Jump to content
Model Cars Magazine Forum

Who can print me truly factory-quality waterslide decals?


Recommended Posts

This has been a very interesting thread to read. I have not tried printing my own transfers yet, but something I learnt from this is to print on white decal sheet would be better than on transparent. I have a modest hp inkjet printer so hopefully when I get to try this my end results may be passable. I would guess that one would need to maximise the number of designs on a sheet at the drawing stage otherwise a lot of expensive decal sheet could be wasted. Unless the model is big, one decal sheet would have to be utilised to best advantage for multiple projects.

One of the other things that came over is not to get stressed out. It is just a hobby after all, and by dint of its nature, experimentation and learning by mistakes and gaining experience are all par for the course.

Edited by Bugatti Fan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Bugatti Fan said:

This has been a very interesting thread to read. I have not tried printing my own transfers yet, but something I learnt from this is to print on white decal sheet would be better than on transparent. I have a modest hp inkjet printer so hopefully when I get to try this my end results may be passable. I would guess that one would need to maximise the number of designs on a sheet at the drawing stage otherwise a lot of expensive decal sheet could be wasted. Unless the model is big, one decal sheet would have to be utilised to best advantage for multiple projects.

One of the other things that came over is not to get stressed out. It is just a hobby after all, and by dint of its nature, experimentation and learning by mistakes and gaining experience are all par for the course.

Noel,
Blank decal paper is not *THAT* expensive.  Cheaper than a small bottle of hobby paint.  Still, my trick to double my use is to split each letter-size (8.5" x 11") sheet in half vertically.  I end up with two 4.25" x 11" sheets.  I just design my artwork to fit on that width paper.  Then I have another paper-saving trick. I often print very small images and only one or two.  I place them right at the very top printable edge of the artwork page, print, then cut the decal off from the top of the page.  I end up with vertically-partial half-sheet.  I then use that partial sheet repeatedly for future small jobs.  Sometimes I can get 5 or 6 separate decal projects from one half sheet without having to print them all at the same time.  I still keep the 11" length of paper size in my artwork (just  have the objects to be printed on top).  The program or the printer do not care the the sheet is shorter than expected.  It still gets ejected properly.

Of course this only works if the artwork does not require full size width.  But even then, if the length of the artwork is not full 11", I can trim the printed images of the top of the sheet and use the remaining blank piece for next project that doesn't require full sheet.  Of course the printer does have minimum length pf paper that it can deal with, so if I get to that point I have to throw away the small remaining piece of paper.  But overall I squeeze as much as possible out of my decal paper.

 

As far as using white vs. clear film paper then yes, unless the decal will be applied to a white-color model, it needs to be printed on white.  If printed on clear and applied to a non-white surface, the color of the surface will tint the colors of the decal.  It is standard subtractive color method. If the decal is transparent yellow and applied to a blue model, the result will be green decal image.  I know of at last one decal manufacturer who actually uses that to their advantage.

Here is an example https://k4decals.com/collections/reefer-decals/products/mistletoe-hams-36-ft-billboard-reefer-decal-mistle . Specifically look at and ready the instruction scan. It explains things.

Edited by peteski
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Plumcrazy Preston said:

2. they say that I have to use two heavy coats of MicroScale Liquid Decal Film over their decals before applying clearcoat paint so ink won't dissolve According to them, after such application, my decals "should" be safe for clear gloss paint

 

11 hours ago, Plumcrazy Preston said:

Does MicroScale really prepare the decal for clear painting well?

I have been using their Liquid Decal Film (my bottle is labelled "Superfilm") for decades. The stuff is invaluable! Brush it on, it levels out beautifully. It can save cracked decals. I use  it on inkjet decals (I hit them with a couple of light coats of clear, first). I swear by the stuff. I know that Snake does, too. Speaking of Snake, does anybody know if he's okay? I haven't seen anything from him in a couple of weeks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Bugatti Fan said:

I would guess that one would need to maximise the number of designs on a sheet at the drawing stage otherwise a lot of expensive decal sheet could be wasted. Unless the model is big, one decal sheet would have to be utilised to best advantage for multiple projects.

I  accomplish this by laying my designs across the 8.5" width of the paper, and crowd everything to the top. Then, once it's printed, I just cut off that end of the sheet and save the rest for the next project. Repeat. I generally print test sheets on standard printer paper, to double-check the size of the graphics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter,

Thanks for the further information that you kindly offered in reply to my post. I had not thought about cutting decal film sheets vertically to put through a printer to save waste, so that is a very good tip for me to take on board. Having not looked at clear or white decal sheet prices here in the UK I simply speculated that it may be expensive, so I will have to have a closer look.

Straightliner,

Thanks also for your input for saving waste. Very similar to Peter's but working horizontally as opposed to vertically. The standard paper size used in the UK is ISO A4, but the principles outlined in both your post and Peter's can be applied in just the same way.

Edited by Bugatti Fan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, peteski said:

David,
What is the big rush?  What you are doing is a hobby - it is a pleasure activity which is supposed to provide fun, not stress.  Relax, take your time. Unless of course you have limited number of days here on this third rock from the Sun.  As I see it, is you rather than us, who is trying to rush things.  There is a lot to learn, and you need to start with basics.

As for why it seems so difficult to get custom decals produced, it is because no company has produced an affordable printer with capabilities similar to what those Alps printers can do.  Why?  Simple: the market for such specialized printer is not large enough for the venture to be profitable.  It is always about the money.  And just like with other parts of our hobby, in order to get good at something, you need to acquire the skills and tools to do a quality job.  You can complain all you want, but that will not make things any better, or provide a faster solution.

If you are impatient, the models will not turn out well.  Again, this is a hobby, not a high stress job.  Trust me, you will not become really proficient modeler in few days.  I have never met any modeler who turned contest quality models right after he picked up model-building as a hobby.  You really should not expect everything to just instantly fall into place.   You need to be patient (and gain experience).  I still recommend you upgrade to something more advanced than MS Paint.  I'm speaking from experience here.

I have been building models since pre-teens, and I'm now only few years your senior. I have been using Corel Draw (in my hobbies) for about 30 years, and Alps printer for about 20 years.  I quite comfortable with both, but I still have things to learn.  By the same token, you can't just jump into this whole home-brewed custom-decal making process and become an expert in few days without doing some in-dept research (and follow the advice you asked for).

Also, often if you want something done rigth (and fast), you have to do it yourself.  I dint' want to deal with outside decal vendors - I wanted to print my decals in my workshop, rigth after I created the artwork. That is why I invested in my Alps printer. I just do the decals myself.  But there was a learning process involved, and I'm still discovering things that improve my skills.

There are ink jet printers out there which use UV-cured inks that can print directly on the models (and can do white inks), but they are very expensive commercial printers.  There are also 3D printers which can use multiple colors of resin while printing the model, so the model comes out with all the decoration already on it (not decals needed). But in either way, there is a learning curve involved. No instant gratification.

 

Thanks for the explanation abotu your fantasy scheme - I like it!

Peteski:

 

I'm stressed about the money involved. I have horrific good patience for actually building the models themselves but I had no desire to make decal production a hobby except what I can scratch out on Paint which I've been using for 15 years straight now. I once produced images in Paint for label and sign companies to produce labels and signs for me for certain products. They turned out excellent. One was a badge for my homemade desktop PC tower and the others were some badges for some Hunter electric fans I have. The trademark was not an issue. The label companies took those rough bitmap files and used their own vector technology to refine my artwork. I'm surprisingly not seeing this kind of service from the waterslide decal sites I've looked at so far. I would love it if they would have everything under one roof. The language some of these waterslide decal websites uses is difficult to understand for the layman like me. They don't use simple easy to understand language. I didn't even know what a 'spot color'  was until two days ago. The biggest thing holding me up is the decals and nothing else. I don't want to spend 100 man hours building a model to find out nobody can provide me decals to my liking. I've now got further work on my truck model on hold until this decal situation can hopefully be ironed out within a week's time. 

Another thing is I'm not super rich. I never envisioned this plastic kit hobby as something for the super rich. I expected there to be user-friendly decal printing services all over Google from the get-go. I don't plan to build that many models anyway. Four at the very most. I'm on fixed disability income and have a 1-br apartment. My space to do this hobby is also limited. I'm lucky to make car insurance payments let alone spend 5 grand on an ALPS printer.

Edited by Plumcrazy Preston
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Straightliner59 said:

 

I have been using their Liquid Decal Film (my bottle is labelled "Superfilm") for decades. The stuff is invaluable! Brush it on, it levels out beautifully. It can save cracked decals. I use  it on inkjet decals (I hit them with a couple of light coats of clear, first). I swear by the stuff. I know that Snake does, too. Speaking of Snake, does anybody know if he's okay? I haven't seen anything from him in a couple of weeks.

I'll have to put this product on my shopping list then. I don't know yet if my local Hobby Lobby has it in stock. If not there is always amazon. The biggest bottleneck now is actually getting neat decals delivered to me. What makes this whole thing so complicated for me is that I have to have custom-painted and decorated models. I couldn't just settle for the standard paint schemes and decal sheets the kits come packaged with. My artwork designs for decals are not that complicated. This krap about registered trademarks was a real curveball I didn't see coming. I know one thing, building model plastic airplanes these days ain't a cheap kid thing like it was 50 years ago. Everytime I turn around, it seems as there is one more thing to spend money on. 50 years ago we didn't even have PCs at home, forums like this or anybody who could print special waterslide decals. We built whatever was in the kit and that's was all.

Edited by Plumcrazy Preston
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Erik Smith said:

A laser can print white? I had no idea. 
That sheet looks very well done! Can you share the source? 

I don't really know if they are laser printed. I only draw these. They were printed from Carsten Glaubitz.

His homepage is www.decalprint.eu

16 hours ago, Plumcrazy Preston said:

Very nice, Rico!! I'm impressed.

 

I'm trying to find the right decal printing firm now. They seem to have specific requirements like:

1. CMYK or Pantone?

2. spot colors with or without halftones?

3. file format options they accept like: versions of Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator or PDF 

 

Some decal printer websites claim they can only print ALPS in certain spot colors and that they don't do greyscale or halftones. 

 

Can you provide Pantone color codes for me? What version of Vector software do you use?

Can you make the artwork image file exact dimensions like 10" x 8"? 

 

Regardless of the printing method used, my decals have to be protected once applied to the models. I would prefer to paint over with clearcote as long as decal inks aren't hurt.

 

Does MicroScale really prepare the decal for clear painting well?  

The applied decals have to withstand periodic dusting with paint brushes and detailing the dirty models with distilled water. They have to be waterproof once model is fully completed. 

They can't peel or fade. I see no better durable protection than with clear paint. After all, Harley-Davidson tank decals are sealed by clearcote. The motorcycles do have to be washed and waxed after all. 

 

I can draw you the decals in any size you want. Pantone or CMYK is all possible. I use Coral Draw X6.

The company I mentioned above can print them. They also offer worldwide shipping for a shipping fee of 7,50€.

Greets, Rico 

 

Edited by camaro69
Link to comment
Share on other sites

58 minutes ago, camaro69 said:

I don't really know if they are laser printed. I only draw these. They were printed from Carsten Glaubitz.

His homepage is www.decalprint.eu

I can draw you the decals in any size you want. Pantone or CMYK is all possible. I use Coral Draw X6.

The company I mentioned above can print them. They also offer worldwide shipping for a shipping fee of 7,50€.

Greets, Rico 

 

I checked this German cat's, Carsten's, website out and found this information on his page as follows: 

DECAL PRINTING SERVICE

 

Digital printing from your finished vector files

In order to get your decals in an uncomplicated way, you are welcome to send us a print-ready file.

Our delivery standards for external files:

  • CorelDraw .CDR version 2019 or lower file format
  • Please represent everything as normal on one level.
  • Use only the CMYK color code for all objects.

The corresponding codes always apply to special colors.

White = CMYK 0,0,0,10

Silver = CMYK 0,0,0,30

Gold = CMYK 0.20, 60.20

  • By coloring white printing, you no longer need a sheet background. Please remove this.
  • The spot colors silver and gold are to be punched out with each other when overlapping with other colors. Program functions for this are mostly "simplify" and "combine".
  • Before sending it to us, please make sure to convert all fonts into curves.
  • You are free to choose the sheet size. A4 format is only the accounting unit.
  • The maximum possible sheet width is 950mm.
  • Please do not use the automatic vectorization function if possible. This increases the file size to the point of being unprintable and significantly worsens the print quality.
  • If you would like to embed pixel graphics, please contact us beforehand. This is only permitted in exceptional cases.

The production and delivery times are a maximum of 14 days from receipt of the error-free file.

 

What does all this jazz in purple print mean? 

 

 
Edited by Plumcrazy Preston
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi David,

first of all you´ll still in need of a vector file in CMYK format. As I told you I can do this for you. I only need to know which font you used for the "AMERICAN ORIGINAL" scripting.

I ordered decals from Carsten several times even with color gradient. They all turned out very nice.

Now to your questions:

  • White will be printed in CMYK 0,0,0,10. Normally a Corel Draw file has a white colored background (CMYK 0,0,0,0). It´s not necessary for printing.
  • Fonts have to be converted into curves to make sure you´ll get the font you want. Sometimes you may use a font he doesn´t have on his computer and then Corel would replace the font by another one. That´s the reason for this.
  • The decal sheet could have any size up to a width of 950mm. He prints his decals from a roll. If you need only a sheet of DIN A6 (105 mm x 148,5 mm) you only have to pay for that size (minimum = 6,25 €) + shipping.
  • With Corel Draw you have the possibility to use the automatic vectorization function. The problem is that the automatic vectorization function generates to much dots and curves. That could make the file size really big and that´s why the file would become unprintable.
  • As all the others here told you before pixel graphics are not really suitable for decal printing. You can combine vector and pixel graphics but it´s not that good and you won´t be satisfied with the result.

I hope this helps for now. If there are any questions left feel free to ask.

Rico

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, camaro69 said:

Hi David,

first of all you´ll still in need of a vector file in CMYK format. As I told you I can do this for you. I only need to know which font you used for the "AMERICAN ORIGINAL" scripting.

 

Quote

I ordered decals from Carsten several times even with color gradient. They all turned out very nice.

Now to your questions:

  • White will be printed in CMYK 0,0,0,10. Normally a Corel Draw file has a white colored background (CMYK 0,0,0,0). It´s not necessary for printing.

So what color background should my file have? Can a vector file have transparent background? 

  • Fonts have to be converted into curves to make sure you´ll get the font you want. Sometimes you may use a font he doesn´t have on his computer and then Corel would replace the font by another one. That´s the reason for this.

It seems as Copyartwork.com can do that. I think they will just convert my text objects into vector shapes. I originally used several different fonts in the Paint program: Eras Demi Medium Bold, non-Italic for the AMERICAN ORIGINAL in various letter heights. My characters also have special expanded character spacing.  The N tail numbers for the aircraft are Arial Italics non-bold. 

  • The decal sheet could have any size up to a width of 950mm. He prints his decals from a roll. If you need only a sheet of DIN A6 (105 mm x 148,5 mm) you only have to pay for that size (minimum = 6,25 €) + shipping.

I am an American and think in terms of inches.

  • With Corel Draw you have the possibility to use the automatic vectorization function. The problem is that the automatic vectorization function generates to much dots and curves. That could make the file size really big and that´s why the file would become unprintable.

I will have to tell Copyartwork then not to use this function. 

  • As all the others here told you before pixel graphics are not really suitable for decal printing. You can combine vector and pixel graphics but it´s not that good and you won´t be satisfied with the result.

I understand all that. 

 

I hope this helps for now. If there are any questions left feel free to ask.

Rico

 

Rico, I don't want you to do free work for me. I don't mind paying a fair-market price for what I want to do. I don't want to go through the hassle of providing all the specifications for the fonts I used if that can be avoided. I have consulted with Copyartwork.com. I sent them the specifications needed for printing provided by your decal man in Germany and asked them if they can rework my artwork to his specs. I sent the decal man in Germany, Carsten Glaubitz, an email and asked him some questions. I told him you referred me to him. I asked him what kind of printers he uses, whether my file needs to have a transparent background and what form of payment he accepts. 

Edited by Plumcrazy Preston
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, camaro69 said:

Vector graphics can have a transparent background.

950 mm = 37,4 inches, that's the maximum width at decalprint.eu

It's your choice. I only wanted to let you know that I could.

 

 

Rico, thank you very much for your offer. I did ask Copyartwork.com if they needed fonts specifications for my artwork. When working in a vector program, is it just a simple matter of typing the text as it is in Paint and other image editors? Does each and every letter and number in vector have to be hand drawn? Vector is still a great mystery to me. I never took a formal class in it. I don't know if colleges even teach it. I've taken many computer courses at college. Mostly Microsoft Office stuff.  I think CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator  is mainly used by paid professionals in computer graphics. It's too bad that Bill Gates could not offer a simple user-friendly vector drawing program for Office Suite. 

The average Joe hobbyist is not that sophisticated. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You only have to type your letters aus you do in any other software. You can even set the distance between the single letters and after you are satisfied you can convert them into curves with two mouseclicks.

As Peter said: Inkscape is a free vector drawing software. You can import your jpg and convert it into curves. The only problem is that you have to smooth the automatically generated curves. It's a learning process but it works too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I'll end my comments here with a statement that an average Joe cannot magically get their custom decals made.  What is needed are learned skills and understanding of the process.  Like it or not David, you need to acquire knowledge of the process and lingo.  Listen, when started building models you didn't know about all the various paints, adhesives and techniques which are involved in model building. You had to learn and acquire them.  You also need to understand that the same goes for designing and printing custom decals Educate your self about the process and the lingo.  I suggest that you should stop looking for shortcuts, and gain the knowledge and experience which will allow you to be successful at designing custom decals for your hobby.

You mention designing some artwork in MS Paint which was then successfully used (after being converted to vectors by someone).  Think about it - if you learned how to work with vectors, you could provide a print-ready artwork without getting someone else involved.  And as I mentioned few times before, vector-based drawing programs have lots of features which make drawing your artwork much, much easier. You would save time on the artwork design, and once you learn this skill, you can use it for any other hobby or professional work.  Vector drawings (because they can easily be drawn to exact and known dimensions) can be used for things other than just decals. I often create drawings for making custom model parts. I print that artwork in 1:1 scale and use it as template for cutting those parts.

When I design decals I often place the actual model on my scanner then import the scan of the model into Corel Draw, and place it on a lower layer and lock it.  Then I can draw the decal artwork directly over that 1:1 scale scan of the model.  That way the decal will fit perfectly when printed.  It makes the design so much easier than guesswork.  I'm showing you my tricks to convince you that it might not be such a bad idea to learn a new skill for your hobby.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

58 minutes ago, camaro69 said:

As Peter said: Inkscape is a free vector drawing software. You can import your jpg and convert it into curves. The only problem is that you have to smooth the automatically generated curves. It's a learning process but it works too.

I can do that in Corel too, but I find that manually tracing the bitmaps takes less time than fixing the auto-traced curves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, peteski said:

I can do that in Corel too, but I find that manually tracing the bitmaps takes less time than fixing the auto-traced curves.

 

Can objects by copied and pasted into Corel as a photocopy of a photograph or an image from another program like Paint? When I made my window decal image for my jetliner, I used my computer scanner to copy the original decal sheet in the box and then traced that row of windows to form new ones with simple spot colors. I will sometimes use a photo then painstakingly recolor each and every pixel one by one about the outlines.  Even my wolf head logo was snagged by me from Google and reworked in Paint. 

I did that copy/paste/trace of the stock decal sheet to remove the Eastern Airline livery from the row of windows and doors and put in my own custom markings: AMERICAN ORIGINAL. Paint has simple shapes like squares with rounded corners and such. That's how I formed the new windows and doors over the old ones. Copy/paste is a tool I use heavily in an image editor like Paint as well as the eraser tool, the Fill can, the color grabber, and the margin ruler. Dragging the select tool makes it easy to measure the height or width of an object in pixels or inches.  

So basically can a vector program use an existing image or part of one as a template to build a new picture?  Can one easily design logos with letters going around a circle as the Presidential Seal?  I used WordArt in Microsoft Word to make the logo of PRESTON bent above the wolf head for my truck door sign in the shape of a rainbow. Is vector a great tool to make Harley-Davidson logos for gas tanks? How about if I had a photograph of a red car and I wanted to recolor it orange?  Is the Eras font available in Corel? Can objects be rotated a certain number of degrees and easily resized? Can objects be flipped horizontally or vertically to make a mirror image of something?  Can I add a border or outline to letters and numbers a different color than the fill and at a prescribed thickness? Paint does not allow me to border the characters text objects while typing in text. It is indeed rather limited. 

Edited by Plumcrazy Preston
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yes" to all your questions David. Corel Draw (or other similar programs like Adobe Illustrate or Inkscape) can do all you mentioned (and much more). And much easier than repainting things pixel at a time.  But you will need to do some learning. Thankfully in today's digital world, there are plenty of video tutorials on hwo to perform all the "magic: in those programs.  Only thing is needed is time and some patience.

I often use a photo or a scan of some logo to trace it into clean vector format.  Each color can be made into a separate vector object and can easily be manipulated (like changing its color).  Corel Draw also offers automatic tracing of bitmaps into vector objects, but the original bitmap needs to be hi-resolution and clear. I still find that I can do better job tracing bitmaps manually than what the program can do.  And vector-based drawings can easily be resized without any pixelation.

This is sort of like the modeler who uses spray cans to paint their models but refuses to use an airbrush, because he thinks it is too much of a pain to clean after painting.  If he broke down and decided to get an airbrush, he would realize that the cleanup is not all that tedious, and the airbrush allows for much better control and better paint jobs.

If you want to get better and quicker results (and have easier time dealing with decal manufacturers) it is time to graduate from MS Paint and pick up a vector drawing program. Inkscape is free to use.  Personally, I use Corel Draw, because I started with version 2 or 3 back in the early '90s, so I'm used to it.  I currently use version 10 and 12 (current onbe is version x8 or 18).  I have no need for the latest - mine do all I need (and a lot more) already.

Here are some examples of my decal designs in Corel Draw.

ArtworkSample1.png.720e69f3ef55222df1e133f5bc38702b.png

This is my virtual "sketchpad"  This is where I do my tracing.  The photos (bitmaps) are placed in the Bitmaps layer and locked. "Bitmaps"  is just a name I assigned to that layer - it is just like any other layer in Corel.  I then do the vector tracing over them on Layer 1.  The black/white images of the car body are actual scans of the model.  I place a copy of the tracings over those scans and size them to fit on the model.  As you can see there are rulers around the drawings, so all the sizes are in real inches - no guessing needed.

 

ArtworkSample2.png.8659bb186e142472663a132dcc5a9303.png

Once I have all the objects sized properly in the sketchpad file, I create the actual decal artwork.  The above image is not what I'll be printing on my alps printer - it is just a rendering of what the printed objects will look like when printed out.  Notice the instruction above the drawing - that is what I use for printing. Also notice all the different layers defined on the rigth. Each of those layers is a separate print run for Alps.  Alps has the ability to retain the paper inside, so each printing pass will be perfectly aligned with the previous passes.  All but the CYMK layer are printed as spot colors. I also use special Alps printing tricks, sch as relabeling cartridges.  Alps is a very capable printer, but there are many tricks that aren't covered in its manuals. There is a large Alps users community where we share our printing techniques.

ArtworkSample3.png.2146a41db8e417531a805b828e1ab5c0.png

This is what the actual artwork for white ink (to be sent to the printer) looks like.  All that is black will be printed with white ink, and all the white "paper" areas will be left blank.  Here you see that the white ink will be applied under the license plate and Howard's Cams logo color  images which will be printed in subsequent print passes.

As you can see, this process is not the simplest, but the results are excellent.  And since I work in actual-size artwork, the size that shows up on the screen is the same size that gets printed.

Edited by peteski
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The guy in Germany sent an auto-reply. He is shut down until next March. I contacted my old buddy, Josh Muma at Bedlam Creations again. having a vector in PDF with a couple of spot colors should be a no brainer for him. He does ALPS thermal in addition to laser color prints. 

It looks like Copyartwork will do the vectorzin' while Josh runs it off on ALPS. 

The anal dame at Kadee still won't print my artwork with a Y on the end of KENWORTH and an IN at the beginning of BOEING. She must be having female period issues. Josh Muma had no trademark issues the first time he attempted a job for me. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, peteski said:

"Yes" to all your questions David. Corel Draw (or other similar programs like Adobe Illustrate or Inkscape) can do all you mentioned (and much more). And much easier than repainting things pixel at a time.  But you will need to do some learning. Thankfully in today's digital world, there are plenty of video tutorials on hwo to perform all the "magic: in those programs.  Only thing is needed is time and some patience.

I often use a photo or a scan of some logo to trace it into clean vector format.  Each color can be made into a separate vector object and can easily be manipulated (like changing its color).  Corel Draw also offers automatic tracing of bitmaps into vector objects, but the original bitmap needs to be hi-resolution and clear. I still find that I can do better job tracing bitmaps manually than what the program can do.  And vector-based drawings can easily be resized without any pixelation.

This is sort of like the modeler who uses spray cans to paint their models but refuses to use an airbrush, because he thinks it is too much of a pain to clean after painting.  If he broke down and decided to get an airbrush, he would realize that the cleanup is not all that tedious, and the airbrush allows for much better control and better paint jobs.

If you want to get better and quicker results (and have easier time dealing with decal manufacturers) it is time to graduate from MS Paint and pick up a vector drawing program. Inkscape is free to use.  Personally, I use Corel Draw, because I started with version 2 or 3 back in the early '90s, so I'm used to it.  I currently use version 10 and 12 (current onbe is version x8 or 18).  I have no need for the latest - mine do all I need (and a lot more) already.

Here are some examples of my decal designs in Corel Draw.

ArtworkSample1.png.720e69f3ef55222df1e133f5bc38702b.png

This is my virtual "sketchpad"  This is where I do my tracing.  The photos (bitmaps) are placed in the Bitmaps layer and locked. "Bitmaps"  is just a name I assigned to that layer - it is just like any other layer in Corel.  I then do the vector tracing over them on Layer 1.  The black/white images of the car body are actual scans of the model.  I place a copy of the tracings over those scans and size them to fit on the model.  As you can see there are rulers around the drawings, so all the sizes are in real inches - no guessing needed.

 

ArtworkSample2.png.8659bb186e142472663a132dcc5a9303.png

Once I have all the objects sized properly in the sketchpad file, I create the actual decal artwork.  The above image is not what I'll be printing on my alps printer - it is just a rendering of what the printed objects will look like when printed out.  Notice the instruction above the drawing - that is what I use for printing. Also notice all the different layers defined on the rigth. Each of those layers is a separate print run for Alps.  Alps has the ability to retain the paper inside, so each printing pass will be perfectly aligned with the previous passes.  All but the CYMK layer are printed as spot colors. I also use special Alps printing tricks, sch as relabeling cartridges.  Alps is a very capable printer, but there are many tricks that aren't covered in its manuals. There is a large Alps users community where we share our printing techniques.

ArtworkSample3.png.2146a41db8e417531a805b828e1ab5c0.png

This is what the actual artwork for white ink (to be sent to the printer) looks like.  All that is black will be printed with white ink, and all the white "paper" areas will be left blank.  Here you see that the white ink will be applied under the license plate and Howard's Cams logo color  images which will be printed in subsequent print passes.

As you can see, this process is not the simplest, but the results are excellent.  And since I work in actual-size artwork, the size that shows up on the screen is the same size that gets printed.

 

Peter, how many models have you built over your lifetime? Well, if one makes model-building a serious lifetime hobby, I guess getting up to speed with vector drawing would be the way to fly.  I  have four new model kits ready to build now and doubt if I will go much further than that. I don't have the space at home for many more models. This is why I also have rattle cans of paint instead of an airbrush. I don't know how to use an airbrush. I do have a nice portable DeWalt air compressor. I was a former automobile and fleet truck mechanic by trade and do most of the work on my own car. I have quite a few car tools already. Will that work for an airbrush? It has an adjustable pressure regulator and a water filter to take the moisture out of the air. I figure one has to get deep into modelling to consider taking up an airbrush. There are pole with guns, hunting and shooting as a hobby. One of my hobbies is gun collecting and doing minor gunsmithing on my own guns. I seldom shoot so I don't hand load. Does a firearms hobbyist reload their ammunition at the Lee or Dillon press at the bench or just buy factory shells? It depends how much shooting they do. Getting into vector and air airbrushing will depend upon how deep one is into modelling. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many models have I built?  I do this as a fun hobby, so I don't keep track.  If we go back to my childhood, maybe hundred or couple of hundred?  I was quite prolific as a teen (mostly WWII aircraft and airliners back then).  In my adult years maybe 40-50? Not sure.

As for the airbrush and vector drawing programs, I don't thing you have to be advanced modeler to own or use them.  They are simply tools for the trask at hand.  Just like a chisel or chainsaw.  You can use those tools in their basic application, or for advanced jobs.  For example the same chisel can be used to cut openings for a striker plate on a door jamb, and to sculpt a beautiful wood carving.  Chainsaw can be used to cut down trees, or the same chainsaw can be used to create beautiful wood sculptures.  It is not the tool, but how you use it. Same with airbrush or vector-based graphic program.

For questions about airbrushes and compressors see the very top sticky thread in this section of the forum. There are others too.  That subject is well covered becuase it is often asked about.

From reading your responses in this thread it seems like modeling is just a temporary whim with you.  You come here looking for help, then you keep on griping how difficult and awkward things are (specifically decal design and printing).  It seems that you want to instantly become an expert modeler (at least as far as decals go). Dude, things are not that easy, and you either accept that, get good at it, achieve results you desire, or like I said earlier, go back to your hobby of game simulators. 

BTW, most decals I print are for my fellow model club members (not for my models).  Every decal design I create makes me better at it.  Here is one of my models with decals decals I designed for it (the gold pinstripes).

14KnoxCoin.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter:

 

I will hold my tongue for now. I will have Copyartwork redo my artwork and have Josh print it for me. Then I will build one AMT kitted Kenworth tractor, one AMT Wilson stock trailer, one Atlantis Boeing 727 jet plane and one AMT Bell 205 helicopter and see how it goes. I will let people here know how my stuff turns out and post pics here.  If I were really rich I'd like to get into R/C scale models all dolled up in custom paint and fancy decals as well. 

 

I envy this hobbyist who could hand machine all the aluminum parts for this gorgeous larger-scale R/C Kenworth logging truck:

 

Serious R/C scale modelling only seems to occur in Britain and Europe. American men and boys play with gaming stuff these days mostly or play with vehicle sims. Traditional model railroading is largely out too: I've played with Trainz railroad sim software and build layouts in it for several years and got sick of it. I don't have a true gaming PC to run it smoothly. I then later collected a few guns for fun and got sick of that. Americans these days don't have the industrial trades skills for this modelling hobby. Europeans are old-world master hand craftsmen. There is a lot of R/C stuff but in kitted form it is mostly non-scale and toy-like in appearance. You just won't find an off-the-shelf R/C kit of a jet-powered Boeing 727, an electric Kenworth W-925 or an electric Bell 205 heli. The static scale model hobby offers much more in terms of off-the-shelf kits. There may be some who have built static scale models from scratch. True scale R/C models are largely the work of scratch-building by master tradesmen who are/were auto painters, draftsmen, machinists and welders. 

Edited by Plumcrazy Preston
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a range of modelers (from mediocre to brilliant) in any hobby.  If you want to see some absolutely incredible level of modeling here, see Scale-Master's thread. If you have the patience, read through the entire thread.  He achieves some amazing feats of modeling, and the level of detail is unbelievable!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, peteski said:

There is a range of modelers (from mediocre to brilliant) in any hobby.  If you want to see some absolutely incredible level of modeling here, see Scale-Master's thread. If you have the patience, read through the entire thread.  He achieves some amazing feats of modeling, and the level of detail is unbelievable!

Nice but I'm not into race cars, perse. I'm into street vehicles, boats, aircraft, Harley-Davidsons, animal figurines and trains. If I were to want a 1/10 1964 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible in precise scale detail, it would take a master to build it from scratch. R/C hobby electronics off the shelf is not advanced well enough for precision scale-model street automobiles with detailed interiors and correct ride-height suspensions. Even that nice aluminum-machined Kenworth logging truck above lacks real diesel engine sounds synced to throttle position. The running electronics would have to be engineered and built to a super micro scale. That truck model whirs like a power chair instead of rumbling like a big diesel. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...