Adding Foil Finishing in Boxshot

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 “Reflection” section and load the “BOSS” image above to the reflection “Level mask” slot. Then check the “Raytraced reflection” box and set the reflection 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. Scroll the materials panel down to the “Reflection tint” parameter and change it to a “gold” color (something like RGB 212, 175, 55):

Making the reflection looks gold

Yep, it’s that easy! You can try other colors to make plastic finishing. It might be a better idea to switch to a fresnel-based reflection for plastics, especially if you add some relief.

Anyway, to make a gold surface, all you need is to make it reflective and tint that reflection to the gold color.

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 “Texture” slot, leave the bump mode as “Change normals” and level as “50”. Here’s what you get:

Enabling bump effect to our image object

You can multiply the heightmap image in Photoshop to the original “BOSS” texture to make bump appears on the foiled area only. However, as we’ve chosen “Change normal” bump mode, bump currently affects reflective areas only, so you can leave the things as is.

Let’s switch to the “Change relief” bump mode and set the bump level to 5:

Adjusting the bump settings more stronger effect

If you don’t see the relief like displayed above, you need to switch your preview driver to the raytracing one. You can do this using “View->Drivers” menu.

Compared to the “Change normals” mode, relief bump affects non-reflective surfaces, too. The whole card has a strong relief now, so we definitely need to modify the heightmap texture by multiplying it by the reflection mask:

Adjusting the heightmap texture

We also reduced the brightness to minimize the level gap between the main and reflective parts of the shape to avoid a steer relief caused by that gap. Now let’s load that new heightmap image to Boxshot to 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. When raytracing reflection is enabled in the material’s parameters, Boxshot first try to reflect a real object, then it uses the reflection texture defined in the material and finally it uses the environment reflection texture from the scene properties panel. To change the reflective surface appearance you need to adjust one of these textures. You can also rotate the shape itself, but changing a texture might be a better idea. Remember to use HDR images, as they give much more realistic reflections compared to the standard images.

Long story short

Foil is just a reflecting thin layer of metal, so when you need foil you use reflection. For metallic reflections disable fresnel option and set reflection level to something above 70%. Use reflection mask to limit the reflective 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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