How do you determine when artwork needs to be modified before sandcarving?

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Examine the detail in the artwork. Are there thin lines that may not etch deep? Then view the depth required for the sandcarving job. If there are small or delicate fonts or thin lines, then it is considered a difficult design. 

It is common practice for your customer to send in their artwork that has been used in a print process or seen in a print application. Often that artwork was not created to use as a sandcarved design. All fonts and detailed artwork look great printed, but once the print is turned into a photomask, the sandcarved artwork may not match the printed proof.

First, realize the printed version of the artwork is against white paper, which provides contrast. All the detail is viewed sharp on a white background. Once the artwork is sandcarved on a transparent surface such as glass, some of the detail in the design may not be as clear because there is no contrast.

Second, understand how to adjust your artwork for the absolute best etched design. It is important to handle the difficult design from the beginning when you’re in the approval process. Adjusting your artwork correctly also makes it easier to produce your mask and sandcarve without any glitches, especially in a production run.

Today, our customers want detailed images, and we manufacturers push the envelope of detail in our photoresist film. Photoresist film can handle detailed artwork, but often the job requires deep etch. Adjustments to detailed artwork are then required when sandcarving more than a surface etch.

Your graphics program is perfect for correcting your artwork. The goal is having a design approved for sandcarving – this may be as simple as adding a stroke to the thin lines in the design. If a deep etch is required with a detailed design, you may need to simplify the design. The simplified design will look better as a sandcarved image.

-Liz Haas, Rayzist

Liz Haas

Liz Haas

Liz Haas has been a teacher, trainer and show coordinator for Rayzist Photomask for the past 15 years. For the past 10 years, she has actively taught workshops on the photoresist and the sandcarving process.

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