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Homemade Decals ?
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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2019 03:37 am
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Tom Ward
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Tom

I had read about the problem of ink jet printers not printing white,
and was initially concerned about what to do with my decal. 

I'm using Photoshop to clean up my print and realized that the white,
was actually yellow that had been over exposed by the flash. 

I went down to pixel level and removed all the flash glare,
restoring the original colors. 

I'm still waiting for the water slide decal paper to be delivered,
but I think I have the image ready to go. 

I appreciate your input on this. 
This whole decal thing is more complicated than it appears on the surface.

- Tom Ward


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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 04:16 pm
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Tom Ward
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The image I'm using for the air compressor decal comes from a color photograph,
of the restored Oro air compressor I based my model on. 

I spent a lot of time using Photoshop to clean up the photo,
to remove flash glare and reflections. 

When I thought I had it ready to print as a decal I reduced the image 93% to get the correct size,
and was relieved to see that the detail of the image carried through. 

I then printed it out on paper to hold up against the compressor tank for final evaluation.
That's when I realized the background maroon color from the prototype didn't match my model. 
Bummer! 

Using Photoshop I tried to match the background colors but finally realized the only way to get it to look right,
I would have to eliminate the background maroon color on the decal so the painted tank would show through. 

Below is a photo showing the image on paper before a removing the background color.

I'm posting this as an update to explain what I've been doing to prepare the decal,
and to show the need to remove the background coloring. 

I'll post a photo of the completed model with decal in a few days.

- Tom





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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 05:28 am
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Tom Harbin
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Tom, I'm speechless.

Tom.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 05:53 am
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Tom Ward
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Tom Harbin wrote
Tom, I'm speechless.


Hey Tom, thanks for the nice comment.

Below is a shot of the decal. 

I removed all the maroon background color from the photo,
to allow the painted air tank to show through. 

The decal is only 5/8" wide,
reduced from an original image that was about 4.5" wide,
and I'm pleased with the sharpness and detail. 

Since my printer insisted on placing the image in the center of the page,
and I didn't want to waste an entire sheet of decal paper. 
I printed the image first on paper,
and cut out a small piece of decal paper about twice as big. 
I taped the edges of that directly over the paper image,
and ran that through the printer.
Worked like a charm. 

I just ordered some "decal set" so I'll wait until that's delivered,
before applying the decal to the air tank.

One more thing. 
I'm using a sliver of cassette tape for the belt on the compressor. 
Any suggestions for giving it a dull finish?

- Tom Ward





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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 06:06 am
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Tom Harbin
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That is really nice Tom.

Great job in Photoshop.
I'm no expert with Photoshop but I've used it more than enough to know,
that what you have done takes time and talent and patience,
lots of patience.

I can't say that I've ever used cassette tape as a scenic element.
In fact I'm not sure I even still have any, but if I had to guess,
I would think that an acrylic Matte Varnish would probably work very well.

Vallejo makes a nice one that is easily available
(I know Hobby Lobby usually stocks it).

Tom


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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 09:55 am
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slateworks
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Impressive Photoshop work Tom and a great result.
I'm looking forward to seeing the decal in place now.

To save some frustration, I'd print a couple of spare copies,
as it's not known how the decal will sit when applied to the model,
and you might find an edge turns under,
particularly if you've cut it out very close to the image.

I'm thinking of the "tails" at the bottom,
and they might need a little practice to get them to sit properly.

On the other hand,
with careful application they might set down right first time!




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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 12:50 pm
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Tom Ward
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Ah, good advice Doug. 
I'll do that. 

I really appreciate the input I get from this forum. 

Since I've joined Freerails I've taken on a number of new challenges,
things I haven't tried before,
and have always been able to get past the learning curve,
with the help I've gotten here. 

Really appreciated. 

Great resource of information and inspiration.

- Tom


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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 02:57 pm
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Tom Harbin
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Tom,

Great advice on making spares.
Since you will be doing that, I'll add another wrinkle.


I don't recall you mentioning your printer.
There are four main home printer types:

1. Lasers use heat transfer and are generally waterproof.

2. Standard inkjet uses dye-based ink and is generally not waterproof.

3. Some inkjet printers use pigment-based media and is generally waterproof.

4. ALPS, some prosumer printers and some converted inkjets use dye-sublimation,
    and is generally waterproof.


Bottom line:

If you are printing on an ALPS or a Laser, you are all set.
If you have a dye-sub printer you know it, as they are not cheap.
If you are using an inkjet you should test a print in water to make sure it holds up.

No matter what printer is used give the decal ample time to dry.
It takes longer on decal sheet than on regular paper.

If it is dye-based it may have an issue with running,
if pigment-based it will probably be fine.

If not, Testors makes a decal spray for their decal sheets,
that can be sprayed over the decal before wetting to help protect it.
I would not use it though if you don't need it as it adds another film layer,
and slightly affects the quality of the decal.

You probably know all of this stuff,
but I figure it never hurts to put it out there as some may not know,
and I hate to think of someone ruining a lot of hard work with a smudged decal.

Tom


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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 05:14 pm
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slateworks
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Yes, as Tom says, it's important to "waterproof" the decal before submitting it to liquid.

The decal paper pack probably has instructions in this respect but in general,
after the print has had time to dry, two or three passes with Testors Dullcote or the like,
leaving further drying time between each spray should do the job.

Do the spraying at a distance too, I reckon at least half arms length,
to get a fine coat each pass.




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Updah Creek http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7457&forum_id=4&page=1
My Flickr albums https://www.flickr.com/photos/33431492@N04/albums
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 Posted: Fri Nov 15th, 2019 09:17 am
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Thayer
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Lovely decal Tom, well done.
It complements your compressor work perfectly.

When it comes to printing off center,
I often create a blank image close to the size of the paper,
then position the graphic element I want to print wherever desired.

If that is confusing, imagine printing a stamp on a blank envelope.

By default the image would be centered,
but if you make the background white and the size of the envelope,
you could then position the stamp's image in the upper right,
to get it to print where you want it.

Thayer


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