Next, plastic prints are visible, impressed prints that occur when a finger touches a soft, malleable surface resulting in an indentation. Some surfaces that may contain this type of fingerprint are those that are freshly painted or coated, or those that contain wax, gum, blood or any other substance that will soften when hand held and then retain the finger ridge impressions. These prints require no enhancement in order to be viewed, because they are impressed onto an object and are easily observable.
Comparing a plastic fingerprint (in clay) to another fingerprint.
Continuing, latent prints are fingerprint impressions secreted in a surface or an object and are usually invisible to the naked eye. These prints are the result of perspiration which is derived from sweat pores found in the ridges of fingers. When fingers touch other body parts, moisture, oil and grease adhere to the ridges so that when the fingers touch an object, such as a lamp, a film of these substances may be transferred to that object. The impression left on the object leaves a distinct outline of the ridges of that finger. These fingerprints must be enhanced upon collection and, because they serve as a means of identifying the source of the print, they have proven to be extremely valuable over the years in the identification of its source.
Lastly, exemplar prints, or known prints, is the name given to fingerprints deliberately collected from a subject, whether for purposes of enrollment in a system or when under arrest for a suspected criminal offense. During criminal arrests, a set of exemplar prints will normally include one print taken from each finger that has been rolled from one edge of the nail to the other, plain (or slap) impressions of each of the four fingers of each hand, and plain impressions of each thumb. Exemplar prints can be collected using Live Scan or by using ink on paper cards.
A sample of a fingerprint identification card by the FBI