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shood23

Advice on decal making software

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Posted (edited)

Hi chaps. 

 

This is a question for those of you who make you own decals. I am trying to make some decals for a future build using word and copy and pasting or downloading various fonts for what I want but I would like to know are there any go to applications or downloadable software that would suit making decals better 

 

Thanks 

 

Shaun 

Edited by shood23

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Ideally you need vector images (Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw) but they aren't cheap and the learning curve is steep. I think there is one called Inkscape that's free. The better image you start with the better the finished decals will look. The vector images and fonts are pin sharp at the edges no matter what size you print at. Sometimes random images and fonts can have jagged edges that don't make for good decals.

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Inkscape is OK, but learning is heavy. Look around for vector images (some on Wikipedia) as the starting point. I've done this a fair bit over the years - it does work, and I've found it worth doing, so good luck and have fun!

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If you've never used something like CorelDraw or Illustrator, then learning to use Inkscape is not really more difficult. Once the learning curve is behind you it's quite easy to use and very cheap (free). There are help forums online where you can ask noob questions. 

 

I use Inkscape on my Mac, which does come with some issues, but once understood it does the trick for me. 99% of what I need are black lettering but I have done a couple of color decals using artwork I found online. Specifically a decal only available in 1/32 that I wanted for my 1/72 Dr.1. 

 

 

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I have had great success for a number of years using nothing more complicated than the old 'MS-Paint,' the basic and admittedly rather primitive program that used to come bundled on every Windows machine. Beyond learning basic manipulation---which one would have to do with any program---I've only found three real 'tricks.'

 

The first is always to start with as large and clear an image as you can find or practically manage, The clearer it is to start, the clearer it will (generally) be when reduced.

 

The second is to save your manipulations as TIFF files rather than as JPEGs. That way your image won't pick up new and annoying 'artifacts' every time its opened.

 

Third...once you've got things the way you like them...paste the saved image into a printing program [I use Open Office...because I'm cheap] and resize it there to your desired printing size. Image size is easily manipulated by simple 'dragging'; and the actual image that gets printed---as opposed to the 'display' image on your computer screen---remains as sharp and clear as the original artwork.

 

A few examples:

Custom 'brand' artwork on the old Monogram 'Beer Wagon'

GEDC2662a.jpg

 

My most 'ambitious' home-made decal project, a Maryland State Police AS365 converted from the RevellG 1/72 kit:

04GEDC6876R_zpsfe7040c2.jpg

 

And the personal artwork on my recently-posted 'Kiwi' Beamish Sopwith Camel, which can be found in the RFI area.

 

I truly admire the folks that can create such complex wonders in 'true' graphics programs...but a boat-load can be done with simpler ones, as well. Just a matter of mastering the relevant learning-curve.

 

Good luck with your project.

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I used Photoshop for my artworks. I used a big file and high dot per inch so I wont lose any details while manipulating the image. Always use layers for each color and for the font, don't rasterized it at it will lose details, just transform it to your size you want. Once you are finish with your artwork, don't flattened the layers, leave it as layers as it is easy to edit it. Always save it as PSD and not JPEG, again with JPEG your artwork will lose details.

41A50403-574E-42C5-893C-929A954C5E03_zps

Enjoy editing.

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Big fan of Corel Draw here, while I appreciate that some great work can be done using other softwares, I believe that a proper vector drawing package allows much more freedom. And vector drawings don't suffer from resolution problems like bitmaps. Sure, these softwares aren't cheap but it's possible to sae quite a lot of money by purchasing an older version as these can often be found for cheap. At the same time even investing say £50 may be something that a modeller may feel excessive to only draw a couple of decals

Inkscape is IMHO a good option, not as sophisticated like Corel Draw but it's free and really for most of the kind of artwork needed for decals it's plenty enough. I've used it myself in the past and I'd have no problem using it again

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