A Foil Scan Revolution



Foilco are extremely proud to announce a genuine game-changing innovation within our sector of the industry.

Far too long within our industry, print has understandably taken favour to analogue mediums of promoting and showcasing the benefits of its being. Digital advertising, did for a time, offer cheaper and quicker alternatives to some traditional print productions but we never felt that was ever going to last.

For a period we were told print was dead, which on reflection, couldn’t have been further from the truth. More businesses and companies of today have grown fatigued by the constant bombardment of spam, junk and pop-up mail, which has seen businesses turning heads back towards traditional communication tools and impactful campaigns being delivered through print.

We’re all driven by something new. Whether that’s a groundbreaking innovative product, sustainable process or material, or the discovery of aged print techniques brought back to life by artisan printers and pioneers who are once again, opening our eyes to the endless possibilities that our industry offers. Attentions have turned to the environment, with the understanding that digital industries have far less impact on the environment compared to print but that gap is no longer present, as we see first-hand the incredible work that those within the industry are doing to elevate fears around production and its impact.

Traditional print is truly amazing and it’s the only way to truly appreciate our products. Stamping foils only dance when they’re in your hand and they should be experienced in person to be appreciated.

Foilco’s photography has always been the company’s preferred medium for showcasing the alluring character of foil.

Never before have we explored using digital foils, or even contemplated having our swatches online. No justice could ever be done to the physical attractiveness of foil; photography has been the only close solution for digitising our products – trying for many years but to no avail.

Until now. 

Sometimes all it takes is a chance conversation. A moment where all the cogs just happen to fall into place. Sometimes it takes a little leap of faith.

Thankfully, we have been rewarded by the collaborators in this article and rest assured, we knew that our products were always in the most capable and talented hands the world over.

Step forward Where Giants Roam and Chaos, two of the digital industry’s very, very best. If anyone was going to solve the real digital foil conundrum, it was going to be this collective.

One is a multi-award-winning digital studio who live and breathe computer-generated images (CGI), who craft hyper-realistic Virtual Reality (VR) environments and code mind-bending Augmented Reality (AR) applications designed to knock your socks off – Where Giants Roam (formerly Render Studio).

The other is the world-leading computer graphics technology company, Bulgarian-based, Chaos (formerly Chaos Group). Creators of the most advanced computer rendering software available in the market, have all the tools and means any artist or designer will ever need, to push the boundaries of photorealistic digital imagery. Their product portfolio includes the likes of V-Ray and Phoenix, and awards such as the Academy Award for Scientific & Technical Achievement. Industries include award-winning architecture, product design and blockbuster films. If anyone was going to solve the digital foil conundrum, it was going to be Chaos.

The Chaos Scans ‘shader ball’ showcases highlights and shadows of a material’s surface.

This brings us to Chaos Scans, Chaos’s not-so-secret, secret weapon. This tech has been designed to scan physical material samples to create highly accurate, ultra-photorealistic digital materials (with real-world responses to lighting conditions) for use in 3D projects. The Chaos Scans material library consists of over 1000 pre-made materials that can be applied to 3D visualizations in V-Ray for 3ds Max, Maya, Rhino, SketchUp, Revit, Cinema 4D, Modo and Houdini. The materials library is a growing collection that includes samples of car paint, fabric, leather, wood, plastic, metal and now, foils.

The plan? To use the Chaos Scan technology to scan Foilco’s hugely extensive foil catalogue and create authentic rendered imagery of each foil, which will be showcased on the company’s new website.

See stamping foils like you have never seen them before and ONLINE.

The digital foils would allow creatives, brands and printers all over the world to view the ranges anytime, anywhere. This opens up opportunities for those within the creative and digital industries to access the most comprehensive digital materials library in existence but now with the addition of decorative foils (seemingly the only material absent from it).

For the first time ever, the Chaos Scans technology has allowed Foilco to digitise its foil catalogue and with the support of Where Giants Roam, we have been able to fully realise the potential of bringing these two mediums together. The Where Giants Roam team have been working tirelessly to perfect the lighting of these renders to ensure that what you’re looking at on your screen, is a true representation of the foil you would see in person.

With such a highly reflective surface, the metallic foils proved a little more challenging to replicate. More time was taken on those foils to ensure that what you see as the user, is not only an accurate depiction of the foil’s refractive nature but showcases enough of the core colour that users can easily distinguish between the shades.

Blair and his team are experts in CGI and we knew from the off that they were going to be best placed to help us move this momentous project forward. It’s taken a few tweaks before getting to the stage we’re at now, but we’re delighted with the results and the level of care that Blair and his team have shown on this project (and others) just emphasises the commitment they have to their craft– anything other than perfection, isn’t even an option.” – Jaime Evans, Marketing Manager.

Chaos have inadvertently found their missing piece too, in the form of Foilco, who have given the Chaos Scans library exclusive use of the material scans. These material scans will be presented in the form of the company’s signature ‘shader ball’ insignia, designed to showcase shadow and highlights on a surface.

One of the new ‘Shader balls’ found throughout Foilco’s website.

No matter what you’re working on, the Chaos Scans technology essentially allows digital artists to drag and drop the material files straight into a project, creating an instant foil surface/layer with realistic light-reactive appearances.

Digital mock-ups, production renders, AR applications, the possibilities stemming from this project are endless. There’s no need for expensive physical packaging mock-ups, 3D models can be created using hyper-realistic and reactive foil materials and applied directly into the working file, giving the creatives the power to present an accurate digital production of their work.

When Foilco contacted us, we knew right away this would be a special project. Their materials were extraordinarily complex and scanning them would put our system to the test. The holographic materials posed a unique challenge that required our team to come up with a new and innovative solution to capture them correctly. 

Working with Foilco and the visualization team at Where Giants Roam has been a rewarding experience, and we’re excited to include these impressive materials in our Chaos Scans library.” – Lon Grohs, Head of Creative & Strategy.

Taking those raw scanned material files and creating the collection of beautiful, digital ‘Foligon’ (Foilco’s pet name for their logo) samples was the job of Aberdour-based outfit, Where Giants Roam.

An example of the Light version of the Foligon stamped renders.

Where Giants Roam have worked very closely over the years with some of the most forward-thinking brands and highly sought-after creative agencies from Scotland and beyond.

Rhiannon Porter, Managing Director at Where Giants Roam – “Where Giants Roam were delighted to work in collaboration with Foilco and Chaos on this project. The creation of these amazing digital assets provide a fantastic future resource for all visualisation firms around the world to ensure photorealism in computer generated imagery.  As a studio that prides itself on photorealism at all times, we are beyond thrilled with the results of the collaboration and how the results will take our work to the next level.”

The team has a long history of working with Foilco’s foils, rendering everything from intricate whiskey labels with gold metallic foils to eye-popping packaging that use vibrant pigments like pinks and blues. Where Giants Roam know how to use foil but the process of creating them wasn’t always so straightforward.

Digital artists would create the materials from scratch (due to the lack of digital materials currently out in the marketplace) and fine-tuning them all would have taken a considerable amount of time. All the strides taken by Foilco and Chaos, to expand the Chaos Scans materials library, gives the WGR team access to ready-to-work files; which in turn will save them on time and money – delivering a much more time effective project.

The dark variations show you how colour can positively affect the foil’s appearance.

Where Giant’s Roam have created ‘stamped’ visuals on light and dark digital stocks to give specifiers the chance to see a representation of a specific foil on light and dark paper stocks. Showcasing how important colour combinations are in print.

We collectively think this is a real statement for the print industry, supporting print specification and opening up the creative opportunities for brands without the financial implication of multiple physical mock-ups.

It’s our aim to bring this tech to printers and creatives and is our gift to the industry, in the hope these two worlds can come even closer together and communication and input can be made from everyone involved in the process to get the very best results.

Foilco have big plans for the renders and the raw material scans, including integration of the technology within the next iteration of the company’s sample swatches and AR possibilities that will help with the specification of foils during the concept and development stages of the product/packaging life cycle.

As part of the agreement, Foilco’s foil scans will be accessed via the Chaos Scans Material Library, which will include each foil’s name, reference number and finish. All Foilco’s foils are made exclusively for them, so physical samples, swatches and prints can be requested via the company’s website – www.foilco.com.


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