The Pokemon Company International and Millennium Print Group have produced an internal video showing how English Pokemon card are designed and printed. The video leaked to the Internet a few months ago, but we’ve now learned it doesn’t contain proprietary information. It was originally intended for employees. The Pokemon community has never seen a video of this process, let alone one this detailed.
TPCi receives sets lists from Creatures, the makers of the Japanese TCG. The lists are within an Excel file and show if a card has new text or artwork. TPCi arranges the cards into a new Excel file to create the English set list.
From here, translation work begins. TPCi uses a master Excel document containing translations for all previous attacks, Powers, and whatnot to check for matching text. They try to make sure the card text is as unambiguous as possible.
Once the cards are translated, the text is applied to the card templates in the Adobe suite. In the video, you can see TPCi uses the same text shortcuts fans use for card translations, like [R] for Fire and [F] for Fighting. The cards are printed and checked by employees for any text and template errors.
After cards from the main set are approved, TPCi starts working on the full art cards. They have to create individual card textures for each full art. Presumably they don’t use the same card textures as Japan because the English TCG is printed using a different technology.
It takes three weeks to translate each set and create the card templates.
The set is then translated into other languages, such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese. Once all translations are finished, the set is burned to a CD and FedEx’d to the printers at Millennium Print Group for printing. The cards are printed here for all languages outside of Asia, then shipped around the world.
At the printers, a proof sheet is printed to check the cards for color. Once adjustments are made, master plates are created for each color (up to eight plates). These plates are dipped in ink to print the cards. The cards are then printed using $8.5 million printing presses that are 120 feet long. Each printing press can produce 26.62 million Pokemon cards per day, or 220,000 double sided sheets. The cards are printed on a sheet together — each sheet holds 11 x 11 cards, or 121 cards total.
The printing facility creates the holofoil card stock at a rate of 15,000 sheets per day. They do so by laminating the holofoil to the card stock. The holo cards are printed separately.
Machines then cut the corners of the cards to create the rounded edges. The border thickness is periodically checked by employees to ensure the card borders are cut correctly. Cards are periodically pulled to check for quality as well.
The video also shows TPCi designing set packaging, booster pack artwork, and the set logo for Ultra Prism.
You can see prototype names for Ultra Prism in the video:
- Ultra Sinnoh
- Ultra Galactic
- Galactic Prism
- Dimension Breach
- Prismatic Parallels
- Spectrum Shift
- Worlds Collide
- Dimensional Adventure
- Prismatic Light
- Ultra Chaos
- Dimensional Chaos
- Prism Ascension
- Prismatic Fusion
- Dimensional Fusion
- Crystal Chaos
- Prismatic Alliance
- Prism Prison