Inlay Design FAQ & CPC Template Files

timinater

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What file format/program do I need or should I use to design my inlay images for CPC? How do I use CPC's templates? These are common questions that comes up around here so I thought I'd help out and share a quick primer for everyone.

Which is best, Photoshop, Illustrator, or something else?​

Well, both are suitable for inlay design though have different strengths. Photoshop is primarily a raster editing software. Think pixels, the tiny squares that make up an image. Illustrator is primarily a vector editing software. Think shapes and objects.
  • Raster images are generally resolution dependent, meaning as you add size, you need to add pixels. Scaling an image down is usually no problem because you can easily remove pixels, scaling an image up is almost always a problem, because you can't make something out of nothing, and while photoshop has some decent upscaling, it's always based on an estimate.
  • Vector images are resolution independent, meaning that they are infinitely scalable. A vector image is made up of paths and curves using a programming language. You can see how this is handy when designing a 1" inlay, and taking that design to a full size table etc.
  • Read this for more details about the two types of images.
My preference is Illustrator, because it is much easier for me to create repeatable, flexible designs that are easy to adjust and iterate. I more often that not use it in tandem with Photoshop to edit images, and bring those into illustrator to work on a final design.

As for other programs, there are some good free options out there. Gimp is raster editor and Inkscape is a vector editor. They are serviceable programs from what I hear, but I do not have any experience with them and as a graphic designer by trade, I would not recommend using them in a professional setting. If you have access to photoshop or illustrator choose them; if not, those free programs will likely get the job done for you.

WTF is bleed?​

Bleed is quite literally margin for error. It is the portion of the artwork that extends past the intended trim line. As any kid can tell you, cutting on a line is hard, so printers use bleed to compensate for shifting during printing and cutting. Here is a good explainer about what bleed is and how it is used.

Templates​

Here are links to all of the templates you can download. They are ready to go and should help you with your initial file setup. Nothing groundbreaking here, but it should save you some time and make life easier on you. All but the first one are Photoshop templates.
Tried to keep it short and sweet and it's already gotten long, if you've got some more questions AMA and while I can edit the OP I'll add them in.
 
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utgtrash

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thank you for this - does anyone have experience with photo images for the inlays, or, how much do you lose if you try to use hi res photo images rather than vector?
 

warma

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thank you for this - does anyone have experience with photo images for the inlays, or, how much do you lose if you try to use hi res photo images rather than vector?
I sent a PowerPoint file. :)

Most CPC inlays have a texture to them, so a hi-res image vs vector on a textured 7/8 inlay isn’t going to make much of a difference.
 

allforcharity

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thank you for this - does anyone have experience with photo images for the inlays, or, how much do you lose if you try to use hi res photo images rather than vector?

You might want to put up a design thread and solicit feedback. Very rarely do photoreal images look very good on a casino chip. I think because they are often associated with business advertising or personal commemorative events on cheap quality plastic promotional blanks.

I sent a PowerPoint file, too. Not proud of it, but enough for the designers to do what they needed on conversion. I would have preferred to send an Illustrator file, if I could afford it.
 

warma

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You might want to put up a design thread and solicit feedback. Very rarely do photoreal images look very good on a casino chip.
This ^^^

I wasn’t tracking an actual photo being used, just how the inlay was transmitted.
 
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