Easy Graphics

By: Garry Finlay
 

A computer and color printer can make easy custom graphics. In a nutshell; print your graphic on plain paper, cut it out, and tape it to the model with 3M clear packaging tape.

Details:
I photograph what I need in high resolution (2048 X 1536). Get a clean background, and have plenty of light. Get square with the subject, use a long (telephoto lens setting), and try to fill the frame. Take several shots so at least one will turn out good and clear. Load this into a paint program on your computer. Choose the best shot. Look for lack of perspective distortion, no glare, etc. A digital camera isn't needed if you have access to a scanner, the internet or other means of obtaining graphic files.

From here the picture can be cleaned up, cropped, resized and the colors changed to suite your needs. Without going into details of image manipulation, the tool that works best for me is "gradient fill". Most graphics programs have this, or something like it. With this, you can replace any color with any other color that you choose and have control over the selection tolerance (where the boundaries will be). This will allow you to choose how much "hard edge" to have as apposed to the natural photo-like smooth, but fuzzy edge. Play around with this, and remember, always save your file as something other than the original.

When you are happy with the image, check it in a print preview window with a scale grid turned on. Make size adjustments and print a test image. Fix the colors and size again if needed. Make the final print in high quality on white regular paper. Let this dry for a day.

Cut out the image right on it's outline. Stick this to 3M clear packaging tape with the colored side against the sticky side of the tape. Trim the tape to about 1/8-1/4" outside the pattern edges. Clean the area to be covered then position this in the correct spot. Rub the tape down on the model being careful not to scratch or dent the surfaces with your fingernails.

Things to remember:
You can't print white. That is why the paper is white. If you need a white edge on the outside of the graphic that will go against a colored background you will either have to match the background (boat) color with a printed color. Or, trim the outside of the white boarder to the EXACT final shape.

Don't try to do this with a graphic that is too big. The edges should be less than 1" away from each other (or have center sections that can be cut out so the tape will have a place to stick to the boat). Don't try to cover surfaces with complex or concave (hollow) curves. Otherwise it will not lay flat. Keep finger prints off the sticky side of the tape. Practice on a piece of scrap before doing the real thing.

Be aware that some enterprises don't like to have their logos reproduced without permission.

Garry Finlay

This Article was written by Garry Finlay Exclusively for Rum Runner Racing.  Use of this article is prohibited without written permission from Rum Runner Racing.

 

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