SlotForum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(First of all, my apologies if I've posted this in the wrong forum)

I want to do some custom decals - rally plates and number boards, to be specific. I've checked places such as Patto's and no-one seems to do the stuff I want, so I'll have to do it myself.

I started by copying JPEG images off the 'net and re-sizing them. The trouble I'm having with that is that by the time I get the images small enough, they've lost most of their definition.


So, my questions are;-
1) Are there any write-ups on DIY decals here for IT-illiterates, such as myslf?
2) If not, is someone able to tell me what format I should be working with the images in, what software I need to working with and where I can get that software?

I could attempt to design my own decals, but I'd still need software I don't have plus a heavy dose of both imagination and artistic ability - which I'm lacking in. I'd be prepared to attempt it if someone could tell me, please, what is suitable software for designing decals from scratch.

TIA
Stuart.
 

·
Slot Car Racer and Builder
Joined
·
1,741 Posts
It is probably better to do vector images rather than jpeg - the main difference is vector images are better for scaling to different sizes.

Vector Programs have a bit of a learning curve to them but are worth it. There is a freeware program called Inkscape which handles vector graphics

http://inkscape.org/

I made all the decals on this Hummer - most were in a jpeg program but some are vector based and postscript (eps)

cheers
David
 

·
Julius Wilkko
Joined
·
935 Posts
Inkscape has very steep learning curve.

I am using Photoshop. Just make sure that your canvas has good resolution (2000 x 3000) and scale down when printing.

Gimp is free alternative.

Quickdecalstory

Cheers!

Julius
 

·
Horlicks Hero
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
I'll second Inkscape. Vector is absolutely the format to use when you need to rescale images. Vector images define the parts of an image mathematically, so the resolution always remains whether you scale up or down. Using the likes of Photoshop/GIMP with bitmap images means you eventually bump up against the size of the smallest dot in the image, and your resolution disappears. If you have a bitmap image, you can import it into Inkscape, and then trace over it to create a vector image version for resizing.

Inkscape works very much like Corel Draw. If you are used to that product (even if you used v1.0 nearly 20 years ago) the basics of Inkscape will be familiar.

I recently needed to create a 3D logo of some text, and make it look like it was cut from a gold bar. Now, I'm no artist, be it on the computer or in the real world, so I found an online walkthrough of how to create a chrome effect 3D word which was very close to what I needed to do. I changed the colours slightly so it was more gold than chrome, and it looked brilliant. But, and here's the clever part, the walkthrough included instructions onhow to bind al of the elements of the image together so that if I wanted the same effect later but with a different word, I could just type the new word in, and it would maintain the effect with the new lettering. *That's* very, very slick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone.


I'm in the (slow) process of finding my way around Inkscape.
 

·
Horlicks Hero
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
Find a few tutorials and get a better feel for what kinds of things can be done in a drawing program rather than a painting program. It may sound trite, but walk before you can run. If you get a better handle on the basics, the more complex tutorials later will seem so much easier.

Also, look for vector versions of logos that you want to use. Inkscape can import a lot of different formats that you can then save as a native SVG file to actually work on.
 

·
Circuit Owner
Joined
·
5,913 Posts
QUOTE (StuBeeDoo @ 21 Jan 2012, 14:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks everyone.


I'm in the (slow) process of finding my way around Inkscape.


Before you get too hung up in the software...

I notice you said by the time you get the image small enough you lose definition. This implies the original jpg's were adequate seeing as bitmaps are only a problem if you make them BIGGER not smaller.

Printers print in dots (like jpg's) and not lines (like vector images). So a printer will convert a line drawing into dots in order to print it.

It seems to me that your problem is more likely the PRINTER RESOLUTION rather than the images.

When you print you need to set the highest quality setting your printer has. What you print ONTO also makes a BIG difference - some media "bleeds" (the ink spreads out and blurs slightly). This is very noticeable when printing small and expecting detail. In my experience some of the decal papers are very poor at high resolutions so try a more expensive and better quality decal paper.

If your decals need a white background and you aren't too worried about slightly thicker decals you could try buying some printable vinyl (only suitable for inkjets). I use this to make decals for my transit vans and it's great for detail and it's self-adhesive but not so sticky you can't peel off a cock-up! I tend to seal it after with clear acrylic spray. Search for printable vinyl on ebay, that's where I got mine.

The vinyl will be great for rally plates and number plates. It won't be so good for complex decals that bend over compound curves (unless you are really handy with a craft knife).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for ^^^^^ that, Mr.M, I'll give it a go.
 

·
David J
Joined
·
3,182 Posts
If you paste your images into microsoft Word and resize them in there they do not loose any definition at all. They can be Jpeg, BMP or whatever you have. The ones I did for the Broadspeed Escort were done that way and came out really clear. You can organise them easily on one page and print them out all at once.

If you're still struggling with how to do it that way drop me a PM and I'll explain the process.
 

·
Horlicks Hero
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
The problem with bitmaps is not just that they pixelate and become jagged when you make them bigger, but as you make them smaller, you have to lose pixels to fit them in the given space. This is what causes a loss of detail. Of course, printing at 600dpi instead of 300dpi helps with that, but if you only have a 300dpi printer it's no help at all.
 

·
Phil Kalbfell
Joined
·
3,373 Posts
Using the vector program will be worth while, you will be pleased with the results. They will be much sharper and you can draw or redraw any logo you need.
David: glad to see you are converted!
Miveson has just made some vector rally plates for the SCX Rally you may be able to convert them' the link is on the SCX Rally thread.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
QUOTE (Phil Kalbfell @ 21 Jan 2012, 21:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Miveson has just made some vector rally plates for the SCX Rally you may be able to convert them' the link is on the SCX Rally thread.
I have to be honest, I saw them when they appeared and thought;- "If I run some of them off, no-one will ever know.".
But then my conscience kicked-in......... It would have been a bit of a cheek, wouldn't it? It's certainly an easy way to get what I'm after, though.

BTW Phil....... I still haven't got 'round to doing anything with the logo you did for me. I'm hoping to have it on a car for next year's Proxy - if there's going to be one.
 

·
Slot Car Racer and Builder
Joined
·
1,741 Posts
i am sure Mark won't mind


DM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Once again, thanks to everyone who has contributed here so far.

I'm trying to get my head 'round vectors, but half an hour a day isn't getting me anywhere at the moment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK, so I'm using Inkscape, and I've made a decal I'm happy with. When I re-size it to the 17mmx16mm I need it to be, it pixelates badly. What am I doing wrong??
 

·
David J
Joined
·
3,182 Posts
Try copying the image into Microsoft word (click on Insert, Picture, From File, you then select the image from the explore box)((you may even be able to copy it in Inkscape and paste it into word??)), if you resize it in there (right click on the image, select Format Picture, then size, type the size you want into the height/width box) it will resize on the page and will not pixelate when printed.

There are other ways but this is simple and gives good results.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for that ^^^ suggestion DJ. I'll give it a go.
 

·
Phil Kalbfell
Joined
·
3,373 Posts
If you have the decal in Inkscape copying it into Work will only make things worst! Incscape is a vector program that uses straight line and curves not jagged edges( pixels) like Word.
I assume you have pic in the decals, I assume the original is just too small or very poor resolution and that you are trying to enlarge it?

I start with the largest image I can find then either trace it or redraw it, it can than be resized with no losses.

A pic of what you are trying to do would help us see what you are trying to do.
There is some great tutorials on decal making availbale on the Alps and Alps decal groups in Yahoo.
 

·
One petunia in a field of onions
Joined
·
6,455 Posts
The point of using Inkscape is to give you a Vector image. As soon as you export it and import it into MSWord it becomes rasterised and wastes the work you've done in Inkscape.

The reason why vector images are better is that they are stored as mathematical formulae that the computer can use to recreate the image at any size. The raster images are stored as instructions to recreate the original image size (something along the lines of 3 pixels blue, 2 pixels green, 1 pixel red, 5 pixels off...etc) Hence the great difference in the size of the saved file.

I don't use Inkscape, I use Illustrator, but the methodology would be pretty much the same. Work on an artboard (or whatever Inkscape calls the page) at a size proportional to your final image, in fact of the size of your final requirements is best.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top