Custom Raised UV Artwork Part 2

This is the second post in our current series on designing print-ready Raised UV Files. For this tutorial, we will be going over a workflow to highlight fine details and very small shapes in an image. These details would take hours to draw by hand, so we will create custom vector shapes using Illustrator’s Image Trace tool.

Raised UV Design Tutorial Series, Part 2 Featuring Image Trace

This is the second post in our current series on designing print-ready Raised UV Files. In our first post, we broke down, step-by-step workflow for a simple, custom Raised UV design. The first post featured thick Raised UV shapes to highlight certain areas of an image using Adobe Illustrator’s pen tool to create custom vectors. For this tutorial, we will be going over a workflow to highlight fine details and very small shapes in an image. These details would take hours to draw by hand, so we will create custom vector shapes using Illustrator’s Image Trace tool. This tutorial is perfect for details like: bubbles, dots on a basketball, ocean foam, condensation, or any design that has complex shapes or a multitude of very small shapes that you may want to highlight with Raised UV.

Raised UV is an offline process that adds a layer of uv polymer to a printed marketing product like business cards, presentation folders, posters, and invitations. At Presentation Folder, we have the finest Raised UV technology available with the Scodix digital press. Raised UV is a stunning effect to add to any printed marketing tool because it adds a textural element and allows graphic elements to lift off the page. Because Raised UV is a transparent, colorless coating, it adds texture without crowding the image or overwhelming a design. With Presentation Folder’s premiere Scodix capabilities, short run printing and variable data become easy and affordable. For more information about Raised UV products, you can visit our website.

You can use this step-by-step tutorial to follow along our youtube video, as part of our Raised UV design tutorial series.

Visit the Presentation Folder website

1. Visit to download a template for your Raised UV file. In the tutorial, we are designing a Raised UV file for a presentation folder using Adobe Illustrator.

2. On the website’s main navigation bar, select the “Resources” tab on the right-hand side and click the arrow to drop down all the options. Choose “Templates” then “Raised UV Textures.”

3. Choose a texture template to start (The Parquet Texture is used in the tutorial) by clicking “Download Template” underneath the Parquet Texture option.

4. Your download will open in a new window, but be sure to save to your desktop or wherever you will be accessing your project files.

Open the Raised UV Template in Illustrator

5. Once you have saved the template, open the template in Adobe Illustrator.

6. Review your template by going through “Layers” tab. You will see one of the layers is a magenta folder titled “Raised UV.” The magenta layer helps keep all Raised UV elements organized, visually distinguishes between the Raised UV and CMYK portions of the print artwork. This distinction is extremely important for designing print-ready Raised UV files, as it allows our machines to distinguish between design elements.

7. You can remove the parquet texture from your template, start from scratch and add your own raised UV design elements. For this tutorial, we will delete the texture to create our design. The folder file should look like this before you start designing your CMYK artwork.

Add your CMYK Artwork

8. Import the CMYK (color) artwork elements to your template. In this tutorial, we use our “Soda Bubbles” folder artwork.

9. Once you finish your CMYK artwork it is time to start adding Raised UV artwork to highlight your unique design elements. you begin on marking the artwork, be sure to have the “Raised UV” Layer folder clicked on the right-hand side, while you work. You will be creating new layers under the “Raised UV” Layer folder as you design. For this tutorial, we will be highlighting the carbonation on the ice cubes and in the soda image.

Setting up Images for Custom Raised UV artwork

10. To use the image trace function we have to take the image from the CMYK folder and duplicate it. You can click directly on your image and copy (Ctrl+C) and paste in place (Shift+Ctrl+V). You want the duplicate image to be perfectly aligned with the original image so that when we convert the duplicate to a Raised UV file, the registration perfectly aligns with the original.

11. Lock the original image in the CMYK Layers Section. Staying in the Layers section, move the duplicate image from the CMYK Layers to the Raised UV Layers. You should now be able to see the original image in the CMYK section and its duplicate in the Raised UV section, as seen in the image below.

Using the Image Trace Function in Illustrator

12. Rasterize the duplicate image by going to Illustrator’s top navigation bar, clicking the “Object” dropdown menu, and “Rasterize.”

13. Create a vector trace of the image by selecting the “Object” dropdown menu and hovering over “Image Trace,” and clicking “Make and Expand.”

14. From here, click Illustrator’s direct selection tool to see the vector you have created. Then, switch the fill and stroke color options so that you can see the shapes you’ve made as filled in.

15. Toggle the CMYK artwork layer to be invisible so you can see what your shapes look like once you have swapped fill and stroke. It should look something like this.

Fine Tuning Details and adding Creative Nuance

16. Toggle the CMYK artwork back to being visible and make the Raised UV vector the color “Magenta,” so that you can see that it is the Raised UV color and to provide a visible contrast to the CMYK artwork.From here, you can fine tune the details and add some nuance to your Raised UV Design. The first thing I did is deleting the rectangular border around the vector, using the delete key on the keyboard.

17. Swap the Fill and Stroke on any large shapes that would look good filled in. The first place I noticed to do this was on the large ice cube shape on the right hand side.

18. The last fine details I want to add are highlighting the empty space between the ice cubes along the brown soda line. I do this with the pen tool. If you are unfamiliar with the pen tool, we cover it in a full video which you can view here. Another thing I do to add dimension to the Raised UV design is outline bubbles in the corners of the image that were missed when I did the image trace. I use the ellipse tool to do this. To follow along this tutorial with the accompanying video to this tutorial and to see more in-depth detail work, click this link.

Save your File


13. SAVE YOUR FILE. We accept many file forms, see here. We suggest either an Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or a print-ready PDF file. Visit our site to learn more!

And you are done!

Final Result

You can see the fine details we were able to achieve using the Image Trace function. These details add a unique, fully custom Raised UV texture over our branding image that leaves lasting effects.

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Digital Raised Foil Vs. Foil Stamp + Emboss

Foil Stamping + Embossing Vs. Digital Raised Foil: The Right Fit For you


In our most recent posts, we have been focusing on the innovative technology currently involved in the print industry, however, we don’t often walk through comparisons between traditional print methods and digital print methods.  Each process is very different and achieves different tactile and visual effects on presentation folders, business cards, and more. This piece will focus on primary differences between foil stamping + embossing and digital printed raised foil coating. Both are finishing processes implemented to highlight design areas, most commonly logos and branding. Read more to learn about key differences between foil stamping + embossing and digital raised foil coating. It is important to  learn these differences in order to determine which process will best fit your marketing materials and brand identity. 

Foil Stamp and Embossing Presentation Pocket Folders
Foil Stamp Folders on Greenbrier Linen with Copper Foil Stamping

Traditional foil stamping + embossing has a classic look and feel and can add personal touch to any custom presentation folder. Most commonly, we see traditional foil stamping + embossing utilized on our in-house dark linen stocks, as we don’t recommend printing ink colors on those stocks. Foil stamping on dark linen stock is a simple and affordable way to showcase your brand, as the metallic shine of the foil contrasts with the matte weave of the linen. These pocket folders are great for office organization, presentations, and report covers. They can be used in a variety of fields including: accounting, real estate, legal, banking, medical, and more.

Light Linen Folder with Gold Foil Stamping
Light Linen Pocket Folder with Blue Ink and Gold Foil Stamping

Foil stamping and embossing on presentation folders does come with certain limitations we would like to mention here as well. The larger the area the more expensive the die will cost, as well as the set up time to ensure perfect registration. It will also have a longer production time to account for ordering and acquiring the die for the folder design. Moreover, embossing can only push up into the stock so far so not to compromise it, as well as leaving an indent on the back side of the paper. When a folder has embossing on the front cover, you can see the impression on the other side when you open the folder.

Embossing must be done on high quality paper, which can be an additional cost. Because the set up time and die costs are generally one-time costs, ordering these pocket folders in large quantities makes the price per unit decrease significantly, and becomes an affordable and customizable option. Ordering tax folders, report covers, or other folders on dark linen stock with foil stamping + embossing in short quantities, however, might not be the most cost effective option for you and your clients.


Soft Touch Smudge Proof Lamination with Digital Raised Foil
Black Folder with Digital Raised Gold Foil and Soft-Touch Lamination

For short orders looking to make high impact, we recommend implementing digital raised foil to complete your folder design. This metallic spot coating is printed with our Scodix® Sense press, and comes with a variety of customization options. We recommend that you use 10% coverage or less of the coating, and implement our capability of variable data and variable density options. This means that your client can have full control to customize their pocket folders to achieve a memorable tactile design that is completely unique to their brand. Raised foil folders are great for short runs because there is no extra cost for dies or set up times, and the effects can be breathtaking. Because there are no dies involved, the production time is much quicker. Moreover, raised foil can be incorporated on any kind of coated stock, and works well with printed ink colors. Raised foil is not pushed up into the stock in the way that foil + emboss is, rather it is a thick polymer UV coating with a foil layer over it. Because it does not compromise the integrity of the stock, raised foil can be applied to an array of coated stocks, allowing you to save money on paper cost if needed. This is a significant difference between embossing and raised foil coating, as embossing pushes into the back of the paper in order to achieve the raised look. Embossing produces a visible indent on the back of the sheet which converts to the inside of the folder or the back of a business card. Because Raised Foil is applied only to the front surface of the sheet, it will not make any indentations on the back of the stock, leaving the design of the inside of the folder clean and untouched. You can see an example of a business card with Foil Stamp and Embossing on the front and the indent on the back in the image below.

Foil Stamp + Emboss Business Card
Business Card with Foil Stamp + Emboss with Visible Indent on Back Side

While the overall differences of raised foil coating and traditional foil stamping + embossing are apparent, it is ultimately the aesthetic and tactile difference that matters in terms of brand identity and presentation products. Knowing the difference and having both to offer can help you fully promote a client’s brand.  To see and feel the differences between these two metallic finishing options, request samples of both here!


Digital Raised Foil with Raised UV Folders
Raised UV + Raised Foil Folders


We at Presentation Folder Inc. are committed to serving your unique needs and look forward to working with you to continue building a better folder. We offer the following products online but can work with you to quote and print other presentation products.


Standard Catalog Items:

Custom Specialty Items:

  • Custom Pocket Folders
  • Custom Die-Cut Folders
  • Capacity Folders
  • Tabbed Folders
  • Slim Jim Folders
  • Self-Mailing Folders
  • Gift Certificate Folders
  • Hotel Key Folders
  • Straight-Line Gluing Boxes
  • Software Boxes
  • Software Sleeves
  • Media Packaging
  • Unique Die-Cut Paper Products