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Use Color-Logic Plug-ins to Create a Metallic Magazine Cover - Part II

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Read Time: 12 min

In the first past of this tutorial we created a stunning piece of cover art using Color-Logic's metallic plug-ins. Color-Logic enables you to add hundreds of metallic colors and special print finishes into your artwork.

In this final part we'll focus on using the Color-Logic design software with Illustrator and InDesign to assemble the metallic print-ready artwork. So let's get started!

Also available in this series:

  1. Use Color-Logic Plug-ins to Create a Metallic Magazine Cover - Part I
  2. Use Color-Logic Plug-ins to Create a Metallic Magazine Cover - Part II


You'll need the Color-Logic demo version of their Design Suite which is available to all Premium members. You'll also find the print-ready InDesign artwork in the directory labeled 'source' that came in the files that you downloaded. You may wish examine briefly before we begin.

Step 1

Start by creating a portrait InDesign document that is 230 mm by 297 mm. This tutorial only focuses on the cover design, so uncheck the Facing Pages option, set the Bottom Margin to 7 mm and rest to 8 mm. Now add 3 mm Bleed to the Top, Bottom and Right, leaving the Left at zero.

Name the default layer "Main image," then hit Command/Ctrl + D to locate and place your "Metallic_illo.tif" file. In Part 1 we created the illustration with a generous amount of bleed to allow for repositioning the image – so activate the top left icon on the Reference Point Locator and set both coordinates to -10 mm to correspond to the placed file dimensions.

Now go to View > Display Performance > High Quality Display, then snap the frame to the left, top, right and bottom bleed guides. The image is now placed in the exact position as your Photoshop file.

Position a guide at 17 mm and one at 268 mm. Now hit Option + Command/Ctrl + Semi-Colon to Lock Guides, in case you accidentally move them.

Step 2

Go to your Swatches tab and use the fly-out menu to select New Color Swatch, then uncheck the Name with Color Value button and label it "Shiner black." Ensure the Color Type is set to Process and the Color Mode is CMYK. Now enter 40% Cyan, 1% Magenta, 1% Yellow and 100% Black. Adding 40% Cyan to the color breakdown makes a deeper or rich black.

If you look at the final design, you'll see that the two black solids sit over four-color imagery. The reason for 1% Magenta and Yellow is a fail safe just in case the printers' RIP is not set correctly and avoids the possibility of the black panels overprinting instead of knocking out any elements that run behind it. The 1% will automatically force a knockout – this is especially beneficial for large black font sizes. Mistakes are often made for black text, as traditionally it overprints, but if the text is above a certain size you may see the image or element behind it.

Step 3

Click the eye icon next to the "Main image" layer to lock it, then create a new layer called "Solid blocks." Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and snap a block 96 mm x 20 mm (Fill: 100% Shiner black/Stroke: 0) from the top left bleed/guide, then a second to the bottom bleed/guide: 223 mm x 32 mm.

Step 4

We now need to load our swatches; all InDesign Color-Logic metallic colors and special effects are pre-created using Mixed Ink Color technology; this method of creating colors allows the pre-mixing of metallic with the CMYK inks, so there's no need to manually create overprinting or knockouts we did with Photoshop (Step 7 will explain this).

Choose New Color Swatch from the Swatch fly-out menu, then click the Color Mode button and scroll down to the COLOR-LOGIC - Metallic Silver palette.

Note: If you cannot see the Color-Logic palette in the list, scroll right down to the bottom of the list and click on Other Library – this will take you directly to the Swatches folder within InDesign, where you'll be able to select the Color-Logic Metallic Silver palette. If for any reason you are not taken to the Swatches folder automatically, you can find the palette in the following location: Computer HD > Applications > Adobe InDesign > Presets > Swatch Libraries.

Step 5

Let's load our first couple of swatches; highlight CL047-S, from the scroll-down list, then Shift-click CL047-S Dimensional-FX, then click the Add button. You'll then be presented with a warning window; this is just to let you know that the CL047-S Mixed Ink contains the same base silver information as your placed Photoshop file, so don't panic – just click Yes!

Now add CL104-S and CL177-S to your palette as well.

Step 6

To get an understanding of how InDesign's Mixed Ink technology works, double-click the CL047-S icon in the Swatches tab. You'll see it contains a 100% value of the metallic; whereas the CL047-S Dimensional-FX has none, so therefore it's pure CMYK – which Color-Logic refers to as Dimensional-FX™.

Step 7

Next, snap a CL177-S bar top right as shown.

Step 8

Lock the "Solid blocks" layer, create a new layer called "Copy and graphics," then add the main cover line. I used FF Din throughout, but feel free to make your own choice – just make sure it's available in a variety of weights and has plenty of impact. Snap it to the left page guide and color it CL104-S.

Depending on your font usage you may notice some characters sit flush against the side of a text frame and others get inset a little, even when the text Inset values (inside Object > Text Frame Options) are set to zero. This is down to the font's left side bearing, also called overhang, or padding. When a font is designed, each character is placed on a grid, with the lower-left corner (the origin) at zero. The designer then has to decide how far from that origin the left edge of the character should sit.

Virtually all characters in all fonts have a little bit of a left side bearing. A few have negative or zero left side bearings and some have a fraction of a right-side bearing instead. If a font has no side-bearings, then the characters would overlap each other.

As a workaround you can trick InDesign by inserting a space before the first character, then placing the cursor between the space and initial character and tracking backwards – I used a value of -279.

It's vital when using large font sizes to adjust the spaces between individual characters. This is called kerning and should not be confused with tracking which adjusts the spacing between whole words.

First make sure you've got the default Auto kerning option selected. Auto kerning uses the font's built-in kerning pairs. If the font has adequate kern pair tables (as do most fonts from major type foundries), this setting is usually the best choice. The Optical setting overrides the font's built-in kern tables so that InDesign determines the spacing and kerning between all character pairs. This can be useful when a font has few or no built-in kern pairs, or when the overall spacing seems uneven.

Click between the characters you wish to adjust with the Type Tool. To kern in or out, hold down Option and tap the left or right arrow keys. Depending on which way you tap, you will see that the space between the letters is increased or decreased by 20 em in the Character Palette (an em is defined as a measure for 12-point type; a pica). In InDesign's preferences, you can set the default em spacing to something lower which will increase or decrease the spacing in smaller increments if you wish. You'll see that I've tightened up the spacing between some characters by eye for a pleasing result.

Step 9

Now add a smaller sub header using a lighter weight of the same font set to InDesign's default black.

Next, add the tutorial description text, again in the default black and pick out key words in a heavier weight.

Step 10

Snap a white, ranged-left header over the black bar, then a ranged-right, default black header over the purple bar. The right-hand text is sitting on top of a metallic, so go to Window > Output > Attributes, select the text and set it to Overprint Fill – this will ensure a dense black overprints the base metallic.

Add two text blocks over the base panel. Set the headings in the CL 4713 SILVER base ink and the remainder in white.

Now grab the Line Tool (\) and add a 3 pt CL 4713 SILVER dividing rule. Align it to the top of the text boxes down to the the bleed.

Step 11

Shift-drag a 48 mm diameter circle with a fill of CL047-S just above the bottom bar and snap it to the left page guide. Now with the circle selected press Option + Command/Ctrl + M to access the Drop Shadow dialogue box and apply the following settings.

Next, place a centered text block over the circle and set the word FREE in CL047-S Dimensional-FX, which has the same CMYK values as CL047-S, but minus the metallic.

Select both objects, then click on both the Align horizontal and vertical buttons in the Options bar. Now Press Command/Ctrl + G to group and rotate it 10 degrees.

Step 12

Now to create the masthead – this is the visual branding of the publication, which needs to be instantly recognizable. I prefer using Illustrator for this part. Create a new A4 CMYK document and add the characters dg as shown. I used Sahara Bodoni, but again feel free to make your own choice. Next tighten up the kerning so both characters overlap slightly.

When you're happy, press Shift + Command/Ctrl + O to convert the text to Outlines. Now choose Make Compound Shape from the Pathfinder fly-out menu, then hit the Expand button.

Now we'll load the Color-Logic metallic swatches; select Open Swatch Library > COLOUR-LOGIC – Metallic Silver from the Swatches tab.

Fill the object with CL250-S, which is a very dark charcoal gray metallic. Now grab the Rectangle Tool (M) place a thin, 1 mm vertical box as shown. This should have a fill of CL 4713 SILVER, which is the base metallic.

With the object selected, press Shift + Command/Ctrl + M to open the Move window, copy the settings below and hit the Copy button.

Keep pressing Command/Ctrl + D to repeat the transformation to cover the graphic. Now group the stripes, then Select All (Command/Ctrl + A), then click the Vertical and Horizontal Align buttons in the Options bar and deselect.

Select the striped group, then double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and in the next window enter -45 degrees.

Add a new layer, then select the stripes and drag it up to the new layer. Next, select the graphic and Copy > Paste in Front (Command/Ctrl + C, Command/Ctrl + F). Now drag the duplicate onto the new layer.

Lock your original layer, then click the red square in the upper layer to select all the layer content, then hit the Crop button in the Pathfinder tab.

The Pathfinder command has created some invisible paths, so disable the visibility of your original layer and use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select one of the unwanted paths on the upper layer. Now choose Select > Same Fill Color and hit Delete.

We are now left with the lower graphic layer appearing non-metallic (Dimensional-FX) and the upper stripe layer containing the metallic information. To see how this works choose Overprint Preview from the View menu, then save it as "Header_logo.eps" to a convenient location.

Note: We've explained how to create this effect manually, so you'll get an insight on how the Color-Logic swatches work in Illustrator – the full version of the Color-Logic Design Suite contains a set of Graphic Style Libraries which have an overprint of the CL 4713 SILVER ink built in – this means that you don't need to worry about making duplications and setting overprints for the silver separation.

Switch back to your InDesign file and place the "Header_logo.eps" as shown.

Step 13

Choose Overprint Preview from the View menu to get an accurate indication of how the metallic will sit under the CMYK inks.

Now choose Window > Output > Separations Preview and deactivate the visibility of the CMYK inks to view the metallic in isolation.

Next, toggle the visibility of the "CL 4713 SILVER" ink to view in pure CMYK mode.

Step 14

Place the Color-Logic logo ("CubeMetallic.eps") from the "source" folder, then check the metallic has imported correctly.

Step 15

Add a white box, bottom left, then place the "Barcode.eps" from the "source" folder. Now add some further text, then range/align these elements, then group them.

Step 16

Add a final layer called "Upper images" and lock the lower layers. Now place the "CD.tif" you created earlier. Resize and position to the right and bottom bleed marks.

Step 17

Rather than revisiting our layered Photoshop file to add the metallic bird it can be directly imported into InDesign – complete with the metallic ink. Place the "Bird.tif" created earlier on the same layer as the CD and resize.

Next press Option + Shift + Command/Ctrl + K to open the Clipping Path options and select the Photoshop Clipping path from the drop-down menu.

Step 18

Check your artwork carefully and ensure the metallic areas are all correct, then select Window > Output > Preflight to check for any errors before sending your Color-Logic certified printer a press-ready PDF.

Conclusion and Scope

Without having the final printed piece in your hands, it's hard to visualize these special print effects; that's why it's worth checking out the "cover.mov" supplied in the "source" folder. This was created with Esko Visualizer, which allows you to quickly create and share ultra-realistic on-screen mock-ups and soft proofs of complex print finishing effects such as metallics, spot varnishes, foil blocking and embossing by simply loading a PDF.

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