so, you need a heightmap image like this one (Google for “seamless paper texture” for more images like that):

A sample heightmap image we'll be using for the scene

Scroll the materials panel down to the “Bump” section, load the image to the “Heightmap” slot, set the bump mode to “Change normals” and keep the normal map level as “50%”. Here’s what you get:

Enabling bump effect to our image object

Note that the relief is currently applied to the whole shape. If you want it to be applied to the foil–covered areas, you need to adjust the heightmap image.

The easiest way is to simply multiply the heightmap image by the reflection mask in Photoshop.

Here I changed the bump mode to change the relief, so the bump is better visible on the dark areas of the card:

Adjusting the bump settings more stronger effect

Now you can see the relief applied everywhere. Let’s try a modified relief texture like below:

Adjusting the heightmap texture

Try loading this image to the heightmap slot and see the difference:

The resulting image of foil effect done in Boxshot

Great, we’ve got a better relief on the gold parts and flat surface for the rest of the business card!

One more thing

As the foil is simply a reflection, it is essential what to reflect. If you don’t like the foil appearance, you need to adjust the environment map.

See the Realistic Rendering tutorial for more information on environment maps and how they affect the rendering results.

Long story short

Foil is just a reflecting thin layer of metal, so when you need foil you use reflection. Enable metallic reflection and set the reflectance level to something above 70%. Use reflection mask to define the foil area. Use reflection tint to color the reflection. Use bump to add some relief to reflection and better define its edges.

That’s all

You’ve just learned how to create foil finishing effect in Boxshot using reflection mask, tint and bump. Good job!

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